30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 3: Root Repair – Bitterness

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

People matter more than our lives being gratified by them.

Scripture of the Day:

Hebrews 12:15

“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, that no one be like a bitter root springing up and causing trouble, and through him many become defiled.”

Our faces bare our hearts. Bitterness is one of those character traits that can be spotted in an expression quite readily. It is not very attractive, either. Just sayin’. There is something about the look of having just ingested a lemon that says “UGLY”.

Where does it come from? Sometimes we can be offended by someone’s treatment of us and pride rises up within us. Or maybe we are let down by life’s circumstances in general. When we allow bitterness to germinate and spread as we contemplate whatever it is that we resent, we are in danger of letting bitterness overtake us.

If we allow bitterness to take root, it can affect our whole personality, lives and those around us, too. Sure enough, bitterness also squashes any remote thankfulness we might have, as we are too absorbed in whatever it is that we are dissapointed by.

But there is a way of escape and it is paved by choosing to love those we have become embittered by. People matter more than our lives being gratified by them. People will let us down from time to time, but perhaps our expectations are misplaced.

Recognizing negative thoughts is half the battle. Turning those bitter thoughts into gratitude takes dying to self and choosing to replace those thoughts with God’s truth. Taking captive thoughts that do not please God and replacing them with His Word begins to transform our minds and hearts to lives characterized by thankfulness.

Lord, thank You for Your Holy Spirit Who reveals attitudes that displease You. Help us to weed out what displeases You and to cultivate hearts overflowing with gratitude.

Thoughtful Thursday: True Obedience

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

God deserves our very best – not because He’s picky, but because He is worthy.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Samuel 13:12

I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down on me at Gilgal and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt obligated to offer the burnt offering.”

1 Samuel 15:8,9,19-21

“He captured King Agag of the Amalekites alive, but he executed all Agag’s people with the sword. 9 However, Saul and the army spared Agag, along with the best of the flock, the cattle, the fatlings, and the lambs, as well as everything else that was of value. They were not willing to slaughter them. But they did slaughter everything that was despised and worthless.” 19 “Why haven’t you obeyed the LORD? Instead you have greedily rushed upon the plunder! You have done what is wrong in the LORD’s estimation. 20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the LORD! I went on the campaign the LORD sent me on. I brought back King Agag of the Amalekites after exterminating the Amalekites. But the army took from the plunder some of the sheep and cattle – the best of what was to be slaughtered – to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.”

Obedience – that ugly word our flesh recoils at. It seems old fashioned. Uptight. Legalistic. Or at least our rebellious culture tells us. But God’s design of authority is intended to be loving and kind, because He sees the dangers of stepping outside the pleasant boundaries He has placed for us.

Saul was doing all the right things. At least from the outside it appeared so. He sought the LORD’s favor and offered a burnt offering. Except his motivation had some problems – first, he felt obligated. Not feeling the love on that attitude. It also smacks of a manipulative kind of obedience – he had to do it and did it to get what he wanted – the favor of God. The only problem is, God sees what is going on in the inside.

God gave a command. Very clear and simple. Exterminate the Amalekites – I know, it sounds cruel, but they were a wicked people and God knew they would turn the hearts of His people. Here we see another problem with Saul’s response. Whether or not Saul understood the “why” to God’s command, he should have fully obeyed, but instead the word tells us that he was “not willing” to slaughter the animals. His will overrode God’s command. Sounds pretty awful, yet we can be guilty of the same thing.

Rationalizing the grey areas away when the Holy Spirit convicts us is no less of an obedience issue than Saul’s. In the name of freedom we can redefine what God has said, yet we are shackling ourselves to the chains of compromise instead. Turns out partial obedience is not obedience at all.

Samuel later said it was the motivation of greed that was a stumbling block, as well. Saul made it appear pious by saying he spared the sheep so he could sacrifice them to God, but half truths don’t stand to well before a Holy God. You just can’t fool Him. He will not be mocked.

Fear also cropped up as a valid reason why it was ok to twist God’s word. Didn’t God see the vast army? Surely He would not expect obedience to such a command, would He? Excuses, excuses. Mercy – I understand it, because my flesh likes to excuse itself, as well. Fear points to a lack of trust in the God Who called us in the first place.

Pride was Saul’s downfall, as well, and yet another aspect of Saul’s response that hindered Him from simple obedience. Samuel even finds Saul building a monument to himself. Every time we obey on our terms it leads to big trouble. It is prideful to think that we know better than the Omniscient One, and God knows fully the consequences of trying to accomplish something in the flesh instead of according to His perfect way.

Lastly, Saul pulled the famous “blame game” and scapegoated the army. They were the ones who kept the sheep and items of value. Clever. But the one in charge is responsible for those under his command.

Much like the attitude of Cain, whose offering was not what God required nor his best, we need to guard ourselves from thinking it is okay to define what is acceptable to God on our terms. He is an unchanging Holy God Who deserves our very best – not because He’s picky, but because He is worthy. Worthy of us delighting to obey the One Who created us in the first place.

Lord, please forgive us when we forget Your expectations or try to do things our way. Help us to live lives worthy of how awesome You are and to do things Your way. You know best.

Truthful Tuesday: Our Moral Compass

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Inspirational thought of the day:

Only God determines what is truly right.

Scripture of the day:

Judges 17:5

“In those days Israel had no king.  Each man did what was considered to be right.”

A ship follows the lead of a small instrument no bigger than a stopwatch and the captain of the ship trusts that this small tool called a compass is not leading them astray.

The Creator of this world has left us with a compass, as well.  Not only an instruction manual called the Bible, but the Holy Spirit to influence us toward righteousness.

I myself am directionally challenged and rely on a GPS to point me the right direction.  I will often trust the GPS above my own instinct, because I know the rate of accuracy of the GPS is far greater than mine.

But sometimes it gets confusing when there are multiple compasses and voices crying out, trying to persuade us that their voice is the right one.  Folly cries out but so does wisdom.

Humanism has seeped into every aspect of our culture to the point where it seems odd to not just do what we feel like doing.  That’s because the flesh is very persuasive.  But if our basis for our decisions is founded primarily upon our feelings, we can be led far away from God’s best.

If the heart is deceitful and every inclination of our heart is wicked in God’s sight, how are we then to live?  What compass do we use to make decisions and how can we make our stubborn wills follow God’s way?

In our pride, we tend to think we are right.  All arguments emanate from this reality.  Authority is a means by which god establishes order.  Without it, we drift.  With it, we often rebel, anyway. Using a compass takes humility and trust.

There is hope for those Who would call on the Name of God and seek the counsel of His word.   The Holy Spirit is able to guide us and we are able to exercise our free will to walk in integrity or to walk after the flesh and do whatever we want.

Ironically, what we want is often counter to God’s ways and as much as we think it pleases us, it leads to our ultimate ruin.  The motivation to do things our way would change if we could think the matter all the way through and choose according to God’s law.

Praise God that He has absolute truth in this world of relativity.

God has not left us without instruction nor does He let us remain in confusion if we seek Him sincerely. When we yield our plans to God and filter our desires through God’s word, we find peace.  Gently He leads us like an inner compass to do His will and not our own.

Lord, help us to surrender all to You.  Your will be done.  Your ways are best.  Grant us wisdom to recognize when our flesh is pulling us away from what really matters – living solely for You, Jesus, and according to Your Word.

Truthful Tuesday: Judging Judgment

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Romans 14:12

“Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister.”

1 Peter 4:17

“For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God?”

Judgment.  No one wants to be the recipient, but all have been participants in either judging others or being judged themselves.

In His perfect wisdom, God designed a system of justice in place to judge our actions.  Man sets up his own system of judgment, too, to condemn one another.

At the root of judgment from any human being is pride.  Pride in our own sinful, myopic condition that we would think we could ever be in a place to pass judgment on another creation, made in God’s image.

There are so many more motivations in the act of judgment, though. Sometimes we want to make ourselves feel better about our decisions, or we manipulate others with judgment to try to get them to do something we want.

Sounds pretty ugly.  That’s because judgment from man is going to be man-centered, but judgment that Christ gives is perfect and redemptive.

God judges our hearts to bring us to repentance and show us our sinful condition.  Man judges to prove a position, inflict pain, manipulate or inflate self.

Man cannot judge other’s motivations, for we cannot see the heart – only God can.  Still, the default sinful condition of man is to presume and judge brothers or sisters in Christ.

Despite out corrupt nature, we do not have to give in to judgment.  The heart of man is deceitful, but God.  He is gracious and able to help us lay down our judgments and put on forgiveness.  Sometimes people can hurt us and boundaries have to be put up so they cannot hurt or condemn us further.  Sometimes we have to lay down our desire to please man in his faulty judgments, too.

Maybe some of us feel we deserve judgment – we all do.  But Christ bore that judgment for us all.  In this world we have relationships that are broken from sin and ensuing consequences, and people will judge us until the day we die, but all of those judgments fall off our shoulders and are laid at the feet of our Savior – the One, perfect, Righteous Judge.

Lord, thank You for the sweet victory You give to walk in freedom and forgiveness.  Thank You for bearing our judgment.  Help us to consider others better than ourselves and to discern others in the light of the grace that we have been given.

The Higher Goal of God’s Deliverance

1 Samuel 1:10

“She was very upset as she prayed to the LORD, and she was weeping uncontrollably.”

1 Samuel 2:1-3, 9

1 Hannah prayed, “My heart rejoices in the Lordmy horn is exalted high because of the Lord.  I loudly denounce my enemiesfor I am happy that you delivered me. 2 No one is holy like the Lord!  There is no one other than you!  There is no rock like our God!  3 Don’t keep speaking so arrogantly, letting proud talk come out of your mouth!  For the Lord is a God who knows; he evaluates what people do. 9 He watches over his holy ones, but the wicked are made speechless in the darknessfor it is not by one’s own strength that one prevails.”

Each day, I am amazed how God speaks to just what I need to hear.  This blog is written directly out of my devotion time, which is from a bible-in-a-year plan.  Yet in God’s sovereignty, He uses right where I am at in His Word to speak to me. What an awesome God.

Hannah’s story has always been special to me.  God sees our longings, but fulfills them in accordance with His will and timing.  Her response is so humble and surrendered to God.  In the face of a rival mocking her for her perceived inferiority because she could not bear children, she cried out to her God.

Don’t we all not measure up somehow, in someone else’s eyes?  Hannah suffered from the onslaught of minimizing, but it was not so much her concern for Penninah’s opinion.  She did not get involved with the small-minded desire to be esteemed by others or to have what others had for vanity’s sake.  No, she longed to be a mom.  The pain and shame of not being able to bear children stemmed from her innate, God-given role as a woman.  God honored this desire.

The sting of a longing unfulfilled can paralyze us if we let it.  But in this beautiful moment of Hannah’s submission to God’s will, she wipes away her tears and trusts in God.  When God granted her request, she praised Him and then gave back this cherished gift to her God.  Our tendency as humans is to want to hold onto God’s provision, but Hannah knew that Samuel, her precious son, was God’s and not hers.  Ultimately, her desire to honor God brought about more blessing for her and five more children.

More than victory over those who would demean her, Hannah had a joy in her relationship with her LORD and had gained something even more precious – character.  Humility gained from other people’s judgment is a reward, too.  It teaches us perspective and guards us from living to please man and reminds us that none of us are without fault.

Overly being concerned with man’s affronts is not righteous.  Jesus modeled this heart of humility when false accusations were hurled at Him and He is the only One in whom there was not a hint of truth in his enemy’s rants.  He was spat upon and murdered and responded by praying on behalf of those who wished Him harm.

Letting go of the idol of currying man’s favor is a beautiful place of peace and freedom.  Hannah was not trying to be glorified by man or be the best at anything.  She was not concerned with other people’s perception of her, and when Penninah’s judgment hurt, she ran to her Father – and He heard.

Man’s opinion is insignificant in the scope of eternity, but our response reveals pride and insecurities or trust and surrender to God.  Hannah chose the latter and glorified God, not herself.  We can, too.  Her “ladder” was leaned against God, not the culture.  Her greatest goal was not being right or triumphing over her enemies, but in glorifying God and being found in Him.

Lord, help us to be in the world and not of it.  May we care more about pleasing you than anything or anyone else.

Thoughtful Thursday: How to Fight

Job 15:1-9

15:2Does a wise man answer with blustery knowledge, or fill his belly with the east wind3 Does he argue with useless talk, with words that have no value in them? 4 But you even break off piety, and hinder meditation before God5 Your sin inspires your mouthyou choose the language of the crafty. 6 Your own mouth condemns you, not Iyour own lips testify against you7Were you the first man ever bornWere you brought forth before the hills8 Do you listen in on God’s secret council? Do you limit wisdom to yourself? 9 What do you know that we don’t know?  What do you understand that we don’t understand?

Job 16:2-5

16:2I have heard many things like these before.  What miserable comforters are you all3 Will there be an end to your windy words?  Or what provokes you that you answer? 4 I also could speak like you, if you were in my placeI could pile up words against you and I could shake my head at you. 5 But I would strengthen you with my words; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

James 4:1-3

“Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you?  2 You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; 3 you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.”

Assumptions.  Pride.  Hurt feelings.  Control.  Put any two people in a room and conflict is inevitable.  Sure, some conflicts might be more sparky, and depending on whether or not you have a fighter or a flighter, the duration and intensity can vary. Add to that the past baggage each one brings into the fray, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a good old fashioned quarrel.

I do not think many people truly enjoy conflict – so why do we do it?  It is one of those necessary components of life and can actually be a very healthy thing if we do not permit bitterness, envy or vengeance to cloud our view.  At the root of every disagreement is a desire to be understood.  We want to be known and cared for – even when we do not see eye to eye. We want people to believe the best in us – even when perhaps that assessment is not accurate.

In humility, we are all flesh and even when we think we are right, we are wrong.  Wrong for wanting to be proved right, perhaps, or wrong for not caring for our brother or sister in Christ.  A constructive discussion should always contain the elements of respect, kindness and consideration.  When voices are raised, chances of being understood are vanishing quickly.  Laying down our agenda and seeking to understand is a beautiful Christ-like response when engaged in difficult conversations and can end up turning the argument into a beautiful expression of love and caring for souls.  Asking questions and refusing to pass judgment is essential.

What is our goal?  Evaluating our motives can help us to stay on track.  Why is it so important to us that we win an argument?  What are we trying to achieve?  Redemption?  Or having our way?  Frustration is a pretty good indicator of pushiness and not entrusting the process and other person’s heart to God.  Judgment and guilt trips are an indicator of someone trying to control or manipulate.  Seeking to understand why someone is hurt, however, is beautiful.

How about laying all techniques in arguing down and praying first?  Sometimes both parties need to take a reprieve and realize they are a team.  Working on a solution together and hearing every argument as valid will help bring the quarrel to a healthy resolution.  Ultimately, His glory should be our highest goal and cherishing one another and putting each other above our own needs is honoring to God and all parties.  Just as Christ served as an intermediary when we were at odds with God, sometimes we might need someone to help guide our conflicts, too, if no solution seems possible.  May we endeavor to love one another and give to Christ our deepest need to be known and accepted.

Lord, we want to honor you in every aspect of our lives.  In struggles and hurt, disagreements and pain.  Help us to die to self and to glorify You by our unity.

What Forgiveness Looks Like

Photo Credits heartstonejourney.com

Photo Credits
heartstonejourney.com

2 Corinthians 2:5-8 NIV

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

There is a danger in becoming close with others.  Sometime, someplace, somewhere, they will have the potential of hurting you, and you them.  A wall quickly rises, attempting to sever us from the pain inflicted by others, but the sickening feeling in our gut tells us that we are affected, nonetheless.  If we are honest, we have all tasted the bitter fruit of betrayal or hurt wrought upon us by someone else.  Why does it hurt so badly?  Often the betrayer was someone close enough to make the sting all the more piercing.  You trusted them and they slandered or used you.  You forgive, but then you are criticized for not allowing that person the same place in your lives.  This is the struggle of forgiveness.

God has forgiven us, and so we must forgive one another.  Forgiveness on the outset does not look so hard – you choose to apply grace when it is not deserved.  Sounds like what God did for us.  The trick is trying to determine when or if you can let someone back into your life.  When is it safe?  Is safety the goal?  Is it selfish or self-preserving?  Ironically, we can hold others captive by not letting them in for fear of further pain, but we ourselves are bound.  Further, we find that we are just as guilty and needful of grace.

If we apply the separation strategy, soon we are isolated and living in fear, not wanting to risk further injury through relationships.  No one will ever meet the standard of not letting you down, so where is the line drawn in determining whether a separation strategy is beneficial?  If we apply the other extreme of overlooking and then plunging headlong into more of the same hurt, that is not a solution, either.  A middle ground of boundaries can be useful, but only if we establish healthy, God-honoring boundaries laced in grace.

Common sense tells us that some relationships really must end.  Sometimes people can be toxic to us, or vice versa, but sometimes we can use that as an excuse to avoid discomfort, too.  The real heart issue, then, is trusting God.  If we are avoiding potential pain and vulnerability because we either do not think we can bear it or we think that God might not enable us to walk through it, we are allowing fear to cripple us.  This fear can keep us from wonderful relationships all because we base it on a couple of people who harmed us in the past and we are vigilant from allowing similar pain from ever happening again.

Pride might play a role, too.  We do not want to be manipulated or fooled again.  So we keep anyone at a distance who contains similar traits as the one who harmed us before.  Yet if we take the time to consider why people hurt others, we might be surprised that they themselves are hurt and crying out.

I confess I would rather live without the drama of raw emotions, tangible to ourselves and those around us, but then, that would not really be living, either.  Forgiveness is the choice to go on living, even when you walk with a limp.  It is electing to not allow the stain of former hurt to ruin the garment of your life and perhaps not worry so much about yourself getting hurt, anyway. It is putting on love and covering sin.  It is mercy in action, a perpetual decision to focus on the positive aspects of those around you and no longer hold their shortcomings against them.  It is laying down the fears of what they could do and labels that excuse the protection mode.  Forgiveness does not mean you allow others to abuse you, but it does mean laying down the hurt we keep picking up and loving imperfect people . . . since we are in that number, too.

Resisting Apathy

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Ezekiel 7:19-20

19 “They will discard their silver in the streets, and their gold will be treated like filth. Their silver and gold will not be able to deliver them on the day of the LORD’s fury. They will not satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs because their wealth was the obstacle leading to their iniquity.  20 They rendered the beauty of his ornaments into pride, and with it they made their abominable images–their detestable idols. Therefore I will render it filthy to them.”

Ezekiel 9:4-6

“The LORD said to him, “Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of the people who moan and groan over all the abominations practiced in it.” 5 While I listened, he said to the others, “Go through the city after him and strike people down; do no let your eye pity nor spare anyone!  6 . . . But do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary!” So they began with the elders who were at the front of the temple.”

Judgment starts with the house of God – in His sanctuary.  Where does apathy toward sin or the world’s woes begin? When do we decide to pretend we cannot see, or to no longer care?  As souls deaden and our hearts grow cold, how can the tide be turned to revive the church?  Let it begin with me.

Political correctness eases into the church through the disguise of avoiding judgmentalism.  Only God is the One Righteous Judge, and we are all laden with planks in our eyes, so, who are we to ever speak against sin?  Yes, we are all flawed, but this reasoning is, as well.  We are all desperate sinners at the foot of the cross, but we need to speak the truth into one another’s lives – admonition and encouragement – spoken in love.  Judgmentalism comes with an attitude of superiority, not with a caring disposition from someone who loves you enough to point out the poison of sin that is slowly killing us all.  We must not neglect this benchmark of discernment and speaking into other’s lives – though it hurts, it is death to us if we do not.

Selfishness is the next proponent toward apathy,  To protect self, we don’t want to speak into someone else’s life, for fear of their perception of us (self worship), and because we know we are not perfect, we hide behind the log in our own eye with false humility.

Materialism and money were the obstacle mentioned in the passage above which led to their sin.  We value wealth more in our society, which can develop pride.  Pride is blinding and makes us forget what we really were before Christ found us.  What if no one ever spoke into our lives to reveal sin?  Where would we be then?  Their confidence was in their wealth, not in God.  We might not carve golden images today, but what are our hearts trusting in?  Are we trusting in God daily for our provision – spiritually, physically and materially?

It is so very hard to remain fervent.  So much chips away at our passion for God and His bride.  The fear of man, expressed through the PC movement as well as self preservation and popularity, can be very persuasive.  The tidal wave of sin in our culture can be overwhelming – it might seem futile to speak against it, but we dare not give in or give up!  We cannot allow our hearts to grow cold or apathetic.  We have to still care – love people but do not love the sin.  It is actually uncaring to ignore sin and ironically, it will be our own undoing, if we sit idly by and do nothing.  If we “okay” the sin, we slowly move from acceptance to participation on some level.  Doing nothing is perceived as condoning sin and grants a license for sin to grow.

When God was judging His people in the book of Ezekiel, who was it that God spared?  The ones who were burdened by the sin around them and cried out to Him about it.  The people of God who had God’s heart toward sin and did not shut their mouths about it.  Our eyes have been opened to make a difference right where we are.  We might not be popular, but we can make a difference for eternity.  So, although the image I chose for this article is humorous and science does not actually have the cure for apathy, God’s Word does.  Don’t compromise – stay fervent, praying for God’s people and this lost world.  Resist the urge to be comfortable and apathetic – who knows what God wants to do through You at such a time as this?

Lord, please forgive our silence and fading zeal for You and Your Word.  Help us to never stop caring about Your church, Your people and Your will being done.  

Slaves to Righteousness

The Thankful Slave

Philippians 1:1

“From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and deacons.”

Philippians 2:5-8

“You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, 6 Who though He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.  8 He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!”

I had the privilege of attending a revival last week in which the guest pastor spoke about our position in Christ being that of a slave.  As I have been contemplating his message, today I read the verses above – confirmation to go deeper on this subject to try and understand what it means to be a slave of Christ.

Slavery is viewed in modern society as a cultural sin, unfair and evil.  For the purposes of this world, it has indeed been an evil that has existed in many cultures for the benefit of the rich and the economy, where man is devalued because he is esteemed by sinful man as less.  In God’s sight, each soul is so precious, whether slave or free – and while He created us to be free, we are indeed simultaneously all slaves.  It is, in fact, in our slavery to God that we find our greatest freedom.  For the slavery in this world is founded on wickedness and a lust for power, where the slavery in Christ is founded upon righteousness, humility and selflessness.

We are all slaves to what we give permission to rule over us, slaves to habits, slaves to cravings, and ultimately all slaves of God.  I can feel the cringing when I type that word.  Slaves.  Slaves.  Slaves.  That is what you are.  It is uncomfortable and smacks in the face of political correctness.  Our Savior, holding a lamb, calls us friend – not slaves, right?  Yes, but He has also made us joint heirs – us – the lowest of the earth – recipients of an eternal bliss we did not deserve.  Not typically how a slave-master would treat his slaves.  But every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and in hell below.  We bow because He is the only Worthy One, the owner of us all and of all we see.  He is indeed our Master, whether or not that reality is recognized by the creation.

Paul over and over again reiterates in the epistles his slavitude in Christ.  He does so in a rather boastful manner.  He is not ashamed of being a slave for the Gospel, but fully submits himself to that role.  A slave understands that he has a Master.  He comprehends that He is not the one in charge, but the one who must give an account.  This is at once humbling and the highest privilege one could conceive of.  Imagine being a servant in the White House – how much more a servant in the Kingdom of God.  A servant in God’s Kingdom is entrusted with the most precious gift of all – the Gospel.  Are we serving our Master well in this regard?

A godly servant does not question the Master or become angry and throw a fit when he does not get his way – he understands his position and his greatest pleasure is serving the King. He does not question whether or not he should tithe – he understands it all belongs to God and he is obedient.  This servant recognizes he was bought and does not deserve any kindness due to his transgression.  He is under authority – ooh – another difficult, not politically correct word.  In an age where children are rebellious to the authority of their parents and disregard the structure that God has set in place, being a servant under authority is indeed not popular today.  Nonetheless, we are slaves under authority.

Most humbling of all to me, is that my King, my LORD, chose to become a slave.  Think about that.  When has a King chosen such a role?  When He is righteous and knows that none of His slaves could ever pay what they owe their Master, He chose to serve.  What an amazing God!  May we joyously walk in our slavitude and the wonder that He grafts us in and calls us His children, too.  In that glorious day, all slavery will be abolished – slavery to sin, slavery to man, slavery to the flesh – no more sin, no more brokenness – nothing to keep us from Him any longer.  Glorious day, when our souls are finally set free.

Lord, forgive our pride and motivations that desire to be served rather than to serve.  Thank you for demonstrating real servanthood, even though You are above all.  Help us to glorify You by modeling to the world a holy, reverent walk with You.  Amen.