Everyone is a slave. There, I said it. You don’t have to agree with me, but I know I’m right.
Did you know that the term “servant” appears in the Bible at least 476 times? Moreover, the term “Lord” appears at least 6,354 times in the entire Bible. Why do I make this point? First, this is the oldest book still in demand today. Impressive by any publication standards. Second, the longevity of the book infers that the terminology within it has much significance if it is still in common use today. If you were to go to a restaurant, the person who comes to attend to your table would tell you that he or she is your “server” for the duration of your stay. When we look at the term and how we use it, we tend to reshape the word in order to make it comfortable for us to accept.
The term “servant” has three possible meanings: 1) Bondage or Doulos which infers slavery to someone or something or entrapment of a situation. This is most common usage in today’s society, in my opinion because there seems to be more people who are trapped in positions (at work or in life) that they are unable to free themselves from. 2) Minister or Diakonos which in my opinion is the least used term because it infers that the minister must actually emotionally care for others in order to serve. In today’s society, my observations have shown that there are not as many people who genuinely care for others in their quests to serve, but are looking more for recognition. I’m certainly not saying there aren’t genuine ministers out there, but I know from my own experience that it’s hard to stay genuine once you get that recognition for the world. Best to stay unrecognized so you can continue your work and maintain integrity. 3) Attendant or Pais is the third term, which goes back to my original analogy of the waiter/waitress who is serving the guest at the table. This analogy refers to the person who is serving for pay. He is doing his duty or job in hopes of receiving compensation or a reward. (Almost sounds like the minister looking for recognition? Not quite, the attendant makes no attempt to fool anyone that his motives are altruistic)
Okay, after all that explantion, I am looking to investigate the term servant in the context of bondage. Two types of bondage I came up with are 1) physical bondage where a person or even nation is in bondage to another. An example of this would be the people of Israel were in bondage (or slaves) to Egypt before Moses came to lead them to freedom. A more recent example of this type of bondage is the plight of the African American people who were forced to slavery of the American colonials.
The second type of bondage is mental bondage. This is when a person puts someone or something at the top of the priority list of things to do or have, or whatever, because it’s an unhealthy obsession to fulfill our flesh. Examples? Drugs, pornography, foul language, cigarettes, food, money, sports, drink (any kind), laziness, entertainment (movies, TV), companionship, self-enhancement….and the list goes on forever.
We are all slaves to something. We have a choice where our loyalty lies. Do we wish to please our flesh immediately? Or do we wish to please our Father in Heaven first and make our flesh deal with it? Matthew 6:24 says, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Who (what) we choose to serve, reflects in our life here on earth as well as eternity. If we choose to serve our flesh and enjoy the physical “pleasures” rather than help others and serve God, our eternal “reward” will be felt in our “flesh”. A practical example of this is choosing to eat indulgent foods and lead a sedentary life rather than eating healthy vegetables and nutritious food while exercising our bodies on a regular basis to keep it in shape. The result of the first lifestyle is much higher risk of diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer to heart disease. However, there are many people who live this sort of lifestyle and don’t even realize it. Then they are surprised when they hear they have a disease like the ones mentioned above. The result of the second lifestyle is a strong body and little risk of disease, or a body ready to fight such a disease and win. This takes longer to achieve and requires diligence and hard work. The same goes for our spiritual life.
Our flesh is also a state of mind. Viewing pornography not only stimulates our physical bodies, it penetrates the recesses of our minds and corrupts our perspective. Getting drunk or high not only changes how our physical body feels, it creates an illusion of joy or peace that is short-lived.
If we put anything above God in our life, our family, our career, our health, then our perspective on God’s will becomes distorted to whatever our will is. We are not giving God our complete self for him to fellowship with. This is why we often feel like He’s not there or we can’t hear from Him. When we put Him first in everything, we find that we don’t need to “hear” Him because our confidence in His presence is unpenetrable.
When we have that confidence, our ability to maintain self-control excels above what we had before because our confidence in God’s perpetual presence essentially give God the ability to provide us with the strenth and endurability to withstand our fleshly wants rather than give in. When we give God the control, He gives us the control. Therefore, when we become “slaves” to God rather than serving our flesh, we also have the ability to control ourselves (flesh) and remain satisfied and content.
Life is lived in our heads. What’s real is spirit while our physical world is the illusion. When our spiritual life is in conformity with God’s will, our physical life becomes much less important. We are able to remain satisfied whether we live like princes or paupers. We know that our riches are not of this world and our acceptance of this concept is essential to our happiness and peace.. We can have an abundance of things as long as those things don’t have us.
Thank you, Father, for Your revelation of truth and Your will. May I always have an ear to hear Your Word and be obedient until my flesh is dead.