Indentured servants

As a Christian we are, or should, be very familiar with the idea of servanthood, contracts, and things of a legally binding nature.  Along those same lines we are all too familiar with the idea of bondage.  We know that sin binds us up so we are unable to perform as we would like.  It is the flesh and nature of self that keeps us bound up, unable to do what we know to be correct.  It’s the great con of the devil, really.  He tells Eve that she will be like God and have great wisdom and basically be in control.  So she ousts God from her director’s chair and sits there thinking she’s stepped up.  Unfortunately it is at that moment that the flesh takes control.  It leaves us in the chair, but binds us up and takes control of our members to produce sin instead of the fruit we want to produce.  Our only help from this is of course Jesus.  The price he paid on the cross for us was in His own blood. We are now the property of the King.  We owe him our life and our soul.  We are technically indentured to Him that paid for the right for our lives.

In the Bible, the greek word is peripoiēsis; (Specifically as used HERE and HERE)  This word basically means a purchased possession in this context.  So we are to be living under the legal right God has over us and our lives.  That makes the title Lord significant, no?  So many times I think we use that name and think “We want you to be the Lord of my life” because we’ve always heard that in church, but we’ve never taken the time to understand what we are saying.  Really, we are just giving our verbal acknowledgement to the already standing legal position of our life.  We are indentured to the one that offers us redemption, freedom, liberty, a life in Christ and a life with Christ in us.

All that to get to this: what drives you day in and day out?  Why do you have the job you have?  Why do you do the things you do?  Is it in response to the one who holds the receipt to your life, paid for with the blood of Jesus?  Are you a servant to the one that owns you?  Or do you think you are an ownerless person?  You make your own decisions?  I will be bold enough to say as a Christian you would say “my life is God’s.”  But is it really?  Look at your motivations.

I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this you’re American and the American Dream has been emblazoned and seared into your mind.  You’ve held the idea that Gospel and the American Dream can go hand in hand.  But the longer I live; the closer Christ draws me to Him; the more I see this isn’t the case.  The American Dream is a humanistic approach to happiness on earth.  The spin we sometimes put on it is that “this life stinks but heaven will be great” which is still happiness for us.  We like to think God created us for our happiness.  No, we won’t say that but our actions, our prayers, and our hearts ultimately show this to be the case.

Take your finances.  Most likely you work to pay bills.  Ok, that’s a fact of life we’ve all accepted.  But do we have any control over those bills?  Yes.  Bottom line.  Sure you need a roof over your head and you like to live comfortably, but when does that get in the way of your servanthood to the one you’re indentured to?  Maybe you spent a little extra to get the house you LOVED and so your monthly payment is only $100 a month than you expected.  Did you pray about that?  Maybe your car was a little too unreliable or you just got bored with it or you really could use a little engine boost.  Did you pray about that?

It’s easy to rationalize these things as blessings, but how much of a blessing are they when you are living paycheck to paycheck?  How much of a blessing are they when you can’t answer a call God has on your life, say to be a missionary to Burma, because it can’t pay what you’d need to pay for your car, your credit cards, your loans, your comforts and standard of living you like?  What if there is a family member or neighbor who loses their job and they just need a couple of hundred for their sick baby to get the medical attention it needs… and you can’t help because you have no wiggle room?  What kind of blessing is it to need to work all those hours to pay for the things you wanted?  The bigger question is who are you serving at this point?  Are you serving Jesus, yourself, or the bank?  Is your job motivated by the need to pay what you’ve purchased ahead of time on credit?

If you have debt, you are legally bound to pay it back.  You are basically indentured to that debt until it is paid.  But behind most debt is your desire to live the way you want, so really you are an indentured servant to your self.  You can’t escape until your debt is paid so your are bound up.  As a Christian God will call on you to trust Him and give, but can you when you have a mortgage, car payment, electric bill, and groceries still needed?  Maybe you’ve already paid those, emptying your account, and when God calls on you, you can only look at your feet as you shuffle them in embarrassment.  You can serve only one master and I believe the American Dream which relies on you isn’t the same dream that God has for you and your life.

How can your life be spent by the One that holds the spiritual contract when you’re legally bound to some one or some thing on earth?  Did He liberate us for us to run back into bondage?

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