This week's memory verse:
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." -- Colossians 3:23
I have always been a big Civil War buff, and been intrigued by the time period. I also have never understood slavery. I grew up watching "Roots," "Gone with the Wind" and "North and South" and felt so much compassion for the men, women and children who were held captive. Living in today's world where I hear about numerous murders, wars and hate crimes, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by how hateful and hurtful one human being can be to another, but I have never fully understood why a master could threaten and beat his slaves just to get them to submit to them who held them captive.
The word "slave" has always held negative feelings for me, as it does for most people. No one WANTS to be a slave and have their freedom taken away. But, today's lesson talks about how we should be slaves to Christ.
Slavery was common practice in ancient times. Some slaves were prisoners of war, and some people sold themselves or family members into slavery to pay off debts. So, slavery is mentioned in the Bible often, as it was something that the people understood at the time.
Paul writes a lot about slaves and their masters in his letters. Read Ephesians 6:5-9 and Colossians 3:22-4:1.
One way we might apply these principles to our lives today is to think of slaves as employees and masters as employers. In that light, whatever we do in our jobs, we should give it our best efforts, as if we were working for the Lord, serving wholeheartedly. AND if we are are the boss, we should do the same thing and treat our employees fairly, and with kindness, not threatening them into submission. If we ALL looked at our jobs in this light, wouldn't there be more people content with their jobs and less need to "vent" about how terrible things are? Hmmmmm.....
Paul also talks about being a slave to sin. Read Romans 6:6-7 and Romans 6:12-13. What does a slave to sin do?
A slave to sin lets sin rule or reign in their life...giving it control...offering up parts of their body to sin. A person can be a slave to food...we have to eat to sustain our bodies, but when the need and desire for comforting foods takes up a lot of your thoughts and your time...then you are a slave to food...you are offering up the health of your body to your food master. The food master doesn't care about your health...it just wants to be fed and NOW!
When you become a slave to Christ, or God, you allow obedience to HIM to rule your life instead of the unhealthy things that are trying to bring you down. Obedience to God leads to being a slave to righteousness which leads to being set free from your sins. Resisting your passions, not obeying them and letting them rule you will lead to allowing God to replace that NEED with peace in your heart. This won't happen over night...it takes work, strength and time to overcome the bonds of slavery to sin or whatever is holding you back.
Going back to my interest in the Civil War history...another thing that always fascinated me was the "Underground Railroad" and how it and the brave people who helped along the way led many slaves to freedom. It is hard to break the chains of slavery on your own. You need some helpers, some encouragers, along the way. You can always turn to God for guidance as to which way to go...but look for some friends who can walk the path to freedom with you!
Give yourself over as a servant of God and walk in obedience to His word. He will help you give yourself fully and completely over to him and you will be glad to be a slave to him. He is a master who will take care of you.