What does it really mean to be a servant? Servitude is truly one of the profound experiences of being desperately dependent on Christ, and is antithetical to what commonly comprises our human nature. Does the thought of being completely controlled by someone or something create anxiety, motivating you to seek refuge in a place of safety by your own design? Do you seek a place that provides you with security only because it allows you to exercise control?
The American mentality seems to be more like that of the ancient Greeks who had a strong sense of individualism and an aversion to bondage, yet what happens to freedom when our souls have been conquered by the love of Jesus? Paul asserted, “If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way, Christ’s love controls us” (2 Cor. 5:13-14 NLT). Paul saw himself as a captive to love for God and thus considered himself “a slave of Christ Jesus” (Rom. 1:1 NLT).
The heart of a servant is one whose soul has been claimed by the desire of another. While the heart of a tyrant forces one to capitulate, Christ lays claim only to what has been willfully and freely given to Him.
Christian servitude then reflects who, not what, is most important to us. The One we serve is the very One we worship. There should be no schism between how we live and who we love. They should be one in the same. The fruit of our lives should express what God has planted into our hearts and the yield of our lives should be that which He now harvests—our loyalty and adoration.
What then is the significance of finding Christ relevant to every area of our lives if we do not seek to live in homage to Him throughout our lives? The relevance of Christ is not given to serve our interest but rather is given so that we may serve His will. Is His relevance not found in our servitude to His will and there do we not find all that we have longed for? As we explore the richness of our relationship with Him, do we not encounter His good pleasure and there find our joy? Are we not given purpose when He is given preeminence?
Christian servitude is embraced through deep relational loyalty whereby one’s heart is seized with love for Christ. The compulsion of the servant’s heart is the desire of their beloved Lord. Commitment of this sort may not be measured in a carnal balance of good deeds but can only be realized in the surrender of the full sum of one’s soul to the full magnification of Christ’s glory.
How sad it is that within our modern Christian culture we have lost the wonder and the beauty of this relational sonnet of master-servant love, to relegate all that servitude is into a notion that can be accomplished through mere service. The issue of servitude must never be equated with much doing of anything in general. The reality of such is that service apart from servitude is work that has lost its soul to selfish-ambition.
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws’” (Matt. 7:21-23 NLT).
Why do you serve?