Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10
The truth stares me in the face every day. While I live and breathe on earth, I am a slave to sin. I covet a different house, a different car, a new gadget or toy to satisfy my electronic greed. Greed, envy, anger, laziness, pride, selfishness…they’ve all taken up residence in my heart at one time or another…whether I want them there or not. I turn to any news channel and see the wickedness humanity inflicts upon itself. Indeed, the headlines scream of murder, theft, hate crimes, trickery and deceit. I sin when I give in to my own temptations of the flesh.
Every day I, as a Christian fall before the One who sets me free from that slavery. My old sinful self is dead to sin only through Jesus Christ. Every day I must “put off [the] old self; which is corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24) Through my Baptism I pull a fresh, white robe over my old sinful nature. In renewing my Baptismal vows, I daily repent and discard my slavery, my old sinful self. God clothes my human nature with His rightness and holiness. Nothing I do, can work this transformation. God gives this to me through Jesus Christ. Coming out of slavery, I am free to choose service the one who freed me from death.
FREE TO CHOOSE
God designed me with free will. He gives me and every human the freedom of choice. I am free to choose the slavery of sin to fulfill my own desires. In the same breath, I am free to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of my life. Jesus frees me from all sin by His blood. How can I repay the gift of life? The gift of freedom? Through my choices. I might use my liberty to indulge the sinful nature that still resides within my flesh on this earth. But knowing God’s great love for me, His sacrifice and mercy, I chose to serve the One who set me free. Free to serve? Is that true freedom? Looking at the consequences of my slavery to sin, and then the consequences of serving the one who freed me, it seems clear: Living in the filth of sin, I have one choice. Death.
In Christ, two options open before me. Life and Death. God gives me this choice in His Word. “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) From one option, to two options. Life in Christ doubles my choices. When I choose service, I choose life, and a whole new vista opens before me.
A JOYFUL SERVANT
In my youth, I rejected Jesus’ gift and served my own selfish desires with child-like glee. Then I really MET Him. Now, the more I know, the more I love Him. His love flows out to touch the people around me. There is great joy in the freedom to serve my risen Lord. Like the early Christians, I choose to serve others joyfully – willingly. I’m also free to choose my service. I serve Him by sharing His love through my writing. Freedom of choice is a joyful service indeed.
When I serve joyfully, Jesus no longer calls me a servant, but a friend. Jesus did not just serve those who loved Him. He served everyone – the sick, the poor, the unclean, the unlovable. He freed me from sin, from my sickness, my poverty and filth. How can I do less? Yet, I still have that choice. I am free to choose how to use my freedom. This free will is the greatest gift God has given me outside of Jesus Christ. It is what makes me unique in the entire world. I’ve been washed clean and unburdened from the yoke of sin.
I freely choose to serve the One who freed me. In serving Christ, I find peace with others, order in chaos, and joy in living. I have purpose. I have life. I have freedom.
FROM SERVANT TO HEIR
God takes me further – from servant to heir. He took a mangled piece of humanity from the gutter of sin and raised me up. “Even while we are dead in our sins, God, who is rich in mercy and because of his great love for us, made us alive with Christ. God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 2:4-6) I am more than a servant. Through my Baptism, I am a full child of God through my faith in His Son.
I hold fast to His promise in Revelation 21:7 – “He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” I will reign in heaven with Christ. I was not created to be a slave, but to be His child. On this earth, I may be slave to sin, but through Baptism and faith in Jesus Christ, I serve Him gladly while I draw breath here. I am secure in the knowledge that I’m bound for something more than slavery, something better than servanthood. I am a child of God, created with free will. I am free to choose slavery in sin or service in Christ. A slave has no choice. A servant has the greatest freedom of all… choice. I choose to shed the shackles of slavery and put on Christ. I choose to serve the Master who promises to make me an heir.
Which master will you choose?
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