The other day, I was praying about a number of issues in my life, and I felt like I was going round in circles again. I said, “Lord, I don’t want to go back to this place of confusion! The devil is the author of confusion, not You. What do I do?” I then rebuked the devil from my mind and began praising and thanking Him for those things that He had most recently done for me.
The thing is, I wanted to pray for these situations! I wanted to actively do something. Yet, I was torn. Did I need to intercede and fight against the devil’s activities? Or was it God’s doing, working His will to shape my life, teach me important things, and show me what I can’t see any other way?
Then God reminded me again that He’s given me the gift of my prayer language for just these sorts of situations. So I began praying that way. And as I did, God flooded me with His peace and began to speak to me.
He was saying that He desires me to fully realize that I am a slave… and the more that I prayed, the more I began to see what that means.
We think of slavery as a bad thing, yet the concept of slavery is all through the Bible. It seems to be a paradox. How can we be “slaves of Christ” (Ephesians 6:6 and 1 Corinthians 7:22) when Paul said that “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
The Bible talks about slavery in several different ways. There are natural slaves, which existed in both New and Old Testament times. There are all the times when Jesus and Paul used the concept of slavery to describe the hold that sin has on us before we accept the freedom that Jesus died to give us. (John 8:34 and Romans 6:16)
The thing is, Paul also used the concept of slavery to describe our new relationship with God in several interesting ways. We were “bought with a price.” We are to use our freedom “as bondslaves of God.” We have become “slaves of righteousness.” Even Jesus, in His parables, often used slaves to symbolize us! (See Matthew 18:22-24, Matthew 21:33-37, Matthew 22:1-10, Matthew 24:42-51, Matthew 25:14-30.)
The amazing thing that God is showing me, is how realizing that I am His slave is part of the freedom that Jesus died to bring me!
Think of what it means to be a slave. A slave does not concern himself with those duties of the household that have not been entrusted to him. If his job is to act as a messenger for his master, he does not concern himself with his master’s investments, or whether the house is getting cleaned appropriately, or whether other slaves are being obedient. Or rather… if he does concern himself with them, it does him no good… he would only be taking on more worry and responsibility than he is being asked or equipped for. He has been given specific duties to fulfill, and his job is to fulfill those only.
I am no different. As a slave of God, He is asking me to always be listening for directions, always obedient, always ready to be His representative, willing to accept whatever responsibility He deems me able to fulfill, and just as willing to surrender all those concerns that He has not asked me to care for.
Sometimes He might place me in control of a large, steady cash flow and ask me to learn how to administrate it for the good of the household. Other times, like now, He is asking me to focus on other things and allow Him to take care of the finances that affect my life. And it’s the same with any other issue I may ever struggle with. Sometimes He may give me the resources to actively work in that area, while other times He may ask me to sit back and simply trust.
It’s that trusting that seems so difficult, for it is in total opposition to the world’s wisdom. Never, ever are we told to simply sit back and “let life happen” to us. We’re told to take charge of our health, our finances, our time, etc. Yet a slave is not really in control of any of those! His master is!
But here is where the hope and freedom lies. My master is not an error-prone human being. He’s not even a successful and perfect human being. My Master is the oldest, richest, most knowledgeable and perfectly successful “landowner” in existence! For, as Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains; The world, and those who dwell in it.” And He knows how to run His household!
So… if He chooses to entrust me with knowledge of the full workings and future glory of His household, so be it. But if He chooses to keep me in ignorance of everything except what He desires me to do minute by minute throughout the day, I should be just as content, just as at peace, and just as full of joy. Because whether I know His plans or not won’t change the future of His household. It will prosper, simply because of who He is!
The only thing that I can control is whether I will be a smoothly functioning (ie: obedient) part of that successful household, or whether I will force my Master to constantly discipline me, call me back when I stray, or capture me when I run away.
Lord, teach me to hear Your voice that I may obey!