Thursday, September 15, 2011

True Freedom: Becoming a Slave

“The only way to ever find true freedom is becoming Christ’s slave.”

“Scripture doesn’t offer us a choice of freedom – only a choice of who our master is.”

The chapel speaker spoke in a gentle tone, often making fun of or downplaying himself. But his message was strong and went right to my soul. For three days earlier this month, Michael Card taught during Spiritual Emphasis Week at my school, John Brown University. His topic was slavery and how we are called to be the slaves of Christ.

In our American culture, we like our freedom and independence. We’re like the Jews of Jesus’ time – we don’t want to be told we’re slaves (John 8:31-36). But as Mr. Card pointed out, we are all in bondage to something, whether we like it or not. In our natural state as humans, we are born as slaves to our flesh and sin. The only way to become free from our human bondage is to instead submit ourselves to slavery under Christ.

Christ has given us an example of what the Christian life is to look like. He came to earth not as a king, but as a slave. He consistently demonstrated this in His time on earth. We are told to follow in His example (Phil. 2:5-11).

The apostle Paul recognized this. In his letters, he constantly uses slave language about himself and when writing about salvation. For example, Mr. Card said, the word for justification has its roots in being bought or redeemed at the slave market (if I remember right).

Submitting ourselves to slavery in Christ brings us into true freedom:

-- from Impurity

-- from the Law

-- from Fear

-- from Seeking Human Approval

--from Judging Others

--from Quarreling

“We are called to give up our choices and live in submission to our Master!” Mr. Card said.

I desire that freedom – I’m tired of trying to have my life all figured out…tired of trying to fit the mold of what people expect of me…tired of trying to be in control. But that doesn’t mean the process of submission is easy.

The hardest part about surrendering and living in submission to my Master Christ is that He doesn't stand over me like a physical slave master, with a whip in His hand to punish any disobedience or straying. Instead, the call to submission is a gentle voice:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

It’s about getting my priorities straight and fixing my eyes on the goal. It’s about choosing one vision and staying focused. It’s about submission.

After a summer of being brought back over and over to the concept of trust, it’s as though I’m being called to the next step: total surrender. I am not called to change the world. I am not called to greatness. I am called to serve, following in the footsteps of my Master, the servant of all.

Some other quotes from Mr. Card’s talks:

“All self-revelation I find in the Scripture is centered in Christ. He defines me.”

“If your calling doesn’t look like foot washing, it’s not your calling!”

“Saul was ready to kill for his religious convictions, but not ready to die for them…when the religious leader fell to the ground, he came to his senses as a slave.”

“When Jesus knew He was about to be exalted by the Father, He chose to serve His disciples. That’s not a normal human reaction!”

“After His resurrection, Jesus should have been waiting on a throne to receive the disciples’ worship and adoration. Instead, He made breakfast for them.”

Some of Michael Card’s songs:

A Better Freedom

The Basin and the Towel

God’s Own Fool