How you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. – 1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10
We love to consider the truth of God’s role as our Daddy or Friend. These are sweet comforting roles that He plays. However, our pride and even misrepresentations of human authority can cause us to cringe at the idea of God as the Lord, Master, or Ruler of our lives. However, as humans, we are completely dependent on God for everything. He alone is the source of life, wisdom, light, love, power…and it is through Him that we are able to do anything. Also, as we will see further below, God has purchased us from slavery to sin.
There is a reason that humans should never exercise total control over another human or treat other humans as possessions. We are all created equal and in God’s image. We were created to serve Him, not to be served. He alone should have that place of ultimate authority and rule. But, since the garden, we have gotten it wrong when it comes to positions of authority. Instead of ruling together in separate but equal roles as God created, sin’s curse created the desire to selfishly control one another within the hearts of men and women. Power and authority are often wielded as weapons for self-serving purposes. (Remember the contrast of earthly versus heavenly wisdom found in James 3 and the cause of conflict in James 4?)
God is such a vastly different model of authority and rule. First of all, He is the only one who deserves this title of Master. He created us in His own image and for the purpose of ruling and caring for the earth together in fellowship and cooperation. Instead of trusting this good Creator, mankind rebelled against Him. We are all born enslaved to own sinful desires. God sacrificed Himself in order to redeem us from sin’s power and penalty. He bought us back with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. We have been freed from a demanding, unyielding, and death-giving slave owner, and purchased by a gracious, loving, Lord.
Secondly, the way in which our God rules and exercises authority is vastly different than most human examples. Jesus’ own disciples were constantly arguing about who was the best or should be in charge. Jesus had to, in turn, constantly remind them through words and His own example what true humility and servanthood looks like. Of course, before the resurrection, they couldn’t understand that even His arrival as a human was an incredible act of humility and gracious service.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:3-11
It is a sweet privilege to serve our good Master. Serving Him brings joy, and when we serve others out of love and humility, it gives an accurate picture of God to a world enslaved to sin. Have you stopped to consider the insurmountable debt you owe to God? We don’t obey God out of duty or debt that we could never hope to repay. We serve Him out of love because of the great love He has poured out over us. It is such an honor to serve the One who purchased your freedom with His life. What benefits do you receive by serving your gracious Master and Lord?
What is most astounding to me is the promise from our great Master to serve us within His paradise one day! What an incredible gift of kindness and goodness! (Luke 12:37)
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THANKSGIVING: Thank God for the sweet privilege to serve Him.
CONFESSION: Ask God to reveal any lack of submission to His ownership of your life. Ask God’s Spirit to remind you of His position and to help you serve Him with a heart of thanksgiving.
FURTHER STUDY: Take some time to breathe in the truth of God’s Word concerning His role as Master in your life. Respond to Him in prayer about what His Spirit reveals.
Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 6:11-23; Luke 17:7-10; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; John 13; Galatians 5:13
Find Scripture memory printables, artwork, gifts, and more at Etsy.com/shopbreathinggrace. We have just recently added Spanish resources for Advent, and hope to translate more of our resources soon.
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