Have you ever noticed how Paul introduces himself in his New Testament letters? In the vast majority of his letters, he refers to himself as "an apostle" (A sent one) of Jesus (1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 1 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1). But "apostle" wasn't the only title he used to introduce himself. In his letter to Philemon, Paul refers to himself as "a prisoner of Christ" (Philem. 1:1), and in his letters to the Romans, the Philippians, and to Titus, he calls himself "a servant of Christ" (Rom. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Tit. 1:1).
It's this last example that we want to zero in on this week. Many of our modern English translations render this as "servant" or "bondservant," but in the original language, the word Paul uses is literally "slave". It's not that "servant" or "bondservant" are bad translations into our English, but they definitely miss the essence of what Paul was trying to communicate.
A servant, for one, was someone who was hired (Someone who offered their services for pay). A bondservant was someone who sold himself into slavery (If the individual had a financial need to do so). A slave, however, was purchased and owned, and this is exactly what Jesus has done for us. Think about it this way: we have neither hired ourselves out to Jesus nor have we sold ourselves to our Redeemer. No, he purchased us with his own blood, and that means we belong to him. A redeemed person is not only a person saved by grace; a redeemed person is a slave of Jesus (The good news here is that Jesus is a very good Master).
If we think of ourselves as servants of Jesus, our focus will be on service. And this is not bad, primarily because service to Jesus is good. But if we see ourselves as slaves of Christ, then our focus will go further than service, it will elevate to obedience and total surrender, which is what following Jesus is all about.
This week, go beyond serving Jesus in your day-to-day living. Ask yourself, "What would it look like if I fully surrendered to Christ?" Then, go and live that out.
Scripture for Meditation
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it." (Mark 8:34-35)
Dear God, thank you for your grace in rescuing and redeeming me. Please help me to live in total surrender to you in all areas of my life. Amen.