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Are You OK With Being a Slave?

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16 NIV)

I feel like my time is not my own because of school. I feel obligated to family functions and Skype dates with people I love. I’m “slaving away” at all these things, choosing to do them because I gave my word, it’s the right thing to do, or it’s what I’ve prayed for all these years.

My Bible study’s been going through Romans, and last week was the first time in a month I’ve been able to attend. I tell you this in the spirit of transparency, and to show that I’ve been struggling with the idea of feeling like a “slave.” This week’s Bible study focused on Romans 6, where Paul uses the “everyday” context of slavery to explain how we cannot serve two masters—either we serve sin, or we choose to serve Him who is righteous. Because of the grace given us, logically, why go back to a life of sin?

The verse above hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s really convicting. I sat there thinking, “Am I OK thinking of myself as a slave?” We always talk about how it’s so great to have freedom, and we are no longer slaves to fear (as the worship song goes) or to this or that. We actually have a choice to be slaves to He who deserves to be our master most. Do we ever think, “Yes, I’ll be a slave to God”?

In all honesty, I hate feeling like I’m a slave. Even the word reminds us of such deep hurts in our American psyche. Saying you are a slave is never a good thing, right? I don’t want to be a slave to the temptations in my life that seem to never quit. I know that Paul wasn’t thinking that we would literally call ourselves slaves. But he decided to use this example because it’s so extreme.

A slave’s freedom is tied to his master. I think this is the difference between feeling like a slave to an undeserving versus a deserving master. Serving God doesn’t necessarily tire your soul. Serving can be physically tiring, but there’s a filling up and a cleansing that I can’t explain. It’s not depleting. Because of grace, being a slave to God reconciles our soul. We are made whole.

Miel can be reached by email here.

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