Sunday, October 6, 2013

Voluntary Slavery

Do we make ourselves into VOLUNTARY slaves to the things we desire?

Slavery is seemingly something for which we would ever volunteer. But while involuntary slavery in our world is largely a thing of the past, we continue to make ourselves willing slaves to objects and things through our actions. And when we become slaves to Things, this separates us from God, the Creator of all Things and from the one God sent to become our benevolent Master and Teacher, Jesus.

In our daily lives, we often casually make objects our master - be they our thirst for wealth, sexual gratification, money, even food, and we make ourselves willing slaves to them and for the acquisition of them, and our Actions turn us from the path our true Master Jesus taught us we should be following.

Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin." (John 8:34) And he left us with many teachings that lead us to reject slavery and become free.

Jesus taught that we must not become slaves to our lust, and even if we THINK of another person with lust in our hearts, it's as bad as the act of adultery. (Matt. 5:29) Lust goes beyond mere attraction, which, when restrained and tempered, is a natural step in the process of falling in love. But Jesus wisely spoke to the beginning and source of our desire - our hearts - so that we might temper and train our desires and put them into their proper place, so that they do not make us their slave.

We make ourselves slaves to our possessions - our THINGS, be they clothing or cars or even our homes - when we put them before God. When we FIRST seek things that rust and can be eaten by moths, we put them above the things of God, which cannot rust or fade. (Matt. 6:19-20)

We become slaves to money and the acquisition of wealth when we allow money to become our slave master above all other things. Jesus taught that one cannot serve both God and money. (Matt. 6:24) While we are allowed to work, and to receive payment for our labor (and as Jesus instructs, to pay our taxes on the money we have earned (Luke 20:25) allowing the quest for wealth to become our God makes it our master, and Jesus taught repeatedly and clearly that wealth blinds men and makes it very hard for them to be with God in the life to come. (Matt. 19:23)

Are we even slaves to our food? While we must eat to live and survive, when we eat beyond what we need for energy, we make food into an object to crave and acquire. Jesus taught that what goes into us doesn't matter as much as what comes out of our mouths, but if our hearts are set on acquiring and devouring food, we make it an ungodly object, rather than a source of nutrients. (Mark 7:19-20)

Jesus calls us to repent and stop making objects our master, to change our behavior, to amend our hearts. While sin may seem like a tiger crouching at the door to leap onto us, we have a choice, and we possess the ability to master it, and must do so, rather than becoming its victim. (Gen. 4:7)

Rejecting slavery to sinful desires leads us to freedom, indeed, and to a throwing off of the shackles of slavery we build for ourselves by our own sinful actions. This we can do only because we know Jesus has first achieved it. Without his fully human example, we may be led to believe that we have no power within us to act, and no responsibility to ourselves repent and change our behavior.

The teachings and perfect life example of Jesus, our Master, is the Good and Beneficial message to the world we must proclaim with our mouths but also with our deeds.

This wonderful message is this: Repent, stop sinning and do not become a voluntary slave to mere Things, but instead, act righteously according to our Master Jesus, and do not turn back, relying on his example and the ongoing encouragement of God's Grace. THEN, we become fit to be called citizens in the Kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)

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