Poem: My Life as a Slave
I am always afraid,
Always looking over my shoulder.
My master hates me.
Tormenting me at his whim.
I sometimes wonder
Who he will hurt next.
I hope it's not me.
I'm so sick of it being me.
I try to escape, try to hide.
He always knows how to find me.
I dream of freedom.
Freedom is Elusive.
Or perhaps Illusion.
At every turn it evades.
I have no hope.
My master imprisons me.
He steals from me at every turn.
He would have me destitute,
Alone, shackled to a nightmare.
He robs me of life. He leaves me with regret.
My master is Sin, and my master hates me.
I hate Him, almost as much as I hate myself.
But payment is being made.
Another master beckons me.
I am free to follow,
Free to obey, free to be his slave.
Free to leave one master
And be shackled by another...
True freedom: pure illusion.
There is no escape.
I will always have a master.
The tears come once again...
He has paid for me now and I hear him
Simply ask gently that I follow Him home.
I am bought and purchased, yet still He asks!
He says he will lead me.
Direct me, guide me. Help me, find me.
Protect me, restore me.
Love me! Like a child-- Adopted into his family
And treated like I deserve to be there!
An impossible kindness For an unlikely beneficiary.
Freedom is Illusion.
But love? Perhaps that is real.
I hope it is real. I want it to be real.
I just know that I am willing to chance it.
And so I humbly agree to
A transfer of ownership.
When he calls, I will follow.
When he asks, I will obey.
I will belong to him.
He will be both my master and my father,
And I will be both his son
And his slave.
A Note From Mike
For some of us it's counterintuitive to think of Christianity as something akin to slavery. For others of us (mostly those outside the church), it makes perfect sense. And yet within the church, we use words like "purchased", "servant", "bought", "payment"... but we don't necessarily go so far as to use the "s" word. Culturally, this makes sense because of the negativity associated with that word in the United States. Slavery is a horrific part of the American historical landscape, and it's still something that haunts us today when we see the remnants of racism and bigotry in those around us. And yet we are all slaves from a Biblical point of view.
"We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin... Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living." (Romans 6:6-7, 16-18)
Sin is not our friend, no matter how much we may be attached to it. Don't we all just want to do what we want to do? We don't want anyone telling us no, or "don't do that." Some of us even have trouble following instructions when they come from employers, the police department, the IRS... And how does that work out for us? It's so easy to see when we're breaking the law. When we drive too fast consistently, a policeman comes to let us know we'll be giving them money soon. There's a clear consequence for our actions. Why don't we see this with the rest of life?
For example, those of us living under a mountain of debt right now understand that there are consequences for buying what we want with no safeguards. We purchase things with the credit card only thinking about the thing we're buying. How many of us really consider the consequences of the purchase (or the last 23 puchases) before swiping the card? Eventually you feel completely trapped to the point that you literally find it hard to breathe. You can't buy anything you want because all of your money is going to pay interest on things you don't even have anymore. Imagine how much you're overpaying for that refrigerator as the interest piles up. It's frightening. That is the consequence of sin (in this case, greed).
Sin is a terrible master. It destroys relationships, fractures families, and annihilates reputations. It imprisons us (literally or figuratively). It makes a mess of our lives in one way or another. Eventually the freedom we spent so much time pursuing turns out to be a mirage and we find ourselves feeling like the slaves we are. All the while, your Heavenly Father stands knocking because he loves you and wants something better for you. He not only wants you to feel free but he wants you to literally be free--free from the anxiety, fear, and suffering that sin so graciously provides. As a Christian, I am His servant--His slave. I was purchased by His death on the cross, according to Paul. But I have never considered that a detriment, mostly because I remember the life I had with my former master. There is no comparison whatsoever. My life is infinitely better with Christ than without. That I can promise you.
Thanks for stopping by!