I have had an interesting thought in the back of my head for some time and it came to a crescendo this evening during and after a conversation with my accountability team.
What does it mean to be a slave of God?
In modern western culture most of us, (and thank God) have no concept of slavery. We are a culture based on individual freedom and self-determination. We have no apparent master and no king. Even in the United Kingdom, their queen does not rule, she oversees a state that is run by an elected Government.
The Bible talks about slavery. It doesn’t promote slavery as some would claim, but it does assume that its readers are familiar with slavery. When the New Testament was written some say as many as 10% of the population of the Roman Empire were slaves.
Under Roman law of the time, if you reside in a house for more than a year at once then you become the property of the owner of the house. Women would often take a special three-day long vacation every year to prevent this law from taking effect on them.
While the Bible doesn’t promote slavery between humans, it does tell us that all of us are slaves. A person is either a slave of sin or of righteousness:
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.— Romans 6:16-23 KJV (emphasis added)
The words that I have bolded in the quite are all the greek word doulos (δοῦλος) or its derivatives, meaning a person who is not free, a bondservant or slave.
So that leaves me back to what it means to be a slave of God.
If I envision what it would be like for a person to be my slave (I wouldn’t have one obviously, this is just a thought exercise that I will turn around below), That person would need to be dedicated, vigilant, putting their own desires after mine, ever thoughtful about what I would want of them.
So, what does my Lord want of me? I am to be dedicated, vigilant, putting my own desires after His, ever thoughtful about what He would want of me.
So, what does that look like every day? Honestly, I don’t know. This is a new more personal understanding of these ideas and I haven’t lived them out more than a few hours yet.