What the heck is a bond-servant? Paul writes that he is "a bond-servant" of Christ. Is that a metaphor?
I am thinking not.
bond-servant: one bound to service without wages; a slave
I think that the Lord really expects us to train to be bond-servants to His will, and with role-models like Paul to look up to, I gotta say, I wanna be a model servant too! Paul, he was faithful to the Lord, he was obedient to the call to travel, he was unapologetic about the gospel he preached. Therefore he saw power and authority in his ministry.
I want that!
Just being real here. I really want power and authority in the ministry the Lord has called me to.
So how do I get that. I learn to be a really good servant. I learn how to hear the Lord's voice, how to say yes to Him, and no to my flesh. I learn to rebound from my failures, and get back to work without a lot of drama and delay and self-pity. I learn to do all of this with joy and peace and love in my heart.
Ugh. Sometimes that feels so impossible, but we are told that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us. I don't know about you, but I need a lot of strengthening in this area.
Thankfully, the Lord is faithful to complete the work that He has started in me, says so right here:
"Now may the God of peace, Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who has called you is faithful, and He will complete the work." - 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
So how am I learning to be sanctified completely?.......by learning to become a servant in all things.
How am I learning to do that?
Well, I am in God's accelerated program called....parenthood. For realz!
If you ever want to hold a mirror up to your own heart to find out where all the filth and selfishness and ugliness is still hiding, then just sign up to take care of toddlers for.........oh, lets say a month at least. Even after only a month you will be astonished and appalled at what you find in your own heart.
I was, when I first became a parent.
It wasn't an immediate thing, though, it took at least a month of sleep deprivation, poor hygiene, and being on demand night and day that brought me to the realization that I had a long way to go in the area of sanctification.
Now I've been at it for almost five years. In that time the Lord has moved me up in the program of 'self death' if you will, by granting me two more children. Three total. Even when my spouse is with me, we are still outnumbered.
Talk about self-sacrifice. These kids don't even know how to sincerely thank me yet for all I do. They don't pay me, they don't pull their own weight, they definitely don't serve me in return, they don't flatter my work, in fact they destroy it almost as soon as I finish it (examples: clean house, laundry, & dinner). To top it all off, they have intense seasons of sleeplessness, which in turn requires me to be sleepless too, but then I am still required to work all day.........serving them some more. Wanna hear your flesh cry out in rage, let it be sleepless for a few days in a row and then ask it to be gracious when some little person asks the same question a dozen times in the same day.
Anyone who is a mom knows what I am talking about. If they weren't so amazingly cute it might not seem worth it. If they didn't occasionally tell me how much they loved me it might not seem worth it.
Yet the Lord says it IS worth it. I am serving them. I am loving them with my service. I am giving of myself for a cause that is greater than myself. No matter who else sees the work I do, the Lord sees it all, and there is a reward for being faithful to what He has called me to. I am making disciples. These little people in my care are going to be great in the Lord some day if I just stick to it and be diligent.
We are called to make disciples, right? So this mom thing is a calling, but I have to be obedient to what the Lord is telling me. How He is telling me to accomplish this calling. Well, He has asked me (as a Christian, not just a mom) to be a servant of all. He even takes it a step further. He asks me to go the lowest, to serve even the ungrateful, and to do it from a heart of love and joy.
So lets be clear, though: Obedience is not a feeling.
Therefore, being a servant should not be based on feeling either.
I don't know about you, but most days I don't feel like being a servant. I don't feel like getting up and doing the same thing again. I don't feel like doing it with a smile on my face. Plenty of the time I don't feel joy in my heart when I am doing it.
Obedience for me right now looks like me doing the work, and doing it with as little grumbling as possible. Lack of grumbling for me is the equivalent of moving toward having joy.
Sure, some days I feel great. My kids are doing well, I've had good sleep and I had a great time in worship in the morning, so the day feels brighter, and I can see that I am accomplishing big things in the Spiritual, if not the natural.
But I say again. Obedience is not a feeling. Love is not a feeling either, it is an action and a Person! The feelings pass away again.
So stop worrying about how you feel. Do what you know to do and your 'feelings' will catch up. This is me preaching to myself. This is what I have been learning. How to lay aside my feelings, how to serve when I am exhausted, how to serve with love even when it is someone I don't like.
It's hard and I don't always make it look good, but I know it is worth it. Both in motherhood and life, it is always going to be worth it to choose obedience to the Lord over what our flesh wants to do.
Plenty of the time my flesh wants to watch a movie, or my flesh wants to eat a chocolate bar.....instead of getting up and fixing dinner for my family. Plenty of the time my flesh wants to leave all my husband's dirty socks in a pile for him to do himself, instead of having to go through them and turn them right side out before washing. Plenty of the time my flesh wants to throw my children's toys away rather than have to trip over them one more time.
Thankfully I try not to listen to my flesh, but to the Holy Spirit, who is working a good work inside of me that will reap for me an eternal weight in glory!
Amen for Holy Spirit, who teaches me how to be a better servant to all. Amen and amen.