John 8:33-35 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. NIV
Well, have you been able to wrap your mind around the idea that you belong to God? Keep working on it – it’s an important concept. Especially when you realize that He doesn’t have to treat us the way He does. He’d have every right to treat us as slaves, or even just wipe us off the face of the earth if He chose to. Instead, He treats us as His children, beloved and cared for.
Romans 6:16 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? NIV
In other words, we don’t have the choice of whether or not to be slaves – we will be enslaved to something or someone. However, what slave has ever been given the right to choose HIs master?! God gives us that choice. Who else in history has done that?
The Bible is filled with stories of slavery. In some cases the slaves were very badly mistreated, but there were others in which the slaves were not. In fact, given the opportunity to be set free, they chose to stay in slavery!
Example – Deuteronomy 15:16 But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, 17 then take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your female servant. NIV
Slavery has existed throughout human history, and is still rampant today, although the victims, the perpetrators and the locations may change. I think it’s safe to say that most people find the concept revolting at best. We Americans especially hate the idea because of our own dark history in that area.
But practically speaking, every one of us, if we look at ourselves honestly, could identify to whom or what we are enslaved. It may be a god of addiction (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, even video games or food). It might be a need for relationships, or a certain person. It may even be an ideology or philosophy. It may be ourselves. It can be anything that consumes so much of your life that it takes precedent over other essential parts of life. Maybe you work so much you never see your family. You’ll spend $9 a pack on cigarettes when you can’t pay the electric bill, and so on. If you’re brave enough, keep track of your spending and your time for a month. Whatever you are spending the most time & money on, to the point that it’s causing harm to you and/or others – is your master. And you are its slave.
When you pray today, let Jesus help you see where you are enslaved, and ask Him to redeem you – again. He will, because He loves you as His own child – and only if you choose Him as your Master.