We cannot call Jesus Lord and say there is anywhere we will not go, anything we will not do, anything you will not be. Servanthood means obedience, and obedience means saying yes. It means saying yes to “anything, anytime, anywhere.” We can only make that radical surrender if we really do believe He is our loving Heavenly Father and wants the best for us, even more than we want for our children.
So we say "Yes, Lord". But then He asks us to something we consider strange or unusual and "Yes Lord" becomes "But Lord." But Lord, what about my ministry? But Lord, what about my reputation? But Lord, what about my family?
Yet we cannot do both. We can either call Him Lord, or we can be concerned about the consequences of obedience to His Word. The questions eliminate His Lordship. His Lordship eliminates the questions.
Sons . . . and Slaves
We are sons and daughters of a loving God. He is our Abba Father. But as much as we are sons and daughters and He is our Father, we are also servants/slaves who owe obedience to our Lord and Master.
I have been born, but I have also been bought, redeemed. I am not my own, I have been purchased with a very high price and I have a divine destiny. Not once did any New Testament Apostle ever introduce himself as “a son of God.” Time and time again Paul said he was a bondservant of Jesus Christ, a slave, wholly owned by the one who shed His blood as the purchase price for our redemption.
Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, Titus 1:1 NASB
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, Romans 1:1 NASB
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 NASB
Peter and James said the same.
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:1 NASB
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, James 1:1 NASB
A Bondslave is a slave by choice. If an Old Testament Jewish man became a slave to another seven years later at the time of his release he could choose to remain a slave for life, out of love for his master. His master brought him to the door or doorpost and bore a hole though his ear. Our ears are pierced because we choose to be bond-slaves who hear and obey. We neither come nor go at our own volition. Exodus 21:5-6
When persecuted the apostles prayed as bond-slaves totally surrendering their lives and wills to God.
And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:29-31 NASB
Note that they did not pray “and now Daddy God”, or even “Loving Heavenly Father.” No, they called Him Lord, indicating He was their lord and master; they were His Bond-slaves!
We do not serve out of fear. Love binds us to our Master as slaves for life.
As slaves our motivation is not our own Kingdom but His, our own Pleasure but Christ’s. We do not to act out of ego but obedience.
His Pleasure is Our Delight
As bond-slaves no matter what our ministry, and how satisfying, or how joyous, our ultimate enjoyment comes not from what we have done, but from His pleasure at what we have done. This removes the evils of ego, and ambition, and competition. If it pleases Him for me to preach to a thousand, His pleasure at my doing so delights my heart. If it pleases Him for me to preach to ten, His pleasure at my doing so delights my heart. If it pleases Him for me to lay it all down, become a hermit and never preach again, His pleasure at my doing so is what delights my heart. And my obedience delights His heart more than any of my accomplishments.
The beauty of this is that not only am I aware of His pleasure, I experience it as my own. I experience a greater sense of the Joy of the Lord through obedience to His desire than I ever could through catering to my own interests.
When a child participates in a school concert he may be having fun but all the while he performs his eyes are scanning the audience looking to see joy reflected in the eyes of his parents. Their pleasure becomes his delight. So too His pleasure becomes ours. No matter what little part we do, His pleasure in our doing is our delight! When we do all things to please Him no longer is our delight limited by our actions and emotions and accomplishments. We enter an experience of His eternal joy. Surrendering the less we receive the more. Hallelujah.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1 NKJV
So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” Luke 17:10 NASB
Some might say, "How radical!" Not so. This is merely the norm, the expected. It only feels radical because our culture is so highly geared toward the poverty of individualism; individual fulfillment, individual destiny, individual advancement, individual pleasure.
When we make an act of simple surrender it just may surprise us exactly what the Lord will ask us to do. For those who enter into an act of ordinary surrender He loves to get them to do extra-ordinary things.
The God of the Unexpected
God sometimes does strange things. He sent an angel to a young virgin named Mary. Imagine having an angel appear in your room. Imagine hearing the news. “The Holy Spirit is going to impregnate you.” Massive social consequences! Mary could have said, “What will my family think? What about my reputation? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?” But listen to her response.
Behold, the bond-slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word. Luke 1:38 NASB
Mary, the ultimate Contemplative, became the mother of our Lord because as His bond-slave she surrendered to the unusual, unexpected, totally peculiar, absolutely absurd, “you gotta be kidding!” will of God.
Jesus did His first miracle because Mary, who said "May it be done to me according to your word" spoke to the servers at the wedding feast and said “Do what He tells you.” John 2:5 NLT Jesus spoke, they obeyed, and water became wine.
Because I want to enjoy more and more of the new wine I decided I will listen to what He says, no matter how strange, unusual, inexplicable, or ridiculous, and by His Grace I will say, “Yes Lord, may it be done to me according to Your word. I will do what You tell me."
Dead Man Walking
Doing what He tells us requires embracing death. It requires a death to self.
And He was saying to them all,
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. Luke 9:23-24 NASB
When a condemned man walks from his jail cell to the execution chamber he is said to be a “Dead Man Walking.” Any man carrying a cross was doing so, not on the road to self-actualization, but on the way to his execution. Jesus was saying we are to live as “Dead Men Walking” - dead to self, to our own plans, to our own way of doing things, alive only in Him.
Whether you call it being a “Bondslave” or “Dead Man Walking”, this Christian life is not for self promoting, pleasure pursuing, and softness seeking, ego-tripping . . . wimps. It is time to man up and live a life of simple surrender to our radical Lord.
You Want Me to do WHAT?
So we say "Yes Lord, whatever you want." Then God speaks. Sometimes we are shocked. Then inevitably . . . uninvited . . . the questions come.
Lord, you want me to do WHAT? God, no one will understand. What will my family think? What about my reputation? What about my ministry?”
You cannot call me Lord and say there is anywhere you will not go, anything you will not do, anything you will not be.
Anything. Anytime. Anywhere. We must obey God and leave the consequences to Him.