“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as You would Christ, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man.” “Slaves, obey in everything…with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Ephesians 6:5-7; Colossians 3:22-24
We chafe at the thought of being a servant, and at the command to obey; many cultures promote independence, self-promotion and -sufficiency, achievement. In the west, start-up companies appear like spring flowers, entrepreneurialism is taught as a college major. Individuals get around obedience by being offended, and assert their right to do things their way because all ways are equally valid (and mine is right). But God has included the command to obey all through Scripture, for our good, and here gives a key to how we do so.
If we learn to see ourselves as His servants, created to live for Him, to come under His lead as our Master and to spend our lives in gratitude giving to Him and others for His sake, our obedience takes on a beautiful dimension of love to Christ and passion to bring Him honor. If I begin each day by reverently fearing Him who called me out of slavery to sin unto slavery to righteousness, my heart fills with wonder and gratitude for my new position and the opportunity to serve Him Who gave everything for me. Sincerity and gladness follow as I obey, and my work takes on a robustness, a heartiness that springs from God’s power working in and through me. It is He Who equips me with everything good that I may do His will, He Who works in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ and for His glory. How can we, in proper fear and thankfulness for Him, not submit and obey? (Romans 6:16-18; Hebrews 13:21)
Lord Adonai, my Master, You have declared me, from birth, your servant in whom You will be glorified, and my right is with You. Remind me daily of my purpose and my position, and make me desire to do Your will because Your law is in my heart and You have captured its affection. Bring delight to obey Your good ways, and those people You have set over me, that the world may see the beauties of living for You and not themselves. (Psalm 40:8; Isaiah 49:3-5)