Independently Dependent

Published on Jul 2nd, 2014 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Independently Dependent

Independently Dependent

This Friday our country will be celebrating it’s independence from England.  Brave men and women have fought to keep us independent and free.  I love my freedom.  I have been thinking about it a lot this week.  I thought about it when I was meeting with a friend studying the Bible.  I thought about it as we freely and loudly worshiped together this past Sunday.  I thought about it as I put up banners advertising Pastor Hlad’s Bible Lab.  We are truly blessed to be able to worship freely and in many ways, publicly.

One of the problems that we face as a nation today is that we have never lived in a time when we were not free.  We do not know what it means to live under the rule of someone else.  Maybe that is why so many of us seem so eager to give away our independence by becoming dependent on the government?  As Christians though, we do remember what it was like to be in bondage.  Before Jesus gave us our freedom we were in the bondage to sin.  It was a life that was headed for destruction and an eternity in hell and Jesus came and rescued us from that bondage.  His truth set us free.

Now we have a real choice.  Do we choose to live our lives independently or do we choose to live our independent lives dependent on the one who set us free?  Paul says in Romans 1:1 that he chose to live a life of independent dependence.  He chose to be a bond servant of Jesus Christ.  A bond servant was someone who was contractually or covenantally bonded to serve someone.  Often this servant was able to declare his freedom but he thought it better for his life to permanently serve this one master.  To “seal this deal” the servant would volunteer to get his ear pierced to demonstrate his desire to serve this one master the rest of his life.  The idea was that he had an open ear to hear whatever his master requested of him.  (This should cause us to giggle when we hear our sons ask to get their ears pierced to show their independence.)  There were certain benefits for the servant.  He had a permanent home.  He was often treated well and at times, as part of the family.  He had food and clothing and was able to provide for his family.  But he also needed to live his life for the good of the master.  He did not truly set his own schedule or make his own goals.  He worked hard to prosper the master and the master’s agenda.

The beautiful part of our relationship to God is that he has adopted us into his family.  He has made us joint heirs with Jesus.  Jesus calls us friends.  God the Father tells us to call him Dad.  Even knowing all of that, Paul still sees a part of his relationship to God as master/servant.  He saw his ministry as an obligation (Rom 1:14) to others and to the Lord.  He saw himself as a bond servant of Jesus.  This was not the sole motivation for his ministry but it was a huge motivational factor.

Often, a child of someone who is rich and who sees themselves as entitled will act like an entitled individual.  They will demand that others serve them.  They will worry primarily about their needs and will ignore the needs of others.  They will be impatient with others.  They will believe that their problems or their circumstances should take central focus in everyone’s life.  They will act like the spoiled child they are.   Paul knew he was a child of God but he chose to minister like a bond servant of Jesus.  Yes, Jesus set him free but Paul used that freedom to live dependently on Jesus and to serve him and to serve others.  Are you acting like Paul or like a spoiled child?

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