The Slave Within

Pic from Flickr by Acero y Magia

Pic from Flickr by Acero y Magia

We don’t like to think about the fact that slavery still exists. We treat the word slave like it is some form of profanity. We don’t want to hear about it on the news or read about it online. We don’t want to see any more statistics. We don’t want to hear about child labor, forced prostitution or sex trafficking. Just because you try to remove yourself from the problem does not mean the problem goes away. The problem is very much real. In fact…

We are all slaves.

We were created to serve. We were created to die to our self and love our neighbor as ourselves. The problem lies when we serve ourselves. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans that you do not have to be a slave to sin because you can be a slave to righteousness.

That is all good but what does that look like?

We love the Incredible Hulk. A man becomes angry and is able to turn into the most powerful being in comic books. Cartoons, books, and movies are made about him. Why do we love the Hulk so much? Could it have something to do with we have been mislead? Think about it. The angrier the Hulk gets, the more powerful he becomes. In the context of the Hulk, anger transitions to power. The Hulk can rage and unleash his anger and there are no consequences. The Hulk is praised for smashing bad guys and doing much damage. The Hulk’s anger, when unleashed, does damage to everyone and everything around him and he is unscathed.

Or is he…..

There are lyrics to a Smashing Pumpkins song that go like this: “Despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage.”

I can not recall how it happened. I am not sure if it was learned or I became this way on my own. Sometime after high school, I started to get to a point where I did not trust people…at all. I was angry at everything. I was angry at my parents, sisters, co-workers, friends, work, customers, everything. It was not hard for anyone to push my buttons especially when I gift wrapped it and stuck it in front of them.

I would just lash out on people. I was going to show that I was right and they were wrong. I would defend my self and my views to the grave. I was going to be right and I was going to destroy the other person by verbally winning every fight. Every hill was a battle and I was going to fight to the death on every one of them. In my head, you didn’t want to get in the octagon with me.

One day, Jesus woke me up to reality.

I wasn’t winning any battles. I wasn’t winning any arguments. I was in fact wrecking relationships. In my anger, I thought I was coming out the conqueror. I thought that I was destroying the competition. I was so blinded by anger that I could not see the truth.

The only person my anger was destroying was me.

I was the rat in the cage.

I was a slave to my anger. I was held captive by it. It was how I dealt with family, work, and friends. It was how I dealt with life.

Anger is a drug. It fools you into believing you are powerful. It starts to change you. It consumes you. It does this to kill you.

Part of my problem was that I had walked away from the church. I had this mentality that I was not to serve as much as I was to be served. I still considered myself a Christian but I kept walking away from Jesus, the Bible and the church.

I thank Jesus that he allowed events in my life to wreck me and to point me back to Him. I thank Jesus that He backed up a dump truck and covered me with grace, mercy, and forgiveness. He took my anger and traded it for kindness and gentleness. He showed me that I no longer have to serve anger but I get to serve Him.

I get to serve Jesus. What a privilege!

I serve Jesus through:

  • serving the church
  • being the husband my wife needs
  • being the daddy that my boys need
  • engaging with people in my community
  • sharing the gospel
  • being the missionary that Jesus called me to be
  • making disciples

Jesus changed my heart. When I truly saw what Jesus did for me on the cross, how could I do anything less than to devote my whole being to Him?

I am now a servant to Jesus and I love serving Him.

I am still a slave. I am just a different kind of slave.

I am a slave of righteousness.

 

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:15-18 ESV