“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10 NKJV).
Perpetual slavery of Hebrew men and women was prohibited by the Mosaic Law. A Hebrew man or woman can only be a slave for six years. In the seventh year, his master must let him go away free, but not empty-handed.
The Scripture clearly states in Deuteronomy 15:
13 “And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed;
14 “you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the LORD has blessed you with, you shall give to him. (NKJV).
However, if the servant chooses not to leave his master because he loves him and his house, then his master would bring him to the judges in the land so that he could publicly signify his intention. Afterwards, his master would take an awl and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he would be his servant forever – a bondservant (Exo. 21:1-6, Deut. 15:12-17).
A bondservant is a servant who freely, voluntarily, and consciously renounces his claim and right to freedom, but rather chooses to remain perpetually under the yoke and authority of his master.
Though he is free to go his own ways, to pursue his own ambitions, dreams and goals, and to live to please himself, yet a bondservant chooses to go his master’s ways, to pursue his master’s vision, and to live only to please his master.
Love is the primary thrust and motivation of a bondservant’s total sacrifice or surrender to his master.
The Scripture states: “And if it happens that he says to you, ‘I will not go away from you,’ because he loves you and your house…” (Deut. 15:16 NKJV).
Without an unfeigned love for his master and his house, a servant cannot give up his right under the law to walk away free and with many gifts, and rather choose to remain under perpetual submission to his master.
How many people today would prefer to remain under someone’s authority when they could just walk away free to do as they like?
The Scripture reveals to us that the early apostles and disciples of Christ were people with a bondservant’s mentality. As a matter of fact, they proudly introduced themselves to people as “bondservants of Jesus Christ.”
The Scripture presents:
“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” (Philip. 1:1 NKJV).
“James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Jam. 1:1 NKJV).
“Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ…” (2 Pet. 1:1 NKJV).
“Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ…” (Jude 1:1 NKJV).
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ…” (Col. 4:12 NKJV).
True to their confessions, they lived and served Christ as His bondservants. They left all things to follow Christ and cleave to Him. They considered all things as rubbish, refuse, or loss so that they might gain and please Christ.
Paul said, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philip. 3:8 NKJV).
The primary thrust and motivation of the early disciples’ unreserved sacrifice, surrender and devotion to Christ was unfeigned love for Christ and the household of faith.
Paul writes to the brethren at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 5:
13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you.
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (NKJV).
In the face of threat, persecution and death, the early disciples of Christ lived and stood for Christ, boldly preaching the word of God.
They boldly states in Romans 8:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (NKJV).
Like the early followers of Christ, you are supposed not just to be a mere servant but a bondservant of Christ. Choosing to be a bondservant of Christ implies willingness and determination to renounce, disown, deny, ignore or forget yourself and your selfish ambitions, dreams and desires so that you may follow and serve the Lord Jesus.
You cannot be a bondservant of Christ if you still want to be in firm control of your life. You need to give up your claim over your life and the things you possess. Similarly, you cannot be a bondservant of Christ if you are still seeking to please men.
Paul said, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10 NKJV).
In order for our Lord Jesus Christ to come into the world to save us from our sins and reconcile us to God, He had to give up His rights and privileges as God the Creator, and took upon Himself the form of a bondservant.
The Scripture states in Philippians 2:
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (NKJV).
Friend, if our Lord Jesus Christ had to become a bondservant in order to fulfil His mission in the world, how dare you think you can follow the Lord Jesus and fulfil the mission He has given you without being a bondservant – laying aside your rights and privileges to serve God and His people in love and humility.
Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23 NKJV).
By right, as a believer, you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ who bought you with His precious blood.
The Scripture queries, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20 NKJV).
As a believer, you no longer belong to yourself. Therefore, you are not supposed to be living to yourself, but to the Lord Jesus.
The Scripture states: “For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Rom. 14:7-8 NKJV).
Although you legally belong to the Lord Jesus who bought you with His precious blood, however, the Lord will never manipulate, force or coax you into obeying and serving Him. Your obedience, devotion, or service to the Lord must be motivated by pure love for the Lord and gratitude to Him for His great love and goodness toward you.
Beloved, it is your personal responsibility to present yourself to the Lord as His bondservant.
Why not become a bondservant of Christ today?
Paul admonishes, “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.” (Rom. 12:1 NKJV).
“And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Rom. 6:13 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I present myself to You today as a bondservant of Christ. Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to live not to myself but to Christ who bought me with His precious blood, in Jesus’ name. Amen.