A Wonderful Servant, but a Terrible Master

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, October 7, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

You probably know someone who fits the description above. I’m talking about that manager who lets power go straight to his head, or that lawyer who walks and talks like she owns you and everything around you. In some cases, you have a chance to know these people before they experience the change that brings them to the top. I have worked at places where people are changing and upgrading their positions all the time, and I have known some who fit what I am describing. There have been those who seemed to work so well as teammates then were awful bosses. You could say this about some pastors, many politicians, and even professional athletes who become “stars." As servants, they are great. But when they become or act like masters, it’s hard to be around them or even listen to anything they say because of their arrogance. They seem to want to control EVERYTHING.

With that picture in mind, I’d like you to now view it as a metaphor for the human body. The human body is a wonderful thing when used in service to the Lord, but if you allow it to rule over you, it will lead you to guaranteed destruction. There may be no bigger culprit for the problems in this world right now. We’re basically told by the media and many others that whatever a person “feels” is acceptable. It’s not anyone’s fault or choice that they feel a certain way or even act on their feelings. We should all be able to do whatever we want and whatever feels right to us, regardless of how it affects someone else or whether it’s consistent with God’s will for our lives. That’s what so many are believing these days and we are seeing the result - new levels of depravity and people who “invent ways of doing evil” (Romans 1:30).

The Apostle Paul knew that the body could be very dangerous if not kept in check. He told the Corinthian church, “I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:27). That’s a pretty strong statement and shows just how critical this is. Paul is willing to actually beat his own body to keep it from becoming his master. Now, some of the early Christians took this to the extreme and would literally starve themselves and expose themselves to harsh weather elements in order to attempt to please God by achieving some superb level of discipline. But just think about how we have to do this anytime we want some long-term goal for ourselves. If you want to be healthy, you have to resist your cravings for what you want at times. If you want to quit smoking or break free from some other addiction, you have to deal with resisting your temptations and even your physical “need” for the substance. If you are training for a marathon or some other athletic achievement, you have to endure physical pain while you teach your body what to do. If you are unwilling to take your own body captive, you can’t get the desired results you want in life.

But there’s more to it than that. In this week’s passage of Romans 12:1-2, Paul says that our ONLY appropriate response to seeing what God has done for us (as explained throughout the rest of the letter) is to worship him by “offering our bodies as a living sacrifice." If we do this, Paul says that we will be able to know and do God’s will (verse 2). You see, too often believers are waiting for God to make things happen in their lives. They are waiting for God to almost force a change within them. God is able to do this, but most often he is giving us opportunities to CHOOSE to put aside the desires of our flesh and trust in him. Rather than conforming to a world where everyone believes they should just get and do whatever they want, we must “be transformed by the renewing of our minds” that happens through the power of the Holy Spirit (verse 2). The more we submit our bodies, which includes all the feelings and fleshly desires that come with them, the clearer God’s will becomes in our eyes.

Apart from surrendering our bodies to the Lord for his service, we simply cannot see God’s will. I mean, just think about all the ways our flesh and our feelings are incompatible with his Word. Sexual immorality is probably the first one that comes to mind for most. Whether it’s pornography, inappropriate messages between consenting individuals, or physical sexual activity, it all serves the desires of the flesh. God’s Word, on the other hand, commands us to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). If you are someone who is easily angered or who believes you are justified when you are angry, God’s Word disagrees. James says we should be “slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20). There are countless other examples. Cain killed Abel out of jealousy and a worldly desire to be accepted by God the way his brother was (Genesis 4:3-8). Pilate, King Herod, and the chief priests all opposed the Messiah that came to save them simply because they cherished the power, control, and authority that they had. King David (2 Samuel 11) and Samson (Judges 16) were both men set apart by God and given special gifts, but they were brought down, at least temporarily, by their lusts of the flesh.

As you are reading this, be thinking about which areas of your own life have been controlled by your body. Learn from the past. History reveals that those who allow their emotions and fleshly desires to drive everything they do end up destroying themselves. This doesn’t mean you can’t want things. But it does mean that we must accept that everything we want has to be under submission to God’s will. You can wake up each day and be thankful that God gave you a body that works for the most part. Instead of thinking about ways to make yourself feel good, try asking God each day to show you how you can use what he has given you to serve others and bring him glory. You won’t be seeking to fulfill your worldly desires anymore, but you’ll find more lasting fulfillment as God blesses you than you could have ever found on your own.

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