On December 6, 1865 the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified abolishing slavery. In it are these words, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Fought for by President Abraham Lincoln, this landmark decision set in motion an assurance of freedom for all people within the United States of America.
Today we still believe in the principles of this amendment with every fiber of our being. Gone are the days of debate on the Senate and Congressional floors to the validity of this truth. To say otherwise would be considered madness.
However, in the United States the vial act of slavery still exists in a modern form. Sex trafficking and human sex slavery has begun to poison our society. Perhaps more accurately depicted, it has surfaced like a perverted submarine and we are now unable to ignore it. Human trafficking is an enormous global business, but just in the United States alone it generates $9.5 billion annually. Millions of women and children are held against their will in terrible conditions and forced to do unthinkable acts as slaves to their violent pimps. We may not want to think about it but slavery still exists and you can help by supporting organizations like Transitions Global and being their voices when it seems they have none.
Yet as our fight against modern slavery persists there is a deeply rooted voluntary slavery within us all that will never die. We instantly ascribe slavery to an involuntary state of bondage, but there is a version of slavery that each of us chooses every second of every day.
Paul spells out this type of voluntary slavery very clearly in Romans 6.
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:15-18
“Slave” in the Greek is the word douleuō which, when used as a positive metaphor, means “to yield to, or give one’s self up to.” This is a rich reality we all live in. Although all of us want to believe we aren’t slaves to anything and are free to do what we want when want, we all voluntarily give ourselves up to something every day.
Each of us chooses a version of slavery every day.
Choosing to be a slave to sin makes it our master and, as a result, we suffer through the effects of that decision. Sin will pimp us out and make us justify, lie, and empty ourselves of everything good we know to maintain the sinful spiritual high. Crashing down off these highs leaves us lower than we ever have felt before. Depression, embarrassment, and frustration meet us at the bottom of a pit as we realize our sinful master has no desire to love or help, but only to kill the very essence of life within us.
We do have the freedom to choose another master though.
When we give ourselves up to Christ and become a slave to righteousness an amazing thing happens. The deeper we submit and yield to Christ the greater our freedom becomes. Choosing to become a slave to the life Christ desires for us through His grace creates an eternal lifting of our spirit and gives us a new heart beating for something new. Our heart no longer races for the next sinful high, but it finds contentment in the peaceful Shalom of God. It’s as if our spiritual taste buds change and our spirit craves all the righteous and is repulsed by the junk food of sin.
It is 100% our choice what we are enslaved to. With every breath we take we can choose righteousness that brings life or sin that rots our soul. But don’t believe for a second that just because you are a slave to sin now that God can’t break you free. The grace of Christ is available to everyone regardless of where they currently are to take them to where they belong.
Just think about it this for a second.
If we had the same feeling in our gut about sin as we did sex trafficking of a 12-year-old girls how different would our lives look? If we reacted as aggressively to our sin as we would knowing someone was locked in an apartment and forced to do unthinkable acts how would your world be different? What would our lives look like if we saw sin as the dark, damp, nasty brothel it is?
Keep that feeling inside of you as you choose your master tomorrow. Don’t let sin keep your life in bondage any more. Become a slave to Christ and discover a freedom you never dreamed possible.