Tag Archives: Grace

Why Slavery Can Never Die

slavery-abolition-unOn 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.


Super Fan, Messy Cars, & God

When I played baseball at the University of Nebraska there was a guy there we called “Super Fan”.  He had been a Nebraska Cornhusker fan for years and went to EVERYTHING Nebraska Husker Athletics offered taking pictures every step of the way.

He also apparently was wealthy, but you’d never know by looking at him.  He always wore the same clothes, he rarely showered or cut his fingernails, he had matted hair, was missing a few key teeth, and there was a smell about him that was hard to handle.  I say these things not to be cruel, but to simple present the facts about our Super Fan we loved.  You heard me right; we genuinely loved this guy because after all when I played we loved all of our fan very much.

However, what stuck out to me more than anything was not his army fatigue pants or scraggly beard, but it was his car.  Super Fan had a station wagon that he literally had packed from hatchback to hood with stuff.  Newspapers, trash, camera film, Husker programs, and anything else interesting he found along the way were packed so tight in there that we swore the windows were going to pop.  If it every happen I always pictured it as a Piñata but instead of candy spilling out it would be 1980’s newspapers from rural towns in Nebraska.

That car and Super Fan were something to see and I’ve yet to see duplicated.

His car is probably what now motivates me to keep my car clean or it could be my inner conviction to take care of the things I’ve bought.

Regardless messy cars fascinate me and drive me crazy all at the same time.

They drive me crazy because I think messy cars because I think they are 100% avoidable.  Messy cars are easily fixed by taking a quick glance before you get out of your car and removing, throwing away, or putting away anything that doesn’t need to be in there.

For example, you don’t need to keep 10 Filet O’ Fish sandwich boxes in your backseat.  Those can get thrown away 1 at a time as you eat them or all 10 at once if you’ve had a bad day and don’t want to talk about why you ate 10 of those in the first place.

Boom!  Simple….clean car every time.

Oh, and don’t give me the excuse that you have kids either.   I’ve got kids and if I say we clean it up before we go inside it can get done.  Keeping your car clean is as simple as throwing away the junk each time you leave it.

This can be such a great illustration for our spiritual lives.

We so often get frustrated with our “messy car” lives that we become overwhelmed and paralyzed.  Sometimes we stock pile old memories or past sins in our lives like Super Fan did with old copies of the Lincoln Journal Star that we can barely see out of the windows of reality.

The beautiful part about our walk with Jesus is that he wants all of our junk and all of our garbage so we don’t have to be bogged down by it.  When we find ourselves claimed by Him, defined by Him, and cleaned by Him we are forever changed.  We no longer have to drive around in a car full of junk because Jesus deep cleaned us.

David tells us in Psalm 40:1-3

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

However, we need to take an active roll in that soul cleansing too.

As we draw closer to Christ and to the life He has for us we will realize the sin we are still carrying.  It’s sin that is jammed into our lives that we’ve tried to ignore but cannot any longer.

Our responsibility is to constantly take inventory of our life and throw out the garbage that we see.  We can’t keep empty Sonic cups of lust, crusty chicken fingers of anger, or dirty socks of hatred in our life any longer.  There is only one place for that stuff and it’s in the trash where it belongs.

But only you and I can do it.

God doesn’t reach down into the cracks of our seats to scoop out the smooshed up French fries.  He can point to them and say “Do you see that?” but we have to be the ones that reach down and deal with the consequences of the science experiment we’ve created.  If we give it to Him he will take it, but He won’t take anything without permission.

So before you do anything else stop and take inventory of your life.  Ask God to deep clean the areas of sin you’ve been ignoring and start getting things straightened out today.

Believe me, He will do a heck of a job and leave you smelling like that new car scent for eternity.