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Guest Speaker
Slavery –
1 Corinthians 7:23


Our Guest Speaker is Chris Beckham, son of Pastor Ron Beckham, of Friday Study Ministries.


You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men” (1 Corinthians 7:23)

We are all slaves to someone or something. Whether to a relationship, an addiction, material possessions, your family or other things, the fact remains that we are all slaves. Most people do not want to admit this.  But if you ask them to think about it on an intellectual level, they will have to admit that they work to buy new things. Or support their family. Or pay their mortgage and bills. They will admit that they have to have a drink on the weekends, or escape reality through drugs, or even seek the sexual attention of others for self-validation. Others are slaves to illness, whether theirs or someone they love. The cults, if you can get them to admit it, are slaves to their doctrine. They MUST earn their way to heaven, or work to be one of the 144,000, or find a higher level of consciousness.

Webster’s Dictionary defines the term “slave” as “a person held in servitude as the chattel (property) of another” and “one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence.” While it’s easier to see us in the light of the latter definition, as Christians it is what we are all called to be. And at first it seems easy. 1 Corinthians 7:23 reads, “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” This is a point we all know; that Christ died for us and bought us with His blood. But what does being a slave to Christ really entail? Evangelism? Witnessing to others? Being a “good Christian example” to everyone else? How about reading scripture daily? Having a morning quiet time? Praying fervently to the Lord? I submit to you that it is none of these...and all of them.

The psalmist writes that “Oh LORD, You have searched me and known me” (Psalm 139:1). That’s right, He searches our minds and hearts for the true motivation of our slavery. Ask the Christians at your church why they (try to) obey the statutes of God. While most Bible studying Christians know that they cannot earn entry into the Kingdom of God, too many do these things out of some sense of guilt. Often, that guilt can be very subliminal. Let me put it another way. How many of us do the things of God because we SHOULD? That is true slavery, but is it slavery to Christ, or slavery to our own sense of what WE think HE wants?

OK, so what does He want? “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). “The law of the LORD is perfect” (Psalm 19:7). He wants perfection. But that’s not fair, is it? We can’t be perfect. This is one of the hurdles for many believers and non-believers alike. “God expects me to be perfect”, we will say, when the exact opposite is true. He knows that we can never be perfect. But, as we allow Him, he is perfecting us. Whoa, wait a minute. As we allow Him? That seems like a lot of power. But when you look at it closely, that “power” is the key to true slavery: submission. Huh? When we use our free will to allow Him to perfect us, we completely and utterly submit to His will. When Paul prayed for relief from his thorn in the flesh, God said “No” and Paul still submitted to His will knowing that not only was God’s will perfect for God, but it was also perfect for him. “My grace is sufficient for you; for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul knew that God was perfecting him through his weakness and pain, but he also knew that by God not healing him, He was actually bringing Paul closer to Him by making him call upon God’s strength for relief.

So, how do we truly submit and become slaves to Christ? This is a daily cross we must take up. Every morning I must wake up and pray that Jesus will be my strength to submit completely. Many people will look at me and say that I am a slave to the same things that they are. And sometimes I am. I have a job to pay for my mortgage and bills, feed my family, make my car payments and pay for other things that I like to do. Being a slave to Christ, however, means working at my job (that He gave me, by the way) to please HIM. When Paul tells us in Ephesians to “be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” (Ephesians 6:5-6), isn’t he telling us to work as slaves to Christ and not as slaves to our bosses, jobs, responsibilities or anything else? It is Christ who provides the jobs to make that money, the money to pay those bills, the houses to live in, the clothes to wear, the food to eat... do you see where this is going? When we completely submit and become slaves to Christ, these things are all blessings, but when we lose sight of Him and begin to focus on those things alone, they become responsibilities.

This can lead to much deeper problems. When we are burdened with responsibilities, we can become slaves to many more destructive things. How many of us at one time in our lives have said “I’m so burned out that I really need to blow off some steam this weekend.” and then proceeded to get drunk, high or whatever. Our slavery to our responsibilities led to slavery to liquor or drugs or pornography, or some other form of sinful and destructive behavior. Too many Christians continue to do this because they cannot submit to Christ. When Jesus said to His disciples, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)  Wasn’t He calling them to have faith in the fact that God supplies us with what we need when we submit to Him? Didn’t He also say “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind” (Luke 12:29). Even Paul saw that we should “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). These don’t seem like exhortations to me, but more like the unwavering re-assuring of a Father who loves us and wants us to completely trust in Him for all of our needs.

I mentioned earlier that we can become slaves to illness. This is something that I struggle with every day. Both of my sons have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. What this means is that they will both be in wheelchairs very early in life and have a life expectancy in the mid-twenties. No one should know the pain of losing a child. And yet, isn’t this what God Himself did? I can easily get lost in the thoughts of what will happen in the years to come, but when I do that, I become a slave to the Muscular Dystrophy itself. And when I do that, my trust is no longer in my Master or His perfect will. It dissolves into pain, fear and sometimes anger. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked for the cup to pass from Him, but immediately after, He knew “nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). He submitted, even unto death, for me, my boys, and you.

So I ask you again; who or what are you a slave to? Is your life filled with blessings or responsibilities? In Hebrews 4:8 we are told “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” Are you in that rest? If not, you must be awfully tired. Paul assures us in Philippians 1:6 that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Let us all become slaves to Him and let Him complete that work.

--- Chris Beckham


Contact us through Ron@FridayStudy.org

Friday Study Ministries
Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)



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