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
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
Friday Study Ministries
Tel: (562) 688-5559
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"