Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To be owned or on my own: Postures for a new decade (part 3)

A brief series of personal reflections on how I feel God has been posturing me for this new decade. Nothing profound. Just an honest and vulnerable look at where I'm at and who God is revealing Himself to be to me.

I recently noticed that a friend of mine describes his religious views on Facebook in a unique way: "Jesus owns me." Wow. I've never really thought of summing up my religious views like that. But having seen it now, I'm stirred by that three-word description. And I think it touches something in my soul that I want it to touch. Because as this new year begins, I too want to be that sold out to Jesus.

Ownership has its implications. If I own something, then I have the final say regarding what that something is to be used for. With ownership comes authority. And 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says that God owns me. This is a little more extreme than simply being a soldier under orders (as in 2 Timothy 2:3-4). This is the idea of being a slave. It says in 1 Corinthians 6:20 that I was "bought with a price." I've heard that phrase used in reference to a person who is on the slave blocks being redeemed by someone else who has paid a price for that person to be freed. But that's not what that phrase is about in this passage, because it immediately follows another phrase -- "You are not your own." It seems to me that this passage is more about the ownership of a slave rather than the redemption of a slave. And with ownership of that slave comes authority over that slave.

This all sounds so familiar. Is this any different than simply calling Jesus my Lord? No, it's the same. But what makes it stand out in my mind is that I feel more accustomed to calling Jesus my Lord than calling myself Jesus' slave. That's because I'm much more familiar with thinking of myself as Jesus' friend or as God's son, which are also true of who I am. But if I'm a Christian, then it's worth remembering that God actually owns me. And if He owns me, then He has the final say over what I do with my life and my day, and I'm not meant to argue. I'm His. I'm not my own.

That's totally applicable to what I do in response to His Word, to daily decisions I face, and to what I do with my future. A slave must die to his or her own preferences or plans. As a slave, my future is no longer mine. Today is no longer mine. And if I don't like that, the only alternative is to be on that slave block, unredeemed and on my own, destined to be owned by my sins until I die in them (Romans 6:16). I don't want that, and it's knowing that the One who bought me is also the One who adopts me (Romans 8:15) that makes me eager to be owned by such a wonderful God!

The Apostle Paul sometimes introduced himself as a slave of Christ at the beginning of his New Testament letters. And I know that he understood the implications of ownership. And if I'm to be as eager to embrace God's will for my life as Paul was, I too need to understand that there's more joy to be found as God's slave than in trying to find satisfaction in the freedom of pursuing my own preferences.

© 2010 by Ken Peters

1 comment:

laurence said...

Philippians 3:12-14

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,

but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

(ESV)