Saturday, June 28, 2008

Photobucket Doulous: Approval & Servanthood*

“…each is tested by the praise accorded him.” Proverb 27:21b

I read this verse earlier in the week and it caused me to pause. We all know that trials are a testing of our faith. I’d never focused on this little phrase in Proverbs. Praise can also be a test. How will I handle it? What do I do with it? Do I horde it as my due or hand it all back to Him?

Fast on the heals of this revelation came the verse below from a study I’m working on through the summer.

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

I did the prescribed study, dutifully answered the questions and then went on to do some additional word studies. It’s been a good week trysting with my Lord. Let me share.

Am I seeking to gain favor (win over, yield) of men or God? What do my actions show? What causes me the most anxiety in my day to day life? I don’t want to be a big JERK, but neither do I wan to be overly concerned about what men think of me. I need to seek approval, favor, and assurance from God.

Am I striving to please men? Am I intentionally, deliberately, continually seeking to be acceptable and accommodating to men?

If I am, then I am not a bondservant of Christ. I’ve committed to being a bondservant of Christ. Our society has lost track of what it means to be a servant in daily life. A bondservant is in a permanent relationship with the master. A bondservant is totally consumed by and with the will of another. He has no rights outside of the master’s will. He has no possessions of his own.

It was a CHOICE to be a bondservant. After serving a household for 6 years as a slave, a servant would decide of his OWN FREE WILL if he wished to remain a slave to his master. There were three reasons a person chose to become the bondservant of another. He loved the master, he loved the master’s household and he fared well with the master. (Deut. 15:12 – 18). At this point the person would be branded/marked to signify the permanent relationship with the master. As a side note, there were three classes of people marked in the New Testament times: slaves, soldiers, servants of temples. As Christians we are called to be all three (I Cor 3:16-17, I Cor 7:21-23, Matt 10:24 – 25, I cor 3:21-4:7, I Cor 6:19-20, Gal 1:10). THAT little tidbit is a nice study all on it’s own.

A bondservant was marked by having his ear pierced. Paul says his beatings and stonings marked him as a bondservant (Gal 6:17). My life should also be marked – by transformation. I am called to join Christ in suffering…..I am marked as HIS by that suffering for HIS SAKE (again not because of general jerkiness on my part).

I, of my own free will, made a choice to be a bondservant of Christ. I did this because I loved Christ, I loved Christ’s household, and I recognized that I fared well with Christ as my master. This means I have no rights or possessions outside of what the Master lovingly assigns to me. I am marked as His. This is a permanent relationship.

My intentional relationship with “men” reflects the truth of that commitment in my daily life. What am I doing with men? Am I seeking their approval, seeking to please them and serve them? If I am then I am not wholeheartedly seeking the will of my Master. We become immediate slaves to things or persons from whom we seek approval.

Others will praise me as I walk righteously and faithfully with my God (Prov 27:2). That praise becomes a test (Prov 27:21). My response to the praise of men will reflect my heart. Whose approval matters most to me? How do I react to the praise when it comes my way? Will I remain humble in times of praising or will I become falsely inflated and self-important?

Above all I seek the favor of God. I seek to please Him. I want to be a worthy bondservant of my Lord Jesus Christ. My prayer is that He helps me to seek Him, please Him and serve Him more and better.

Word studies follow: Tools used Strong’s, Vines NT Dictionary, Spiros Zodhiates NT Dictionary and old notes from a Precept Study on the book of Philippians.

The KJV uses the word “persuade” instead of “favor”. The word is peitho - #3982. It means to bring over to kind feelings, to conciliate; to win over, gain favor, make a friend of, to agree, assure, assent, and yield

“Please” - The word is Arseko #700. This words means to fit, to gratify, to accommodate oneself to, to be acceptable. The verb TENSE (present imperative) tells us that this act is intentional, deliberate and continuous conduct.

“Bondservant” – The word is doulous - #1401. This speaks of one in a permanent relation of servitude to another. This person’s will is consumed with the will of another!

*Weekly devotional posted to SHS this a.m.


©2008 D.R.G.

1 comment:

Hall Family said...

I am so glad you wrote this post. I really needed to see it.
Blessings-Mandy (SHS)