1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus … (Romans 1).
I always find it encouraging to read how the first description Paul gives of himself lies in the nature of service, calling, and purpose. He is a bond-servant; he is an apostle only by God’s calling, not his own choice; he is set apart for the gospel.
He is a bond-servant of Christ Jesus. A bond-servant is a slave. He is owned by another, and not by himself. His will is subservient to the will of a master. He can do nothing but what the master himself wants him to do, no matter how difficult that task may seem. His will is to do the will of His master. He cannot complain, because even his emotions (along with his will) are bound to the will and pleasures of His master.
But Paul is not bound just to any master; he is bound to The Master, even Christ Jesus. There is no greater Master than He. To become a slave of Christ Jesus lifts one’s status to infinite heights. It is the opposite of Lucifer’s boast in John Milton’s Paradise Lost: “better to reign in hell than serve in heaven”. No, the lower I go in serving Christ Jesus, the higher up I am lifted. There is no greater human glory than to serve the King of Glory. These are glorious shackles binding me. I glory in them. I love them to the degree I love My Master, who by His grace has placed them upon me.
Lord, thank you for making us your bond-slaves! We want to serve You This Day. We want these glorious shackles to become increasingly stronger than any this world or our flesh can hold. Help us envision these bonds on every part of our being. Bind us fast, our Loving Master, to holy thoughts, to a submissive will, and to Spirit-filled emotions. Let all lesser things fall from us. Amen.