In yesterday’s message, we heard how Paul described himself as a “servant of God” (Titus 1:1). The word “servant” can be translated as “slave,” and points to Paul’s humility. He understood that, like a slave or servant, his life belonged to his Master. His life revolved around doing what his Master wanted, not what he wanted. Put simply, his life was not about him; everything was about his Master.
All of this is true, and yet there is another angle to this phrase “servant of God.” In the world of Paul’s day, while being a servant or slave was a humble position, getting to be a servant to a great person was honourable. If you were Caesar’s servant, for example, that was nothing to be ashamed of. It was a great thing.
And so to be a servant of God was no small matter. We see this even clearer when we look back across Scripture and see the other people who are referred to as God’s servants. They include Moses (Psalm 105:26, Revelation 15:3), Abraham (Psalm 105:42), David (2 Samuel 7:4-5, 8), and the prophets (Jeremiah 7:25, 25:4, Amos 3:7, Haggai 2:23, Revelation 10:7). Being a servant of God puts you in very honourable company.
This perspective is important to help us through the times when we struggle to submit to God’s will, or the times when we want to run our lives instead of obeying Christ’s commands. In those moments, being His servant feels lowly and limiting.
That’s when we need to remember that being His servant is a high and noble calling, one we don’t deserve in the slightest. Apart from His grace, we would be condemned criminals, enemies of God. To be saved and forgiven is a gift beyond our wildest dreams. To be then invited to serve our Saviour with our lives should take our breath away.
And it’s when we embrace our identity as God’s servants that we actually find our greatest freedom. We were made for Him, and serving Him is how we, ironically, discover our truest selves. “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16).
This week, may the Lord help you to see yourself as his servant, and then to live like one.