We are made for many things, such as relationships, family, love, and companionship, but few are as deeply ingrained as our need for worship. We serve what we worship and worship what we love. It is in our bones. We were made for such things as these.
Our obedience is how we know who or what we serve. It is the telltale sign for everyone to see. We may serve our desires for pleasure, which leads to a lifestyle of lust, or our desire for food or luxury, which leads to gluttony or covetousness. We must take notice of our own obedience and bring unto submission to Christ, even our thoughts.
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin." — John 8:34
If what we love leads to worship and service, and we serve our sinful habits, we love them more than our freedom in Christ. How can we say we are saved if we are not free? Surely, if we are in Christ, he has set us free from all bondage.
If we truly proclaim Christ as Lord but do not serve him as master, then we lie. How can we say we are members of his kingdom if we do not make him our king? We cannot be citizens of two warring kingdoms. Truly, our service will be found out, and we will be accused.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." — Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13
We know from the Lord's own admission that we can serve gods of our own making. Some serve money, others serve pleasure, and others serve their reputation. As believers in Christ, we must lay these masters down as dead, bury them in the ground and forget where we laid them. Give them no headstone to return to.
We must identify our masters and put them to death by submitting to the Lordship of Christ. When exhorting the churches, Paul uses no uncertain terms when confronting sin.
Put to death, therefore, what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. Colossians 3:5-6
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. — Romans 8:13
If the master you serve is not Jesus Christ, put it to death. Take account of your desires and what drives you. Is it righteousness? Is what you are doing worthy of the Lord?
We are commanded to love and to serve, not what we desire but God first and then others. Only through the Holy Spirit can we lay aside our previous lives with its desires.
In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. — Colossians 3:9-10
Have you put off your old self? Are you putting to death the deeds of the body?
Guarding Ourselves and Others
If some of us have fallen back into the slavery of sin, we must bring them back into the fellowship of Christ. Too often, we leave someone on the wayside because we do not want to get caught up in their mess. This is exactly what Christ came to do for us! He took on our mess and if we seek to be as he is, we must follow him.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. — James 5:19-20
If we cannot speak to each other about our sins, how can we help each other? The body of Christ must be transparent with each other so we can stand firm. How can we be healed if we do not confess our sins and struggles?
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. — Galatians 5:1
If we ourselves fall back into sin, would we not want a brother or sister to aid, exhort and encourage us to repent and once again leave our sin behind? Certainly!
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. — Hebrews 3:12-13
We must keep a watchful eye on our own lives and the lives of others so that we will not fall back and be hardened by a lifestyle of sin and trample the sacrifice of the Savior. Exhort each other to watch, pray, and continue in righteousness until the King splits the sky! Amen and Maranatha!
: 2 Corinthians 10:5
: Matthew 22:36-39
: John 13:34-35
: Romans 8:13
: Proverbs 17:17
: James 5:16
: Hebrews 10:39