To the Lord, to each other, to our spouses
PART 1: SERVANTHOOD TO THE LORD
Months ago when we discussed marriage I made the following remark: Marriage on this earth is not an end in itself; it has a heavenly purpose. The purpose of this earthly marriage is to train both the husband and the wife in servanthood so that they are both ready to assume their role as the bride of the Lamb of God.
Yet in His wise manner, The Lord has other means of training us as servants than by earthly marriage. All of His methods involve training in humility, holiness and absolute surrender to Him for these are to be the complementary qualities of the bride of the Lamb of God, her Heavenly Husband. How did Jesus become a Lamb of God? Philippians 2:5 – 8 spells it out, step by step:
The Humbled and Exalted Christ
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
– Philippians 2:5-8 New King James Version (NKJV)
While Jesus was equal to God, He did not demand any of His own rights or power. He humbled Himself to such a degree that He became a mere human being. Yet even that was not humbling enough; He became a lowly servant. Even lower He went: He obeyed the will of His Father with such perfect devotion that He willingly submitted to being mocked, spat upon, scourged and crucified as the lowest of criminals. Such was the perfect humility of the Lamb of God. It is this Lamb Who seeks a helpmeet, a “flesh of His flesh, a “bone of His bone” that “the two might become one.” As He in verse 7 above, “ took the form of a bondservant” so must His Bride. As He “humbled Himself “ and died, verse 8, so must she.
The Webster’s 1847 Dictionary defines a servant as:
- A person who is wholly subject to the will of another … whose person and services are wholly under the control of another. http://kinsmanredeemer.com/ChristianEarPiering.htm
For an article on how the Bible views servants read https://www.gotquestions.org/crucial.html
OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY
As the Bible so often has us do, we will return to the Old Testament for a rich explanation of servanthood by probing into a symbolic object – in this case an awl.
Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.
But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, then take an awl and push it through his earlobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your female servant.
– Deuteronomy 15:15-17 New International Version (NIV)
Servants in Israel were allowed to go free either at the time of Jubilee or after six years of service. Before we were saved, we were slaves in bondage to the world. It was our sins and poverty of spirit that enslaved us. Some of us might have been criminals, alcoholics, drug addicts, victims of depression, anger, abject loneliness, etc. Then Jesus redeemed us and we assumed a new identity as servants with a free will.
When we have been redeemed and given freedom from our sins, we come to a period in our lives where we have a life-changing choice to make. In the Old Testament servants needed a time in their master’s service to more deeply know him, to realize what service to him would be like. The decision they would make to leave him or permanently stay with him had to be well thought out. In our Christian walk we have a choice to make that involves absolute surrender.
There it is, spelled out simply, but emphatically – absolute surrender. We yield all of our self-will to His ultimate authority to be “wholly under [His] control ,” exactly as a servant is defined. (A classic book by Andrew Murray titled Absolute Surrender explains this concept in beautiful and readable detail). Why would we be willing to be such a servant, to lay down all of our self – will, all of our wishes and desires? Deuteronomy 15:16 above reveals the truth: out of deep love the servant will not leave his Master, his Lord.
So much does a servant desire to show his allegiance that he asks his master to perform the procedure of having his ear pierced with an awl. The awl is a symbol of a covenant that we have signed with Him to freely become His servants for life. (Believe it or not this is the exact reason I got my ears pierced). The awl ceremony will involve blood, a wooden door, piercing and a permanent mark. Look at those words. Link them together. Do they remind you of Another Who called Himself a servant?
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I would like to thank my fellow consultants for all their assistance in getting this blog published: Michelle Arrington, Hannah Hall, Ariel Mcgarry, Carol White, Tracy Yoder, and J.P.Wilhelm. Their encouragement and patience have been invaluable to me.
The good Samaritan (after Delacroix) by Vincent Willem van Gogh