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service“For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.” 1 Peter 2:16-17

There are some that say the Bible is full of contradictions. I don’t personally believe that and many of the ‘difficulties’ that people have pointed out can be explained by a more thorough study of the text.

Having said that, there are plenty of dichotomies in the Christian life as taught by Jesus. For example:

  • To be the greatest you must be the least;
  • To gain everything you must lose everything;
  • The poor are the powerful ones, not the rich;
  • A true leader is a servant;
  • The humble ones are the ones that will inherit the earth, not the controlling;

Maybe you can think of others as well. Statements made in scripture that go contrary to everything that is spoken of in society. God’s Kingdom is nothing compared to what we see around us. God’s Kingdom lifts up the downtrodden, encourages the discouraged, empowers the powerless and comforts the hurting.

Peter, one of Jesus’ followers tells us another dichotomy in regards to our freedom:

“For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.” 1 Peter 2:16-17

Normally, we think of being free and being a slave as being on opposite ends of the spectrum. A slave has no rights, no hope for a future and no identity. He goes where he’s told, he does what he’s told. He has no choices.

A free man, on the other hand has the opportunity to do and be whatever he chooses. His identity is secure in who he is and what he does.

In yet another irony, Jesus teaches us that no one is truly free. Either you serve man or God. Either you choose to follow the desires of the flesh or the standards of God. Being enslaved to God gives you the rights to be called his child. Being enslaved to God empowers you to live free of the futile desires of the flesh. Being enslaved to God allows you to live in peace in the midst of the storm. Being enslaved to God frees you from the guilt of past mistakes.

Peter encourages us by reminding us that because of Jesus Christ, we are free to serve God. Service to God means we are loyal to all the teachings of Jesus. We are free to love those who reject God’s ways. We are free to be ourselves while at the same time showing grace and mercy to those without Christ. We are free to be examples to the world, to be Jesus in skin.

Live free today! Be free to show others around you the love and grace and forgiveness of Jesus.

PRAYER: Father God, it is so easy at times to feel insignificant in a world where wealth, power and status are worshiped. Forgive me for the times I let the voices of society make me feel insignificant. Empower me by your Spirit to live in the freedom of service to you. Amen.

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