Your Life

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,
whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

1Cor. 6:19 NASB

Two classes of people in the world come to mind when I meditate on the phrase, “Your life is not your own.” Military personnel and slaves. A soldier must go where he is ordered to go by the military authority over him and cannot object, refuse, or negotiate the order given. If the conditions on the battlefield are difficult, complaining to the commander is not an option. Similarly, a slave is one whose work is dictated by the slave master and can exercise no personal choice in any matter concerning his life. The New Testament writers liken a Christian believer to both the soldier and the slave.

The apostle Paul wrote to his disciple Timothy, Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:3) In two other epistles Paul referred to a co-laborer in the ministry as a “fellow soldier.” (Philippians 2:25 & Philemon 1:2)

The analogy of a Christ follower being a slave of the Lord is even more pervasive in the Epistles. The apostles Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and John each introduce themselves at the beginning of their letters as “a bond-servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.”[1] The word translated “bond servant” in our English Bibles is from the Greek word “doulos” which simply means a slave. In the opening of the Book of Revelation the Apostle John writes that the revelation was given by God “to show His bond-servants the things which must soon take place…” This refers to all believers and places them in the same category as the apostles, bond-servants of the Lord.

I have wondered how many people who claim the identity of “Christian” actually live as if their life was truly “not their own.” In today’s society, we see the demand for an individual’s right to choose any and all manner of lifestyle being fiercely defended. Living for self-fulfillment and the pursuit of personal happiness and comfort is as accepted inside the church as it is in the world. And many Christians would claim it as a Biblical concept. But Christ did not die to secure people’s happiness or comfort levels. Christ died “…so that He may bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)

What would it look like if a believer genuinely wanted to live as a bond-servant of the Lord? To understand the implications of such a pursuit, we must examine the lifestyle of a slave and contrast it with that of a “free” person.

First and foremost, freedom of movement is restricted in the life of a slave. The slave master directs the movements of a slave. A free person can move about at will.

Freedom of choice in work is not allowed in the life of a slave. Instead, a slave is expected to follow the commands of the slave master in directing his work. A free person can choose the type of work he wants to pursue or reject a job if it displeases him.

Freedom of choice in companions is restricted in a slave’s life. A slave-master may prohibit his slave from cultivating relationships whereas a free person can engage in any relationship he desires.

A free person can do whatever he wants with his money while a slave is restricted from spending any money he may possess since his movements are dictated by the slave master.

A free person determines how he will use his time while a slave’s time is controlled by the slave master.

If you consider the Lord Jesus Christ to be your Master and yourself to be His servant, how well does your current lifestyle reflect that reality?

Does God direct your steps? Or do you decide on the move you are going to make by considering the pros and cons of an idea and then ask God to bless it?

Do you seek the Lord for your work and ministry assignments? Or do you choose the most attractive offer before you? 

Do you choose your own relationships? Or do you allow God to guide you in choice of friendships as well as in choosing a life partner?

Does God direct your use of money – both in spending and in giving?

Do you ask the Lord to direct you in the use of your time? Or is your free time spent in activities aimed at your own enjoyment and temporal happiness?

More than one hundred years ago, there was a group of bond-servants of the Lord who launched out to faraway places to preach the Gospel. They became known as “one-way missionaries” because they bought one-way tickets to the destinations God had called them, kissed their loved ones goodbye, never expecting to return home alive. When they were preparing to leave for the mission field, each one packed their belongings not in a suitcase, but in a coffin. They had died to themselves and their own desires, seeking only to fully serve their Master. Their lives were not their own.

What would your life look like if you lived it from the Biblical perspective - “your life is not your own?”

Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please,
squandering what God paid such a high price for?

1 Corinthians 6:19 - Message Translation

[1] Romans 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; James 1:1; Jude 1:1; Revelation 1:1