1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God-- Romans 1:1 NIV
Paul opens his letter to the church at Rome with this declaration of who he is and his authority.
- a servant of Christ Jesus - Here the Greek word for servant means 1) slave or bond servant - obligated and bound to serve a master 2) servant - one who chooses to serve a master. It's interesting to me that it means both an obligation and a choice. As believers we have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, but in that choice, we are reminded of who we serve in that He is the most high. Our lives should be lived with each step directed by the master. However, today's definition of a slave is counterproductive in thinking this way. The modern definition of a master would include greed, control, tyrant, merciless, malice, etc. Traits that could never be applied to our Lord. He is the antithesis of this definition. So we tend to lean toward the "servant" definition to soften the picture. What we must remember that while we are choosing to serve, we are still serving the Master, all be it a loving, generous, and grace-filled one. It is a 24/7 service. We don't pick up and go home from working for Him to follow our own path. As the Master, we must follow His guidance in every area of our life. We surrendered our life to Him; now we must live it out as He leads. For some, that may be frightening. However, I find great comfort in knowing the Almighty God of the Universe has my back. He loves me and knows what is best for me. That is an easy surrender in my book.
- an apostle - one who is a representative or messenger specifically chosen for this purpose. We are all representatives of something or someone. Every day our lives proclaim a message. Hopefully, as believers, our message is of the love and hope of our Savior, Jesus Christ. However, our message may be communicating other things - anger, hopelessness, negativity, self-promotion, greed. Who are we representing when we get up from our bed in the morning? That's when it begins - our choice to represent the One and Only Hope of the world.
- set apart for the gospel of God - Paul declares here exactly Who he is an apostle for, the good news of Jesus Christ. He is not living for self-promotion or company promotion or government promotion. Paul's life is to spread the message of Jesus Christ and the hope that He brings. He is "set apart" for this task.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are all to be His obedient servants, representing His message of hope to a dying world. That is our calling and our hope.
Holy Spirit, guide me each day, each moment to represent You and only You. Let my life reflect the hope you give to a world who so desperately needs hope.
- Write down a list of what or who your life may be representing to the world. How can you change that? (i.e. Maybe you are only representing your company. That may be your job. But how can you make being a representative of Jesus Christ the priority? What will change about your approach at work?
- What does it mean to be a representative of Jesus Christ? List some of the attributes. What ones do you do well? Where are you challenged?
- What does it mean to live like Jesus? You may have heard that phrase for years, but write down what it means.