The life of the apostle Paul is a perfect example of the redemptive and transformative power of Jesus Christ. At first, Paul, a Jew among Jew’s was on the Damascus Road to hurt the disciples of Jesus and then faced the Lord himself (Acts 9). Once Jesus made himself known to Saul (Paul), Paul had no choice but to serve Him. Paul was able to experience the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ and from that point, his life would be changed forever. I think it is funny to know a little of Paul’s history because it made him perfectly equipped to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Paul had a deep understanding of the Jewish, Greek, and Roman culture. This made him a valuable tool for the Lord to use. You see, without Paul knowing it, God was grooming and equipping him to be His servant. I believe that this is important to understand before we begin to read our Scripture for today. By understanding where Paul came from will help the audience grasp a deeper understanding of not only how to understand this Scripture but how to apply it into their lives.
It is written, “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 1:1-7, NASB).
In Paul’s introduction to the Roman church, he first identified himself as a “bond-servant” or “slave” to Jesus Christ. The Greek word used was “doulos” which cogitated a special servanthood to Yahweh. This term was used for the biblical characters of Moses, Joshua, Abraham, David, and the prophets. Paul was letting the church understand not only his position but his complete devotion to God. This is not the first time Paul referred to himself in this way, he did so in Galatians 1:10 and Titus 1:1. Paul did this because of his complete and full devotion to Jesus Christ.
Imagine living in a time where the term “slave” meant that a person was worth as much as an animal. Being a free man, Paul was showing the church his humility, obedience, and submission to Jesus Christ. Even though God set Paul aside from normal people, Paul did not see himself in a manner other than being a servant. There is a lot to learn from Paul’s position.
Paul knew that being a servant of Christ enables believers to be partakers of the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. To Paul, understanding this fact was a privilege but also his responsibility to share with the world. Since he experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ he could no longer sit still. He needed to share the Gospel of Christ until his last dying breath.
Many of you may be telling yourself “I do not have the anointing and calling of Paul.” However, I believe this statement is not true. God may not have called you to be an international missionary; however, He has been guiding your steps since the day you first took your breath. As God used Paul for whom he was, God wants to you each and every one of us today. Once a person accepts Christ into their hearts and minds, they are born again as a new creation. They become slaves to Christ! As slaves to Christ, there must be a certain amount of submission that is required. Your attitude, mindset, and actions must change for the better.
Since the old you is gone and your sins are forgiven, what is holding you back from being the useful servant that God wants you to be? So I will ask everyone here today some reflective questions to help guide you to become a useful servant. First, what is your attitude toward Christ? This may be a straightforward question but the reply to it will share with you your spiritual maturity. If Christ is at the center of everything you think and say, you can be useful. If you are distracted by things that challenged the old you, you have to let go and allow Jesus to take control of that aspect of your life. My second question is are you willing to obey and serve Christ? I get it, sharing your testimony with people or allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you can make you feel uncomfortable, and however, is the lack of willingness keeping you from your calling? Being a slave means that you will do things that will make you uncomfortable. Your life is not your own anymore. As a Christian, your life is no longer yours. Your life belongs to Jesus Christ. Have you felt uncomfortable lately? My last question is are you serving another master? I simply mean are you putting other things before serving Jesus?
As you reflect on your replies, only you can know if you have been a useful servant of Jesus Christ. This is something very important to learn from the apostle Paul. Paul lived a life that understood that we all cost Jesus too much to simply sit still. As we come to learn about Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we should be compelled to not only accept him but share the transformation that we have had in our lives through Him. As we become true servants for Christ can His Gospel continue to spread? If we sit still and grow stagnant, we start to lose the fruits of the Holy Spirit. So I challenge everyone reading this today to reflect if they are being a good servant.