Ever found yourself shouting in a moment of defensive passion, "I'm standing for my rights. I want justice!"? Click on an online news site or open the pages of your local newspaper and chances are it won't take you long to find someone doing just that. It's kind of in us as westerners (and especially Americans) to stand up for ourselves and assert our rights as citizens, isn't it?
That's not necessarily a bad thing. Even the Apostle Paul asserted his rights as a Roman citizen when he was being mistreated in Acts 16. But when it came to his rights as a christian, a believer, a servant of Jesus Christ, he willingly surrendered any real or perceived rights. He reminds the believers in Corinthians that they are not their own:
"Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself for God bought you with a huge price. So you must honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:20 NLT
I often wonder if our independent spirit, stand up for yourself attitude, many times actually puts us at odds with our Redeemer. How often do I stand up for me and totally forget to stand up for Him? Is pushing my agenda overriding the passion and compassion that should cause me to want to surrender to His agenda?
I am struck by the stark visual that is reflected in Exodus 21:6 in the description of a servant willingly surrendering to his master for life. Traditionally in this period, a slave was given his freedom after 7 years. However, if the slave declares his love for his master (and his family) and does not want to go free, then his master must present him before God and the following had to take place:
"Then his master must take him to the door or doorpost and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will serve his master for life." NLT
What a humbling expression of a servant's love for his master. No rights exerted or demanded there. All authority surrendered. No turning back.