January 19, 2016

Jeremiah 30:8-9 “‘In that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty,
‘I will break the yoke off their necks
and will tear off their bonds;
no longer will foreigners enslave them.
Instead, they will serve the Lord their God
and David their king,
whom I will raise up for them.

Serving is a fact of life on this earth. It’s not a question of if, but whom we will serve. Paul framed it in terms of serving sin or serving righteousness, (Romans 6:12-23) and that is applicable whatever our social status or nationality. Many people think slavery is something from the “bad old days,” but human trafficking is huge today, even in the US. Such people are generally slaves both to people and to sin. The good news is that God can and will rescue us from all such slavery, but that requires our choice to serve Him. Some people bristle at the idea of serving anyone or anything, not realizing that such an attitude is itself serving the devil, because it separates them from God and leaves them no defense against their own lusts. This passage speaks not only of serving God, but also of serving “David their king.” Social structures are another fact of life. We are used to democracy and elected government, and that is itself a blessing, but even so, defiance for the sake of defiance against government certainly bears consequences. Once again Paul had something to say on the subject. (Romans 13:1-7) Satan likes to tempt us with an illusion of freedom, but what he offers is actually total slavery to him through our lusts. True freedom comes only when we are in line with how we were created, filled with the Holy Spirit of God, using our free will to choose to serve God. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

I have had my times of walking in deception, thinking I was free, and the results have never been good. Being a slave to the flesh is only enjoyable for a moment, and the consequences are painful indeed. I see some people who are so used to that pain that they hardly recognize it! However, when people repent and believe, the difference is so great that even they have trouble accepting that it is real. I am in the business of offering people true liberty in Christ. As such, I must not leave out the element of choosing to serve Him, or they will be trapped again by the false liberties of the flesh. The devil is a consummate liar, and the world trumpets his lies at us all the time. I have great difficulty helping people really believe that being self-centered never leads to true happiness, because the devil blinds them to the fact that they are self-centered! I have found that I have no wisdom or power in myself to make them wake up to reality, but God can use me as an instrument of His Spirit to accomplish that. I am to pray for them and always speak the truth in love, so that by God’s grace they may come around to serving Him instead of a lie.

Father, You know the people who were most on my heart as I wrote that. Keep me from being self-centered in my efforts to help them, from being motivated by how they affect me rather than by what You desire for them. May I serve You by serving them, so that Your will may be done in and through us all, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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1 Response to January 19, 2016

  1. Wally Fry says:

    Brother Jack..I really enjoy these devotionals. A good scripture, with a very direct and real lesson, and followed by a wonderful prayer. Don’t stop okay?


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