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Servanthood - Psalm 123

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

I lift my eyes to you,
O God, enthroned in heaven.
We keep looking to the Lord
our God for his mercy,
just as servants keep their eyes on their master,
as a slave girl watches her
mistress for the slightest signal.

Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy,
for we have had our fill of contempt.
We have had more than our fill of the scoffing of the proud
and the contempt of the arrogant.
-Psalm 123

As we progress in our journey towards God, we learn that we are not only God's children, sons and daughters, in Christ; but we are also called to be God's servants.  It is a paradox that we are called to be both.  To grow, we must be sons or daughters, and servants.

The problem is that some Christians do not want to be servants. They are happy to be saved and served, and they follow the words of Psalms 120, 121, and 122.  They get it, about the lessons contained in the the first three steps.  But, the servant part in the fourth step?  No thanks.

Servants have no rights.  They are at the mercy of their master.  Servants, by definition, must be obedient.  They don't try to negotiate when the orders come or question the command. Servants are expected to obey.

Sons or daughters, in Christ, know that they are loved.  At the same time, they are obedient servants.  A son or daughter who refuses servanthood is like a spoiled child with a sense of entitlement.  That person's view of life is out of alignment.  

If you have not embraced servanthood towards God, as a way of living; as in, "what do you do for a living?", then when trouble strikes, in the world, and you call out to God, you call out as a spoiled son or daughter, saying things like, "why is this happening to me", "I didn't sign up for this", and "God seems like a bad father to let this happen to me".  That person becomes bitter at God.

Servants receive mercy, because they have got the right posture. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).  

If you read the red letter words of Jesus, you will see his call for all his followers to live a consecrated life of obedience.  We cannot separate calling him Lord while not obeying his words. And his words are not a new, impossible legalism; but rather a way of life under grace and freedom.  And we can only live it out through him, which requires our cooperative surrender.  

We have to surrender, or living the life will not work.  This means that we have to take up our crosses (Matt. 16:24).  This means that we must take his yoke upon us (Matt. 11:29).  This means that we must press on, in humility (Phil. 3:14).

The steps of ascent so far:
  1. Calling out to God and getting answers to prayer.
  2. Discovering that God guards or watching over us as we come and go.
  3. Developing a personal and communal desire to worship as a lifestyle.
  4. Consecration to a life of servanthood.

I found the art above here.


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