2 Corinthians 1:24 – “Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.” NKJV
1 Corinthians 7:17-24 – “But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. 20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.” NKJV
I am becoming increasingly convinced that many people are living in bondage to others needlessly. WHY? They live in Fear, Fear of People. Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man brings a snare…” I must caution, we must not be Independent to the point that we say, “I don’t care what they think or how they feel.” We MUST CARE, but we MUST NOT be subservient. We MUST NOT become enslaved by the opinions of others. I had a pastor tell me, “I serve the people.” I appreciate the idea intended but we DO NOT serve people we serve God and in serving God we are of service to people. Paul declared in 2 Corinthians 4:5 that he was their “bondservant for Jesus’ sake.” Notice he did not say, “for your sake or our sake but for Jesus’ sake.”
Having served as Pastor and ministering to Pastors I recognize this problem and attitude in the congregation and in the clergy, that the Pastor is the Servant of the People. I’ve had church members say, “Well that’s what we pay him for and if he doesn’t do what I want I’ll quit the church or get rid of him.” Isn’t that a wonderful Christian attitude? Well, at best it is a grossly immature attitude. The Pastor is there to be a Servant of God and to be used of God throughout the entire body and community as God deems necessary and desirable. He may have to say NO at times and believe me I know how negatively that is often received.
It is also important that we are not enslaved to the commandments or traditions of men. In Matthew 15:9, Jesus warned us not to listen to the doctrines of men. Unfortunately, there is an incredible amount of man-made tradition in churches across the land. Some churches are so bound by man-made traditions which cannot be backed up by Scripture they cannot break free and live free. In John 5:41-44, Jesus warned about the Praise of Men. He urged those listening to not be drawn into flattery and earthly praise but to seek the honor and smiles of God. It is a sad situation when a minister is more concerned about the Praise of Men than Obedience to the directive of God. It is not just sad it is dangerous and destructive!
In Galatians 1:10-12, Paul declared, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” He was addressing Authority and being under Authority. We are subject to the authority of government and even in the church but that cannot dictate our ministry and if man’s decree violates God’s we must make the choice and hopefully we choose God not man.
If we are truly serving God obeying His will is of paramount importance to us. As we obey Him and serve Him we are of service to people and serve them in a productive rather than destructive manner. We must also beware of following the Wisdom of Men because man’s wisdom will fail but God’s will not. That leads us to the point that, as believers, we are to be Free from the Fear of Men. Jesus addressed this in Matthew 10:24-28 telling them that all people can do is KILL YOU in the natural. But God can destroy both body and soul in hell.
Therefore, set your heart to obey God and refuse to bow down to human commandments and traditions. Reject the urge and need for the Praise of People and recognize God as your Lord and Master and reject the dictatorial tyranny of people in the world or in the church. Guard against allowing opinions of others direct your life and ministry and always be guarded regarding the Wisdom of Men. NEVER and I mean NEVER allow the Fear of Man to rule you. Remember 1 Corinthians 7:23, “You are bought with a price; do not be the servants of men.” Jesus has set you Free so LIVE FREE in doing the will of God and allow God to change what needs to be changed.
God, bless you richly is my prayer and desire!