Freedom and Servitude

A Word to Consider - Freedom and Servitude
by Bill NeSmith

     No one is ever more free and liberated than when he becomes a servant.  Being a servant does not mean having less but, on the contrary, you are one who has been given access to resources you may not have at your present disposal. The Roman centurion knew this as one in authority and also under authority.

     ‘Servitude’. Oh what a terrible word that has become as it has been spoken from the split-tongued mouth of our adversary, the devil.   The devil, being the one who perverted service into self-worship and self-focus, is the one who has changed the strength of the servant into the bondage to which that name alludes today. He turned attention away from God and onto himself way back as the story of man began and he has been stirring the dust of the human soul to follow his ways rather than God’s, as regarding service, ever since.

The Positive and a Negative

     Jesus came as a servant and changed the world forever, destroying the works and the authority of the devil over mankind with a powerful example of servanthood.

26 “Among you, it must not be like that. On the contrary, whoever among you wants to be a leader must become your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave! 28 For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve — and to give his life as a ransom for many.”    (Matthew 20:26-20 CJB)


     In this passage from Matthew’s gospel, the disciples had just been debating, perhaps even arguing, as to who was the greatest among them and who was going to sit on thrones in heaven.  Without knowing it, they were speaking the very thoughts of Lucifer, ‘son of the morning’, as recorded in Isaiah 14:12-17.  How attentively we must maintain a heart of humility as we press back the natural soulish thoughts within our human hearts.  Fear of being marginalized provokes such thoughts, fears birthed within a culture of individuality, self-will, and all imaginable inward struggles of identity and worth.  As a result of the fall, we can easily slip towards such thoughts – but it is God who has given us a new mind, a Spirit within embracing our spirit, and a grace more sure to destroy our old ways and empower our new ones.  Humility is the beginning of greatness and servitude is the foundation of leadership.  Humility ensures us that we become what God destined us for rather than what we fearfully make of ourselves as we compare ourselves with others in striving.

     A person is never freer than when they can step away from the soulish longing to be seen and move into the spiritual freedom of identifying with the One or ones they serve.  Scripture calls this, ‘dying to self’, and simply put, it is the principle and process of putting others before ourselves, seeking their good more than ours without devaluing who we are as individuals.  As Matthew 20:28 tells us, ‘…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve — and to give his life as a ransom for many.’, and in doing so, He received a greater glory that was imparted to Him because of this surrendered life.


Starting Closer at Zero

     As you can see in Matthew 20, the disciples were discussing their own greatness in the kingdom of heaven.  The Lord Jesus had addressed this earlier with them with this discourse as recorded in Matthew 18, a few chapters before:

1 ‘At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 Jesus called a little child to Him and set him in their midst, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself like this little child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’       (Matthew 18:1-4 CJB)


     Jesus uses the illustration of a child to show the basics of humility and, therefore, greatness.  It is true that faith as a child is important but as Matthew Henry writes, it is much more basic than that –

‘Children, when very young, do not desire authority, do not regard outward distinctions, are free from malice, are teachable, and willingly dependent on their parents. It is true that they soon begin to show other dispositions, and other ideas are taught them at an early age; but these are marks of childhood, and render them proper emblems of the lowly minds of true Christians. Surely we need to be daily renewed in the spirit of our minds, that we may become simple and humble, as little children, and willing to be the least of all.’  


     Let us always strive to be conformed to His death (as a humble servant) that we may also experience the power His resurrection (see Phil 3:10).  Christ was resurrected to new life, and new authority (keys of health, death, and the grave given to Him), and a new name was given to Him above any other name – because of the manner of humility and service in which He lived.


A Conditional Equation

     God’s ways are simply though very much unlike our own.  The world has a promotion scheme and it is nothing like the Lord’s, or of that which exists in the kingdom of heaven.  For those who are Christians, you are Children of Light and the light within you is not of yourselves. It is imparted to you from the One Who is Light. 

     Humility realizes that we may be able to accomplish much in this life and gain much wealth, success, talents, and knowledge but eternal things come from our Father above.  Paul shared this truth with the Christians in Corinth as recorded in 1 Cor. 4:7.

     Lucifer was created to lead worship and forgot the Creator as he fell to pride and arrogance – forgetting that he was not self-made.  Lucifer, now referred to as satan after his fall, took a spiritual act of service and worship and perverted it as soulish pride.

     Jesus continues to teach the disciples on the principles of heavenly greatness as He also gave us the keys to our true and most desired success.  It is my prayer that we all find this way most easily.  Jesus continues in Matthew chapter 23 -

11 “The greatest among you must be your servant, 12 for whoever promotes himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be promoted.”       (Matthew 23:11-12 CJB)


     We can have talents, study, and accomplish great things.  Individually, a person can accomplish much but together we can accomplish truly great things.  Joining forces multiplies our potential as iron sharpens iron and strengths are taught and weaknesses are shored up.  Honoring those around us is a fellowship can be as heaven on earth.  True Freedom is found when you are no longer limited by your own resources but have been granted access to those things most needed which are imparted, or trusted, to the one most humble.

Less is more and more comes from our Lord Jesus Christ. 


Freedom and Servitude