Once I knew a young man who felt that his parents were too controlling of his life. As he looked toward finishing high school, he declared, “I am not going to colllege. I am going to join the Marines.!” When his parents asked him why, he replied, “To get away from authority figures.”
“WHAT?! Don’t you know that in the Marines you will have a drill sargeant yelling at you every minute, with complete authroity over ever move that you make, every word that you say?” they asked. “I know,” said the young man, “but it will be OK because it will be an authority figure of my own choosing.” This incident reminded me of the Bible verse, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mat 6:24)
“But who wants a master, anyway?” I thought. “I am a free man, in charge of my own life.” Then I would eat too much or the wrong food. I would get caught up in career to the harm of my family. I would waste hours watchig T.V. or surfing the web. In times of clear thinking, I would determine not to do those things again. “But the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things…” (Mark 4:19) took over again in a moment and I was back to the same old routine. “Mammon,” I realized, is not just “riches” or “wealth.” It can be any worldy, temporal thing, action, or comfort the desire for which takes over my life.
I did, in fact, have a master – one whose goal seemed to be my harm and destruction. Again and again I tried to take mastery over my own life, the fighting for freedom with my own efforts and will power. Again and again I was exhausted and overcome by my enemy, the bad master. Finally, I saw the light. “If I am going to have a master,” I said to myself, “let me choose a master who is good!” Then I turned to the Lord, Jesus, and following His example in the desert, I chose God. Now, when I say, as He did, “Not my will, but thine, be done,” (Luk 22:42), when I adopt God’s will as my own, I am no longer subject to the world’s master. Instead I can say to my divine master, “I shall walk at liberty, for I have sought thy precepts.” (Psalm 119:45)
I invite you to choose freedom by choosing to be a slave of God.