When is the last time you received an actual letter? Do you remember those?
When I was in college, my mother wrote me faithfully every week. Her letters meant the world to me. I looked forward to finding one every time I went to the mailbox.
What I would give today to receive a letter from my Mom!
Much of the Apostle Paul’s life consisted of writing letters to churches and friends. In Romans 1 he introduced himself to a church where he had never been. He was planning a visit, and so wanted to share some things about himself.
Paul referred to himself as a “servant,” a word that could also be translated “slave.” That is a politically charged word. It is impossible for many of us properly to understand the full meaning. But here is something very interesting. Some have estimated that up to 90 percent of the population of Rome was enslaved. So Paul was writing to people who understood the term.
Keep this in mind. Paul was actually a Roman citizen, though he had never been to Rome. He called himself a slave of Christ Jesus. In doing so, he was saying that he was fully committed and submitted to Jesus. He was completely at the disposal of his Savior. He would do whatever he believed Jesus wanted.
May I confess something to you? On more than one occasion, I have willfully and intentionally done something or said something that I knew Jesus would not approve. I call myself a Christian, but too often, I choose to do my own thing.
Our culture encourages that sort of behavior. We live in a day when “doing your own thing” is a sign that you have arrived. But again, that is not such a modern attitude. The very last verse in the Book of Judges says, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” In other words, they were doing their own thing.
God has called us to obey him. James tells us that we prove our faith by the things that we do and say. It is true that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. But we are called to submit to the Lord’s will. It is my prayer that you and I will be more faithful in doing just that.