I no longer call you servants. Instead, I have called you friends. John 15:15
Many of the slaves freed after the Civil War returned to their former owners. Now knowing how to handle their freedom, they chose to continue living in slavery because the mindset of a slave was firmly embedded in their psyche. Though they had been offered a new life, fear of the unknown was too intimidating.
Through his death, Jesus made us free yet many of us have never left the familiarity of our old life to investigate the new one He offers in His far away kingdom. What could be more frightening for a poor maiden who thinks she’s deeply flawed than to look in the eyes of a prince and accept his love? Yet doing so is her ticket to the life she privately dreams of.
Jesus paid for my freedom with His life! Can you imagine his grief when I continue to think and act like one in captivity? He’s calling out, “Come out of the slave quarters. Move into the big house with me. Sit at my table. Let me serve you. Oh, by the way, I’ve put your name on the deed to my inheritance. Everything I have, I share with you.” It takes humility to accept such a gift if I know that I’m undeserving and can do nothing to earn it. I will initially squirm in my seat at the banquet table. It will take some time to dance in the reality that I’m rich. The only thing that melts my protests of worthiness and the pride of self-hatred is perfect Love.
But there is also a second deadly response. If I believe I am a pretty good person, I’ll feel entitled to the favor Jesus extends. At the announcement that I’m an heiress, I’ll flaunt my position and look down my nose at less fortunate sinners. You know the saying, “She’s a princess?” That means I’m self-centered, entitled, spoiled, and arrogant. My greatest need is to see my sinfulness first, be reminded of my need for a Savior, and then accept His love with abject humility.
If I’m afraid of intimacy, self-hatred or self-exaltation is usually the cause. Figuring out which one plagues me is the most important thing I could do on this calendar day ‘in the life’ . . .
At your loving gaze, will I be tempted to look away? Why? Show me. Amen