God may be asking more of you than you think …

It’s not uncommon on a Sunday morning to hear a polite sermon about being a servant of Jesus Christ, or encouragement to “serve the Lord.”

In fact, the New Testament often directs us to live as servants of the Lord.

And that’s somewhat of a problem.

In many references in the New Testament referring to “servant,” the translators shied away from the accurate translation of the word “doulos,” which is correctly rendered “slave.” One writer notes the following;

Doulos occurs over 140 times in the Greek text and yet was never translated as ‘slave’ in the King James Version. In the NIV, it is translated ‘slave’ only 98 times — often being rendered ‘servant’ or ‘bond-servant’ the rest of the time. Interestingly, there are at least six Greek words for ‘servant,’ and doulos isn’t one of them. For some reason, translators shy away from the use of the word ‘slave’ in English bibles.”

There’s a big difference between being a servant of God, and a slave of God.

A servant is hired, a slave is owned.

A servant can have more than one job, a slave works solely for his or her master as the master sees fit.

A servant can choose to change masters according what they think is in their best interest, but a slave is one who gives himself up to the will of another.

A servant works to create gain for themselves, but a slave is devoted to another to the disregard of their own interests.

The more we look at the differences between the words servant and slave, the more we understand why the Greek text more commonly refers to Christians as slaves of God.

“But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life,” Romans 6:22.

“And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ. God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world,” 1 Corinthians 7:22-23.

“For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil,” 1 Peter 2:16.

Are you a “servant” of God according to your own interests? Or are you a slave of God, one who willingly surrenders your will and self-interest to the will and purpose of God?