[Editor’s Note: Today’s article is an excerpt from this year’s Advent study, Fulfilled. We pray that as you reflect on Jesus’ role as our perfect servant King come to rule with wisdom and justice, your heart would be stirred to worship him.]
I'm Not Your Servant
I’m not your servant. Most of us have let these words slip from our lips at some point. Maybe to our kids or siblings or husbands. In that flippant moment, a deeper desire of our hearts is revealed. We don’t want to be a servant. We want to be in charge of our own kingdoms. Our hearts are tempted to set us up as sovereign over those around us. After all, we know best, right? We are quick to expect service from others and begrudge any ways we can serve them.
But if we are Christians, we no longer serve ourselves or rule over our own lives. We have submitted our will to the lordship of Jesus Christ, King of kings. Author Paul Tripp says, "God didn't give us his grace in order to make our little claustrophobic kingdoms of one work, but to invite us to a much, much better kingdom."
Twisting our Calling as Rulers Over Creation
One of the most astonishing truths I learned as I researched for this study is that Jesus, as the perfect Prophet, Priest, and King, invites us to image him in these roles in our everyday lives. One day we will reign with God over creation as children of the King. Yet, we twist this privilege and calling when we seek to rule our own lives instead of submitting to the wisdom of our perfect King. We grasp at being more than just made in God's image. Whenever we think we know best, seek to control and manipulate our circumstances, desire to be all-powerful and all-knowing, or make others bow to our plans, we are attempting to do more than care for God's creation. We are setting ourselves up as sovereign over our own lives and the lives of others. This leads to a profound sense of dissatisfaction.
Following the Example of our Servant Savior
But we can be fulfilled when we follow the example of our Savior. Jesus Christ is King of the universe, yet he humbled himself to save us. He took on the form of a servant and humbled himself even to death on a cross (Phil. 2:7–8). Jesus exhorted his disciples, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25).
Setting yourself up as ruler is all about holding tightly to your own life. But true, abundant life comes when you lay down your wants and needs and serve others in the kingdom of God. This is the path Jesus has set before us. And by following his way, though painful at first, we experience the fruit of peace, joy, and satisfaction. Sisters, we can lay down control over our insufficient and unfulfilling mini-kingdoms and discover true fulfillment in following the path of our servant King.
Find the first Advent meditation, The Best Gift, here.