It is hard for me to understand that there was a day in which slaves lived in great subjection to their masters. Many masters, choosing the ways of dictatorship and cruelty. Listen in on how Sarah Ashley age 93, described her life in real slavery.
“I used to have to pick cotton and sometimes I pick 300 pound and tote it a mile to the cotton house. Some pick 300 to 800 pound cotton and have to tote the bag the whole mile to the gin. If they didn’t do they work they get whip till they have blister on them. Then if they didn’t do it, the man on a horse goes gown the rows and whip with a paddle make with holes in it and bust the blisters. I never get whip, because I always get my 300 pound. Us have to go early to do that, when the horn goes early, before daylight. Us have to take the victuals in the bucket to the field.
Us never got enough to eat, so us keeps stealing stuff. Us has to. They give us the pack of meal to last the week and two, three pound back on in chunk. Us never have flour or sugar, just cornmeal and the meat and potatoes. The [slaves] have the big box under the fireplace, where they keep all the pick and chicken what they steal, down in salt.” (Life in Slavery. Scholastic.com)
Can you imagine living in such injustice, and not having hope of any better life? Did you know that this is what sin does in the life of a Believer? We have been adopted into the family of God, and equipped to serve him, but many times we choose the way of the blacksmith:
There is a great blacksmith whose furnace is continually white with fire. He is a slave to his vocation and grieves tirelessly over his anvil. From blocks away you can hear his hammer clashing the red hot iron, day after day. What is he crafting you ask? Is it a hammer or a sword? No. Not at all. It is nothing but a very long chain. This chain, however, is not built to hold city gates, or suspend a great chandelier. This chain is forged for one purpose only, and that is to be fastened tightly around the blacksmith’s feet. The only freedom of movement the blacksmith has is to bend another link, and secure a tighter fit to his imprisonment. This chain, heavy and hot, is forged with the wrought iron of his sinful heart, and made strong by the fire of his burning lust. He is in bondage of to his doubt and sin, and although he is already made free, the blacksmith insists on being made a servant of sin. Christ has made a way of escape for him and offers him fellowship with God, but he refuses, unwillingly to drop the hammer of pride. He is a child of the King, but a slave to corruption.
Are you like this blacksmith? Do you allow sin to bind you? God wishes to use our hands for instruments of righteousness, but we are crippled by our sinful desires. We would rather serve ourselves and be in bondage, then to serve God in liberty and grace. Paul encouraged the church in Rome to not live any longer in the slavery of sin, but to yield themselves unto righteousness of God. He says in verses 17-18, “But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delievered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”
Our service to God is not one of legality and oppression, but it is, through grace, the highest privilege. Serve Him humbly, heartily, and wholly, and be made free from sins evil grip. (John 1:9, Joshua 3:5)