Enslaved To the Whims of Others
By Kent Heaton
“You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men” (1Cor. 7:23). There is a need to feel accepted by others almost from birth. A child is born dependent on the care of parents that build a bond of trust and security which grows to a desire to be liked and recognized by peers. Often the identifying characteristics of a person come from the pressure put on them by others to conform to their way of life and ideals. Peer pressure is exactly what the term means: pressure from peers to conform not to individual wants but the needs of the crowd to be acknowledged as equal. This becomes a vicious cycle of failures as the individual seeks to live up to the wishes of others driven by the mistaken idea that fulfillment will be found in becoming what others want them to be. An identity crisis is created when people live in a fantasy world of being a person they do not like to be but must maintain the façade of happiness because it allows them to be part of the crowd and popular. Sadly, the veneer of truth quickly fades and the heart is left empty and void. Becoming enslaved to the whims of others is a treacherous path with no return and no hope. No one can live up to the wishes of others because human character is fundamentally flawed with sin. The impact of human failure can never create a world of acceptance where character is based on the pressure from others.
The child of God has a different view of life. Instead of seeking satisfaction in the desires of human wisdom, the Lord admonishes the saints to be servants of righteousness seeking to be pleasing to the Father. Becoming a slave of men ends in failure because of sin. Being a slave of Christ brings eternal joy and contentment. The Christian is a slave of God bought at the price of Jesus death. Serving the Lord is a life of slavery seeking to be pleasing to the Father and not men. God’s judgment is always pure and true and brings true happiness because the expectations of righteousness are measured by the purity of God’s love. Seeking to be a slave of man can never bring joy because the will of man is always changing and fickle. Paul warns not to become a slave of men being judged by the expectations of peer pressure. It is easy to fall into the trap of being what others expect or demand. Slavery to the fads of human wisdom will never bring fulfillment because what is expected today will change tomorrow. The lust of the flesh is what drives the impulses of peer pressure leading to heartache and misery. True slavery can only be found in a relationship with the Father.
When a man is enslaved to the whims of others, he will never find peace. Allowing the power of God’s love to bend the heart to servitude in Christ will always bring happiness and joy. The will of the Father is perfect, enduring and full of grace. Men will not forgive; God always forgives. The pride of men will seek his own will; the way of the Lord is perfect. There is no mercy from the heart of man; the Lord is full of kindness and mercy. All that man can offer is a temporary moment of pleasure in a world that will soon end; God gave His only begotten Son so that all men could live in eternal joy. Becoming a slave of God is seeking to please the Lord in everything. It does not matter what others think or say but it really means a lot when one is doing the will of the Father. There is no reward in following the whims of human wisdom. The joys of eternal life are without measure in this world. Being a slave of God for a brief moment of life that is like a vapor will bring happiness that is without end in eternity. Do not become a slave of men. There is no reward in it. Be a slave of the Lord God and you will find the greatest fulfillment and security offered to man. When it is all said and done, that is all that will matter.
Frogs, Mosquitos, & Campbellites
“And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). “But if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name” (1Peter 4:16).
Members of the church of Christ have often been labeled, “Campbellites.” Sectarians ised to say many years ago: “Three things are born of water: frogs, mosquitos, and Campbellites.” However, they cannot be “Campbellite” because the church of Christ did not originate with Alexander Campbell. There is a tombstone in the Cemetery near the old log church building in Cane Ridge, Kentucky with the following inscription: “William Rogers born in Campbell County Virginia July 7, 1784 removed with his father to Cane Ridge, Bourbon County, April 1798. United with the church of Christ at Cane Ridge in 1807. Died February 15, 1862 in the 78th year of his age. He was the friend of God.”
Alexander Campbell did not come to this country as a Presbyterian until 1809. The ancient tombstone states that William Rogers was united with the church of Christ in 1807. Thus, Alexander Campbell did not begin the church of Christ. Members of the church of Christ are not Campbellites, but Christians. “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes” (2Tim. 2:23).
A Foolish Dispute
While Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer, he was called on to be the arbitrator in many disputes. On one occasion, two men had been arguing for hours about the correct proportion of the length of a man’s legs to the size of his body. They finally called on Lincoln to settle the question. After listening intently to the points on both sides, he stated that it seemed to him that this was a question of the utmost significance and one that had caused much bloodshed in the past and would doubtless do so again in the future. He concluded by saying, “It is my opinion, all side issues being swept aside, that a man’s lower limbs, in order to preserve harmony of proportion, should be at least long enough to reach from his body to the ground.” “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless” (Titus 3:9).