"Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves." 1 Peter 2:16 (NIV)
I remember begging my mom to get my ears pierced. I was in 5th grade and only one other girl in my class had hole-less lobes. I pleaded my case. "But Mooooooom! EVVVVV-ERYONE has their ears pierced but Heidi and me!"
That year on my birthday, she took me to the Meijer Thrifty Acres grocery store where a nice lady in the jewelry department pierced them for me.
The pain was worth the cool.
When I was in college, my friend Carmen got one ear double pierced. She said she did it to remind her that she belonged to the Lord; that she was His slave.
You see, in the Old Testament, slavery wasn't unjustly forced like in our modern world. It was more of an occupation; a servant with civil and religious rights. A slave worked for his master for six years and then had the option to leave. However, if he wanted to continue his servanthood, he could. As a symbol of his loyalty, his ear was pierced. Exodus 21:5-6 says this about slaves:
"But suppose the slave loves his wife and children so much that he won't leave without them. Then he must stand beside either the door or the doorpost at the place of worship, while his owner punches a small hole through one of his ears with a sharp metal rod. This makes him a slave for life." (CEV)
I loved Carmen's idea of having a small hole in her ear as a sign of life-long service to the Lord. An earring to remind her that she chose to serve God in all areas of her life. However, I am a wimp. And the pain of the first ear piercing was enough for me!
But a few years ago, while shopping downtown with some friends I had an idea. What if I wore a sterling silver toe ring as a sign of my service to the Lord? My friends and I each bought one.
I wear this toe ring everyday to remind myself that I am a voluntary slave of Christ. And that I love my Master and the things He's given me to serve, like my family, church, neighbors and others.
When I see it, it reminds me that I'm not in control, God is. And it helps me realign my preferences with His when I want to be the boss of my life and my circumstances. When I grow weary of serving God selflessly, I am reminded that I belong to Him.
My toe ring also reminds me that my relationship with the Lord is for life.
Yes, I am free to do as I'd like. There are no laws in my country against chucking my faith and running away.
However, my toe ring reminds me:
"Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves." (1 Peter 2:16 NIV)
Are you willing to commit to God with all your heart, mind and soul? To serve rather than be served? To carry out the wishes of your Master willingly and joyfully? Even though you are free, will you choose to be His slave today?
A pierced ear or toe ring is optional.
Dear Lord, may I be reminded continually that it is You that I serve, not the other way around. May my life show my love and devotion to You and my loved ones. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you liked this devotion, check out Karen's new book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith. It will enable you to control what you should and trust God with what you can't.
Reflect and Respond:
Although the term slave rightly has a negative connotation given history and current-day sex trafficking, how can the word "slave" properly describe how we should relate to God?
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being never, 10 being always), how often do you react to life's circumstances with a joyful attitude and "whatever Your will is" perspective? What can you do to make that number go higher?
Psalm 119:17, "Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word." (ESV)
© 2012 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105