Don't become a doormat.  The type of slavery God calls you to is obedience to His will for you - which will always respect your dignity.  Your service to God should enrich your life, not diminish it, even as you make sacrifices and work humbly.  Don't let others mistreat you while you're serving.  Have the courage to lovingly yet firmly confront those who do.

Embrace your scars.  Remember that, Jesus chose to bear the marks of His crucifixion on His resurrected body.  Don't hide the scars - both physical and emotional - that you've incurred through your own acts of service.  Instead, embrace them as evidence of what you've gone through and how God has worked in your life.

When you flee, ask your master to capture you again.  Recognize your constant vulnerability to temptations that can seduce you into fleeing from your master - Jesus - by running away from how He calls you to live.  Pray for the faith and strength to return to a close relationship with Jesus whenever you stray.  Confess and repent of your sins regularly.  Don't allow anything to block the intimacy He wants to have with you.

Keep dying so you can live.  Jesus' call to die to your own agenda each day will make it possible for you to really live.  Follow His example of the paradoxical life: As He died in order to live, He surrendered to achieve victory and He won everything by losing everything.  Trust Him to guide you every day.

Adapted from A Better Freedom: Finding Life as Slaves of Christ, copyright 2009 by Michael Card. Published by IVP Books, a division of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com.
Michael Card is an award-winning musician, performing artist and writer of "El Shaddai," "Immanuel" and many other songs. He has produced more than 20 albums. He has also written numerous books, including
A Sacred Sorrow, A Violent Grace, The Parable of Joy and Sleep Sound in Jesus (a children's book). A graduate of Western Kentucky University with a bachelor's and master's degrees in biblical studies, Card is currently at work on a Ph.D. in classical literature. He also serves as mentor to many younger artists and musicians, teaching courses on the creative process and calling the Christian recording industry into deeper discipleship. Card lives in Tennessee with his wife and four children.

Original publication date: October 9, 2009