“Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” – Matthew 4:8-10.
Sophie’s Choice is the title of a 1979 novel by William Styron, about a Polish woman in a Nazi concentration camp who is forced to decide which of her two children will live and which will die. It is not much of a choice because whichever way she chooses, she will have to live with that decision the rest of her life.
We are faced with decisions every day. Most of them are relatively inconsequential: what to eat for dinner, which route to take to work, whether to root for Florida State or Florida. Some decisions, however, have serious consequences. Every day we are faced with the choice of who we will serve. We will face this decision multiple times each day. And your thoughts and actions will determine whether you are bowing to Satan, or bowing to Jesus Christ, allowing yourself to live your life according to His will. Either way, you bow to someone. There is no middle ground. You cannot have two masters—you must choose. Christ’s words make this perfectly clear: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24)
In Romans 1:1, Paul calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ. Paul fully understood his life was no longer his own, that it belonged to Christ. That is why he told the Corinthian congregation that “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.” (I Corinthians 7:23). That high price was the death of Jesus Christ to purchase us from Satan.
Surrendering yourself to Christ is not easy. Satan wants you to bow to him and will try to catch you unaware and steal you back. If you are not careful, you can fall into one of the devil’s snares—taken captive—and unwittingly find yourself once again bowing to Satan.
You can clearly know whose servant you are—who your Master is—on a day-by-day basis. Here is the formula: Romans 6:16 says, “ Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.”
“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right.” (Romans 6:20). Then you are bowing to Satan. But if “now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” (Romans 6:18), then you are bowing to Christ.
- Do you agree that it is an either or situation? Why or why not?
- How can we know whether we are bowing to God or to Satan?
- What can we do this week to live up to God’s standard and according to His design?