Sunday, October 5, 2008

"You Gotta Serve Somebody" and the Heidelberg Catechism

Bob Dylan's song, "Gotta Serve Somebody" expresses a reality in God's universe. Human beings are created to be servants---the only real question is whom they will serve. True freedom is found in becoming a servant of Jesus Christ. Just as a fish is only free in its environment of water, so human beings are only free when they live in their natural environment of service to Jesus Christ.

The Heidelberg Catechism points to our joy and comfort in a most surprising and counterintuitive way. Fallen man tends to think he is most free when he lives autonomously, serving himself. But listen to how the catechism describes true joy in Q&A 1:

1 Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own . . .

The first part of our blessing as Christians is that we no longer belong to ourselves! We no longer are enslaved to ourselves. We no longer are in charge. We no longer are servants of ourselves. Instead, we are servants of Jesus Christ and in this service we find true freedom and joy. It is a joy to be delivered from bondage to ourselves, so that we might find life and joy in the service of Jesus Christ. For we were created to serve our triune creator as much as a fish is created for water. Service to Jesus Christ is the natural habitat or environment for the human being.

Dylan is right, you do have to serve somebody. Freedom from the tyranny of self is the first part of our comfort, and it frees us to fulfill God's purpose for our lives, namely, to live as his servants. Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me" (John 4:34). As servants who do his will we find our true freedom as men and women created in God's image.

Freedom from ourselves, enables us the true freedom we find in service to our Lord and Savior. As the Heidelberg Catechism goes on to say:

1 Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own, but belong---body and soul, in life and in death---to my faithful
Savior Jesus Christ.

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