Born and bred on this amazing American soil, I am a true freedom-loving individual. I love that I can worship freely and speak freely. I love that we have the freedom to homeschool. And, as a homeschooling family, we are finishing up a 2-year curriculum based on United States history, and our understanding and love for America's roots was ignited and deepened.
So do not misunderstand me here...
Having marinated in the ideals of democratic freedom my entire life, I know nothing of living under a queen or king. I know OF it. I spent some time in England, which I thoroughly adored. But I haven't the slightest idea of how to actually serve royalty.
So, how then can I sing, "You are my King" with such gusto on Sunday mornings? How can I genuinely call Him Lord if I do not have the lifestyle to back it? This struck me recently, and I began to ask, "How DO I serve the King?"
I researched online but found very little. I pulled out books I had bought while I was in England and found several photos that gave clues to the world of kings and queens...but no exact information about serving a king. I went to the library and checked out a few books, but still, the information was very scant. I did find a book about Elizabethan England, and it spoke of how families wanted their girls to be chosen to attend Queen Elizabeth. The families offered this advice to their daughters:
"...apply yourself wholly to the service of her Majesty, with all meekness, love and obedience, wherein you must be diligent, secret [discreet], and faithful...Use much silence, for this becometh maids, especially of your calling. Your speech and endeavors must ever tend to the good of all and to the hurt of none...." (Life in Elizabethan England: Elizabeth and Her Court, by Kathryn Hinds).
How truly opposite of how I've been taught in our freedom-seeking culture! To devote myself wholly to the service of another...especially someone who ruled over me??
I pondered this over and over in my mind, asking, "If I'm serious about Jesus being my King, then really, HOW do I serve Him as such?"
On Sunday morning, I was awaken very early by an odd alarm ringing in my dreams. From the moment I opened my eyes, I knew my Father was beckoning me to come learn at His feet. Still disoriented, I climbed downstairs and opened my Bible with the familiar anticipation I have when I know He wants to share something with me. Anticipation turned to tears as I realized that He was correcting me. Correction never feels good at the time, but He corrects the one He loves. The correction was fairly simple: I had accepted Him as my Savior but not as my Lord.
It's all too easy to say He is Lord, but to live like that is another thing altogether.
HOW do I place Him as Lord and King in my life? I've heard it my whole life, but the reality is that though I have HEARD that I am to make Him Lord, I have lived my entire life in a culture that, in action, conflicts with that. The reality is that my American culture opposes kingship. The conflicting messages are almost innumerable...
American culture tells me to fight for my rights.
Jesus, who was God, gave up His rights as God and submitted to a criminal's death.
American culture tells me to look out for myself.
Jesus tells me to think of others as better than myself. He said the test of my love is to give up my life for others.
American culture tells me to earn as much as I can, to save for a rainy day and buy the best money can offer.
Jesus tells me to sell all I have and give it to the poor.
American culture tells me that that my security is in bank accounts and retirement plans and insurance policies.
Jesus tells me HE is my security. He says to put His Kingdom first, and He will care for my needs.
American culture tells me to live in a town where I'm comfortable and in a neighborhood that is safe.
Jesus left the ultimate comfort and chose to walk the earthly streets among the worst of society. He chose to touch the leper. He chose to eat with the despised sinners. And He called me to follow His example.
American culture tells me I'm an individual and can be a successful self-made person.
Jesus tells me I'm bought with a price, and my life is not my own.
American culture tells me to bow to nobody.
Jesus tells me to serve. And at the name of Jesus, everyone will indeed one day bow.
American culture and history tells me that kingship takes away my rights. Bluntly speaking, it lifts fists and heels and weapons against kingship.
Jesus wants me to give up my rights, and to make Him KING of my life.
So, a new light is emerging in my heart. Oh how I love my America and all its freedoms! I believe in freedom from tyranny. I embrace our country's history and liberties. And yet, if I fail to understand the reality of Jesus as my King...if I let my American liberties override my allegiance to King of kings...if my mindset is defined by all things American instead of all things King Jesus...if I never truly know HOW to serve a king, THE KING...then I am far worse off than someone without American freedoms who truly understands how to serve a king.
I have a King who died for me and has commanded that I follow His example.
I have a King. How do I really serve Him as such?