If you have been reading this blog long enough, you know that I love the verse Colossians 3:23.
Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.”
Three years ago, at the right place, at the right time, God confirmed to me that all the passion I have for the game of softball was given to me by God and is glorifying to Him. He told me that if I put my whole heart into the game, and in the same way I put my whole heart in to my relationship with the Lord, I am then, competing for His glory.
I would love to take time to take a step back and look at this verse in its context.
Colossians 3:22 says, “Slaves, obey your earthy masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”
So this changes our perspective a bit. Why? Paul is actually addressing slaves in this passage. In the previous verses, 18-21, Paul addresses wives, husbands, children, fathers, and finally, as we see in verse 22, slaves.
So it is in this context that Paul says (in my own words), whatever you do, whether it is cleaning or working in the fields, work at it like you are serving the Lord, and put your whole heart into it.
Paul ends the chapter with verses 24 and 25 saying, “…since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.”
See, Paul is not justifying slavery in this passage at all. He is, however, addressing the cultural norm of the present day, actually encouraging the slaves by giving them a means for life and for contentment in their current situation. Do you see this?
I am in no way saying that as a competitive athlete I am a slave. However, I have signed a contract, and I have no better choice than to submit to authority. So if you want to call it slavery, this is slavery I choose because it gives my life meaning. While I choose this, I don’t just work hard when the coach’s eye is on me. I challenge myself with the quote that defines a champion as someone who works just as hard or harder when no one is watching (See Colossians 3:22).
There is another slavery we can choose, too.
According to Romans 6, we can choose to be slaves to righteousness.
Without God, we are slaves to sin (see Romans 6:11). We sin, every day, and there is nothing that we can do about it. But Jesus came so that we did not have to be enslaved any longer to sin, but be slaves to righteousness and give our lives greater meaning.
Romans 6:22-23 says, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The wages of sin is death. But Jesus sets us free, and we get to choose to be slaves to righteousness and this leads to eternal life.
While I choose this slavery to righteousness, I don’t just work at my relationship when the church’s eye is on me. I challenge myself to seek my relationship with the Lord just as hard or harder when no one is watching (See Colossians 3:22). After all, it is not to be seen by others. A relationship with the Lord is a condition of the heart.
Playing with all our hearts is serving the Lord Jesus Christ. No one else can tell you if you are or you aren’t. No one else can tell you if you are living your life fully for the Lord Christ, or not. It’s between you and God, and I challenge you today to ask yourself where your heart stands.
Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”