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There is a sad reality that permeates Christian society today that not only prevents believers from experiencing The Abundant Life (John 10:10b), but also prevents them from "shining as lights in the world," (Philip. 2:15) as a testimony of the true virtues of Christianity. That deterrent is soul slavery.

The scripture states the existence of soul slavery at 1 Cor. 6:12, by the phrase,

"I will not be mastered by anything." (NASB)


Obviously, the "all things" refer to that which is NOT specifically forbidden by the word of God. These fall into two categories.

1. Those things that were forbidden under the Mosaic economy as restrictions for the nation of Israel only, and do not apply to the church. An example of these is found at 1 Tim. 4:3, "abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth." The same principle is found at Col. 2:16, "therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food, or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon celebration or sabbath days."

2. The second category includes those things which are not directly mentioned in the bible such as certain foods, beverages, or recreational activities.
In both cases, the issue is not the "freedom" to do or eat, but the benefit and motivation for doing or eating.
Included in this category would be the whole field of "material things."
God has provided these wonderful things for us to enjoy, but they must always be kept in balance with our "spiritual" purpose for being here on earth.

BUT NOT ALL THINGS ARE PROFITABLE: this means that not everything is actually beneficial to me or to others. Even though I have the "actual" freedom to do it, I may not have the "spiritual" freedom to do it.

1 Peter 2:16 says,

"as free men and not using your freedom as a camouflage for evil,
but use it as bond servants of God,"(BFT).

Just as Paul writes at 1 Cor. 10:31,

"whether you eat or drink,
do all to the glory of God."

Also we find at Gal. 5:13,

"For you were called to freedom,
brethren, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love, serve one another."

Thus the warning at 1 Cor. 8:9,

"take care lest this liberty (authority) of yours
becomes a stumbling block to the weak."


The word, "be mastered," is exousiadzo, and means to be placed under the authority of something. The idea here is that, even though I have freedom to participate in that which is not specifically forbidden by God's word, I still run the danger of making that activity, my master. This is a "soul" issue, that is, what takes place in one's mentality or self-consciousness. Thus, the term, "soul slavery."

What constitutes making something the authority in my life?

When I cannot be "mentally" relaxed, content, or at peace unless I am participating in some activity outside my soul, then I am a slave to that activity. If I cannot "start the day" without coffee, tea, a cigarette or whatever else is your "security blanket," then I am enslaved to that item and not trusting God's word for my security. If I cannot "last throughout the day" without using one or more of these items, or anything else that qualifies, then I am a frustrated slave and not pleasing to God in the least. Ie, not in fellowship with Him.

If I cannot be "relaxed" and "civil" toward others without using one or more of these items, then I am a dependent addict, missing out on the true joy and peace of the abundant life.

When I depend on any one of these things to try to find the peace and joy promised by Jesus at John 14:27, then I am enslaved to that item and will not experience the reality of that abundant life.

"peace I leave with you, MY peace I give to you;
NOT as the world gives, do I give to you.
Let not your heart (mind) be agitated, neither let it be intimidated."
(John 14:27, BFT)

There is a very real need for "peace" in the souls of people. Isaiah records at 57:21,

"there is no peace, says my God to the wicked."

At Ecc. 1:2-8, Solomon concludes after a lifetime of doing anything and everything he wanted,

"vanity of vanities, all is vanity . . .
all things are wearisome . . .
the eye is not satisfied with seeing
nor is the ear filled with hearing."

So man tries many and varied things, as Solomon's pursuits demonstrate, in order to find some kind of peace IN THE SOUL. And Jesus recognized this when He mentioned, "NOT AS THE WORLD gives." The world is looking for something to "cover over" the sorrow, frustration, boredom, depression, worry and fear that is in the soul. Something - anything to give him some kind of "peace" of mind when the pressures of reality press in so hard that it seems like the soul is squirming in a whirlpool of molasses.

Thus, they find many and varied devices to somehow "shut out" the reality of life without spiritual stability; things to hide under while the pressure may abate but never go away.

And Jesus pleads with them as recorded at Mat. 11:28, "Come to Me all who are struggling to weariness and are under a burden, and I will give you rest."

However, that "rest" is not something that is immediately realized for the one who trusts in Christ as savior, except in the area of peace concerning one's eternal destiny. The peace and rest concerning the many pressures and worries of this life come through learning God's word and claiming the promises found therein. Just as Paul promises at Philippians 4:6-7, "Be worrying about NOTHING, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all "human" understanding, will GUARD your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

But this is a potential for the child of God, not a guaranteed life style. It depends on learning and using promises and principles of divine viewpoint that allow us to look at and handle the realities of life from the divine perspective, "knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God," (Rom. 8:28). Thus, we should be "casting all our concerns upon Him, because He cares for us," (1 Pet. 5:7).

However, what often happens is that even the believer who has been "transferred out of darkness into His awesome light," (1 Pet. 2:9) will still seek the kind of peace that "the world gives" in order to deal with the pressures and cares of life. When we do this, we are placing ourselves under the authority of whatever gives us "peace," and whatever "calms us down," only to find it an oppressor without conscience or satiability.

Sublimation, the opiate of a worrisome, irritated, bored and inadequate Christian society is not the exception these days, but the rule, as the reality of Christ's peace and joy finds no home in the souls of those who do not "let the word of Christ abundantly dwell within" them (Col. 3:15).

And that sublimation takes on many and varied forms as we seek distractions for the mind and/or the body, never understanding that Jesus Christ and His word is adequate for handling and indeed "overcoming" any and every pressure in this life.

The issue is not whether "doing" something is a sin in itself, but that, in the "doing" we find an illusion of peace of mind that eludes us otherwise. And we become so dependent on this "illusion" that we make it our "master," bowing and yielding to every demand; every barked command from this lifeless "idol," and find ourselves falling deeper and deeper into slavery of soul and body.

We "cannot serve two masters. For we will either hate the one and love the other; or cling to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and the material things of this life," (Mat. 6:24).

God is our master; He is the authority of our soul. We depend upon Him for our peace, joy and security. "The things you have learned, and received, and heard and seen in me, practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you." (Philip. 4:9).

If instead, we yield to the slave master who promises us only illusion and a "false" peace, we will grieve and quench the Holy Spirit who seeks to give us "love, joy, peace, patience . . . self-control" (Gal. 5:22) and find ourselves out of fellowship with our Heavenly Father, Who yes, "freely gives us all things for enjoyment, (1 Tim. 6:17), but Who also gives us the spirit of "power and of love and STABILITY of mind (2 Tim. 1:7).

"Therefore encourage one another day after day,
as long as it is called today,
lest any one of you become hardened
by the deceitfulness of the sin nature."
(Heb. 3:13, BFT)

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