It’s devastating to be owned by another human. Slaves suffer unimaginable heartbreak and abuse because their lives are not their own. Another person tells them where they will live, what they will do, even whom they will marry. They have no say. Being owned is so harsh that even today, when we want to express the domination of one person over another, we are apt to say something like “Susan owns Tom,” meaning that he pretty much does whatever she wants.
As awful as it is to be owned by another human, it’s just as wonderful to learn that we are owned by God. Psalm 100 declares that we belong to God, for “we are His people, the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3). Jesus picked up on this in His story of the lost sheep. He said that the Shepherd searches for us just as a good shepherd leaves the flock to find the one lamb that has strayed. And when He finds us, He carries us home on His shoulders and calls to His neighbors, “Rejoice with Me because I have found My lost sheep” (Luke 15:6).
Those words will melt any lamb’s heart. Jesus doesn’t care where we’ve been or how far we’ve strayed. We may be splashed with mud, covered with prickly burrs, and bleeding from our wanderings through a brier patch—but we still belong to Him.
Jesus’ ownership frees us in at least two ways. First, we’re liberated from the burden of performance. We don’t have to make something of ourselves. We already are somebody, for we are His. Second, we’re liberated to do our best. The pressure is off, so we’re free to take our best shot as we strive to please our Lord.
To be owned by another human is slavery; to be owned by God is freedom.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 John 3:1-24
Read 1 Peter 1:13-25 to learn how Jesus earned the right to own us and how this transforms the way we think and live.
What are other benefits of being owned by God? Why is being owned by Him better than owning ourselves?