Richard Ross is husband to LaJuana, who has joined him in a lifetime of loving teenagers. They are parents of Clayton. Richard served as youth minister for thirty years and now is a volunteer with teenagers and parents at Wedgwood Baptist in Fort Worth. Richard is professor to the next generation of youth ministers at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth. Since its inception, Richard has served as the spokesperson for the international True Love Waits movement.
I was conceived in the mind of God before the foundation of the universe. I was created by God to be in a relationship with Him; to glorify Him; to love Him with all my heart, soul, and mind; to love my neighbor as myself; and to make disciples of all peoples.
My greatest joy is knowing Him, and my greatest privilege is bringing glory to Him.
God orchestrated DNA down through the centuries so that my human conception fulfilled His original design for me. I am unique and important to God—but no more so than each of the billions of people He has created.
As soon as I developed the conscious ability to do so, I willfully disobeyed God. At that moment I confirmed my separation from God.
During the years of my separation from God, godly relatives, baptism, church membership, and religious practices could not have changed that separation.
God loved mankind, including me, and chose to satisfy His holy justice regarding my sin by paying the penalty for that sin Himself. Jesus Christ, God who became man in the incarnation, died as the sacrifice for my sin. Three days later He defeated death and rose from the dead.
Forty days after the resurrection, Jesus Christ ascended back to heaven where He was enthroned at His Father's right hand and given the scepter of all authority.
Across the centuries God has revealed Himself in many ways. But in our day He has chosen to reveal Himself most clearly through His Son, Jesus Christ. By the will of the Father and in the power of the Spirit, believers are to embrace the Son’s supremacy. The Son does not exist for me; I exist for Him.
He does not primarily come down to become the center of my small existence; I center my life in His expansive being and kingdom activity.
Because the sacrifice for sin was complete, each person, including me, was offered forgiveness from all sin, allowing a restored relationship with God.
While I was lost and a slave of Satan, the Holy Spirit pursued me, opened my blind eyes to my condition, and granted me the faith necessary for salvation.
I then was able to believe Jesus Christ had paid the price for my sins, to trust Him alone for eternal life, and to make Him Lord and Master of my life. Christ took up residence in my heart, His Spirit baptized me, and I became a child of God.
At that time I moved from being a slave of Satan to being a joyful slave of my beloved Master, Jesus Christ. Those are the only two forms of human existence. Those who believe they are "free" and control their own lives are experiencing a fantasy (a matrix) constructed by Satan.
Because of my deep love for King Jesus, my awe with His majesty, my holy fear of Him, and my complete trust in Him, I gladly had my ear pierced (symbolically) as His eternal slave. Now I gladly obey Him as my beloved Master. My obedience chiefly consists of my dying to self and inviting Him to live His supernatural life through me.
I have chosen slavehood because I adore my Master. Thus, I live with a sense of joy rather than drudgery and exuberant love rather than sacrifice.
Christ is leading me toward a relationship with Him that He compares to physical intimacy in marriage. The increasing length and depth of my prayers are a sign of that deepening relationship. Prayers of joyful adoration now absorb more time than asking for things. But my warmth and closeness with Him never takes away my awe and respect for His absolute authority over the universe and over my life.
As a joyful slave, I own no possessions. Today the King is allowing me to steward some of the things He owns. If He asks me to give away all that belongs to Him, I quickly will obey. Under orders from my Master, I channel a minimum of 10 percent of His resources through my local church. With the other 90 percent, I desire to increasingly simplify my life so I can move more of His resources into kingdom activity. I especially want to channel funds toward multiplying the number of worshippers before the throne for eternity and caring for those whose needs are greatest.
As a slave who adores His Master, I serve anonymously. If the King should decide to bring some attention to my service today, that will be an unexpected blessing. But if He calls me to serve the rest of my days with no attention and no acclaim, I will serve Him just as faithfully. He alone is worthy.
As an exuberant slave, I have no right to hold onto relationships. If today King Jesus allows me to enjoy family and friends, I will humbly and joyfully accept that gift. If the Master instructs me to leave behind all relationships in His service, I will do so. If He instructs those closest to me to leave me in His service, I will experience human grief, but I will say blessed be the name of the Lord.
As God’s son who also is a slave, I have no right to claim time for myself. If my King gives me time to rest or even enjoy leisure today, I will be humbly grateful. But while millions are lost and millions are starving, I will resist the temptation to spend my Master's funds on lavish leisure.
I have no right to claim physical comfort or a long life on the present earth. If I do not experience persecution or die for my faith today, I will be humbly grateful. If I do suffer or experience a martyr's death, I will consider it a high honor to do so and will rejoice in the opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ.
I am not a citizen of the present earth. My citizenship is on the New Earth. I increasingly turn my attention to that place where Triune God will make His dwelling with mankind, where creation will not be twisted by the curse, where relationships will be everlasting, and where I will find an infinite number of ways to serve my King and to adore Him forever. I see that, and not this brief moment on the present earth, as life that matters most.