"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ..." (James 1:1); "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus..." (Romans 1:1); "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:21).
In a speech on May 30, 1919, Woodrow Wilson said, "There is something better, if possible, that a man can give than his life. That is his living spirit to a service that is not easy, to resist counsels that are hard to resist, to stand against purposes that are difficult to stand against." Jesus gave His life but few of us are required to do that; it is our life in service that He asks.
To be a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ means to be a servant to humankind. It is more than "I'll do you a favor if you do me a favor." It is seeking the happiness and welfare of others in spite of how they feel about us – even if they are hostile and ungrateful –" because he [the Lord Jesus Christ] is kind to the ungrateful and wicked" (Luke 6:35c).
James was a bondservant to Christ, bound in freedom because he had made a loving surrender of his will to God's will. James found this service to be his true freedom. Perhaps James is telling his readers that he wishes his very character to be known as that of servant. The word "servant" is in disrepute today, but it simply means one who gives service. There is nothing disgraceful or demeaning about helping others.
We are his,
To serve him nobly in the common cause,
True to the death, but not to be his slaves.
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus ... [He] made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant" (Philippians 2:5,7). This is an eternal mystery, that God became a servant! And the servant is not better than the master.