Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 10 – The most loving of families

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.”  (Romans 8:15 NET)

Have you ever tried to picture what it would be like to have been raised in a life of slavery?  Our minds don’t even want to entertain such a thought because we’ve heard of the horrors that have been inflicted on slaves in our own country and around the world.  But God says that when we don’t belong fully to Him, we live under the oppression of a spirit of slavery.  Many well-to-do, highly respected people in our communities are slaves, because they won’t allow Him to rescue them and adopt them as His own.  

A slave owns nothing, not even his wife and children.  His master has the right to beat him, abuse him and work him to death if he pleases, and a slave has no recourse to turn to for justice. Those who have chosen to live by their own strength and according to their own pride, are slaves to the spirits of this world.  The devil, like a crafty slave master, will grant some degree of reward for serving him.  Money, getting away with immoral behavior, friends to encourage and even support addictions, false believers to create a sense of superiority and elevated church positions… the list could go on.  The devil won’t reveal the ugliness of his slavery right upfront, because one thing he knows is that slavery is a life we choose, and we’ll choose whatever looks shinier, easier, and more exciting.  But once that slave is well ensconced in that life, the slave master demands everything of him that is of any value, while the slave remains enthralled with the trinkets and supposed security of that abusive life. 

But the Spirit of adoption is the Spirit of freedom.  We are not slaves, but adopted into the most loving of families, and not as a forgotten distant relative, but as direct heirs.  Jesus referred to His father as Abba.  It’s definitely an intimate name, but different from the childish “daddy” that we are familiar with.  It shows a close loving bond, but is a name for an adult heir to call his father with deep love and respect.  It is only reserved for that type of relationship.  When the Pharisees heard Jesus speak about God this way, they were deeply offended, because Jesus was putting himself on the same level as God the Father – which of course, He is!

This was so radical an idea that the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus for the crime of blasphemy.  And here, the Holy Spirit is teaching us that we are to see ourselves as children who can boldly refer to God as Abba.  Of course we are not and never will be on par with God, but He so graciously invites us to have this intimate relationship.  Former slaves who are adopted and placed in a position of highest honor and love, this is what salvation does for us!

But first look into your own heart, examine your own life.  Have you left your slavery to the world behind?  The spirit of slavery leads to fear, so have you thrown that off?  The choice should be easy to make, and the changes of your life will be like night and day.

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