Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:5-6)
Most people tend to relate to God based upon slave-like mindsets. We have known real separation from God in our lives. Born as we are with a rebellious mindset, self-dependant, and self-ruled, separated from the life of God because of the way our hearts are turned against Him. Lawbreakers usually don’t see the Police as their friends. It is very natural to view God as our enemy.
I realize some of you think this is ludicrous, perhaps even laughable, if not neanderthal! But if you disagree with me, it is mostly due to the fact that you think God is just like you. Humans love to create a god to our own liking, we craft him into a likeness that agrees with all of our own self-directed, self-glorifying goals. This idol we make accepts all of our sinful bents and conforms to our every whim. We can count on him as our cheerleader whenever life seems to be beyond our control.
The problem is that the actual God of the universe doesn’t participate in our delusion. The world around us certainly will though. Actually, the more like the world you make your god, the more the world will accept you and your god.
The primary way wayward humanity defines significance is:
My performance + the opinions of my peers = significance
This is both a recipe for success and for slavery. It looks like success when you are outperforming others or at least successfully conforming to the ideals of your preferred culture. But if you’re not at the “top of the hill”, then it spells “bondage”. You keep trying to measure up, to gain the accolades of those around you. And someone keeps outperforming you. Or worse, you keep sabotaging your own future because of harmful appetites, addictions, and philosophies. Notice I didn’t use the word “sin” in this paragraph. The world doesn’t like that word.
Fortunately, the real and living God is mercifully inclined toward all of us idolators! He sent His Son to take away our sins, to forgive our rebellion, and to place in us the Spirit of sonship. That is, for those who turn to Him through Jesus, and acknowledge their sins, He is pleased to place His Spirit within them. And what a difference this makes!
So there are at least two types of folks reading this blog today. And the reaction of the two camps is polar opposite. Some of you read this and it makes you angry! Others read this and you think, “Yep, that’s exactly true. I was in rebellion toward God and was in full denial, until He opened my eyes and led me to His Son, Jesus.”
For those in the latter camp, have you realized that it’s hard to shed the old slave-like mindset? You are now a bona fide, Spirit-born child of God. But you often think and feel like the old rebellious slave of sin that you used to be. You still have this deep-seated idea that you must earn and maintain God’s approval by your performance.
But Paul tells us that we are no longer slaves but sons. We need a big mental shift. This takes spiritual discipline. This takes renewing our mind by the good news of the gospel of God’s grace.
Here’s a chart that might help you identify patterns of thinking that could be robbing you of the full experience of walking in the love and affirmation of your Father in heaven.
If this blog intrigues you or inflames you, and you would like to endure more of the same, click here for an audio teaching on this subject!