Thought for the Week - 13th MayHelen Watkins
Galations 4: 1-7
Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children,
those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up,
even though they actually own everything their father had.
They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set.
And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came.
We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world.
But when the right time came, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, subject to the law.
God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law,
so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”
Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.
And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
In the above verses, we read that we are no longer a slave – we’re a son! And because we’re a son, we’re an heir of God!
Back in those days, a slave had absolutely no rights. He was the legal property of another. He was forced to obey them and forced to work for them. Meanwhile, a son was very important. It’s not any one name. Indeed, the word son refers to the second person of the trinity, Jesus. In Hebrew, son means “the builder of the family name”. A son was very, very important.
We read above that we were all slaves before Christ came. We read how the Jewish people were in darkness. They had the letter of the law. That’s all they had and they had to keep to it rigidly, otherwise they’d sin.
We’ve come into a freedom that we know nothing about. We weren’t as bound in rules as the Jewish people were, but think back to where you were before you came to the knowledge of Christ. I’m sure if we think hard enough, we’d understand that period of darkness, where we were absolutely bereft of anything. We didn’t know where to go, what to do. There was just this emptiness and burden.
A slave is driven by duty. A son is driven by devotion. A slave does things because he has to. He is poor, while a son is rich. A son, in this context, is allowed to call God “Abba Father”, or “our God”.
Since those days, things have moved on. Since genes and DNA have been discovered, we know things about heritable traits. We know what irresistible forces, working for good or evil, are conveyed to us through hereditary forms from our ancestors. Any bad traits we can blame our ancestors. All of these things are part of our DNA and our being. But when we become born again, when we become sons of God, we read that we’re born again into God’s family! We’re born into an incorruptible family! We come in with defects, but we go into something pure. We go into something that can change us and make a difference in us. We can be born in to an earthly family and end up carrying a lot of baggage. But we can come into God’s family.
He is truly our Father. But He can only become our Father when we become born again. We have to say the sinner’s prayer and invite Christ into our life. We have to know the difference that once we were in darkness, but that now we’re in the light. It is then that God becomes our Father. We inherit from God, not only his kingdom but his character.
Those who have been born into God’s family
do not make a practice of sinning,
because God’s life is in them.
So they can’t keep on sinning,
because they are children of God.
Slaves had a very raw deal. Sometimes we become Christians, but remain slaves. We don’t actually change. We don’t ever move from being a slave into a son of God. This can be for a few reasons:
- We might be fearful of this walk
- There might come a will in us not to change
- There can come a point where we become indifferent or paralysed by things
Sons act with maturity and share the inheritance with the Father. God hasn’t just given us any old thing. He has asked us to share an heirship with His son Jesus Christ! That is such an enormous thing! I don’t think we really get our heads around it. It needs to sink in deep. God has asked you today to become an heir with the son. It comes with a cost and it comes with a blueprint of what to do.
A slave will act immaturely. He’ll never think for himself. He’ll always be too afraid to move and will never to deviate from where He is. He needs to be driven. Meanwhile, a son will labour alongside the father, he won’t wait to be told what to do. He’ll look and act with mind-set that he’s inherited the work from his father. We need to come from a mind-set of a slave. We need to start a renewing of our minds. We need to start sowing our inheritance in other people. That is how our faith is increased!
A son lives in ownership of his life. He’s sensitive and in union with his father. The Father says to us “you will know that I am in you and you are in me”. He said that to His own son, but He also says “I’ve called you to be joint heirs with the son”.
This covenant was originally made with Abraham. But now He’s made it with us – with you and me. We need to be at our Father’s business. We need to be asking God what we need to do. We need to get out of this slave mentality, we need to stop being poor spiritually, and under the bondage of sin. Ask, what can I do? Ask what Christ would do. There are things we can do! Like a son, we need to be acting in maturity. Don’t serve an institution or a church – serve God!
How do we start serving God? We need to feel that oneness with God. Sometimes we need direction. Sometimes we can lose direction and need help. We can’t see the wood for the trees, we’re tired, or we’re defiant. Whenever we come upon a situation that we can’t pray away, we must act like children of the heavenly Father. We must let Him chastise us for our improvement. We must call upon His name to entreat Him to display His power and remove the difficulties.
We don’t know Him sometimes. Sometimes we don’t always hear a clear message – “this is the way, walk ye in it”. So what do we do? We have to trust Him with that problem. We need to say to Him: “here it is – I can’t do anything”. We need to hand it to Him. The issue is coming to Him and giving it to Him. When the difficulties are hindering our progress, we should have faith and by proclaiming He is, how great His power. That’s all He’s asking us to do. Have we prayed like this – recognising His power over things?
I’m wary of the health and wealth, prosperity preaching. But sometimes we’re so afraid, we’re afraid to come to God and have faith in Him that our prayers will be answered. We need to be praying that “thy will be done, but I am bringing this to you”. And if we go to our earthly father, he’s not going to turn us away. So how less likely is our heavenly father likely to turn us away? We need to bring it to Him, petition Him and to cry out. We need to praise Him!
We need to be doing this every single day. This is where we fall down. We’re so busy rushing on in our lives that we can forget God. Bring Him every single thing. We need to open our hearts and our mouths to Him. The enemy doesn’t want us to be effective. He doesn’t want us to be changed. We need to rise up and tell him to get lost. We need to plead the blood of Christ upon ourselves. We need to ask Him to stand in the gap. If we pray the blood of Christ upon us and ask Him to stand in the gap, then the enemy won’t see us – he’ll only see the blood that cascades down upon us from the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is what we miss. We try and come in our own strength. Or we fail to do what we need to do. But God is telling us this is what He wants us to do. He wants us to be bold in Him. He wants us to be changed, and to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to see God’s kingdom move and to see revival happening. There needs to be a daily conversation with God to stop being a slave and become a son.
It doesn’t happen automatically; our lives should begin to be changed. But our character gets in the way. We bring things up, we make excuses. Our habits stop us from being effective. We are extremely stubborn. We think we know best and then wonder why things happen. God knows our characters and our flaws. That’s all He says is “come to me. Speak to me. Call upon me. And see if the windows of heaven cannot be opened”. That’s all he asks us. In itself it’s simple. But because we’re stubborn, we try to do it out way and hold onto things.
When you next pray, see what happens. Pray for something that is troubling you, that you’re struggling with, for a person, or a character flaw that you think needs to be changed. Call out, cry and talk to Him as much as you can. See the difference.
He wants us to bring our illnesses, disappointments, and temptations. He wants us to come with everything. He is happy when we tell Him everything. He will be the answer to our prayers. Perhaps He’ll want to chastise. He may want to comfort us. Perhaps He’ll direct our thoughts in a certain way so we can receive help. He might answer through scripture, another person, or a verse by text. He wants us to express our love in words and dedication. He has a heart filled with love – He is kind and He is merciful. This daily contact with God changes us – it brings us close to the heart of God.
That is where the secret lies. To know the heart of God.
If we don’t know the heart of God, then this needs to be the prayer of our heart until we get to know the heart of God.
This is the highest form of prayer. We can sacrifice ourselves, we can be on our knees, but this is the highest form of prayers – our daily contact with Him. Beseeching Him. Crying out to Him. Telling Him all our disappointments, our thoughts, our love, our weariness etc. Then we will make genuine commitments to Him. But only such a life of prayer brings forth fruit with no end. We can’t do this on our own – that’s why we need to pray.
Earlier this week, I read two quotes by Basilea Schlink that I wanted to share:
everything that happens from morning until night”
He never gives you more than you can bear.
Every burden prepares you for eternity”
We need to see lives coming into the Kingdom. We need to see lives changed. It is badly needed.
Speak to God. Only good things come from God.