“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Romans 8:14-16 NASB
One of the darkest times in our history as a country was when we tolerated and instituted the practice of slavery. Fueled by economic greed and attitudes of entitlement, men sailed across the Atlantic to seize and enslave people of another culture. These men, women, and children were not seen or valued as intrinsically worthy humans. They were viewed as commodities and property. African people were sold to the highest bidder to be used for business and then disposed of when they were no longer of use. Through physical abuse and intimidation, countless people lived their lives in fear and hopelessness.
I cannot fathom a greater sense of despair than to be enslaved. Tragic practices of slavery still occur every day all over the globe. People seen as only a means to an end are taken from their lives to be used and discarded by those who only seek power and monetary gain. I imagine most of us reading these words today have not known that kind of physical slavery. Yet, I would also imagine that most of us HAVE experienced other kinds of slavery. One that may not steal the body but steal the mind, the heart, and the soul. The slavery of regret, discouragement, addiction, heartbreak, grief and much more have kept our lives bound and chained.
From the moment the fruit of the Garden was eaten, the chains of sin bound up humanity. No one born from the seed of Adam would be completely free. We are all born into a broken world, physically, relationally, and spiritually. The perfection of the Garden was no longer. The consequences of rejecting God as God have permeated throughout all of history in wars, sickness, and pain. The enemy of our souls rejoices in the darkness and seeks to use and discard us.
Yet, at the precise moment when the fruit was eaten and sin entered our DNA, God was restoring our way back to Him. We would not be able to escape the realities of our broken world, but He, fueled by His incredible grace and love, would extend His Hand to open our prison cells. God began by calling a people to Himself who would follow Him by faith. Through those people, He came, Himself, to us. Jesus. Jesus put on the frailty of the human body, essentially enslaving Himself to the pain and loneliness of the human experience. He allowed Himself to be tempted by the devil and felt the pain of hunger and grief. Then, in the greatest act of Love the world has ever known, Jesus surrendered Himself completely to pay the debts of a broken world. The humiliation, betrayal, and abandonment attacked His very being. As blood poured; as excruciating pain was felt, Jesus gave Himself as payment for us. “It is finished!”, He exclaimed. The chains of sin fell off the human soul; no longer to be bound by fear and death. Through this act of redemption, we are called to become children of God! The spirit of slavery no longer can imprison us if we will embrace the invitation of God into His family as sons and daughters. We can stand adopted by God and know Him as “Abba, Father”, meaning literally, “Daddy”. THAT is the Good News of the Gospel.
I still experience and know the reality of brokenness of this world and my own life. Depression and regret; fear and failure continue to accuse me and threaten to chain my heart and mind. Yet, the truth of His word reminds me that I no matter what I feel or experience in this life, I am no longer a slave. Daily, I must remind and embrace the truth that I am Abba’s Daughter. I call Him, Daddy. He is my Dad and He is enough.
Mary Quillin is a city-girl-turned-country-girl in her new life in North Dakota. She has been married to her hubby for 16 years and has 3 wonderfully, different kids who have begun their teen years (and she would appreciate all the prayers as possible on that note). After many years in full time ministry, Mary is learning how to show up and daily discover the journey of being available for whatever Jesus leads her to. She spends her days trying to build a welcoming shabby chic home in the heartland of North Dakota while learning to write and run.