Paul wrote Galatians to a group of people he was frustrated with. Or, more accurately, to people within that group who were trying to set up more rules than God had set up. Paul reminds them that they are children of God not slaves of God.
And that’s our fourth opportunity: Live as children, not as slaves. This is a huge opportunity, and a confusing one. For many people, the experience of being a child, of being part of a family, has been painful.
But when Paul is writing, he’s contrasting the cultural image of child with the cultural image of slave. And the differences are striking.
- Children still obey, but not to keep from getting fired or sold or disowned. They obey because it’s part of being in the family.
- Children of God have the Spirit of God to comfort, direct, challenge, and reveal the meaning of God’s words. It’s a beginning part of the inheritance, like being included in family meetings.
- Children of God still have difficult lives. The Son of God died. And before that fasted, was mocked, was hungry, was naked, was in prison, was misunderstood. So are his children now. But Jesus knew this and understands this and is with us in this.
As I said to someone recently, the opposite of being fearful is being fearless. Children in healthy families are relationally fearless. They spend less time worrying about whether Dad is mad at them and more time doing what he says, trusting that although other people may be deceptive, vindictive, self-absorbed, or simply clueless, God isn’t.
So this year, let’s care for each other in the family of God. Fearlessly. Like children.
If you’d like to apply the posts from this week, I created a pdf with some questions. Download it here: grid-four opportunities.