For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
I grew up in a family where feelings weren’t expressed. Fear and uncertainty were constant companions. I wasn’t sure whether or not I was really wanted. I never knew, as a child, what it was like to be gathered close and called a treasure. Complicating this was my parent’s bent toward quietness. They did not easily reveal how they felt about anything or anyone, much less about a little person in their midst. I grew up not knowing if I was lovable. I became skilled at checking people’s faces before entering a room to discern their mood and to figure out whether or not I would be welcome.
I became the good girl who tried to over perform in order to win affirming words from my parents. Love was expressed every now and then as a phrase inside a greeting card. My heart lived wanting and in the wilderness of need, I eventually discovered that the call of Abba Father, extended through Jesus, can heal all shyness. His proclamations of love uproot and expunge all shame and uncertainty.
I also learned that God does not hide behind a veil of silence. The emotional prose of scripture, which includes the language the Gospel, is unsparing in generosity and does not leave me with questions. God reveals who He is and how He feels about me. God does not withhold anything I need. He doesn’t cast glances my way that express disapproval. He loves every day and all day not matter how I feel about Him.
Aren’t you glad that we don’t have to live as over achievers in order to get His attention and approval? We have no need to fall back into a spirit of slavery where insecurity plagues us day and night. Through Christ, God calls us, saves us, draws us close, adopts us, frees us forever from captivity, and then stamps our adoption papers with His own name. With rapturous joy, He declares, “You are mine! Call me Daddy.”
I love how John Piper captures this event in poetic words ~
God looked down on his own world under the dominion of Satan and said to his Son, “Prepare for the invasion. The artillery of the enemy will be heavy. In fact, before you get very far on the beach you will be killed. But I will raise you from the dead and the beachhead you established will spread until it invades every tongue and tribe and nation. And I will free town after town from slavery to demons and slavery to the law. We will draw into our movement all those who trust in you, my Son, and we will send your Spirit to empower them and bring them to glory. They will be my children and heirs of everything I have.” John Piper
You’ve taught me how to rest. You drew me out of slavery, out of the fields of perpetual torment, into the big house where You live. Thank you. Amen