Are you my Daddy?
Child of God
I feel like, so often in life, we get this feeling of being enslaved to something. Whether it is a day-to-day struggle that we feel is slowly killing us and destroying every relationship around us, but we feel as though it has a hold on us that we cannot break free of. Whether it is a hard time in which we feel as if the world is crashing down on us and no one is for us, let alone God, and we end up sliding into a depression that we feel is too deep to climb out of. No matter what it may be, each of us go through some point in our lives where we feel trapped or enslaved to a situation or struggle. Out of this feeling of slavery swiftly follows a sense of worthlessness. Our minds automatically transition to the thought that our struggles make us unworthy and our trials helpless and therefore worthless. These lies spring directly for not having a healthy and heavenly idea of who we have been created as through our creator's eyes.
Romans 8:15-17 says, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry,“Abba, Father.”The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
As much as this verse speaks for itself, I want to dive just a little deeper and more specifically into what it is saying. First, in verse fifteen, right off the bat, we read that we are not made, as Christians to be slaves to struggles, trials, or death. Verse fifteen says that we shouldn't live in fear of those things now. This is for the simple reason that we now have God in Spirit living within us, and God is Love. The thing about Love is that it isn't compatible with fear. It says in 1 John that perfect Love drives out fear and right before that it says that, this God we have living inside and through us IS Love. So, as Christians, we should not be fearful or let ourselves feel too sinful or messed up that we feel unloved or worthless.
As we finish the first verse, and even the first sentence, Paul tells us why we not only shouldn't feel worthless, unwanted, or unloved regardless of our past, but we should feel like children of God Himself. Now, verse fifteen says, “the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.” First let's look at the word received. You see, you can't receive something that hasn't been given to you. God has given you this spirit and adopted you to sonship, and He's done that knowing each and every corner of your heart and thoughts. He's called you His sons and daughters knowing we are far from perfect and knowing we've messed up time after time, and knowing we're going to continue to mess up time after time. He's looked past your downfalls and imperfections, and the one person who came to earth and had the right to judge us and give up on us died the most painful death and said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” Wow. How big of a weight does that lift off your shoulders when you hear or read that to know that Jesus died to pay for all your past, present, and future sins?
Also, this word “adoption” is vital to the wonder of this verse. Paul is using the Greco-Roman word “Hyiothesia” which can most simply be translated as adoption, but it means so much more underneath. The word Hyiothesia doesn't just mean adoption, but was more of a legal term that meant someone could give their child ALL the rights and privileges that the natural child would have. Now, God's “natural” son is Jesus. So Paul is saying that we not only have a Spirit that frees us from our bondage and fear, but now God has given us ALL the rights, privileges, and power that Jesus Christ had through God when He raised Himself from the grave. That's the power that is living and working through each one of us today.
Not only have we been given power through Jesus, but we have been given the gift of eternal life! And not only have we been given the gift of eternal life, but as we read in the last part to verse fifteen, we're on a pretty tight level with the One Holy and all powerful God! The end of verse fifteen says, “And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Abba meaning “Daddy.” The Lord of the universe has adopted us, has Hyiothesia us, despite all our struggles and despair, and not only that but He wants us to cry out and call Him Daddy! We have a God, a Daddy, who is active and alive in us and cares about each of us.
My dad used to tell me about how some people caught monkeys, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was true... Or really if it wasn't true either, but I love the lesson it teaches. He said that people would get a small jar big enough for the monkey's hand to just fit in and attach it to a chain. A monkey would come along and see that there was candy in the jar and reach in to take as much as it's hand can grab, but when it tried to pull it's hand out, it's fist was too big to slip back out of the lid. The monkey would refuse to let go and it would give it the illusion that it was caught and trapped. All the person would have to do is pull the monkey to them when it got tired of struggling and grab it. This image of God caring enough to adopt me and want me to call out to Him as Daddy immediately puts a mental image in my mind. You can try to track with me on this if you want. I get this mental image of a little boy who has stumbled upon a jar filled with candy. His eyes so focused in on the sweet sugar rush sitting in front of him that He doesn't notice the chain attached to the jar. I see his daddy running out with worry and outstretched hands towards the boy calling him back to Himself, but it's too late. The boy was too focused on the momentary sweets and had put his hand in and grabbed as much as he could. I see sheer panic coming over the boys face as he tries to run back to his father, the chain pulls tight, and the boy doesn't know that all he has to do is let go to reach his father. Then, in a sudden instant he opens his hands and lifts them to his father as he cries out “Daddy!”
You see, I think we've all been that little boy at different times in our lives. I think that, even though the candy in the jar might be a little different for some of you, we all have times when we lose focus and reach in the jar. I know the feeling personally, as I'm sure all of you do as well, of being completely exhausted and worn out from pulling and struggling against our temptations until some of us just give up. What I want you to see in these verses is that you weren't created to be in bondage like you might be right now, and you certainly weren't created to give up. You are a child of God who longs for you to cry out Abba, Father, and watch Him rescue you. But if you breathe air, are a part of the human race, and aren't Jesus Christ, I want you to see in this verse, also, that you have to just let go of those chains and fear. It's my prayer that you know now, or have a better understanding of, how, being adopted by God gives you all the power in the universe to let go of your struggles and trials and allow God to scoop you up into His overwhelmingly loving arms.
I'm starting this series of studies so that everyone who hears this, and everyone who reads this, can be aware of who they are in Christ. So that you can all know your creator in a deeper and more intimate way. I hope each of these studies speak to you and can make you realize that the world looks at you through a judgmental glass. And that while imperfect views and expectations of you will always end in weariness, worry, fear, and pain, God's perfect view of who He created you to be will always lead to wonder, worthiness, love, and peace. For you are a Child of God who adopted you, gave you all rights and privileges, and longs to hear your every thought as you cry out to Him as Abba, Father.