A Father’s Love, A Child’s Hope

“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.'”
– Romans 8:15 NLT

We don’t have to live a life captive to fear. We receive God’s Spirit filled with love and in perfect love there is no fear. We don’t have to be afraid of the future and what we don’t know. We don’t have to be afraid of failure or inadequacy. We can’t allow ourselves to live in the fear of our comfort zone. We “have not received a spirit that makes us fearful slaves.” Being a slave to something means serving it. If you continue to feed a particular sin, then it will keep coming back. But because God is our Father and His Spirit lives inside of us, we can have the victory by simply speaking His Name.

“He adopted us.” He gives us a new name, a new identity. Adoption means to “choose for oneself.” Our God is a jealous God. He is jealous for us. He knows what is best for us and His heart longs for ours. He wants our love. He wants our attention. He wants our heart because He so willingly gave up everything for us. He chose us to be His- His children, no longer slaves.

When a child is young, they walk hand in hand with their parents, relying on them for safety. We are God’s children. This is what He desires for us, to lay aside our fear, and simply walk hand in hand with Him, trusting Him to protect and provide for us. He will never leave us. The Jesus Always devotional for March 5 reads, “A child in a good family with adequate resources doesn’t need to know his parents will provide for him tomorrow, next week, or next year. You are in the best family imaginable, and My resources are absolutely unlimited! So bring Me all your needs and concerns. Entrust them to Me and live confidently- as a child of the King of Kings! Relax and rejoice, for I am taking good care of you.”

With kids, you don’t teach them everything at once. There are different stages in which you teach them different things. They aren’t always ready for what you know you need to teach them. So as they grow, they learn. God does this with us. Our walk with God is a step-by-step process. God doesn’t give us His entire perfect plan all at once. He gives us little ways to be faithful and they will grow into bigger opportunities as we grow. He teaches us as we continue to trust Him.

As some children get older, they become rebellious, giving their attention to other things that they deem important. They slowly become independent, making decisions you with you could keep them from making. I wonder how many times I have tried to be independent and let other things capture my attention?

Tim Tebow says it so beautifully in his most recent book, “Shaken”: “Jesus is the only One who belongs on a pedestal. Jesus is the only One worthy of our praise. The rest of us are sinners. We miss the mark. Often… We are fallen in nature and we need to be sure our attention, our focus, and our gaze rest on Jesus alone. Not on ourselves and certainly not on others. Because the truth is, at some point and in some way, we are going to hurt someone’s feelings. We’re going to fall into temptation. We’re going to get discouraged. We’re going to feel like quitting. We’re going to choose our feelings over what’s right. This is why we need Jesus. Apart from God’s grace, not one of us is whole, complete, or righteous.”

Jesus is the only One worthy. He is worthy of His Name. Jesus means “the Lord saves.” He saves us from our fears, our failures, our shame, ourselves. We have to live our lives focused on Jesus and who He is. Not who we were, what we’ve done, or how we fall short. We have to be willing to acknowledge those things because people need to know how God has healed us, what all He has done for us. It isn’t about pleasing other people. We have to love as Jesus loved. We have to lead people to Him so that they can see His love. We have to show that love because He lives in us.

Every person is different-unique. My brother and I are complete opposites as far as our personalities go but that doesn’t mean that my Mom loves one of us more than the other. We are different and unique in our own ways and she loves us the same- faults and all. This is how Jesus loves us. He loves to see us living the life He created us for, giving Him all of the glory. I love how Tim Tebow explains this: “When we strive to be just like everyone else, we never have a chance to be special. When you start to embrace and even celebrate how special and  different God made you, you can begin to do extraordinary things. You can begin to see yourself through His eyes. You can begin to live in the uniqueness with which you were created… You matter too much to God to be just like everyone else.” 1 Corinthians 8:6 says, “But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.” God created everything- even us in His perfect image! We have to be who He created us to be. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all (1 Corinthians 12:4.)” Each of us has something unique that we hold. We just have to be bold enough to let God use it. We have to be a vessel. We have received His Spirit that gives us strength, gives us life!

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, ‘What’s next, Papa?’ God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us- an unbelievable inheritance! We go through what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with Him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!”
-Romans 8:15 MSG

We receive God’s “resurrection life” when we say “yes” to His call. We don’t have to stay in the grave, Jesus didn’t and I’m so grateful! As believers, we have to be bold for the cause of Christ. To be timid is to “lack courage or confidence.” Our confidence is in Christ, knowing that He will never fail us or abandon us. We can’t “tend to the grave.” To tend to something means “to look after” it. We don’t need to look after the grave because it’s empty. We need to look at what happened after the grave. Jesus rose from the dead. We have to be “adventurously expectant.” We have to be willing to go anywhere for Jesus, even if we don’t know where we are going. We know Who is going with us. We have to have faith to step out anyway, having confidence that our God will provide as He always has.

Romans 8:32 has always been one of my favorite verses: “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” Jesus didn’t hold anything back from us. Why do we hold back when we aren’t even our own? We belong to Jesus. When we accepted Him, He made His home in our hearts. We don’t rule our lives anymore. He has given us so much more than we deserve. All He wants is our love. Our all. Why do we hesitate? Why are we afraid when He promises to go with us?

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