I was just getting ready to leave my driveway the other day and my wife, who had left for work before me, sent me a text which said, "Be careful. There is a policeman waiting near Les Schwab." I replied "thank you :) " and started my morning commute. Sure enough, as I got close to Les Schwab I saw the police car lying in wait to catch the next speeder on his way to a lighter wallet. I mentally thanked my wife for the warning and went past him going the proper speed; but I noticed something in the process. Even though I knew where he was way before I got there. Even though I had been warned and I was prepared and going the right speed, I still got that squingy feeling in the pit of my stomach that you always get when you pass a policeman lying-in-wait. You know that feeling... the one that makes you quickly look into your rear view mirror to see if he is going to pull out behind you. The one that causes you to go through a rapid fire mental check; how fast am I going? Are my taillights in proper working order. Are all my plate stickers up-to-date?
This brief interaction started my mental gears turning... Why did I still have to experience that churning in the pit of my stomach? I knew he was there. I was totally prepared and not breaking any laws; so why did I get that feeling? Then another thought occurred to me... Does a policeman passing another police-car-in-waiting get the same feeling the rest of us get when we pass a policeman? My initial response to my own question was, "no". Why would he? He knows he's one of the guys. He knows he doesn't have to worry about that because they have an "internal code", an understanding among themselves and writing a fellow policeman a speeding ticket would for sure be against that code.
This of course led me to the reason for this blog post. How are we, as Christians, supposed to act and feel around each other? More importantly, how are we supposed to act around our Loving Heavenly Father? Are we supposed to get that squingy feeling in the pit of our stomach? Paul, formerly the Pharisee slave Saul, helped me out with this one...
Gal 4:1-11 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"
Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.
When we come to God we are supposed to see Him in a new way. We have been adopted into His family and we no longer need to feel toward Him as frightened orphans or slaves, but instead we have the privilege of coming "boldly to the throne". He is our Daddy! He does not want to hurt us. He is not out to get us and as His children we have a right to feel free in that. To really KNOW GOD is to trust Him with all your heart. When we "drive by him" we don't have to feel like condemned sinners, but instead redeemed heirs.
Dear reader, remind yourself today that you are a child of God. Remember that with that comes great privilege and honor and a certain amount of hutzpah! HE LOVES YOU WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE and He wants to save you from your sin. Give it [sin] to Him. Stop running from your True Daddy...instead run to Him.
Here are the same verses in The Message, a Bible paraphrase version:
Gal 4:1-11 Let me show you the implications of this. As long as the heir is a minor, he has no advantage over the slave. Though legally he owns the entire inheritance, he is subject to tutors and administrators until whatever date the father has set for emancipation. That is the way it is with us: When we were minors, we were just like slaves ordered around by simple instructions (the tutors and administrators of this world), with no say in the conduct of our own lives. But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law.
Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, "Papa! Father!" Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you're also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. Earlier, before you knew God personally, you were enslaved to so-called gods that had nothing of the divine about them. But now that you know the real God--or rather since God knows you--how can you possibly subject yourselves again to those paper tigers? For that is exactly what you do when you are intimidated into scrupulously observing all the traditions, taboos, and superstitions associated with special days and seasons and years. I am afraid that all my hard work among you has gone up in a puff of smoke!