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 once was a slave to a terrible master called sin. It was scary, but now I have been set free. My new master doesn’t treat me as a slave, but rather as a son. Therefore, it is so very strange how quick I am to ignore his (God’s) directives. It’s as if I am somehow afraid of what he will direct me to do.
It may only be my children, but occasionally, when I give them a directive, they mumble, feign some weak response, and then go on about their business. Often times, I later return to find that they didn’t do what I directed them to do. When pressed, they somehow “didn’t hear me” or “they didn’t understand me”. Despite a clear presentation, they seemingly intentioned to ignore me. It’s flat-out infuriating.
Unfortunately, I do the same thing to God.
When it comes to my sin, it usually isn’t a blatant shaking of the fist at God. It is more of a passive ignoring of his directives. I don’t want to listen intently because I am afraid that a good understanding would lead to a major lifestyle adjustment. I don’t want to listen because then I am culpable, and I may have to refrain from indulging, flee from growing anger, or curtail my thought life. However, it is not only the sins of commission that I am commanded to intentionally avoid, but the sins of omission, where I often fail to actively do what God directs me to do. This includes things like confessing when I’ve lied, giving generously where he directs, and doing ministry when I’m “off the clock”. Either way, because of fear, I implore the same strategy that my kids use on me. It just seems safer that way.
This flawed and fear-based strategy is how I often miss God’s purposes for me. I should never be afraid of what God has for me, but committed to pursuing it passionately. He is, after all, a loving father, and I am the object of his love. God can be trusted, and we need to look no further than Calvary to know that for sure!