There is a huge difference between being a slave and being an heir. God meant for each one of His children to live as His heirs: ‘For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died has been set free from sin’ (Romans 6:6-7). Being an heir is to live with hope and promise - knowing that we are alive in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11).
The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary describes a slave as ‘a person who is owned by another person and is forced to work for and obey them’. The mere thought of being a slave, brings about a feeling of being hopeless and helpless. The image that comes to my mind is that of being chained and humiliated; constantly living in the fear of being beaten or dismissed. Living as a slave is a life of fear without hope for the future.
Some time ago, as I was praying about something very close to my heart, I ‘heard’ myself actually begging the Lord for His mercy over the matter. It had been an ongoing battle and I had been praying about it for a few years. As human beings we eventually become a bit weary or despondent. Questions start forming in our minds – “Why … What … When, … Lord?” As I was praying, I realised that I was actually asking from a place of fear - begging for mercy. The thought came to mind that slaves are actually the ones that beg for mercy. They need to grovel and bow low to obtain forgiveness or favour.
If I believe God’s Word that I am no longer a slave and that He has made me His heir, then my stance should be completely different. As an heir, I can ‘approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that (I) we may receive mercy and find grace to help (me) us in (my) our time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16). Of course, I do need God’s mercy, but I realised that I can approach Him firstly because He loves me. It’s from this place of love, that His mercy and grace flows.
We don’t need to ask from a place of fear - whether it’s fear of failure, of disappointment, of rejection, of disaster, of losing hope or of hurt. These are all the things the enemy tries to enslave us with and uses to keep our inner man in a place of bondage. Our stance is then from a place of hopelessness and doubt.
Let us lift our eyes up to the Lord and place our hope and trust in Him. ‘And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father”’ (Galatians 4:6, NLT).
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