Grace or Enslavement

Romans 8:15

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!”

Both my parents were prisoners of war during World War II. They each worked in separate labor prisons in southern Germany for a good portion of the entire war. How each responded afterward throughout their life from the negative impact of such an ordeal is a lesson I carry with me every day.

They both carried scars from their ordeal. Yet Dad’s was less noticeable than Mom’s. In fact, Dad seem to take those ugly events, put it behind him, and gracefully launch himself into a productive, fulfilling life. Mom on the other hand, never seem to forget the past, continually blaming everyone whose hand she suffered under, and always considered herself a victim of circumstances.

In hindsight, their 50+ year marriage would be an ideal study of what modern day freedom and enslavement is all about. Dad and Mom were both religious, but Dad quietly practice his faith while Mom only played the part.

As Dad would always remind us, God protected him so many times during the war and throughout life, he was grateful to live in America and build a comfortable home for his family. He only had an eighth-grade education, but a strong character developed through hard work, personal responsibility, and love of God which molded him and was expressed through his skills and temperament.

Mom though never let the past die. She was a very intelligent woman and hard worker likewise with only an eighth-grade education. She could speak five languages, and cook a banquet for an army. Yet her personal demons never died. She never forgave the people who hurt her, always blaming others for her suffering, and viewed the world from a victim mentality.  

Both Dad and Mom suffered similar trials. Yet both responded in different fashions. Dad yielded himself to His God, praying twice a day on his knees in the living room early mornings and before bedtime in the evening. He didn’t understand theology but knew His God was real and with him. Mom believed God, but wouldn’t allow Him full access to change her from the inside-out. She always had to maintain control and her pride blocked anyone entrance into her heart. Like many people today who unbeknownst struggle with victim mentality, she had everything physically around her that was the good life, but inwardly fighting a war which should have been finished in 1945.

As Christ-followers, we know our heavenly Father has adopted us into His family and given us a Spirit of freedom. But we need to allow His Spirit full access into our heart and mind to change our values, perspective, and worldview. Freedom requires responsibility and strong humility. Anyone can abuse freedom, but to maintain and unify relationships requires the freedom to respect others even when we don’t agree with the other. And most importantly, when we are done wrong, the quicker we learn to forgive and move on, the more freedom grows and opportunities abound.

Being a slave to anyone or an ideology is a prison term without parole. But being an adopted child of an intimate God allows real freedom to abound. HE owns everything, knows best, and relates with everyone. He allows you and I to experience in a small way the life HE lives. HE provides resources to limit and better manage the carnal passions of our soul which boomerang into unpleasant consequences when we express them. HE knows our limitations and still loves us wanting what is best for us. As HIS adopted children, we have full access to HIM anytime we desire. We have HIS ear every time we speak with HIM. All made available through Jesus Christ who is our King.

As a servant in the house of the Lord, I am free to come and go. His grace abounds all around me. Those who try to possess me, control me, and enslave me only become more frustrated and angrier with contempt. They do not recognize nor accept the living power and grace of their heavenly Dad. If they did, they would repent, slowly watch the scales fall from their eyes and ears, and experience the life they were designed to partake. They would break the yoke of enslavement they live under and experience real freedom. The same way my earthly dad did.     

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360!
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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