Son Life – Galatians 4:29

Vol. 2, No. 26 – 6-25-2017

At that time, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted Him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. Galatians 4:29

This is a reflection of an earlier scenario found in Genesis 21. The book of Genesis is especially poignant in its descriptions of the lives of people of the earth living under God’s watchful eye.

The scene is turbulent; of a family with only one son, Ishmael. Abraham’s son lived with him and Sarah for 14 years. Then it happened. Sarah became pregnant. You might want to read, again: the background of the turbulent family.

Another son for the family! Isaac was born! Sarah was perhaps as old as 90; more likely older. The son is born 25 years after God’s promise to the “young couple.” There was surely a write-up in the local Desert Times, a report from Mid-Wives-R-Us, and perhaps camel couriers broadcasting the exciting news of the “mature” woman delivering.

Thus, Isaac came into the world. A special feast was held; perhaps that is where birthday parties began. It was a time of rejoicing, and Ishmael celebrated by kicking stones with his sandals.

Three years later, as was the custom in those days, Isaac was weaned. Another celebration, as was customary, takes place. This celebration did not catch on; I do not know of greeting cards or wrapping paper that declares this kind of event. However, I am sure that Sarah celebrated.

Ishmael, the flawed teenager, utters the famous saying of the day: “O, how cute!” He probably kicked a few more stones. Ishmael the arrogant, sarcastic teenager.

Can you imagine Ishmael overhearing his history? He was the son of human planning. A handmaiden was chosen; the human effort was engaged:

Hagar + Abraham = Manipulating God to fulfill His promise

It is the old, “God helps those who help themselves trick.”

When was the last time you read in Deliveries-R-Us about a 90-year-old checking into the maternity ward? Can you imagine the thoughts of Ishmael, the teenager? He moved through his days with contempt; thinking how he was going to hassle and irritate Isaac. (Might be the reason Paul mentions persecution.)

What does that mean for us—this sibling rivalry thing? Paul says, it is the same now. For even the committed, those of us walking in grace, those of us seeking to serve and perhaps even lead, there will always be pressure from the Pharisee and Sadducee types. They want us to join their ranks, but we should not. They attempt to make us feel inferior with their legalism. They want us to feel inferior, out-of-step, politically incorrect, second-class.

But we should not give in to their traps. The traps includes the projection, “if we would but perform as the ‘religionists’ instruct, we would please God.” The problem is that the legalists are humanly determining how we should live out life—perhaps we should call legalism Abraham-Sarah Manipulation Philosophy (ASMP). God’s Word was left out of the equation.

We are here to serve a God whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts; ways are higher than our ways. We who know Christ are already sons! God is already pleased. He asks us to serve in love, grace, and mercy. To reflect Him.

My father used to tell me, “You could be more like me if you tried!” Dad has passed into eternal life with God—it is God who now speaks to me saying, “You could be more like Me, if you would!”

When we live in God’s grace and mercy we learn what God has really done for us. It is just like God to expect that we would pass on what we have learned.

When God called me into ministry, I promised Him that I would give others what He has given me to pass on. Life is not so much about income as it is about outflow. Think on that! Ishmael should have!

 

Living Like a Son – Galatians 4:6

Vol. 2, No. 25 – 6-18-2017

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” Galatians 4:6

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A school teacher, Hanin, in the first century B.C. continually had students come crying to him, “Abba, Abba, give us rain.” It was a season of horrendous drought.

Hanin prayed, “Lord of the universe, do it for the sake of these children who cannot know between an Abba who can give rain and an abba who cannot give rain.

Paul reminds the Galatian Christians that they have a heavenly Father, who as Lord of all, can supply every need. Take some time to contemplate as you read; you have a heavenly Father who knows all and can supply all your needs. Dr. Larry Lightner

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Abba Father is not simply from the cry of one who is enslaved by the world; it is not from only the beggar looking for a handout, or only just the one who lives the life of a victim. It is the cry of every person who has the reality of the Father in their heart. We who have Him in our heart think, speak, and live for Christ in our heart. It is because of His presence in our soul, prompting our thinking.

We need the Father in our heart. If we would put something else in our heart-place, that is what would control our thoughts, speech, and actions of life.

  • Abba Father is the cry that expresses our ministry of reconciliation that God gives us (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
  • Abba Father is the cry of our seeking wisdom as we minister to our non-believing neighbor (James 1:5).
  • Abba Father is the cry of seeking the Holy Spirit to relieve our friend from the shackles that bind them from receiving Christ (John 20:31).
  • Abba Father is the cry of the believer that expresses praise to Him for the changed life of one who comes to Christ (2 Peter 3:9).
  • Abba Father is the cry of humility one has when God chooses to use them for His ministry to all that He desires to come to Him; desiring that no one perish (1 Peter 3:15).
  • Abba Father is our cry for God to operate in our lives as we are called upon to lead (1 Timothy 1:12-15).

Paul’s exhortation is that we should not live as a slave, beggar, that neighbor, or friend; but that we should live as what we are, a son. A son inherits all that the Father has to give; what Jesus already has inherited. What the Father has belongs to us; what Christ received He gives to us.

It is pictured in the prodigal son, who returned to his father. His father killed the fatted calf, threw a celebration, brought an exquisite robe and a ring, and brought shoes that were fit for his feet. Lovingly and graciously, the father ministered to the needs of his son. Would the Almighty do less for those who come to Him?

Paul touches our lives to contemplate our inner selves. Where is our devotion? Where is our dependency; do we have humility or arrogance? When we live among non-believers, do they see our Abba Father in our lives? Often the lives of others reflect our lives, because we are the model. We, in effect, are the leaders of many. Those we influence become following leaders. What kind of leader do we want to develop?

When I surrendered to be God’s servant, for however He purposed, I committed to give away what He gifted me so that others might experience the reality of the Father’s gifts. My prayer is, my fellow reader, that you might consider doing the same.

We would do well to examine our life as we enter each new day. Our daily life, wherever it is found, always reflects who we are on the inside. The inside determines what we are on the outside. God expects that we live inside/out. How are we doing?

A Spiritual Dad – Galatians 4:15

Vol. 2, No. 24 – 6-11-2017

If possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. Galatians 4:15b

It is interesting to read Galatians in the eyesight of a spiritual dad. Paul knew what the Galatians needed; so he writes to them as a dad, and with the stature of a dad—firm but with a tender heart.

We also sense the difficulty Paul was experiencing. Evidently he had problems with his eyesight. He knows his “children” that they would do anything for him to meet his needs. That is a great reflection of their love.

Have you ever received discipline from your dad; then he picks you up and comforts you and demonstrates his love to you? Paul was like that. We do not often think about him in that way. He evidently was a “hugger” following his conversion. He might have been the first Baptist!

This letter from Paul was written during the Galatians flighty time. They were inconsistent in their faith. Yet they had great respect for Paul. They received Paul as if an angel of God. It has been awhile since someone called me an angel.

It evidently touched Paul, as he mentions it in verse 14.

  • You have done me no wrong (12)
  • You received me as if an angel of God (14)
  • You received me as if Christ Jesus Himself (14)

Yet something changed.

  • You once thought highly of me (15)
  • If possible you would pluck out your eyes for me (15)
  • It became as if I were your enemy because I told you the truth (16)
  • I have had to change my tone (20)

If someone were to give you their eyes, it would be a most precious gift; for it would be a priceless gift; it would be a sacrifice. Yet, we get the sense that the Galatians had felt there was no price too high for the one they loved—the one who brought them the gospel.

So it is, that Paul, as a father, confronts his “children.” He cares enough to confront. He cares with a sensitivity. There were those willing to give their eyes in the past. Some are willing to give us their kidneys, the heart of their loved one, their wealth, their homes, their cars, even their food.

The Father cares for the son, His children, and is willing to give out of unconditional love. Yet the Father knows when the child needs discipline, and He does not withhold. You have experienced that, have you not? Without such care, we would not be able to serve God properly.

Listen to Paul:

While we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. One would hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

  • We do not expect someone to die for us
  • We might think it possible, but really
  • It is God who shows His great love!
  • He sends Christ to die for us—even though we are sinners
  • How great is that?

Paul writes to us as a dad. We need to think about his words. Perhaps we, like Elijah, need to sit under our Broom Trees and contemplate the things God has done. Our Father has written us a letter demonstrating His love for us. Has your earthly father written you any letters? Have you written your children any letters? What do the letters say?

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