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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

And the will reads....

In Christ's family, there is no room for division - we just cannot set one group or person up against another.  No room for slave or free - but for both.  No room for male or female - but for both.  No room for Jew or Gentile - but for both.  All are equal in Christ - all are in common relationship WITH Jesus. None of us gets into relationship WITH Christ by any unique means, nor are we held closer to his heart by anything we can claim as our "right" or "position".  I like how scripture describes it - as long as the heir (that is us) is a minor, there is no advantage he or she possesses over the slave in the household.  Legally, the minor may "own" the inheritance, but he or she still has to come of age in order to inherit it.  In the meantime, there is this "maturation" process which occurs under the tutelage of an appointed tutor and administrator of the inheritance. The purpose of the tutor or the administrator is to guide, direct and determine the course of the one being tutored - not so much so the inheritance will grow, but that the one receiving the inheritance will "grow into" the inheritance they have received.

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.   (Galations 4:4-7 MSG)

As a child, we needed all kinds of simple instructions.  When mom would send us off to clean up our room, she needed to describe the process of what "clean" really meant, didn't she?  For example, she'd instruct us to pick up all the blocks and put them in the appropriate box for their storage.  Then once that task was completed, she might just remind us to pick up the stray socks on the floor and put them into the laundry basket.  Step-by-step, she'd instruct us to actually do the task of cleaning the room.  Why did we need this detailed instruction?  It is probably two-fold:  We didn't yet know how to sort out the detail of what is required to set the room in order and we might just have had a differing definition of "clean" from what mom did!

Sometimes God has to give us these clear, plain and simple instructions, because we don't really know how to sort things out on our own yet, or we just have a differing picture of what we desire the outcome to be.  This is the purpose of the Holy Spirit's tutelage in our lives.  Simple instructions are needed at first, but in time, we develop an awareness of how God expects us to do things - his expectations become a matter of learned behavior.  At that point, we don't need the step-by-step instructions in order to produce obedient behavior.  It occurs because we know the principles by which God expects for us to operate.  We might revert to simple instructions on occasion when situations are unfamiliar to us, but in general, once the lessons have been learned, we can simply apply the principles over and over again.

Now, we aren't set free to return to bondage again.  That would be silly and a huge waste of time, right?  We are set free so that we might be in relationship WITH Christ.  Not just IN relationship, but in relationship WITH him.  There is a difference, you know.  To be IN relationship just allows you to say you have somebody in your life.  To be in relationship WITH somebody means you actually enjoy doing stuff together, have gotten to know more about each other than just surface-level stuff, and you "click" when you are together.  This is the privilege of relationship WITH Christ - we learn to "click" together with him.  Intimacy is an outcome of "clicking" - we begin to form bonds which are hard to break.  There is a freedom in communication which was not there before.  This doesn't come naturally to us in the first attempt at communication, but under the tutelage of a couple of wise instructors - his Word and his Holy Spirit - we come to the place of shared intimacies.

A privilege is an advantage or a right granted.  In terms of relationship, when two come together IN relationship there is a transition point where the two begin to give "granted privilege" to the other.  In that exchange of privileged "status", a sharing is free to occur which does not occur on any other level. We go from "formality" in the relationship to a place of "informal" companionship.  Now, this may seem a little foreign to you as a child of God because you have maintained a pretty "arms-length" relationship with God. This idea of "informal companionship" may actually seem a little sacrilegious. I hope so!  This relationship WITH Jesus isn't meant to be "religious" - it is meant to be "intimate".  Intimacy means the deepest nature of the other becomes the "known" thing of the other party in the relationship.  There is a breaking down of the walls of formality and a freedom to be deeply and personally genuine.  This means we don't hold God at arms length any longer, but nuzzle up to him closely and begin to share WITH him like we don't share with any other.

We are children, ans as such, we are heirs.  We are entitled to enjoy the inheritance, though some portions of the inheritance are not ours to enjoy in this moment.  We look forward to the full enjoyment of all we have inherited in Christ Jesus as we grown in relationship WITH him.  There are really two ways of being in relationship with God:

1) We are a slave to him - in this slave life, we produce nothing more than religious piety.  

2) We are children of promise - as such, we are free to be kids, learn at his feet, and to grow in stature before him.  

We aren't to live in slavery any longer - but to move into a life of freedom in Christ.  A life IN Christ is an outcome of his love - a life WITH Christ is an outcome of our lives being transformed by his love and our love growing into maturity.  With opportunity comes responsibility.  We aren't just to claim our "family ties", but we are to learn how to grow into the full inheritance Christ has for us.  Just sayin!