Thursday, December 21, 2017

Help me to handle this well

But remember this, that if a father dies and leaves great wealth for his little son, that child is not much better off than a slave until he grows up, even though he actually owns everything his father had. He has to do what his guardians and managers tell him to until he reaches whatever age his father set. And that is the way it was with us before Christ came. We were slaves to Jewish laws and rituals, for we thought they could save us. But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his Son, born of a woman, born as a Jew, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law so that he could adopt us as his very own sons. And because we are his sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father. Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons. And since we are his sons, everything he has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned. (Galatians 4:1-7 TLB)
A long passage this morning, but it speaks volumes in such a short "story". We have been given an inheritance we have yet to experience in its "fullness" or "completeness". It is something we only taste little by little - because we live under the heavenly Father's care and protection. Yet, we haven't experienced ALL of it yet - because we are in the process of being equipped to "handle" all we have received. The ten year old son would have a much different use for his inheritance than the twenty year old son, or the forty year old. Why? As time passes, we develop awareness - becoming aware of the value of what we have received. During that time between inheriting it all and actually being able to fully come into that inheritance - walking and breathing every element of that inheritance as though it were our own - we come under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. Why? We need help "handling" what we haven't fully come to appreciate the value of totally!
It takes time for us to realize it isn't in the "doing" that we are saved, but in the exchange of what we could not do ourselves that we come into the fullness of what we "inherit" in Christ Jesus. It is like we "come of age" while under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit and the instruction of God's Word. We develop an understanding and an appreciation of what it is we have received - so that we stop trying to "get at" the inheritance and simply walk in it. Freedom is never really won by the one who escapes under his or her own power. There will always be a niggling of what it is we have escaped - and what could once again entrap us - holding us captive against our desire or will. Freedom is assured when the enemy is annihilated, though. When there is always and forevermore something bigger and stronger than that enemy standing between us and that bondage, we are less likely to fear that bondage again!
Slaves don't appreciate freedom until they walk in it. Yes, they dream of the "luxury" of it, but they don't actually realize that full enjoyment of it until they "come into it". Yet, even when "free", there is something that reminds them of what life had been like "before" freedom. The work of the tutor in our lives is to help us erase the pain or sting of that memory - so that we look back less and less - walking more and more into the enjoyment of life "apart" from that bondage. The privilege of inheritance is that we don't "do anything" to earn it, for it is given to us and is ours apart from anything we might want to do to show we deserve it or earned it. The purpose of the tutor is to help us realize we don't have to accomplish our freedom - it has been accomplished for us. The work of the tutor comes in helping us to be ready in every area of our lives to receive the depth, breadth, and height of this inheritance.
God's plans are for us to walk into everything that is his - to be at rest in his grace and at peace in his love. We don't get the fullness of this privilege fully at first - although we come into a great place of enjoyment. We understand there is great ability available to us, but we don't always walk in that ability. We need a tutor to guide us in the use of what we have been given - to see how that ability becomes our own more and more each day - not because we earned it, but because it has been prepared for us and made available to us. Just sayin!