Have you recognized warning signs in your life? You know, those little things that tell you your relationship with the Lord is just not quite right.
Anxiety and fear are among my biggest signals. There are others as well, but it seems as if anxiety always fits in somehow. My tendency to worry increases. My thoughts whirl and struggle to settle into an attitude of prayer. Pressure and stress grow whether circumstances warrant them or not. I feel weighed down and overwhelmed. Essentially, I feel the opposite of this:
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15
I do feel enslaved. I do feel full of fear – typically fear of something I can’t even put my finger on. I don’t feel like the adopted child of my heavenly Father. I don’t feel as if I can just cry out to Him.
There are circumstances that genuinely lead to a natural anxiety. In those moments, we must actively hand Him our worry, trusting Him to take care of us as only He can.
Other times, however, our fear has nothing to do with circumstances. In fact, I would argue that most of our fear has nothing to do with circumstances. It has to do with a refusal to live in the Spirit. We do not heed the message of Romans 8, but instead strive to succeed on our own. We will fail. And as we do so, our hearts will be full of fear and we will forget our adoption as sons of God. We will forget that we can cry out to Him just as our children cry out to us – in full trust and assurance of His comfort.
Fortunately, our problem is not His neglect but our forgetfulness. That problem can be “easily” remedied! We are adopted children, not by our actions or by our circumstances, but simply by the grace and mercy of Almighty God through His Son Jesus Christ. When we remember our identity, we can once again choose to walk in the Spirit. We can rise above that fear! What joy!
How can you actively live our your adoption today?