Lately, I’ve had a teaching that has been running through my head. I’m a churner…the good thing about being a churner is if milk goes in, eventually, you get some butter out of it. Eventually.
What seems like only a few years ago, although it was more like 10 years ago, John Ragsdale (I’m not sure, but I think I may have to start calling him Apostle Ragsdale – if you are anywhere near Nashville TN you must visit their church The Hills Fellowship) taught a series that stuck with me. It was based out of Galatians 4.
This is the synopsis. When we are saved, we are saved from being a slave to sin and become slaves to Christ. As me grow in our faith and walk with Jesus, we become a servant, from a servant we are called a friend, then from being a friend to being adopted and becoming a son and ultimately we are called a joint-heir with Jesus.
Jesus came to set the captives free (see Jesus’ mission statement in Isaiah 61). Romans 6 says we were first slaves to sin now we are slaves to God. Slaves do not have a choice. Jesus’ mission statement is to set the captives free, not capture them for His team or the other side. Many Christians are “serving” God, not as a servant but as a slave; they just slave away under a heavy burden being driven to “work, work, work”) While that is acceptable and perhaps Biblical for a while, we must graduate to the next level (see 2 Corinthians 3:18 – from glory to glory). As a servant, we willingly serve God but we have more freedom….our loyality is to Jesus; our hearts are turned toward Him. As a servant, we still are not privy to the benefits of friendship or family. As our relationship with Him grows we are called a “Friend”. God begins to share His heart with us. Abraham was called a “Friend of God” and had a place on the counsel in the heavens (James 2:23). As God shares His heart, He patiently waits to see what we will do with the information. From friendship we are adopted. I love the word “adopted” because it is an indicator that He wants us; He wants us in His family. We are called sons. As sons, we learn the heart of the Father. We learn what it really means to be in relationship with family (oh, yes, we have to work out all those relationships with our siblings…you know the ones we “go to church” with). We are sons. He shares His plans with us. He teaches us about legacy. We begin to see the bigger picture; we see Kingdom. As we commit to Kingdom, God makes us a joint-heir with Jesus. (No, we aren’t equal with Jesus) but we now we have an inheritance with Him. We have certainly heard Jesus called “The King of kings”; meaning He is a King that reigns over kings. Who did we think He would be reigning over? Us. We are the kings that King Jesus will rule and reign over. This blows me away!! The shear, pure goodness of God is overwhelming. He called me from slavery to royalty!
As we realized the call to royalty on our lives, we begin to walk and talk like kings; The KING; King Jesus. No matter how the “royalty” behaves these days, in reality, royalty has certain standards associated with it. We cannot be who we once were. We must walk in authority…humility and authority; two things not commonly seen together. What does this look like? It looks a whole lot like grace.
If I was leading a small group right now (or writing for one) this is where I would insert a question. Why do you think God doesn’t just take us as slaves and crown us and set us to rule? It is really the same reason the Children of Israel wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years. They could not rule over the nations with the “slave mentality” they brought out of Egypt with them. When they left Egypt, they left as slaves…they had generations of slavery embedded in their thinking; in their culture. It took 40 years and the death of a generation (or two) to change their mindset. God cannot set a slave over a portion of His Kingdom…what happens? When slaves rule, they make slaves of everyone around them.
(Insert another small group question) Ask yourself, have you moved from slave to servant, from servant to friend, from friend to son and on to joint-heir with Christ? Have you been working to skip steps?
This is still churning around in my head so we shall see what comes out next…
By the way, in the Kingdom system, there is no “skipping steps”. God will always send you back to the step or steps you tried to skip. He is very faithful and even committed to “do-overs” for those areas we have failed to progress in.
My final question…how long do you intend to hold onto the slave mentality?