Psalm 68:2, 4, 6-7, 20-21
You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ”Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15)
Hang on a second. The opposites of slavery and fear are freedom and courage; so shouldn’t Paul be saying we receive those spirits instead of a “spirit of adoption”? He starts off today’s reading talking about bondage to sin and goes on to warn against letting that take a hold of us and drag us into fear. What does adoption have to do with any of that?
Everything! Our freedom from slavery doesn’t come from our hard work. The chains of sin are too strong for us to break on our own. Likewise, our courage doesn’t come from an excess of grit and determination, as if we could banish fear simply by wishing it away. Both of these blessings come from our identity in the Lord. We know that we belong to him, and that knowledge sets us free and encourages us. So it’s totally appropriate to contrast adoption with slavery and fear.
You have probably seen a child stumble or be startled by an intimidating new encounter with a stranger or a barking dog. Instinctively, that child will call out for his or her parents. This is the kind of instinct that the Holy Spirit places in our hearts. Paul talks about how the Spirit within us is the One who remembers that our Father will listen to us. So if you are attentive to the Spirit, you’ll remember to call out to God for help whenever you feel threatened, weary, or scared.
With a Father who is the Creator of the universe, a brother who is the Savior of all people, and a spiritual family that is spread throughout the world, you are in a good place to face up to fear! Of course, knowing these things doesn’t make fear instantly disappear. But the Holy Spirit is in you, reminding you of your status as God’s son or daughter. Remember to tune in to the witness of the Spirit, so that every day you can become more deeply aware of your adoption—and more free and courageous as a result.
“Holy Spirit, thank you for calling me a child of God! Remind me today to live with the confidence and freedom of one adopted into his family.”~WAU