Living the life of dos and don’ts is a life without a family. It is the most unsatisfactory way to live imaginable. Living that way is living, at its best, as an employee. The boss is always worried about our level of production. We have quotas to achieve, deadlines to meet and duties to perform. When we fail in any of those ways our position is in danger. But that’s the best case scenario. The worst case scenario is that we are not just employees, we are actually slaves. Paul says in Romans 7, verses 23-25 that “…there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin.” There is no hope for me! I’m obligated. I’m forced against my will! “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

Let me share a liberating truth with you. You may want to be a “willing servant” of God like Paul, but like Paul, you’ll never achieve that status. What’s even more important to realize is that God doesn’t want you to be his “willing servant” as such. This desire is the desire that all wayward sinners seem to express they turn to God from lives devoted to selfish sin. The prodigal son is the perfect example. When sin took its toll on his life, he thought (notice the focus is still on himself) “my father’s servants eat better than I do.” He thought he’d return to the Father and ask if he could now be his servant (slave?). When he arrived at home, Luke 15:21-22 tells us, “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.’” The father did not want another servant! The father would hear nothing about that. He wanted his son back! He wanted the child he loved back. That’s exactly what God wants for us all. God is not the kind of idol that needs more servants; He’s the kind of Father that loves His children.

Romans Chapter 8 gives us the great expression of our family connection versus our service oriented flesh. Paul says in verses 14-16, “…the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves… instead the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, ‘Father, my Father!’ God’s Spirit joins himself with our spirit and declares that we are God’s children.” Donald Grey Barnhouse concludes his comments on this chapter by saying, “The Christian is never to tremble with fear or to be tormented with anxiety. On the contrary, God’s wrath having been stilled forever, and we having been begotten to divine sonship and adopted into an official position in the family of God, we may turn to our Heavenly Father with utter calmness, and with the full confidence that He cannot turn us away. All this is involved in our position. All this is guaranteed in our sonship.”