As Paul continues his discussion about our being “children” of God rather than slaves, he talks about the beauty of it. It changes so much about us. Here is what he says in Galatians 4:6-7; “And because you are sons, God 13 abba fatherhas sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” It changes so many things about us. First off, when we begin the beautiful relationship with God through faith in His Son, it changes the way we pray. One commentator put it this way, “We don’t come groveling to the Almighty. We don’t snivel in self-contempt as beggars who have no right to be there, as wayward derelicts who have to come to the back door for a handout. We come as children of the King, knowing that we are welcome. Abba, Father describes our relationship, a shared love and fellowship in which the Father pours out all His blessings upon His children. And we pray in that knowledge and with the childlike anticipation of receiving all the Father has for us.”

The second thing that changes is our sense of self-worth. We live in a culture in which individuals struggle most with their identity. “Who am I?” is a question that haunts us in the 21st century. I remember studying “reality therapy” founded by William Glasser. He took a very radical position regarding mental health. He said that there wasn’t any such thing as mental illness. The problem is that we don’t experience true love and therefore we can’t love others. It is extremely difficult to feel worthwhile to ourselves and others in our culture. Maxie Dunham wrote. “To know that we are loved and accepted by God frees and empowers us to love ourselves and others and to know that we are worthwhile.” John tells us that we can love others because God first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Finally, when we begin our new relationship with God through faith in His son, Jesus Christ, it changes our ministries. It’s often a burden to care for others when we don’t have the capacity to feel cared for ourselves. With the presence of God’s Spirit we finally come to realize that we’re not operating alone. Again, Dunham puts it this way, “Strength comes directly from God, and indirectly, through the shared strength of the Christian community. This strength can work in rhythm with our weakness as we become vulnerable. In our sonship we are vulnerable to God, open and receptive to the incursion of His Spirit. But, in the confidence of being loved and accepted by God, we can be vulnerable to others, open to the claims of our neighbors responding in sensitivity and care. We do not have to pretend, therefore we can risk failure, rebuff, shame, unappreciative response, and negative reaction. Our self-worth is secured in our sonship and we can continue to minister, whatever the response.”