Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In need of affirmation

"So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father." For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children."  Romans 8:15-16

So much depth in this statement. First, the spirit God has put in his is his own, as he considers us his children. This spirit can't lead us into slavery to fear, but liberates us and fills us with the courage that comes from knowing God loves us. And with this spirit inside us, we are able to cry out to the Creator of all things "Father, Dad."

But its the last verse that moves me. It promises that God's spirit comes alongside our own to convince us, assure us, and encourage us that we truly are God's children. Imagine, the Spirit of God himself at work within us just to strengthen our resolve that we truly belong to God.

This morning I was going about my morning routine. My one year old daughter was sitting on the floor, playing with toys. She looked up at me as I passed her several times. Finally I noticed her, staring up at me, her arms extended upwards in a way that screamed, "Pick me up! Hold me close! Kiss my cheeks!" I of course responded to her demands, hoisting her into my arms and cherishing the moment as she smiled and giggled.

That is when it hit me. My daughters know that I love them, and yet that doesn't remove their deep need to have that love affirmed. Not just once a year, either. Hourly. And it's not a duty for me-in fact, affirming my love for them is a big part of savoring, celebrating, and experiencing the fullness of that love.

And so I look at those verses in Romans with fresh eyes. Yes, God has called us out of darkness into light, from being strangers and enemies of God to being beloved children. And yes, he puts a spirit inside us that cries out to him, a spirit of sonship and not of fear. But still, given those truths, we need a regular experience of that love. We need to hear the Holy Spirit affirming that reality, the truth of who we are in Him, to our own spirit over and over and over again.

And that affirmation is one he is eager to give. He is a Father, after all, and his love needs be expressed. It is not any more weak or selfish for me to want my heavenly Father's affirmation than it would be for my daughter to seek mine. On the contrary, it honors him-it shows I believe he loves me and that he is kind enough to want to express it to me personally.

The life Christ has called us to live is incompatible with fear. Fear will choke it until it has no power, no impact on the world around us. If we are to follow him, we must be free. We must be trusting. We must be confident that we are his, that he is ours, and that his love for us will never end. And so we need him to pick us up and whisper to us-we need our spirits to be constantly affirmed by his. 


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