Slavery is a real thing.

It’s disgusting and it needs to end.

We fancy it up with complex names like human trafficking, but it is the same horrible system which existed before the American Civil War, before William Wilberforce boldly spoke out in England, and during the Roman Empire at the time of Paul.

Galatians Chapter Four opens with Paul’s well-known argument against slavery, not on the massive oppressive scale, but individually, the kind we submit ourselves to. Slavery is devastating and we should fight with all our might against it. The devil’s brand of slavery is eternally devastating, and it requires a fight too. We need a Savior in this, more than ever.

Paul uses the language of slavery because, I think, one of his main points throughout Galatians is a very simple:

“Why would you want that?!”

Given the option, real options, no one chooses slavery. Would you ever want to be a slave? No.

Read Galatians 4:1-7 and ask yourself this question:

Where in my life am I submitting to slavery that God did not intend for me?

I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principleof the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has 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.

You are not a slave, but a son.

Through the Word, through Sunday School, through the Body of Christ, and through the Holy Spirit we know this. God lifts the scales from our eyes, and we know about Jesus. We know what He gives us. Praise the Lord! Now…

it’s time to grow up.

I mean this in love.

Paul means this in love.

This is sweet Gospel, friend. This is not the weight of law the Judaizers were handing out.

We need Christ and we need one another. We can know something so well that we become a slave to the knowledge of it. We let knowledge rule and forget that we were meant to grow. We let knowledge take the place of real and true intimate relationship with God. We stop at elementary principles (v.3), content to be a slave, rather than sitting in our true role as heir, son, letting God mold and shape us in back-and-forth relationship, conversing with Him in His Love and Truth each day.

This may seem far removed from human trafficking, but it unfortunately isn’t. Satan uses our desire to remain children in the faith, in so many ways in life.

When my faith remains only as knowledge, it is difficult for my soul to be touched by the struggle around me. My eyes remain closed to people, including modern slavery, broken marriages, and all hurting faces of different griefs.

The beauty is, God loves children too. He doesn’t love us less when we’re immature or more when we’re grown.

God through Paul assures us that we do have relationship with God, no matter what Satan would say. We can cry out –

“Abba! Father!”

It doesn’t completely make sense, this growing up, this moving past elementary principles and into deep and meaningful relationship with God, but it’s not necessarily supposed to. There’s the freedom in that too.

“Abba! Father!”

You take the reins, dear Savior. I am no longer a slave, but Your child, I give You control to maneuver this ship that is my life. Free me a little more each day, to continue living in this growing relationship with You. 

And in relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, our Savior, we rest in our salvation, our relationship with Him, just enough to care about everyone else’s.

Freedom from slavery, freedom as children, freedom to grow.

I want all the freedom in Christ.

#lifetogether – Connect and send someone this week’s free downloadable Dear 52 card or order the whole set here

Discussion questions:

What do growth and knowledge have in common? What differences exist between growth and knowledge?

In what ways do you think knowledge of Christ gets in the way of relationship with Christ?

What “Abba, Father” concerns would you bring before God today in freedom?

3 thoughts on “”

  1. Knowledge puffs us up. We can know a lot, but not know Him personally. I can struggle with trying to discern my motives of opening my Bible. Am I looking to learn something? Am I desiring time with God? Am I rushing, doing this because I feel obligated? And when I worry too much about that, it definitely gets in the way of God working in me. A slave to myself at times. But grace is knowing He loves me and His mercies are new every morning!

  2. great post. I was especially touched by the idea of “being held captive by knowledge,” instead of sitting back in the freedom we have as adopted children of God. Great analogy. May I make a suggestion, though. For future post, please highlight what week we are in the Bible study because I am behind a few posts and it was hard to find out where to start off the new week. Trying to catch up before tonight.

    1. Hi Debbie! Thanks for your thoughts. I used to put the week in, but I stopped doing that because it tended to make people feel “behind” and be a roadblock to those jumping in. It’s important to me that there is lots of grace in whether people can complete each day or not. I completely understand the concern though! Many people find it helpful to keep the emails from the subscription and then they just follow those date by date. Thank you for making a suggestion to make it better! I’ll keep thinking about whether there is another way to sneak it in somewhere without it being intimidating.

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