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 “12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:12-17

Jesus is so brilliant when he tells the story of the prodigal. Every detail is purposeful. When the foolish son returns with a strategic plan to be a slave – indebted to the one he offended – his father doesn’t even give him the chance to act like slave. He swoops in and says, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet” (Luke 15:22). It appears this father lavishes his child with love as if the offense wasn’t even that big of a deal – it was forgiven already. He graciously welcomes him back into the family from head to toe.

In Galatians 4, Paul says, “God sent forth his Son… so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because [we] are sons… we are no longer slaves.” Slaves in this culture would have likely gone barefoot. Being fitted with shoes, the younger son is declared freed from any thought of slavery. Being fitted with shoes, this child is marked by acceptance and new responsibility. Paul goes on to say, “if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:7). Not only is the child freed from slavery, he’s reinstated into the inheritance once again.

There’s no doubt in the father’s mind that his boy is his son, but the son must accept this renewed relationship with his father and his community. He must receive the lavish grace and step in to fill the shoes once again – the shoes of sonship. Just like the younger son, many of us feel more like orphans – alone, rebellious, anxious, defensive, defeated or discouraged. We think we can fix ourselves or believe if only we could learn more, find that one missing piece, or tap into some inner peace of mind to fill up with joy. Unfortunately, searching for an abundant life within ourselves is a losing battle because true life is found in filling the shoes of sonship. Being a child of God becomes the source of our identity, purpose, and deep need for love.

Take a few moments to read these descriptions of an orphan. Check off the tendencies you recognize in yourself and take note of words or phrases that most apply to you. [/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Yvonne Biel  

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