Romans 8:15, “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!'”
Two different mindsets can mark our approach to God. We can approach God as slaves in bondage, or we can approach him as adopted children. The spirit of slavery views God as a slave owner and us as his trembling subjects. Conversely, the spirit of adoption views God as a loving Father and us as his beloved sons and daughters.
A spirit of slavery is manifested in a legalistic religion. God is presented as a taskmaster who is never quite satisfied with anything we do. The bar is always set a bit too high, so we find religious activities to keep ourselves busy in the hope that God will accept us for our efforts. We obey, motivated by fear of punishment.
In stark contrast is the Spirit of adoption, the Holy Spirit of God who brings us into God’s family by his grace. When we submit our lives to Jesus, we are invited to address God as Abba, which means “daddy.” The Spirit of adoption changes us from fearful slaves to joyful sons and daughters. Therefore, we can enjoy serving God without fear or obligation. How great is that!
Take this moment to pray out loud that God is your Abba, your Heavenly Father! Repeat this prayer many times throughout the day.
Heavenly Father, you are my Abba, my Father in heaven. Thank you for loving me, receiving me as your child, and adopting me into your family! In Jesus’ name, Amen.