“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a Spirit of adoption. When we cry “Abba, Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if in fact we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” ~~ Romans 8:14-17
John Wesley often talked about the contrast between the faith of a servant and the faith of a son (or the faith of a daughter, as we would say today). In the time of Christ, only sons inherited the family’s property and the name, both in the Hebrew and the Roman worlds. Therefore the contrast Paul makes is between the faith of a bounden who gains only a wage and a family member who stands to inherit wealth. One serves from duty, obligation, and bondage because he or she is owed for a day’s work, but the other serves out of love for the Father and is loyal to him because of the family ties.
The servant works only as long as the master is overseeing their labor, but the son or daughter will work without supervision or direction. They can be trusted to have the families best interest at their own heart and have bought into their Father’s vision and mission for his work. The servant however, cares only for his own reward, his paycheck, and not for the overall success of the work at hand. Wesley wanted the people called “Methodists” to know Christ in such a way that we would call him “brother” and God, “Abba, Father.” That would make us adopted sons and daughters, joint heirs along with Christ to all the riches of God’s kingdom. If we felt the witness of God’s Holy Spirit co-testifying with our spirit that we were indeed children of the heavenly Father, if our hearts cried out with Christ, “Abba, Father!” then we truly were part of God’s own family.
The spirit of fear no longer has a hold over God’s own child who has the assurance of the witness of the Holy Spirit in her heart. In my own life and in my creative life, I can act in boldness when I have that confidence and assurance that comes from beyond me and fills me up to overflowing. In these times, ideas and projects flow from my hands and mind without end, but when I have lost my sense of who I am and whose I am, I have been as empty as a Pringle’s can: nothing, not even a crumb is rattling around inside me! I feel empty and useless. Working on sketches seems counterproductive because they look dead and void of life, so I go out and wander in the woods for a while, take photos in a garden, read a book, or do anything until the positive thoughts begin to bubble up again.
Some people go on walkabouts to find themselves. I go to let God find me again, and when I am again centered in him, then I remember who I am: a child of the living God. I remember whose I am: I am a daughter of the Father, a sister of Jesus, and a joint heir to all the riches of our Father’s glorious inheritance.