Galatians 4:21-31; Lamentations 3-4; Psalm 146
There are some strange beliefs out in the world these days. I was looking for a joke about choosing your parents and realized that there is a whole group of people who seem to think that children choose their parents before they’re born. I didn’t spend too much time looking at the beliefs, but according to one person, it’s like the prospective child fills out a questionnaire that would help them design their next life and a computer spits out a list of possible families. The child can then choose which of those families will do the best job of helping them achieve their life goals and child and parents are then matched. These people are serious, and they breed…er…are available to be chosen as parents. Would the fact that these parents might be abusive be hidden from them? What about those parents who would abort their child? Who’s hiding this type of information from the kids, or rather, kids to be.
Maybe there’s something to this idea that when a woman says, “I didn’t choose to have kids,” she might be right. Some snot-nosed brat found his mom on sale at “Parents-R-Us” and his life goal was to antagonize some poor woman. And if this is true, moms, no more should we hear, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it.” Paul used an analogy of parenthood to talk about our relationship with God. The example he used dealt with Hagar and Sarah and the Abraham fathered with them. Hagar was Sarah’s slave and bore a son on Sarah’s behalf, since Sarah was about 90 when the promise of a child came from God. Sarah decided that custom and nature demanded this process. God had other plans in mind, and so, old lady Sarah got pregnant and had a kid after she was 90 years old. This was the child of the promise, of the free woman. “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.” (Galatians 4:31 NIV)
Paul’s making a point in this brief passage about our nature as followers of Christ. When we follow Christ, we become, like Isaac, children of the promise. While we can’t choose our physical parents, in this analogy we have a choice between remaining in slavery to sin, by choosing the mother who was a slave, or we can choose freedom in Christ, by choosing the mother who received the promise from God. Paul’s overall point was to talk about the freedom we had because we were in Christ. We aren’t called to follow human rules and regulations slavishly, hoping that God might find a way to love us; we’re called to walk in His love, His grace, His goodness as the children of His promise.
You can’t really choose your parents, but you can choose to walk with God. No one can go to the Father unless the Father calls them, but we have the truth that reminds us that God is not willing for any to perish. That means, He’s calling us all. The choice is set before each person: will you choose to remain in slavery to your sin or will you choose to accept God’s promise in Jesus Christ? There are a lot of circumstances that people go through that they wouldn’t choose on their own, but once you choose to begin walking with Christ, you’ll realize that He stays with you each step of the way. Paul’s message, though, was mainly a call for Christians to stop seeking to follow God using the methods of slavery found in the natural ways of Hagar. No longer are we who are followers of Christ bound to our sin nature. We’ve been freed by the promise of God. That freedom isn’t meant to be freedom to do wrong, but to live better lives as God’s children. When you choose to make God your father, true freedom will guide you in all you do.
Lord, keep me free from the slavery of sin. Let me walk in Your freedom and share that freedom with others.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.