From Slave to Son by Zack Fugate
“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, we were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.” – Galatians 4:1-3
As I have gotten older, it seems as though I meet more and more people that have experienced growing up without a father. In fact, the statistics regarding the numbers of fatherless youth in our current society are staggering. Specifically, in 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau stated that 23.6% of children in the U.S. grew up in homes without a father. You might be thinking, “23%, that’s not that much.” Well, it actually represents 17.4 million children! The research behind the impact of such an upbringing indicates distinct adverse effects as a result of children growing up fatherless. Keeping in mind that those statistics are four years old, studies are showing that those numbers are only increasing.
Apart from various childhood difficulties, the one common trait that seems to crop up in my conversations that people who grew up without a father tend to share is this…they have struggled to find an identity. Imagine…if the verses above indicate that even an heir is no different to that of a slave while still a child, how much more then would we be without a father. In fact, scripture describes a life without Christ as being that of a child, enslaved to the world. Let’s take this one step further and explore the fact that, often times, even those that grow up with an earthly father, whether or not he (the father) is a believer, struggle to find an identity. Please note that I am not at all insinuating that the role of a godly father or mother lacks significance, but rather that we fool ourselves to think that our identity comes from anywhere else other than our Heavenly Father.
“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!” – Galatians 4:4-6
So often, brothers and sisters, I find myself praying that God would intervene in the lives of my four children. I pray that the Lord would move in their lives in such a way that they would recognize that they already have an identity in Christ and that they would not be enslaved by the false identities and tricks of this world. Let us be praying that for ourselves as well. For it is also true that a worldly identity leaves us an inheritance of death; while the identity, the only true identity, which is found in Christ provides us with an inheritance of eternal life!
“So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” – Galatians 4:7
Your brother in Christ,