Summary: You are adult sons of God, so don’t behave like children; behave like the adult sons you are.
Marian Obeda, from London, Ontario, talks about a time when her husband, a pastor, was asked to officiate at a lot of weddings over a short few months. During that time, they were also preparing for their son's birthday party, so Marian asked her son who he wanted to invite. He responded with a list of names that only included girls.
Then she jokingly asked him, “Who are you going to marry when you grow up?”
And without hesitation he replied, “When I grow up I'm going to be a pastor and marry them all.” (Marian Obeda, London, Ontario, “Rolling Down the Aisle,” Christian Reader)
Most children look forward to growing up, because there is greater freedom with fewer restrictions. That’s why it’s so tragic when you see an adult still living with his or her parents, still dependent on someone else to make all their decisions for them.
However, it’s even more tragic when a believer, whom God considers as an adult son, lives like a child. It’s tragic when God’s adult sons live like children, dependent on rules and regulations, a list of do’s and don’ts, or some “magic formula” to live the good life.
The problem is there is no magic formula. There is no “law” which guarantees the good life. So…
QUIT BEHAVING LIKE CHILDREN.
Stop depending on rules and regulations to find the good life. Stop relying on some-kind-of law or magic formula to get ahead in life.
Galatians 4:1-2 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. (ESV)
A child is like a slave, because someone else is managing his life. He cannot manage his own estate, and he cannot make his own decisions.
When Princess Diana died in 1997, she left a sizeable inheritance for her two sons, William and Harry, in the amount of $20.4 million. With investments and interest, that amount grew during their teens and twenties to $31.4 million. But the provision was such that William and Harry were only able to inherit this considerable estate after their 30th birthdays. In June, 2012, William turned 30 and received his portion of the inheritance. Later, Harry received his portion on his 30th birthday as well. (Frank Lovelace, “Prince William turns 30, inherits share of Diana estate,” Newsday, 6-20-12; www.PreachingToday.com)
You see, you don’t give a child nearly $16 million! No! You wait until he or she is old enough to make responsible decisions!
That’s the way it was for God’s people. For nearly 1500 years, from the time of Moses until the time of Christ, God’s people were like children in His eyes. They were like slaves under the guardianship of the law.
Galatians 4:3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. (ESV)
Literally, to the ABC’s of the world. It’s like we were in kindergarten, where we had to get permission just to go to the bathroom. We couldn’t make our own decisions. Instead, the law did all that for us, even to the point of what to eat and where to go to the bathroom. Have you read the Mosaic Law recently? There’s some really interesting stuff in there.
For 1500 years, the law dictated our lives; because like children, we really didn’t know how to make good decisions; we really didn’t know how to handle the rich blessings or the inheritance we had from God; and we really didn’t know how to handle the rough waters of life itself.
Not too long ago, a teenaged boy was in such a hurry to try out his new surfboard that, oblivious of the warning flags, he dashed straight out into the waves. Immediately, an authoritative voice boomed, “You are an inexperienced surfer. Return to shore.”
Embarrassed, he came ashore but not without asking the lifeguard how he knew he was a novice. “Easy. You've got your wet suit on backwards.” (H.J. Duffy, Livingston, Texas, “Lite Fare,” Christian Reader)
We restrict children for their own safety, and that’s what God did for His people by giving them the law. But now that Christ has come, God wants you …
START BEHAVING LIKE ADULTS.
Come out from under the constraints of the law, and make responsible decisions like grown-ups in dependence upon His indwelling Holy Spirit.
Galatians 4:4-5 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. (ESV) – or better, “the full rights as sons.”