You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear. (Romans 8:15, NIV)
The Holy Spirit doesn’t put you in the position of trying to prove yourself to God—that’s slavery. Slavery means you never have joy, never have peace, never feel that you’ve done enough. That’s the kind of relationship you have with your employer, not your father!
A relationship with your employer depends on you demonstrating your value on a continuing basis. That’s how some people try to relate to God: “Look what I’m doing for you! See how hard I’m working?” But God says, “My Son did not come into the world to make you a slave, but a son.”
Your friend has recently broken up with his girlfriend, so you ask him: “What went wrong?” He says, “It felt like every time we were together I had to do something to make her happy.” That’s slavery! Is that how you think about God? God puts up with you. He tolerates you. But you need to do something to make him happy: Go to church, say your prayers, read the Bible, give some money, go on a missions trip. Do something to make God happy? That’s slavery. And it kills love! That’s why religion can become the enemy of spiritual life.
Many people have a relationship with God based on belief and obedience, but it is without affection for God. Paul says that this is precisely what Christ came to rescue you from! As long as you are attempting to prove yourself to God, you will be a slave to fear. And this kills love.
On a scale of 1 (all fear, no affection) to 10 (no slavery, great affection) how would you describe your relationship with God?