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The world is using fear to disempower you and give the illusion that you are not free. God’s truth is that you are FREE in Christ. Free people are powerful people. Powerful people do not need permission to do what is right, to love, or to connect with others.
Fear, Fear, and MORE FEAR! Fear Is From the Kingdom of Darkness. It is from the Earth, not Heaven. Fear disempowers. It steals freedom. SAFE becomes the priority, and JOY becomes the risk.
Genesis 16:1-4 (NLT) Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. 3 So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) 4 So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt.
A Love Strangulation (a free man, a free woman, and a slave woman). It’s a bad idea to have a slave in your house. It’s immoral. It’s a bad influence. It creates terrible dynamics. Slaves can never be free. But, Saints are REborn for Freedom!
So, we have this STUPID love triangle. Two free people and a slave. They want God to bless them, they want to help God fulfill His promise. So their best “human effort” answer is the slave woman.
There is no hope for love here. There is no hope for powerful choices here. They are trying to do God’s work by using someone. They are operating in fear, not faith. And, it’s just stupid. Love is at the mercy of everyone’s fear.
So how do you break free from the love strangulation! How do we let love in?
Life When You Are Powerless
Recognize Tools of the Powerless. We could dig deep into any one of our characters today for evidence of powerlessness, but we’ll pick on Sarai because it seems she learned how to overcome hers.
Her Language – Genesis 16:2 (NLT) “The LORD has prevented me from having children.” Basically, she is saying, ”I can’t.” Sarai had the promise of God. God said He would, but she said “I can’t”.
Her Control Issues – Genesis 16:2 (NLT) “Go and sleep with my servant.” Sarai is struggling with deep and abiding fear. It’s a fear of an outcome that she has NO control over. She admits that God is in control, but she chooses to control Abram and Hagar.
She Became a User – Genesis 16:2 (NLT) “Perhaps I can have children through her.” Powerless people look for what they do not have, so they can USE it.
She Placed the Blame – Genesis 16:5 (NLT) “This is all your fault!” And there it is. The whole point of being powerless. Responsibility. But, having someone to blame does not in any way alleviate the pain and suffering that comes as a result of the failure.
Reclaim Your Power!
Galatians 4:30 – 5:1 (NLT) 30 But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman. 1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
Your Choices are Powerful. Sarai had to Grow and Hagar had to Go. No Slaves in the house. The family is for the FREE REBORN sons and daughters of the KING! By the time Genesis 21 arrives (which Paul is quoting here), Sarai realizes she is powerful. She also realizes that the answer she thought Hagar to be, gave birth to a REAL problem. A SLAVE son, mocking her FREE son. This time there is no control, no drama, just a choice. A tough choice, but a choice.
2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV) for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Powerful People Don’t Control Others. . . they control themselves. Has it ever occurred to you that God doesn’t want to CONTROL you? He wants you to make good choices and take responsibility for them.
John 15:16 (NLT) You didn’t choose me. I chose you.
Powerful People Make Choices. One of Jesus’ choices led to his betrayal and crucifixion. But, He took full responsibility. It’s difficult for me to respect people who shout out about their RIGHTS. But those who quietly accept and fulfill their responsibilities are powerful.
Powerful People Choose to Love. Just like Jesus. He opened his life and heart to people and he endured the pain. Because He knew He was strong enough to Love. And, so are you!
What will it be for you? “I can’t”, “I’ll try”, or “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”?
Talk About It…
- Have 3 people in your group read Galatians 4:30 – 5:1 from different translations. Highlight any words or phrases that you find interesting. Discuss your selections with the group.
- Review Genesis 16:1-4. What do you think of Sarai’s idea? Why did she go to such an extreme?
- What are some powerless phrases we often use? Why do we use powerless language?
- What are some control issues that you have? Why do you think you have them?
- What is the value of Blame? Does blaming others help us? Why or Why not?
- How could you begin making choices instead of surrendering to circumstances?
- Does God want to control you? How are “keeping” His commands voluntary and not controlling?
- What are the risks of choosing to love people? Are you powerful enough to take that risk? Consider 2 Timothy 1:7.
- What did you discover that you would be excited to share with a friend?