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Eradicating Orphan Thinking

Being in the middle of an international adoption has brought a lot of revelation to the surface as the Holy Spirit speaks in these situations. Over the next weeks, I want to write specifically on these facets of orphan thinking and encourage all of us to reach deeper for the mind of Christ and the true offer of sonship.


As we met and played with our son for the first time in the orphanage in Japan, we were over the moon with joy and excitement. The day we had dreamed about had finally alive. The face we knew only from pictures was staring back at us–talking and laughing riotously. The bits of wisdom about who he is given in a report couldn’t hold a candle, of course, to this vibrant, amazing boy in front of us.

For years we had loved this boy even though we didn’t know who he was. After we started getting acquainted, the love only deepened and grew. We would have climbed the proverbial mountain to get him to his family.

That’s why we were shocked when caretakers told us that with our hours together, Mizuki had been trying desperately to have the happiest face and the highest energy possible so we would “like him.” In his mind, if he wasn’t happy every second, being funny, or showing how energetic he could be, we might not like him and would change our mind about him.

We could even begin to see the signs of him getting exhausted with it all, but it was hard to make him understand that none of it was necessary.

I felt a pit in my stomach and a lump in my throat. My son thought he had to gain my approval and maintain a certain appearance, but he didn’t understand that he was already my son and nothing could change that. He had already been added to the family.

This orphan thinking is rampant in the Church and it destroys lives by destroying relationships with people and relationship with God. It causes us to believe that God can only be placated if we are nice, happy, and put our best foot forward. If we aren’t willing to play the game, we can’t be accepted.

Now, it certainly doesn’t help that many of the chief orphans are running so many of our houses of worship. Their need to be accepted translates into disciples who carry the same orphan thinking patterns. All the while, the Father is crying out to us, “Don’t you realize you already had my affection and love. I had already called you my child.”

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. –Ephesians 1:3-6

 

Too many are getting burned out trying to earn favor that was theirs to begin with–because of their adoption as sons. They mistakenly believe their joy is only from what they can do for God  instead of realizing the joy  springs from who we are to Him. That’s why when some lose their influence of ability to serve in the “higher” capacities, they despair and give up.

The key is to live from the position of sonship, trusting the love that pursued before time began. God isn’t changing His mind about you. Speaking as an earthly father, it’s inconceivable to me so I know it’s absolutely ridiculous to think our heavenly Father would somehow lose interest in you if you don’t measure up.

 

What are your thoughts on this? Have you been guilty of trying to earn something that was already yours?

16 Comments

  1. What an excellent post on Grace Jason! i was praying for you all this morning and wondered how it was going with your son. With thinking like this, he will soon know exactly what father love is. Thanks.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..PuzzlesMy Profile

    • Things are going well, Bill! Challenges but so much grace. My prayer is that besides knowing the love and care of an earthly family, our son will have an incredible sense of his heavenly Father’s great love throughout his life. Thanks so much.

  2. I love this. What a vibrant image of how we approach trying to earn God’s love instead of just knowing we are already loved by Him.
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..Love Is… A Command. There are no exceptions.My Profile

    • I was blown away by it! :) Thank you, Dusty.

  3. Jason,

    your post wonderfully expresses what I have felt so many times as an “orphan.” Good job and thank you! Keep loving on that littlest new son of yours.

    • Thank you, Mary. And I don’t know how we could stop loving him even if we tried! :)

  4. Excellent analogy Jason. We do get burned out, trying the impossible. It is HIs love for us, like your love for your son. That God knew before the foundations of the universe.
    floyd recently posted..HAUNTEDMy Profile

    • Great point, Floyd. I get so bothered and upset about doing the impossible when I think it’s me that has to produce something, but His love carries in unbelievable ways. Thank you, friend!

  5. Love this post bro’…your son will have such a unique window into “adoption” as he grows into it…because of his parents and their hearts…Such a wonderful mirror of God’s.
    Jay Cookingham recently posted..Leaps and BoundsMy Profile

    • Jay, it’s mind-blowingly amazing what God does. I’m amazed by this love! Thanks.

  6. I’m guilty of trying to earn acceptance for something I already have. I’m much better than I used to be, but even now, I find myself sometimes trying to earn God’s acceptance. It takes me disconnecting from everything and taking a sabbath to remind myself that I am accepted because of who I am, not because of what I do.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Creating Sacred SpacesMy Profile

    • That is so true. In the busyness, we can be seduced into thinking we’re earning something, but there is a reason He calls us to rest and it even has an appointed time. Without it, we get farther and farther away from who we truly are. Wonderful thoughts here, Jason. Thank you.

  7. Man, this hit me hard. How many times have I worn myself out just trying to keep up appearances? And for what? Trying to earn something that I never could but already had? I seriously had tears while reading this, not just for this little boy that God has miracuously delivered; but also for all of humanity who have the same deliverance freely available to them. God help us all let down our guard to let His love truly work in our hearts.

    • It’s hit me pretty hard too over these weeks. I wonder why it takes others (or me) so long to see this simple truth. We have slogans and we have Christian catchphrases, but to know and accept His love in the intimacy we were intended to have--that’s an incredible thing. Thank you, Philip.

  8. When I was young my parents taught me this concept you learn respect not earn respect. When you learn to respect others, they learn to respect you. As a little boy I grew up in a house where we learn to pray for everything and anything we wanted. Then we would plant seed or sow seed into the kingdom and that’s when we would see God move. We learned that obedience is better than sacrifice.

    This reminds of the warnings Jesus gave when he was talking about prayer & giving

    In Matthew 6
    Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

    2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    It’s better to learn then earn
    andrew singh recently posted..Christmas-Winterland Photo ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • That’s right on--He will teach us if we humble ourselves and listen to His voice. Too many are just so busy trying desperately to earn and it gets in the way of knowing Him. Thank you, Andrew.