No longer an orphan – Part I
=Welcome to another week in our series ‘This is Who I Am’. We’ve been discussing our identity in God and how knowing this makes all the difference for us as Christians. Our primary identity is one as children of God.
Regardless of whether we have earthly fathers or not, as believers, we have a Heavenly Father who provides for us, guides us, and sets an example that we can follow. Yet, there are times when, although God has made us His children, we still live as if we are orphans, as if we don’t have the privilege of an all-knowing, providing, and loving Heavenly Father.
Persons who live like this are often referred to as spiritual orphans. This orphan spirit keeps us from walking in the benefits of God’s love and distributing those benefits.
In order to truly live as God’s children, we need to break that spirit over our lives. But, in order to break it, we have to first identify it.
SYMPTOMS OF THE ORPHAN SPIRIT
1. ORPHANS FEEL ABANDONED.
At about age 10, my father went away to work. It was a good thing for our family, but for a 10-year-old boy, it felt like abandonment. After that, I felt as if anyone who was important to me would leave and that if they didn’t abandon me physically, they would disappoint me in the important events of my life. So I decided to keep everybody at a distance. That same blockage that I had with people, I had with God. God could come so far and no more. I would believe that He could work miracles for others but not for me. I felt abandoned, even though our Father’s invitation is one of welcome embrace to a place of belonging in His family (Eph 1:5).
2. ORPHANS FEEL AFRAID.
Spiritual orphans are often suspicious of God’s love and live with thoughts like, ‘He could not love me’.
They also struggle to believe that God is committed to satisfying their desires. They believe that God will provide the ‘basics’ but not the wants and passions of their hearts. Now, I am not suggesting that life will go exactly how we envision it – but I am saying that God promises to satisfy our hearts richly with His goodness and mercy. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4, NKJV). But without this belief, we may end up sinning to compensate for feelings of dissatisfaction. When God doesn’t come through as we want, we take matters into our own hands rather than living securely in our Father’s love and place in the family.
3. ORPHANS DO NOT FEEL ACCEPTED.
When persons constantly feel the need to prove their worth or feel that they are not accepted because of their faults, they may also be spiritual orphans. Perceiving the strengths of others as competition and seeking to hide personal limitations are not characteristic of God’s children. Sons and daughters embrace both their strengths and weaknesses — comfortable both with who they are and whose they are.
4. ORPHANS CAN BE PERFORMANCE-ORIENTED.
The spiritual orphan believes that he or she must work hard or perform well in order to be recognised or loved. They are constantly evaluating themselves and others. Who works harder? Who is more faithful? Who is more committed? Who is more passionate? Who is more loving and accepting? It comes down to, ‘Who is better?’.
If you see any of these characteristics in your own life, know that there is another way to live. Our Father’s invitation is to a place of unconditional acceptance and rest in our unique, God-given identity (1 Cor 12:18). So join us next week as we discuss how to get rid of the orphan spirit.