At Jesus’ baptism, he received a public affirmation from His Father. He must have needed it as he began his great mission. Armed with this ringing, public endorsement from the Father, he entered the desert and conquered the devil, ready to fulfill his great destiny.
It may sound strange to put it this way, but... Jesus knew he was no orphan. Jesus knew WHO he was, WHOSE he was. He was the Father’s beloved Son. Armed and equipped with this knowledge, he was ready to enter the desert, face the darkness, and emerge victorious.
Several years ago I did a wedding and went to the reception afterward. The bride was Lebanese and came from a large family. There were over three hundred guests! The Lebanese custom is for many wedding speeches. At one point, the groom’s father spoke. You could tell he was nervous and inexperienced at speaking. He was a blue collar worker and joked about being just a “dumb pollock from the south side of Chicago." Something about his fidgeting and discomfort made what he had to say all the more compelling.
As he stumbled over his words, he told of his first impression on seeing his newborn son all those years ago: “My God, he’s got big feet!” He went on to say: “I realized my son would be a lot taller than me. I realized I would one day be looking up at my son.” This father then talked about all the things he admired and respected in his son, and how proud he was of him. And how well he chose a bride! He ended the speech by choking up and saying, “So here I am, son, looking at the man you have become. And I can only say, the prophecy came true. I am your father, but today, I am looking up to you, my son.”
Everyone clapped and cheered and drank their toast. But afterward, you could tell something big had just happened. Maybe it’s just me, but it seemed like every man in the room was deeply moved...and maybe a little jealous. We’ve all longed to hear our fathers bless us like that! Yet... how many of us have? For that matter...How many of us remember receiving such an endorsement from God the Father?
Orphan thinking is one of the most serious spiritual problems of our age. It can afflict even Christians. An orphan has no mother, no father, no real family. An orphan is alone in the world. She has to compete, perform, and survive. She must be hard, because the world is hard. An orphan can’t afford to forgive because the world is unforgiving.
The orphan lives in a world of scarcity. He carries deep wounds in his heart, along with fears of rejection and not being good enough. He is sensitive and defensive, always seeking the approval and love which was never received.
The spiritual orphan is always looking for an identity...since there is none given, one must be created. The orphan is always trying to “be” somebody, fearing they are nobody. Orphans must make their own way, find their own luck in this world.
There are many reasons for an orphan heart. For many, it can stem from childhood wounds. Even with good parents, few of us got all the love we needed. While a spiritual orphan might believe in God, there is often suspicion that God is not truly an Abba, Father. Rather, God is a Master to be feared, and often a fickle one at that. He cannot be trusted. He is seen as always somehow displeased and unhappy. I have to earn His love, and I never seem to measure up. This often leads to at least implicit resentment.
The orphan spirit is perhaps the most crippling spiritual problem of our age. How does it manifest itself? Comparison a big one. Also, there are all the attempts to “be” somebody, whether through wealth, beauty, fame, power, etc. Most of all, there is a “performance” spirit whereby one feels the need to always prove oneself, earn the love and approval that was never received.
The greatest lie that Satan uses to defeat us is that we are orphans. He lies: God is not Abba. God is mean, stern, impossible to please. He is always in a bad mood, always out to get us. He might love some people, but not me. He loves holy people...whatever that means. All I know is, it’s not me.
On the day of your baptism, God the Father said, “You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” God is in a good mood. He takes delight in his people (Ps 149) - in you and me. From that day, we are forever defined by the Father’s embrace. We are “in” Christ – Christ literally shares his sonship with us. God the Father now sees and loves in us what he sees and loves in his son. We are adopted into God the Father’s family, and given a share in his inheritance.
This week’s theme: REVEAL. The Father reveals his heart to his beloved Son - and to all who are in his Son, justified through Baptism.
This week’s challenge: ASK for a revelation of the Father’s love. Ask: Lord, who am I to you? Ask Abba to show you how he feels about you. Listen for those words he said to Jesus: “You are my beloved, in whom I am well pleased.”
I will be praying that Abba reveals his delight in you, growing your confidence and joy to a degree you have never before experienced!
- How is the orphan spirit on display in today's world? How about...in the church?
- When have you heard clearly the Father's endorsement, and received his blessing?
- What wounds in your life may have contributed to an orphan spirit?
Healing the Orphan Heart #2: DECLARE
Healing the Orphan Heart #3: HEAL
Healing the Orphan Heart #4: REPAIR
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