Last week, we talked about how important it was that Jesus received public affirmation from his Father as he began his mission. It’s comforting to know that even Jesus needed the spoken, public blessing from his Dad as he set out to meet his destiny.
If Jesus needed the blessing, how much also must we?
I told the story about my friend Joe and the blessing he got from his dad at his wedding. Many of us did not have an experience of fatherhood like my friend Joe had. At the “wedding” feast of our life, something was missing. We never got the blessing.
Many people never experienced receiving the blessing... or else they do not remember. We can spend so much of life “chasing the blessing!” The orphan spirit can be summed up in this one little phrase: Chase the blessing. How much heartbreak, failure, disappointment have we experienced in life, trying to chase this ever-elusive blessing? Many did not get it from their earthly fathers... many never remember receiving it from God either.
But we DID get it!!! At our baptism, we got it from God. And He has never revoked it. We got it... but too often, we never heard it. Or we forgot. Or maybe it got lost in translation. Or buried beneath a constant avalanche of lies that the devil told us, and that we learned to tell ourselves.
The devil is a liar, a thief, and a murderer. He tries to re-write history. He tries to give us amnesia. He tells us we are orphans. He tells us we never got the blessing. And we believe him. Even though the Father says the same thing to us after our Baptism as he said to Jesus, perhaps we got precious little reinforcement through the years. We soon forgot, if we ever appropriated it at all, that we are sons and daughters of the Father. That He is pleased. That an inheritance is waiting for us.
Orphan thinking is fed by fear - fear of being left out, found out, thrown out.
Left out: I’m not good enough. I don’t belong. I’m not in the club. I’m not one of the good people. Found out: In my fear of being left out, I craft a mask that makes me acceptable to people. I learn how to be a pleaser, even at the expense of my true self. Thrown out: Eventually, wearing the masks gets too tiring. We even wear a religious mask, in order to impress God. We feel we have to wear the mask; without it, we will be rejected.
After his Baptism, Jesus enters the wilderness for forty days and nights. He enters a season of testing and trial. But he is prepared. He is armed. He has the endorsement of the Father. He knows who he is. And WHOSE he is. And this makes him immune. He cannot be defeated.
The temptations in the desert are so important because Jesus revisits the history of Israel. He revisits the past and get right what Israel got wrong. Jesus had his identity. He had his Sonship. And his AWARENESS of it! He is the good and trusting Son of his loving Father.
The wilderness is important for us, as well. Maybe it’s time for us to go back to that wilderness, to revisit past defeats, to put right what was made wrong. To win, where before we lost. Armed, this time, with the blessing, armed with the Father’s endorsement. And AWARE of it. And...armed with the Scriptures, God’s authoritative truth about WHO we are and WHOSE we are.
Jesus defeats the devil by putting into practice what he learned - by implementing and utilizing the tools he had at his disposal: his trust in the Father, his knowledge of his identity... and the Scriptures. We have the same tools at our disposal. We must learn to use them!
Last week’s theme was REVEAL. We listened to what GOD said. Who GOD said we were. We prayed for more of that revelation.
This week's theme is DECLARE. This week is about something WE do. God acts; we respond. God reveals; now it’s time for us to appropriate, claim, and declare what God has said. We have to intentionally and authoritatively release the Word of God into our thought realm in order to demolish strongholds of lies and darkness where the devil hides out to sabotage our happiness.
Imagine a person with a mind in consistent, continual alignment and agreement with the mind of God. Imagine a thought-realm with zero-tolerance for orphan thinking. Or...take it a step further. Imagine a people group, a whole community, an entire parish in constant alignment with the mind of God! The possibilities for breakthrough and victory are endless.
God’s Word demolishes strongholds of orphan thinking. God’s word clears out the debris and the stones and the strongholds, and plants thought seeds pregnant with promise and Kingdom power. There is a discipline here. There is a need for habit. We must be pro-active. Think of making the Scriptural declarations as a work-out for your faith.
Challenge: DECLARE! Begin making declarations daily. Out loud. Make it a discipline. Make it a habit. And just see how God transforms your life!
Healing the Orphan Heart #1: REVEAL
Healing the Orphan Heart #3: HEAL
Healing the Orphan Heart #4: REPAIR
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Declaratory Prayer for the Renewal of the Mind
Ten Signs of an Un-Renewed Mind
Preach the Gospel to Yourself (John Piper)
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