To be fair, there are also many good songs being written. Songs that glorify God and remind us of who we are in Christ. But many being sung only harden the spiritual orphan mindset and take us further away from our true identity.
You might be thinking about now, what do I mean by a spiritual orphan mindset? I’m glad you asked! I’ve written about it a lot in the past but will focus in on the mindset here.
First, a spiritual orphan, in a word, is about separation. Orphans are fatherless and alone. Spiritual orphans also live as though alone, instead of in the constant embrace their heavenly Father.
Therefore, the spiritual orphan mindset is about the illusion of separation.
Its theology is always about distance and delay.
Any time you view yourself separate from God in any way, you’re thinking like a spiritual orphan.
While it is true, from Adam until Christ, we were separated from God because the first orphan–Satan–got Adam to eat from the wrong tree. But Jesus, the first and only begotten Son, told this orphaned world that He would leave and send the Promise of the Father–the Holy Spirit–so that we would no longer be orphans.
For the triune God would come and make His home in those who believed in Him (bold-type added for emphasis).
“I will not leave you orphans;
I will come to you…
23 Jesus answered and said to him,
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word;
and My Father will love him,
and We will come to him
and make Our home with him.” (John 14:18, 23 NKJV)
In fact, Jesus’ final discourse in John before He’s betrayed by spiritual orphans (John 13:31-17:26) is about what it looks like when you’re at home in the Father and He’s at home in you. It needs to be read as one message.
It’s about our life with our Father in Christ–now–as a son in the Spirit.
You are home now in Him.
But here’s the real problem. We’ve been taught and have lived with an orphan view of Christianity for many centuries–a theology that thinks like we’re still spiritual orphans, like under the Old Testament.
But once you see it, you will clearly see that this religious paradigm contradicts the truth about who we are in Christ. The risk I take in saying this is that this mindset is so deeply entrenched in our thinking that you may dismiss or argue with what I’m saying.
Let me give you some examples of what I mean by this orphan-hearted illusion of separation.
We are thinking like a spiritual orphan when…
…we see Jesus crucified, buried and resurrected but we don’t see ourselves crucified, buried and resurrected in Him
…we think of ourselves down here on the earth but God is up there in heaven
…it’s all about going to heaven when we die instead of being invited into fellowship with the Father in the Son at His right hand in heaven now (1 John 1:3-5)
…we relate to Jesus more than the Father, even though Jesus’ purpose was to bring us into the same relationship He has had with the Father from eternity (John 17:21-26)
…we pray to Jesus instead of to the Father as His sons in Christ (John 16:23-24)
…we think and say that Jesus is the only way to heaven instead of the only way to the Father (John 14:6)
…most of our worship songs are about Jesus but very few about the Father
…we sing songs or pray to plead with the Holy Spirit to come (instead of asking to be made more aware of His presence)
…we put off the relevance of the Kingdom of heaven until after we die
…like the younger rebellious brother (Luke 15:11-24), we prefer the things of God apart from Him rather than having them in Him.
…we think we’re getting a “mansion” up in the sky somewhere when we die instead of it being a dwelling place in the Spirit now. I wrote on this before
…our relationship with God is shaped more by duty and service than intimacy and mutually reciprocating love
…we relate more to the Old Testament God of conditional performance-obedience than the unconditional love, righteousness and holiness freely given to us through the grace of Jesus Christ by believing His promises (Rom.4:3-5; 5:17)
…we think individualistically, not seeing our life in Christ in a corporate family sense
Furthermore, the orphan mindset is seen in the carnal Corinthians in Paul’s day, who he called spiritual infants because they were thinking like “mere humans,” dividing themselves by their pet doctrines and by who they follow (1 Cor.1:10-13; 3:1-3).
When we say, “I’m a ____ (fill in your denomination or non-denomination) instead of, “I’m part of the family of God in Christ,” we reveal this mentality.
Spiritual orphans don’t think multi-generationally, but only for themselves, preferring doctrines that feed our need for self-preservation rather than relationship and intimacy.
We would rather condemn this planet and escape from it than be the light and love of our Father in it.
Nor do spiritual orphans consider the original, unrescinded mandate for dominion (Gen.1:26-28), which was to cultivate the culture of heaven on the earth–to represent the Father’s heart as Jesus did, until the knowledge of God covers the earth like the waters cover the sea (Hab.2:14).
Beloved, we are fully-affirmed sons and daughters of our heavenly Father, not scared and fear-driven spiritual orphans groping in the dark. We belong to one another, part of the biggest family in creation, spanning both heaven and earth (Eph.3:14-15).
So let’s stop thinking like orphans, singing like orphans, and be about our Father’s business. He’s got really good things in mind for us!
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