The spiritual orphan mindset

man_sunsetEvery once and a while I’ll turn my radio back on and expose myself to the theology of popular Christian music, only to be reminded again why I don’t listen to it. The other day was no exception.

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.

…like the elder religious brother (Luke 15:31),we put off our inheritance until we die and go to heaven, never availing ourselves to all that the Father has now (Luke 12:32)

…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

…we see ourselves as a slave instead of a son (Gal.4:7), a servant of God instead of His friend and confidential partner (John15:15),

…our relationship with God is shaped more by duty and service than intimacy and mutually reciprocating love

…we say (or sing) that this is not our home, that heaven is our home, but we fail to see that we’re living from heaven now (Eph.2:6; Phil.3:20; Heb.12:22). I wrote about this here

…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

…we’re seeing ourselves in any way different than Christ in this world (1 John 4:17). Not that we’re God, but that we are in Him and His life is our life (Gal.2:20; Col.3:3).

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!

 Photo (modified) used by permission through freeimages.com

 

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 37 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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11 Responses to The spiritual orphan mindset

  1. Jerry Ward says:

    Hi Mel,
    A wonderful subject. So many souls need to read what you have written. I pray that they do, in Jesus name.And Realize that they have been adopted into His glorious family, and all that is His is now theirs.
    God Bless

  2. Sooooo God good, Mel. I’d go so far as to say this is one of your best.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks Susan. I really appreciate that. I’m never quite sure how this subject is going to go over in the general body of Christ. Sometimes people look at me like I’m speaking in Klingon when I talk about this. 🙂 I spent a lot time teaching on this subject before we started to walk in it at our church. And it took me a long time to get it myself so I totally understand the “look.” But this shift in how we see ourselves in Christ is SO crystal clear to me now that I can’t see it any other way. It’s so important to our life in Christ, which is why I think it’s important to bring up here. Blessings.

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  6. Reblogged this on sevennotesofgrace and commented:
    I really like the challenge of this post….to examine our thinking about where we stand in Christ, and in relation to the Father, our Father!

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