The Orphan Heart
Another misconception that holds us back from enjoying the fullness of the Father’s love is “the orphan heart” which is the root of our slave mentality.
From the moment Adam and Eve declared independence, they became orphans; they lost their fellowship with the Father and were alienated from Him by fear. They became slaves at heart, not sons. The whole world is an “orphanage” of fatherless children. Adam’s sin was passed on to his descendants, leaving them slaves to the fear of punishment, and alone in the world to find their own way without a loving Father to provide, protect and guide them through life.
Many believers have the heart of an orphan. They have never understood that they have been restored to the Father as beloved sons and daughters. They are suspicious of God’s love and afraid of punishment. They still think that they must obey rules in order to stay in God’s good books.
Jack and Trisha Frost, (www.shilohplace.org), after they had made their own discovery of the damage of having an orphan heart, wrote an article entitled “From Slavery to Sonship” in which they presented a comparison between the heart of an orphan and the heart of a son. The heart of the issue is that true son has a name, a home and an inheritance whereas an orphan is nameless, homeless and has no inheritance; he focuses only on keeping the rules and lives in fear of punishment. A son lives in the security of his father’s love and acceptance, no matter what he does.
It was Jesus’ mission to reintroduce His people to the Father whom they did not know because He had been buried under a mound of rules and ritual. Jesus assured His disciples that He would not leave them as orphans (John 14:18). Just as He had lived in the full fellowship of the Father, so they too, through the Holy Spirit, would experience the Father’s presence and love which was the engine and energy of His life.
Our experience of our human fathers plays a vital role in the way we perceive God as our Father. We relate to God as our Father in the same way as we relate or related to our earthly fathers. We are either loved regardless of our performance, or we are judged and rejected if we do not live up to our fathers’ expectations or treated harshly by strict dicsiplinarians.
The way we perceive ourselves is based on the way our fathers treated us. If we were loved and accepted, we will be secure in God’s love. If we were judged and rejected, we will have an orphan heart – insecure and living in the fear of punishment. Our belief about the Father and His attitude towards us will be shaped by the attitude of our human fathers towards us and the way they treated us.
The clue to our belief about ourselves and our relationship with God is our emotions and the way we react to our everyday circumstances. If we feel “bad” about ourselves, it is in indication that we have an “orphan” heart. Anything that triggers bad feelings is a reminder of what was said or done to us in our formative years that influenced what we believe about ourselves and God.
How do we change the way we feel about ourselves that will reflect God’s love for us. Forgiveness is the first step, acknowledging and cancelling the debt our father owes us for treating us as anything less than a beloved son or daughter. This will free us from the hold that our human father’s failure has on us.
The second step is to identify the false beliefs we have about ourselves in the light of what God says about us in His word. When we come clean with God, acknowledging the lies that shape our self-awareness, He is able to speak the truth into those places where we judged ourselves and set us free from fear, guilt and shame and replace these emotions with His peace.
How do we know that we are true sons and daughters of God? Discipline! Hebrews 12 puts the hardships and trials we encounter in life in their correct perspective. They are neither attacks from the devil nor punishment from God. God has already punished Jesus for our sin and the sin of the whole world. God is treating us as sons. He permits hardships to test and strengthen our faith in and love for Him as our Father so that we may share His holiness.
When we keep looking at Jesus, He teaches us how to act and respond to adversity out of who we are as sons and not in reaction to those who mistreat us. By continually gazing at Jesus in His word, we are transformed from cringing slaves and insecure orphans into confident and trusting sons and daughters, allowing nothing to move us from our trust in Him because we are secure in His love.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.
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