Thinking as Sons and Daughters: His Comfort and His Will
Orphan thinking first appeared in the Garden of Eden when, after living naked and unashamed in the presence of God, Adam and Eve disobeyed. No longer secure in His presence, feeling inadequate and ashamed in their nakedness, fearful of the Father’s thoughts toward them, they hid from him. Orphan thinking became a part of the human experience; insecurity, inadequacy, shame, fear and hiding are all evidence of orphan thinking.
In Andrew’s message Sunday from Ephesians 1:5 he identified some behaviors that point to the need to re-align yourself as a son or daughter. I am sharing here a couple more ways orphan thinking can show up. One is in believing that we must comfort ourselves; the other is demanding that we have our own way.
Orphan thinking blocks us from real and transparent relationships and effectively comforting others. Orphan thinking says we must find our own comfort. Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever...I will not leave you comfortless (orphaned).” [John 14: 16,18a]
Orphan thinking drives us to medicate the pain of alienation through physical stimulation. Unable to find connection and intimacy with God or others, we seek comfort in counterfeit affections: addictions, compulsions, escapism, busyness, hyper-religious activity. We are burdened with fears, anxieties, insecurities, inadequacies, loneliness, and lusts. We constantly try to push down our sense of alienation, loneliness and lack of self-worth through constant work, going from one relationship to the next, physical gratification and a life of narcissism and self-indulgence. The more we indulge, the more addicted we become and the larger the hole in our heart becomes. Only the love of the Father can fill the deep emotional needs we have.
The mature son or daughter is led by the Spirit of God to seek comfort in the Father’s presence. We pursue times of quietness, solitude and rest and bask in the security and restoration of God’s presence. We seek our identity in the truth of God’s word and practice the joy of the Lord as our source of strength. We understand that grounding our security and self-life in anything other than God is like trying to build a house on sinking sand. Because we are secure in the Father’s love, we are able to pursue intimacy and transparency in relationship with others. Because we are comforted by God, we can comfort others.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” [2 Corinthians 1: 3-4]
Orphan thinking is set in opposition to the next generation through a focus on self-will, the very antithesis of the heart of the Father. Jesus demonstrates it in these words: “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” [John 6:38] and “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” [John 5:19]
Orphan thinking repels and rejects children, forfeiting influence over the next generation. Leaders and parents with orphan thinking are in constant turmoil. They fight and strive for their own way. They are self-centered and self-indulgent, and often do not want to sacrifice their lifestyle, desires and will for the neediness of children. Contrary to the Father’s heart, they reject the idea of children or, having children, their persistent fighting and striving for their own way leaves children (spiritual and natural) feeling like they are competing for a place rather than having a place to belong: loved, secure, at home.
The mature son or daughter led by the Spirit of God attracts and desires children. Those who walk in sonship walk in the Father’s anointing and draw children toward them because their children hear the voice of a shepherd who cares for them. The Father’s heart longs for children and delights in them as treasure of highest value, and the Spirit of God in His sons and daughters gently and lovingly leads the next generation to himself.
“…And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring...” [Malachi 2:15a]
“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers….” [Malachi 4:6a]
To be led by the Spirit of God is to live from a safe place in the Father’s heart; we are secure and at rest in a place where we belong. If he had a refrigerator, my picture would be on it, and so would yours. He delights in our prayers like a new father in the babbles of a child not yet able to speak. His pleasure is to love us.
Bernitta, Neighborhodd Church Elder