David Hino, October 5, 2012
Unfortunately, the orphan spirit is alive and well. An orphan spirit is person who lacks emotional identity and seeks to earn his identity through his/her efforts. Their symptoms include a critical spirit, being defensive, unable to take correction, feeling abandoned and blames others.
The story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) is the story of two sons with a orphan spirit. The younger son spends his inheritance in pursuit of pleasure. The older son works to earn his father’s love not realizing he already has his father’s favor. The younger son represents people who run from God and the older son represents many people in the church who believe they are close to God but in reality do not know God. Both sons live as orphans with a poverty spirit. The younger son does realize the error of his ways, but the older son continues to try to earn his father’s favor through works.
The apostle Paul admonishes the church in Galatia who have the orphan spirit for they try to earn their sense of value through their works. (Galatians 3:1-5) With the orphan spirit, they have become resistant to the work of the Holy Spirit. Ever wonder why some Christians are resistant to the work of the Holy Spirit? Maybe it is not a theology issue, maybe it is more an orphan spirit that needs to be healed.
Jonah in the Old Testament was an example of someone with the orphan spirit. He was a prophet of God but he did not walk in the intimacy of God’s heart. Jonah runs away like the prodigal son (Luke 15) and ends up in a fish. Later, he serves God in Nineveh but with the attitude of the elder brother (Luke 15) and never understands the compassion of God. Jonah could be an effective worker for God without really knowing the heart of God.
Recently, I have been doing a study in the book of Matthew. I looked at every possible encounter of what people received from God and why they received it. I was surprised that in over 50 encounters in Matthew, people simply received because of the goodness and grace of God. The efforts of the people had no or little value in receiving healing, deliverance or provision. God works because of His grace. The more we know His grace, the more effective His gifts will operate through us. The word “charismatic” means “gifts of grace” not gifts of effort.
We have this wrong mindset that if we pray hard enough then God has to answer us. Prayer is more about being close to God so that when He speaks you recognize He is speaking. The answers to prayer are more a result of God’s grace than our efforts.
The ancient Roman concept of adoption is quite different from our concept of adoption. The Romans adopted adult children. Romans were not looking for babies who were helpless and left without parents. The Romans were looking for mature young men who usually had two living parents. These adopted children would inherit their new father’s social standing, wealth and political power. An adopted son would have all the rights as child born in a family.
Romans 8.15 declares, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Ephesians 1.5, states, “He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,”
God has a Roman understanding of adoption. When God adopts us He breaks off the orphan spirit and brings us into a new social standing, wealth, and power. God adopts us not because we are unworthy but because we are worthy. Too many Christians do not understand the unlimited resources from God at our disposal and live as orphans.
We live in this dichotomy. The moment we realize that we have nothing before God and all our efforts mean little, then God says we have everything and our efforts mean so much. On the other hand, when we believe that our efforts change the mind of God, then He says, “When did it become all about you and not about me?”
Change the above stories to being adopted children. The younger son (Luke 15) would have never left his father, taken his inheritance at his father’s death and expanded the business many fold. The elder son (Luke 15) would have worked with pleasure and had many joyful parties with his Dad, family, friends and strangers. Jonah would have gone directly to Nineveh to preach and would have rejoiced when the city turned to God. He would have prayed that God would provide a big supernatural fish and supernatural crops that would grow up overnight so that the whole city could feast. The Galatian church would have been led by faith and by the Spirit and they would gotten a vision from God, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
Are you fully adopted by God? Are you free from the orphan spirit? Do you hear the words that God declares over you, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (Matthew 3:17) Are you ready to embrace the full inheritance that the Father in heaven has for you now on earth? Adopted children know their emotional identity, walk in their God given destiny and embrace the eternal resources that God has for them.