Thursday, May 18, 2017

Change of Direction

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you what I felt led to pray for my life and for the Church. It was mostly Paul's prayers for the believer in Ephesians 1-3. As I started praying these things consistently, God started speaking about some things more clearly to me. I should not be too surprised because one of the things I have been asking for is a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I would like to share some of this with you and then encourage you to go back to that blog and begin praying these things for your life and for the Christian community that you are part of.

A few days after I started praying these things, I had a dream. I usually do not think much about dreams but his one was different. It was clear and concise. I wrote it down as soon as I got up and as I wrote it became even more clear. I was seeing things beyond the dream but I knew that it was God opening my eyes to His heart. As I wrote, I got more insight and direction but not a specific plan. As I prayed about what I was writing I saw that there would be a time to act on these things but first there was going to be a time of waiting for God to work some things out in me.

The dream was short. I was moving into a flop house with a friend. I could not tell you who the person was other than that I knew we were friends. As we approached our room, he told me to wait. He had to check on the kids next door. In the room there was a 3 year old girl and her little sibling. They were just waking up. My friend talked to the little girl for a minute then we prepared to leave. As we turned to go, she said "I am hungry". I asked my friend if we should go get them something to eat since they were obviously left alone. He said, no, they would find something and we did not need to worry about it. This was the whole dream.

As I prayed about it, I began to see that the reason I could not identify the friend is because he was the Church. The children were orphans and our response was the typical response we tend to have. We want to look at needs and we are good at seeming concerned but we often do not go deeper to intervene in people's lies. I think that we feel the situation is too big and our help would not matter so why bother. I know that I often feel overwhelmed by what I see and it hinders my ability to intervene. I suspect that I am not the only one.

Some examples are the things that I see in  Guatemala. It is hard to get good statistics because every source seems to report something different so I usually assume that the truth is in the middle. There are 300,000+  homeless, orphaned, abused and neglected kids in a country of 16,000,000. About 40% or 6,500,000 residents are part of the Evangelical Church. 1/2 of the population is under 21 years of age. 15% of the population is wealthy but over 3 times that number live in poverty, many of them in extreme poverty, less than $1.50 per day. The income of the poorest in the population has decreased in the last 15 years while their numbers have swollen. Violence, rape, molestation and murder dominate the headlines of the national newspapers. In the last week 3 bus drivers and 3 helpers have been murdered in San Lucas, a usually peaceful community.

I felt like God was telling me that this is the natural outcome of people growing up orphans. Not all that are orphans are parentless, Most have at least one parent. The orphan condition comes from living in a fallen world and believing the lies of the enemy that we have to figure life out for ourselves. It is a heart condition that keeps us from being able to receive love and manifests itself in these various destructive activities. People with an orphaned heart will try to destroy what they cannot control. People with orphaned hearts believe they are on their own and the only thing that they can count on is their own effort. Unfortunately that always comes up short, leaving them more empty and more broken, angry and frustrated.

I felt like God was saying that He was showing  me these things because I was going to start working with orphans, street kids, the neglected and abused. I believe that is possible as of now. I know that God hates the fact that there are so many people He created as an object of His love who are being hurt each day because of the corruption of the world and the lies of the enemy. I believe that His desire is to stir up the Church to step into these situations and see people set free. I believe I will be working in this ministry in the future but then he revealed something closer to home for me.

I have been seeing all of the areas of my life that respond from orphan thinking. What was easy for me to see in some was hard in me. God stared showing me the ways that I respond and react that are based on the lies of the enemy. I would like to share with you this limited list, some of which have been issues for me and others that are common for many people. This is not comprehensive but they are just a few checkpoints that I have started to see so that I could recognize areas of my life where I have not been living like a son of God but like an orphan and a slave.

  1. Self awareness: Orphans have an inclination to process every decision based on perceived personal expense.
    1. Selfish motives; If I give or share I might not have enough for me.
    2. Fear of loss; If I obey it is going to cost me something, money, family, home, respect.
    3. I will be taken advantage of: People will use me if I am too giving.
    4. Poverty and lack mindset; How am I going to meet my needs and obligations if I obey God in this?
  2. Self preservation; I could die or be injured.
    1. Fear of suffering; I could suffer or die if I do that.
    2. Fear of the future; If I do this I will not be provided for until my life ends.
  3. Anger; Orphans often respond by lashing out when they are fearful.
  4. Need to be right or agreed with; Being right becomes a measure of worth
  5. Need to succeed; Orphans often measure themselves by if others see them as successful.
  6. Checking out; If I am destined to fail, why try?
  7. Defensiveness; Orphans are often expecting rejection or chastisement so they are ready to defend themselves.
There are many more but this is enough to get people thinking. Are you living like a child of a good Father? Are you secure in the identity that you have been giving through Jesus. If we are crucified with Jesus, we have a new identity. We are sons, through creation first and then by adoption. God has given us a new identity. I am beginning to see how important it is to embrace this identity. If I do not know that I am a son, raised with Jesus and seated with Him, I cannot offer the world the one thing that it truly needs. The purpose of the Church is to make disciples that are sons of God. We are called to call others into their destiny as Holy Spirit leads us. We cannot do that while remnants of the orphan remain in us. God is in the process of removing that. It comes through the cross and embracing it for all of our old, orphaned self and then being raised as sons, fellow heirs with Jesus. This is where I am today, learning to see all of the areas in my life that I am living in and have been embracing this lie. God is teaching me to be a son.

Read the prayer of Jesus for the disciples and let it sink in as you realize it is for you also.
[John 17:18-26 ESV] 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

God wants to heal us, teach us to live as sons, united with Him and as one in Him and then to transform the world. I am called to work with orphans but it might not be how I though of it. The world is full of people that do not know they are orphans and God wants to bring them, through the cross of Jesus to the place of adoption and sonship. He also wants to use you in this ministry. Are you ready?

1 comment:

  1. thank you is wonderful to hear your heart...thank you for listening to the Holy spirit..and also...I have been reading through John in these last days and today was reading this. In many ways we do all have orphan thought patterns that we need to have removed...thank you again for reminding me and making me evaluate mine.