Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Tree of Life: Our New Life as the Family of God

This fall we explored the inner soil of the tree of life, along with the root systems and how the tree grows with fertilizer, sun, water and special care by the Gardener.

This winter we are focusing on the trunk of the tree as we consider how we live in relationship with our Heavenly Father and one another as the Family of God.

The key passage for our development as children of God is in Romans 8:14-17: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

I can think of so many adopted children that have the experience of knowing that they were REALLY WANTED by the parents who adopted them. Sometimes, however, the thought that the ones who created them, their birth parents, who gave them up, overshadows the reality of being desperately desired.

I wonder if sometimes we as God’s children live in that place too. We find that it’s easier to consider how our earthly parents disappointed us than to remember how powerful God’s invitation to his family truly is.

We have a real life example of this in Missio Lux.

We heard of a young woman who was struggling with an extreme family situation. Her mother had just died and she was taking a bus for over an hour each way to get to school. The school was seeking a family who would provide a home for her for the last eight months of her senior year.

A family within Missio Lux responded with an invitation for her to come and live with them.

They decided that they would treat her as a “real daughter” not just as one who was living with them temporarily. They left sweet notes on her pillow at night, took her to school and work each day, invited her to their social gatherings, and even took her with them at Thanksgiving to a visit with extended family. She got sick and the family took her the dr and nursed her as she recovered on the couch for almost two weeks. This girl was receiving love beyond anything she had ever experienced; she was living out the Spirit of Adoption in action.

However, it proved to be too much for her. It turns out that she had fabricated the whole story of her mother’s death; in actuality the mother was in prison for a short period. One day the girl just disappeared from her aunt’s house and went to live with the family from Missio Lux. Her aunt and mother never knew where she went.

I believe that as she experienced a glimpse of the true family of God; she sabotaged it because all her old messages of being rejected, neglected, and unprotected were in so much contrast that she had to blow it up. The family ended up discovering that her circumstances were vastly different than they had been told. In reality, everything about her story was a lie.

This may seem like an extreme example but I wonder how many still live out of the place of the orphan/slavery spirit rather than discovering the vast love and provision of our Heavenly Father who adopts us into his own family.

Exploring our adoption into the Father’s family is a key development part of our faith. When we truly experience the love our Heavenly Father, we are forever changed. His love sets us free from our previous experience as an orphan.

This week, I invite you to spend time meditating on the Romans 8 passage.

Ask your Heavenly Father what it means to be adopted into his family. Take time to consider what life in his family can be. Ask him to bring you into the full experience of his adopted family.

I end with Paul’s prayer in Ephesians: a prayer that he prayed for all of us that have followed after him. May it become increasing reality in your life.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21

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