As a father, the thought of orphans touches my heart. Imagining kids without parents is saddening. Abandoned, discarded, not cared for, fatherless, needy, without an identity are some words that come to my mind when I think of orphans.
On a mission trip in Odesa, Ukraine. I had the first-hand encounter were there are thousands of orphans. Parents had abandoned their children for many reasons. One night, I met a bunch of young kids and they were sniffing glue. They were high as a kite. I wondered how they were surviving every day, who was caring for their wellbeing as well as their soul?
Looking to eat and find safety – they were in survival mode every day. I thought to myself when was the last time they were hugged and loved personally? When was the time taken to be heard and celebrated as they grow? It’s an impression I will never forget.
It is possible spiritually we can take on an orphan spirit. We lose or are detached from our identity of personal love; this happens when we stop receiving perfect love and stop letting God personally love us. How does this happen?
Troubles and details of life crowd in and we become preoccupied. We forget our value and the voice of love gets faint and we look to material things for comfort and identity. We chase pleasures and status to fulfill us, but in actuality, it leaves us more empty than before.
We see an example in Revelations 2:4 where the church of Ephesus thought they were doing everything right outwardly but inwardly they had left the place of “first love”. Something had replaced identifying to love.
An orphan spirit is living with an identity apart from Jesus loving us with his perfect love. As we get a personal revelation of God’s love, we enter a place of security, rest and citizenship. Love is WHO God is not only how he acts. His consistency covers our inconsistency and declares us loveable.
How it begins
What are the tendencies of an orphan spirit – the feeling of rejection, no deep intimate connections like parental relationships, no family bond, no identity, a vagabond? Someone that goes from place to place because they don’t know their place.
The orphan spirit is debilitating, rejection can keep love at arm’s length. We set up obstacles and persuade ourselves not to do things or take risks because failure is imminent. Self-defeatism is a great inhibitor to imaginations and dreams.
We can easily lose our identity when we take our eyes from perfect love. Our identity is fractured from the love of God when we let the past define us. Learning HOW we are loved by God can bring wholeness and hope back into our lives.
Naturally, we have been taught how to receive love based on a few platforms:
- I am a product of my environment.
- Looks or intellect are the determining factors of success
- My value is what people place on me
- My value is based on what I can produce
- Pleasing others is the highest goal.
The wounds and fractures in the soul can mend and we can love and be loved again. Someone starts to love them, and they are suspicious. The inner shout says, “I’m not worthy to be loved.” “No one really understands my need,” David said nobody cares for my soul in Psalms 142:7 – He took his eyes from perfect love and self-love took over. He was focused on history that wounded him and he was taking his identity from there. Looking away from self-love to perfect love is the way God can love us personally. An orphan spirit can be healed by receiving perfect love.
What are some healthy characteristics kids have when in a good family? Security, acceptance, joy, encouragement, safety, belonging, trust. As parents, we want our kids to experience all these things, even more so as a child of God!
Receiving perfect love rewires us. We were designed to be loved perfectly, nothing on earth can complete us as our heavenly fathers love.
The foundation of perfect love looks like this:
- Perfect loves ministers based on the Giver, not the responder
- Acts without waiting for a response
- Relates to us in our potential
- Its character is perpetual and unfailing
The mystery of love is that it won’t demand a change in our behavior, but create something brand-new. Love demonstrates the heart of our Heavenly Father and draws us to himself. This love has no fear or torment and thinks no evil; it lacks nothing, and it is abundant towards you! This is real love.
The Fathers Love renews us. Often, we love based on the response or self-interest. Jesus is Love and is reaching and ministering even before we see our need for it. Here is how it changes us:
- Receiving perfect love rather than trying to be perfect
- Fellowshipping with the value that perfect love places on me as one undeserving
- Learning to love myself the way Jesus does
- The overflow of this perfect love relationship goes to others without reservation.
Life can bang us up a little. We can be bruised and hurt by the collateral damage of trials, disappointments, and toxic relationships. In Romans 10:3 we see how an orphan spirit happens. As we allow self-love to govern our hearts, we become ignorant and independent from fellowshipping with God loving us. We strive to produce our best righteousness and dismiss what God has done.
We may say – I am doing ok, I am a good guy, comparing ourselves with others we come out ahead. But we lack knowledge that God places on us based on his perfect love. We are bankrupt and a huge debtor to this love.
This age is called the fatherless generation. Jails are filled with men (80%) with no relationship with their father. A lot of men and women did not get affection from their mothers, so the result is not knowing how to handle women. There was no one to nurture and personally love them.
Relationships teach us so much about ourselves, we love to the measure that we have received love. If we were to get a glimpse of how much we are loved today by Jesus it would be life-transforming. No one loves us like Jesus!
Our default takes over and we try to earn love. We want a reason for someone to love us because of what we can produce. This begins our journey on the road of perfectionism, this is a miserable road.
In our spiritual journey, we are constantly unlearning things and learning Gods heart. It changes from not me being perfect but receiving something perfect. Let’s say I grew up in a bad home, broken home, divorcee. This can mess up the family unit and undermine the testimony of love which are the seeds of an orphan spirit. The answer is instead of me producing my best, I receive God’s best.
Being our best and doing things with all our heart is so important, but realizing the difference of doing our best verses being perfect. The danger of perfectionism is:
- Our best is short of gods best
- Our control can limit god
- Our outcome is based on our short-sighted estimates
- Our plan is not absolute but Gods will is
Detachment from the Identity of Love starts when I strive to produce my own righteousness. The need for perfection or validation can be insatiable. We want to glorify God in all that we do but not in the place of identity. If we do to be accepted, we would never be able to do enough.
How do we measure perfection? If we compare ourselves with others than our definition of love is too small. Our definition of righteousness is too small. If it’s based on our human ability, it’s too small. People limit and almighty God today because they handle him on their terms!
Who is loving you?
We are accepted; therefore, we do what we do. That is a healthy beginning. We are accepted by God already in 2 Timothy 2.15 We are approved of God. An orphan spirit says I must do to be accepted but a healthy spirit says we are accepted already in Christ and therefore we do.
Naturally, we have cheapened the definition of love. We have casual expressions where we say, “I love my car”, “I love these shoes”, “I love my coffee”. We have an appreciation for things and comforts that can feed self-love. Self-love turns selfish very quickly because it depends on the object for fulfillment. Our relationship with “things” is not reciprocal.
Sure, they provide a service or help us accomplish a task or gives us a good feeling, but the shoes don’t love me back, the car doesn’t love me back. Love this suit. Love this hand purse, wow it is alligator skin! It doesn’t love us back. We love things that don’t love us back and we are slow to love things that love us back. Jesus loves us every time, all the time!
We are adopted into God’s family. We have a history of lineage and a future. Draw near to your heavenly father and receive what is perfect from him rather than trying to earn or produce worthiness.
We are no longer orphans, but we have been clothed in righteousness, clean and sanctified by his word and cherished as one highly favored. Rest in His perfect love for you today.
Jason is a graduate from Maryland Bible College and Seminary, and presently he leads the Pastoral Care Team of Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. Since age 16, Jason has been involved with mission work among the former Soviet-Bloc countries in Eastern Europe, as well as in Asia, and in the United States. While living in Ukraine, he helped church plant three new churches that continue to thrive today under trained nationals. He has also written five books and has his own podcast (tinyurl.com/IRpodcast)