The Spirit of Adoption

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons and daughters of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:14‭-‬15 NASB2020

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

James 1:27 NASB2020

It’s time we get real about where we’re at. God’s coming back when we least expect it. Will He find us awake and alert? Or will we have fallen into the slumber of sin? This is not a judgment, just a reminder that we have work still to do.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s encouraging people to take God seriously. The best way to do that? Take God seriously yourself. Your walk tells a story that people are reading whether you speak a word or not.

Time is short. Many people are desperate for hope, searching for meaning and looking for a reason to keep going in the face of increasing tribulation.

Those of us who know God need to remember that we’re no longer slaves to sin. We no longer have to fear God’s wrath. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The operative word there being in.

Are you in? Are you clothed in Christ? Are you being conformed to the image and likeness of God?

I was talking with some folks today that do follow-up with new believers in Africa. They said that some evangelists do a bait and switch with the Gospel. They tell them the Good News but they leave out the part about suffering with Christ. If you want to be glorified in Christ, you’re going to suffer with Christ as well. That’s not a popular message to preach but it’s biblical.

Why do we suffer? Many reasons, but mostly I think to prune us of unrighteous thinking. We need to learn to enjoy the ride even when it’s rough, even when we don’t know how we’re going to get through the day.

The key to peace in the storm is knowing that God is with you. He chose you, not to suffer wrath but to be adopted into His eternal family. We are children of God. As we grow up in the Lord, we mature into sons and daughters of the King. We trust that God is good even when the world is not.

God is in control, but we’re not robots. We have free will. We can make our own decisions. Choose Christ. Choose to walk in obedience. God wants to share with us His divine nature. The Spirit transforms us from creatures of wrath into messengers of love. I’ve seen it in my own life, but the work of sanctification continues on.

If we are the sons and daughters of God, what’s our appropriate response to the spiritually fatherless generation? There are spiritual widows and orphans everywhere. Even in our churches. People don’t know their Heavenly Father. They haven’t experienced the unconditional love and acceptance that is found in knowing Jesus.

If we preach that, then our lives should back up that message. Today’s generation can sniff out a fraud in an instant. They know if you are being authentic and genuine or not. There’s no point in pretending. It’s time to get real. Live the message you preach.

It’s a difficult balance between being loving and merciful and not endorsing wickedness and perversion. But who is going to reach the lost if we condemn them before they hear the truth? Jesus dined with sinners and prostitutes. The self-righteous religious leaders wouldn’t be caught dead in their presence. And these are the folks we’re called to reach.

I’ve been out on the streets. I’ve seen and experienced the heartbreak of living like an orphan, desperate for a loving home. The Church of Jesus Christ is the answer that they’re looking for. Not an institution, but a people who love unconditionally. Offering grace instead of judgment. Offering healing and restoration instead of ostracization. It’s time we checked our hearts to see if we’re still in the faith.

God’s inviting anyone and everyone to come back to Him. A broken and contrite spirit, God will not despise. We know God is in the redemption business. Let’s be honest representatives. Don’t sugarcoat it. Be honest, be real. Don’t be threatened by their sinful lifestyle. That’s just the good soil where the seed of the Gospel is to be planted and grow. Without manure, it’s just not as fruitful.

People know they’re not right. They just don’t know where to turn for the help they need. Jesus is the help they need. We are the people of Jesus. Let’s be His hands and feet and go where angels fear to tread. Revival is coming. And it starts in our hearts.

Please God, save us from ourselves. Save us from our selfish agendas. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is doing. Let us join God in His work by letting the Spirit lead us in all things. May You give us opportunity to share the Gospel, make disciples and transform our communities before it’s too late to do anything. Keep us in Your love. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.”

John 14:18 NASB2020

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