For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “ Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:15 AMP
Last night, I watched a movie with my son titled, “Instant Family.” It is the heart warming, comedic take on adoption; based on true life events of a couple who adopts not one, but three kids! One of them, is a teen called Lizzie, and she is a handful.
Not only is she pushing boundaries within this new family environment, but she is also pushing away two awesome foster parents, who desperately loves her. They want nothing more than to offer her a loving home that provides stability, safety and security.
It was interesting to see how her younger siblings found it easier to accept their new parents. Lizzie had something that they did not have: life experience. She was a little older. She had a few more bumps and bruises; a few more mistakes under the belt. Life had taught Lizzie that she was not worthy of love. That she did not deserve love or a safe, secure and stable home.
As I watched Lizzie struggle with coming out of a dysfunctional situation and into something that was completely foreign to her, it made me think about my own, spiritual adoption.
Becoming an adopted child of God can be an uncomfortable process too. Many Christians find themselves trapped in a dysfunctional system of performance, where you are loved based on how well you perform. As it says in the passage above, some of us live in constant fear of God’s judgement. We try and fail, and beat ourselves up. Because we will never be able to be good enough, we push our adoptive Father away. But He never gives up on His adoptive kids. He patiently waits for us to allow Him to love us. He longs to give us stability, safety and security. But, just like the foster parents in this movie, he can’t force us to embrace all that He has for us.
Lizzie was convinced that she could do it on her own. She was used to people letting her down. She had to step up, grow up and raise her siblings. In the process, her heart became calloused. Her only response to an invitation to this new family was: Don’t choose me, it’s OK, I can handle it. I will work it out, like I always do. She was used to working life out on her own. She didn’t need their help. But they kept showing up for her. Regardless of her behaviour.
My heart connected with Lizzie’s story. Having stumbled so many times, and very familiar with the feeling of unworthiness, I too have pushed away the only One who could love me back to life: my Abba Father. Thankfully, He was patiently waiting for me to see His heart towards me. To open up my heart and embrace Him, and all He has for me. He always shows up for me, regardless of my behaviour.
It is only the love of our Father that can remove the dysfunction from our hearts. It is in those moments where we fall down, when we feel utterly unworthy and unlovable, that we need to embrace our Father, and allow him to love us, like only He can. The good news is that we don’t have to do it on our own!
I love that this passage says that we have received the “Spirit of adoption as sons” (and daughters). The Amplified says it so beautifully: it is the Spirit that produces sonship (or daughtership) Ha! Sonship, is something that we cannot achieve by performance. It is produced by the Spirit. It is an ongoing process of crying out to Abba! Crying out to the Father: I need you to love me!
My prayer is that we would allow the Spirit of adoption as sons and daughters of Abba Father, to move us towards Him when we feel less than worthy. When we can’t face our own brokenness, allow the Spirit to cry out to Him. Allow Him to embrace us, just the way we are.
Today, I declare that I am a child of God. I have been adopted as a daughter, without fear of judgement. I will allow the Spirit of adoption to cry out to the Father, and open my heart to receive His love, when I need it most.
I hear my Father whisper: “Beloved Daughter (Beloved Son), I do not judge you according to your performance. I judge you only according the performance of my Son. Through Him you have been adopted into our family. It is signed, sealed and the Holy Spirit testifies: you are mine! To me, you will always be perfect, even when you stumble and fall. Allow me to love you. When you embrace me as your Father, I will breathe life back to those broken, barren places in your heart. You are loved.” ❤