Archive for March, 2014

Some warning sings of the religious spirit.

Some warning signs of the religious spirit in the church today.

  • Inability to take correction and rebuke. Being defensive and argumentative, acting hurt and the refusal to submit to authority.
  • Our prayer life becomes mechanical. We feel relief at the end of our prayer. We pray the same thing at the same time every day with no spontaneity.
  • Defining the Christian life in terms of performance rather than the heart. (Discipline and will power are good, but when we take pride in what we do the religious spirit will take root in our lives).
  • We begin to feel closer to God than others.
  • We feel our group is on the cutting edge.
  • We have a critical and judgmental spirit.
  • Leadership becomes bossy, authoritative and intolerant.
  • We are given to exaggeration about spiritual matters.
  • We try and make physical manifestations occur in every meeting, every time. (In fact this drives away the presence of God and the power of the Spirit is nullified).

Orphan VS Son

Orphan heart thinking VS thinking as a Son.
1. Image of God – Orphans – see God as a Master whom they must appease continually. They feel that they must pray more, read the Bible more, or work harder to earn God’s notice and favor. They are often left with a feeling that there is something more they must do or put in order before God will be pleased with them. To an orphan, God is not just Master, but also a taskmaster.
Sons – on the other hand, see God as a loving Father who accepts them unconditionally. They know that unconditional love is never based upon the performance of the one receiving it but upon the nature of the One giving it. Therefore, they do not have to strive or act in any certain way to “earn” Father’s love; in Christ He loves them anyway, fully and completely, just as they are.

2. Dependency – Orphans are independent and self-reliant. They depend upon their gifts, talents, intellect, and anointing. They are convinced that they cannot trust anyone else. If they want anything, they must get it for themselves. “If anything is going to get done right, I’ll just have to do it myself!”

Sons – are interdependent; they know they need the community of love that God and the Body of Christ offer. This interdependency allows them to be open for Father’s love to flow through them to others. Sons also know they are completely dependent on their heavenly Father, just as Jesus was. “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19 NAS).

3. Theology – Orphans live by the love of law. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, orphans try to relate to God on the basis of adherence to laws, principles, rules, and regulations. Orphans value obedience more than relationship.

Sons – however, live by the law of love. They value truth, knowing that the greatest truth of all is living to receive Father’s love and giving it away to the next person they meet. Sons understand the biblical truth that “love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:10b).

4. Security – Orphans are insecure but usually become quite adept at covering their insecurity. They often strive to act right and do enough to please God and earn His blessings. Therefore, they rarely experience an inward peace and rest. Life for an orphan is often filled with uncertainty and fears of trusting, abandonment, and intimacy.

Sons – in contrast, are at peace and rest in the experience of Father’s embrace. They know that their security in God does not depend on their behavior but is based on the grace of God and on the saving work that Jesus did on the Cross.

5. Need for Approval – The need for approval is universal; we all desire acceptance. Orphans, however, are addicted to and strive for the praise, approval, and acceptance of man. But these counterfeit affections will not satisfy and instead lead to the fear of failure and rejection, which pulls orphan heart farther away from God.

Sons – are not influenced by this turmoil and fear because they know that they are totally accepted in God’s love and justified by His grace. They don’t have to strive for approval because in Christ they already have it.

6. Motivate for Service – Orphans serve out of a sense of need for personal achievement as they seek to impress God and others. This often takes the form of hyper-religious activity. Some orphans then become so tired or cynical with the struggle that they lose motivation for serving and end up in apathy.

Sons – on the other hand, joyfully serve out of a motivation driven by a deep sense of gratitude for God’s unconditional love and acceptance. Orphans serve expecting something in return; sons serve out of love and are giving-oriented.

7. Motive behind Christian Disciplines – While some orphans are apathetic and possess no motivation for observing Christian discipline, there are those who do pursue the Christian disciplines – prayer, Bible study and study, fasting, etc. – Out of a sense of duty and a hope of earning God’s favor. They often evaluate how spiritual they and others are by how much time they spend each day in prayer and Bible reading and how often they fast. Many orphans can quote the Bible extensively and pray for hours at a time, yet have never known personally the affectionate love and acceptance of God. Jesus chastised the Pharisees: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life” (John 5:39-40 NAS) Because their motivation is wrong, orphans who practice the Christian disciplines easily miss the love and intimacy of God.

Sons – find the Christian disciplines a pleasure and a delight rather than a duty. Those who receive a deep revelation of Father’s love often discover that many of the things they used to do “religiously” either lose their importance or take on a whole new meaning for them. A new motivation of love replaces the old motivation of duty, obligation, and fear. For sons, all the things of the Sprit, including the Christian disciplines, become sources of joy and pleasure because love brings life where duty and the letter of the law bring death.

8. Motive for purity – Orphans believe they must be holy to be accepted by God; they must be completely pure in order to win His favor and avoid His judgment and wrath. The only way they know to achieve in these areas is to work and strive for them. Therefore, they life with an increasing sense of guilt and shame over their continuing failure to achieve perfect purity and holiness.

Sons – want to be holy out of love for their Father. It is natural for sons to take after their fathers; they want to be “just like Dad.” Sons who are secure in their Father’s love don’t want anything to hinder their intimate relationship. They don’t want to grieve Him; they just want to be a resting place for God’s love and His presence. Unconditional love is a greater motivator for purity than fear and intimidation.

9. Self-image – Orphans generally possess a low self-image and an attitude of self-rejection, which results from comparing themselves to others and feeling that they come out on the short end of the stick. Others seem more blessed. Others seem more loved. Others seem to get all the breaks.

Sons – feel positive and affirmed because they know how valuable and precious they are to their Father. No matter what they do or how many times they mess up, they know that Father loves them anyway. They can pick themselves up and keep going because, feeling secure in Father’s love, they know that they can do or be anything.

10. Source of Comfort – Because they have shut a portion of their heart off from expressed love, orphans seek comfort in counterfeit affections: addictions, compulsions, escapism, busyness, hyper-religious activity etc., believing that the busier they are, the happier they are and the more worthy they are of Father’s love. And because they have an independent spirit and depend on themselves, orphans find a false sense of comfort in their own good works.

Sons – find true comfort in times of quietness and solitude as they rest in Father’s presence and love. They have discovered that once having tasted of that place of rest, everything that the world or religiosity has to offer pales in comparison. Nothing compares with the comfort and joy of a son basking in the unconditional love of His Father.

11. Peer Relationships – Orphans often relate to their peers through competition, rivalry, or jealousy toward others’ success and position. They believe they have to fight and scramble for every advantage and desire. Orphans cannot genuinely rejoice over the success or advantage and desire. Orphans cannot genuinely rejoice over the success or advancement of others. They fear that if they are not “on top,” they will not be valued or respected.

Sons – on the other hand, peer relationships are all about humility and unity as they honor and value others and sincerely rejoice in their blessings and success. Sons are secure in their own identity and position, and therefore need not fear the success or advancement of others.

12. Handling Other’s Faults – Conflicts are an unavoidable and everyday part of life wherever people interact with one another. Therefore, effective conflict resolution is a vital part of healthy interpersonal relationships. Orphans, being self-focused, generally resort to accusation and exposure of other people’s faults – while denying or trying to hide their own. In an effort to make themselves look good, they attempt to make others look bad. They seek to build themselves up by tearing others down and destroy relationships with issues of control, criticalness, possessiveness, or the lack of respect and honor.

Sons – are relationship-oriented. In love, they cover (not hide) others’ faults as they seek to restore those individuals in a spirit of love and gentleness. Covering a fault is different from covering up a fault. Covering protects a person from humiliating and destructive exposure until the conflict or fault can be resolved. Covering up a fault is an effort to deceive, which is a sign or orphan thinking.

13. View of Authority – Because of the abuse and mistreatment they may have suffered at the hands of authority figures in their lives, orphans will see authority as a source of pain and are therefore suspicious of any other authority, except their own.  They are distrustful of the motives of those in authority, whether at home, at work, at church, or anywhere else. This is due at least in part of their lack of a heart attitude of humility and submission, Orphans resent and fear suggestions that they should submit to anyone by getting underneath them and supporting them. They regard being subject to someone else’s mission as nothing more than allowing themselves to be used by that person.

Sons – however, look at authority differently. Sons are respectful and honoring or legitimate authority, seeing authority figures as ministers of God for good in their lives. Another way of illustrating this contrast is to say that sons are teachable, but orphans are not.

14. View of Admonition – Orphans have difficulty receiving admonition, even godly admonition, because they have difficulty acknowledging when they are wrong. In their own minds, they must be right, so when admonition comes, they receive it as personal offense or rejection. To justify their conclusions, they focus on others’ faults, blame other people, try to vindicate and justify themselves, become negative or accusatory, or close their spirits to the one trying to speak admonition into their life.

Sons – receive admonition as a blessing and a need in their lives because it exposes faults and weaknesses that they may not be aware of. They seek to put these weaknesses to death before they become relationship-threatening problems. Even though admonition may first cause their fur to bristle, they recognize it as valuable correction and an opportunity for growth. Without growth, there is no maturity; and without maturity, there is no inheritance.

15. Expression of Love – Orphans are guarded and conditional in their expressions of love. Expressed love by an orphan is based on other’s performance and agreement. Because orphans have closed their hearts to love, they neither know how to give unconditional love nor how to receive it.

Sons – love is open, transparent, and affectionate. They lay down their own agendas in order to meet the needs of others. Love for an orphan is built on the question, “What can you do for me?” while love for a son is built around the question, “What can I do for you?” Love for an orphan is self-love; love for a son is self-less love. It means showing affection or affirmation even when he doesn’t feel like showing it, simply because he knows the other person is in need of it.

16. Sense of God’s Presence – For orphans, God’s presence, if they sense it at all, is conditional and distant. If everything goes all right if they have a good day, if they feel they’ve appeased the Master, if they think they have dotted all their I’s and crossed all their t’s, then they may sense God’s presence. But even then, He often seems far away because their hearts are closed to intimacy.

Sons – enjoy the close and intimate presence of God because they know that His presence and nearness do not depend on their behavior. They have discovered that He is with them all the time, no matter how much they get off center of His love. All they have to do is stop, return to the center of their heart where God’s love dwells, and He is always right there. Sons know from personal experience the truth of the Scripture that says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5b). Orphans question whether God loves them; sons know that God is crazy about them.

17. Condition – Orphans are in bondage. They are slaves to their fear, their mistrust, their independence and self-reliance, their sense of self-righteousness and self-justification, and most of all, to their loneliness.

Sons – on the other hand, live in the condition of liberty. Love has set them free from fear, shame, humiliation, guilt, and the constant need to prove themselves. They are free not only to receive love, but also to give it away in abundance without running out. Sons are free to become everything their Father created them to be.

18. Position – Orphans live life as if they don’t have a home. They feel like servants or slaves. Their spirit is unsettled because they are away from safe harbor and don’t know how to get back. They are frozen in numb-numb-ville in the midst of the sea of fear. Nothing satisfies, nothing feels permanent, nowhere feels like home.

Sons – are at rest and at peace in the safe harbor of their Father’s love. Outside the harbor the sea may churn and the wind may blow, but inside all is calm in Father’s embrace.

19. Vision – Orphans are fired by spiritual ambition. They earnestly desire some spiritual achievement or distinction and are willing to strive to achieve it. They desire to be seen and counted among the mature.

Sons – there is no proving, no striving after position, power, or prestige. Instead, they are content simply experience daily their Father’s unconditional love and acceptance and then be sent as a representative of His love to family and others. Intimacy precedes fruitfulness.

20. Future – For orphans, the future, like many other things in life, is always uncertain. Their attitude is, “Fight for everything you can get!” Because they have no inheritance, orphans must compete for what they want, depending solely on their own gifts and talents to control and manipulate circumstances in their favor. And because the future is uncertain, they are most interested in what benefits them right now.

Sons – are willing to wait for their inheritance because they know that their future is as bright as it is certain. As sons of a loving Father with infinite resources