“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:18-21 (NIV)
It’s hard to believe but our sweet puppy is already one and one half years old. While he has lived in our house for almost two years by now, he still has an orphan spirit. We provide him with more than enough toys, plenty of fresh air and almost enough exercise (can you ever give a puppy enough exercise?), lots of snuggly blankets as well as his choice of five different laps to cuddle on. I would be neglectful to forget to mention the nutrition dog food we picked out for him as well as the special treats he gets occasionally. We have done our best to show our dog that he is 100% part of our family.
So, why is it that he still has an orphan spirit? We bought him from a pet store where he lived the first few weeks of his life in a cage. While he caught on to potty training quite easily, he still has some annoying habits that prove he doesn’t believe we will take care of all his needs. For instance, he steals food. Obnoxiously. He also chews incessantly… stealing socks, napkins, toys, and my least favorite… my glasses! We went through FOUR pair before I got wise and bought the warranty, to which now either I am smarter or he is more mature.
God brought our family into our church family approximately three years ago. We have grown so much deeper in our relationship with God during that time. Our church would mention the idea of the “orphan spirit” but I didn’t really grasp it at first. Then I read a book, Spiritual Slavery to Sonship recently and the pieces started fitting together more clearly.
I believe that everyone is born with an orphan spirit because that is what draws us into a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Without that, I don’t believe we would ever recognize our need for a Savior… that we can’t save ourselves. However, once we have accepted Jesus into our heart, some people have a harder time grasping what it means to be God’s child and that we are orphans no more.
While working through the above book, I realized how much our dog still has that orphan spirit, and how many of those characteristics I see in myself as well. I don’t eat glasses or chew up napkins, but why is it so hard for me to accept that I’m God’s child and He wants to bless me? He wants to provide, heal, redeem, protect… all because He loves me. And He loves me because I’m His child.
The best way, I’ve found, to combat and remove the orphan spirit from my life is to hide God’s promises in my heart from His Word. Reading Scriptures that describe God’s attributes as well as how He sees me is what will allow the orphan spirit mentality to disappear and for me to be firmly planted in His truth, that I am His loved child.
I love how God used our sweet (with a few obnoxious qualities) puppy to reinforce the truths He was teaching me about how He truly sees me.
© Cheri Swalwell 2016