Mar 15, 2017

Adopted by God...

Have you ever thought about adoption in the Bible?

Since becoming an adoptive parent, this theme throughout the Word of God has really stood out to me... 

You might remember the story of Moses being taken in by the pharaoh's daughter or how Esther was raised by her uncle Mordecai, or even Jesus' adoption story! 

Unfortunately, I think that there are many people today that have a distorted view of what adoption is...

Throughout history, adoption has been a legitimate way for families without children to have an heir to carry on the family name. 

These children were given the inheritance that generally would've been reserved for birth children, but an adopted child was seen and treated as if they were actually born to these families.

Now, nowhere in the Bible has this truth jumped out at me more than when I recently read through the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1. 

Ok so let's be real, we've probably all lazily skimmed or outright skipped over all those names... but this time I felt compelled to read through it carefully.

What I read in verse 16 completely floored me!

After seeing names like Abraham and Isaac and Judah and Boaz and King David and on and on, we read, "and (then) Jacob the father of JOSEPH, (who was) the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah."

  So this is the part where I had to stop for a minute in order to fully wrap my mind around this important piece of information.

 The genealogy of Jesus is based not on Mary, His birth mom, but on Joseph, His ADOPTIVE FATHER'S family line! 

 Prophecies from the Old Testament were fulfilled from Jesus being born of a virgin AND from being a descendant of David, but He's considered a descendant of David based on the legitimacy of his sonship through adoption by Joseph.. 

 So now that we have a little better understanding of how God views adoption, my hope is that we can better receive what the Bible says about US. That WE have been adopted into Christ's family and that God is our loving Father in heaven. 

 Romans 8:15 tells us that we have not been given a spirit of fear, but that we were given the Spirit of God when He adopted us as His own children at salvation so that now we can call Him Abba Father.

 Here's an interesting side-note about that word: Abba is actually an Aramaic word that literally means Father, but not just as a reverent title, but a word a child would use like papa or daddy. It's a very loving and relational term because we were made to relate to God in this loving, tender way. 

 Here's a little experiment for you: If you were to close your eyes right now and picture God, not Jesus, but God... how does He appear to you?

  Seriously now, I want you to dedicate the next 5-10 seconds to this. Where are you? What's He wearing? How far away is He? What's His facial expression? Write it all down.

 Does he appear distant or cold? Stern? Aloof? Or is He happy and near to you? Does He seem excited to see you and to hear all about your day? 

 When I did this awhile back, it seemed God wasn't very interested in me. When I looked deeper, I realized that I had a faulty worldview of Him based on my religious upbringing and the negative references I had heard about adoption growing up - hearing that it was just 2nd best or a plan B for people that couldn't have their own kids. 

 I kept wondering & asking why I didn't believe that God loved me like His own child when it hit me... 

 I felt like He was just Jesus' dad, not mine - not really anyways. 

 This realization was huge for me. 

 I don't personally view my adopted children in this way (as 2nd best or less than), but somehow this tainted worldview had weaseled its way into my heart and was poisoning my view of God.

 Seeing God in a healthy way is pivotal to having an intimate relationship with Him. Without it, we likely won't try to know Him better or listen for His voice or seek to be more like Him each & every day.

 Knowing that we are adopted and a legitimate child of the Creator of the universe helps us to better understand our true identity. We can see ourselves the way He sees us and therefore trust the good plans that He has for our lives. (Jeremiah 29:11)

  If you struggle to view God as your Father based on your own negative experiences with your earthly father I'd encourage you to do a little soul searching. Ask God who He is and how He sees you. Direct the conversation to Jesus or the Holy Spirit if talking to a Father is too much for you. 

  For a glimmer of inspiration - I've shared a photo above of a very positive relationship between a father and his son... actually this is my husband and our son Ezekiel :) 

 God truly loves you and delights in all that you are. Keep seeking Him and trust that He has your best interest at heart. May you be blessed & highly favored. Amen.