Productive Wilderness-Life Series (Part 3) – Integrating the Father’s Love
Sonship Identity Strength
Pictures of everyday “Wilderness-Life” conflicts that stretch us.
I’m standing in line at the bank and it’s not moving. I’m feeling trapped, anxious. There are only two people in front of me yet I’ve been waiting over a half hour with no end in sight. I start staring into the manager’s office, hoping he will see my predicament and do something!
In this example I’m expressing the fear of a slave mentality (someone needs to help me) as well as pride (I deserve better treatment) and judgment toward the bank (this is poorly managed). I was being stretched. Feeling trapped is a sonship identity lie, it suggests that God is not with me, not protecting me, not taking care of me.
In what ways are you are stretched?
I worked with a person who could not get over the immaturity he observed in his pastoral leadership. “How could God have allowed this person to be in leadership?! This leader never valued my input,” he said. He felt insecure and angry. Here is an identity lie of feeling flawed or not measuring up because others did not respect his ideas.
Another person came for ministry feeling angry and diminished because a co-worker seemed to consistently outdo them. His co-worker had a big mouth and constantly touted to the boss, or anyone else who would listen, his great accomplishments. He could not walk in love toward this co-worker and felt fearful about his own job security. Here’s an identity lie of God not being with the person, that they’re abandoned.
Let’s break this stretching down a bit.
A common way we get stretched is when the outlooks and values of others — right or wrong — conflict with our own outlooks and values. This creates tension and exposes our wrong attitudes and prejudices we often did not even realize we had. Many times we do know certain things that could be done better, but it is often beside the point.
This tension stretches our “valuing of others.”
We are forced to face growing in our awareness, tolerance, and acceptance of people who are different or even immature. This can be a great challenge when we are trying to walk in God’s love toward difficult people.
Ways we have judgments — narrowness, prejudice, and bigotry — are stripped away in a time of stretching if we will allow it.
For example, a statement like: “Co-worker, ‘My Big Mouth’, is an idiot. He has nothing to offer the company. He does more harm than good.” This is bigotry.
Seeing how we value others is so connected to maturing in God’s love! Moving from a need to self-protect (expressed in an angry edge, being standoffish, being opinionated, a need to be right, blame-shifting, and justifying) into basic trust (I’m loved, cared for, safe) expressed through attitudes of acceptance of others, walking in transparency, and love.
The fruit of this stretching is learning to be friendly and a willingness to appreciate differences of habit and viewpoint. Can I celebrate the strengths of others who are different? Can I walk in covering love toward their weaknesses?
You can’t give a ten-ton truck of truth to someone over a five-ton bridge of love.
Discovering our own spiritual orphan attitudes allows us to see that all human beings have worth and dignity and we develop our sonship identity strength.
In the next post we will consider how spiritual orphan issues play out in legalism. The true roots of legalism are often misunderstood. Seeing it clearly is a path to freedom.