Productive Wilderness Life Series (Part 2) – Integrating the Father’s Love
The Problem of Sonship Identity Issues
You attend a conference on the Father’s Love and feel great. It has burst into your thoughts that your Father loves you. Tears flowed, hugs were given. Life will now be different, your family relationships will now be deep, intimate, fulfilling. Your ministry to others will be powerful.
But then something happens. The new revelation you were so excited to implement breaks down on you. You move into this long “walking out” season of integrating God’s love at the heart level from this revelation you received and you’re struggling.
Why is integrating God’s love such a challenge?
The problem of sonship identity issues manifesting as false pride, ego, or a slave mentality can impede us. Let’s define our terms as we get started.
- False Pride – a feeling that you are more important or better than other people.
- Ego – our false systems of self-esteem. This often results in control/legalism issues.
- Slave Mentality – a feeling of being deficient, lacking, or incapable in a given situation.
All three of these are defense mechanisms and are in all of us at some level. They inevitably lead to us being stretched and challenged. Let’s consider a picture of what Christian maturity may look like when we live free from these identity issues. As we consider this we can better see what it takes to get there.
A View of Christian Maturity – Simplicity
A mature Christian, very simply, is one who has learned to truly love. He walks in a godly simplicity. He has lost his reserve and guardedness. This person shows a sincere interest in others with no need to dominate conversations, no need to either prove points nor be dogmatic. He lives from the heart. He trusts God to meet his needs of love, affirmation, purpose and security, so he is not compelled to seek these in other ways or through people. Living in simplicity is where there’s freedom from complexity — life isn’t complicated. You love God, you love people. You receive His love and give it away to others.
No one has fully arrived and walks out this simplicity perfectly at all times and in all situations. There are times all of us feel insecure and fearful. When we feel fearful we tend to take some measure to protect ourselves. This comes down to an identity issue. Let me explain.
The Problem of Sonship Identity Issues
Any problem anyone has — ever — always has at its root the problem sonship identity issue. Selah.
Whether you struggle to love God, stick to your diet, meet your sales quota, or get along with your spouse; or if you battle shame, fear, anger or disappointment, it is a sonship identity issue. Why is this?
If you know at a heart level, your identity is that God loves you completely, and that He always has your best interest at heart, you would never be triggered with emotional pain nor resort to using defense mechanisms.
I suggest reading that sentence a few times to let it soak in. This knowing at a heart level happens in stages, throughout life, not all at once in a conference situation. As new challenges in life arise we have to go even deeper into integrating this identity of being God’s child in whom He loves more profoundly into the core of our being.
If you drill down enough on any problem and are really honest with yourself, you will find thoughts and feelings like:
- “I’m flawed.”
- “I’m abandoned.”
- “I’m going through something difficult and painful and God’s not with me.”
- “I am insufficient to overcome this.”
So here are our building blocks to find growth:
- Recognizing our “spiritual orphan” identity issues and how we use our defense mechanisms (false pride, ego, slave mentality) to find security.
- Resolving our sonship identity issues to know that we are always loved unconditionally.
If you know where the target is, you can aim for it and start hitting it. So when you find yourself triggered in life circumstances that are “stretching” you, look to resolve the identity issue. Learning to see the ego, pride, and victim issues you are using as substitutes will get you looking in the right direction. Then recognizing where we feel flawed, abandoned, or unloved in some way will expedite Father’s love to enter deeper into our lives, bringing us to a place of rest.
In the next post we will consider how all this plays out in wilderness life.