- Friday, February 10, 2012
Our Identity in the Father
I love being known as “Jerry and Donna Lawson’s daughter”. My parents are incredible people and I hope that I am a true reflection of their hearts. Their love, support, and encouragement allowed me to grow up with a solid identity.
Identity is important; without it we have a void that seeks to be filled. We have a God-given need to know who we are, our purpose, and to be affirmed by that from which we get our identity. The heart of God is so passionate for us that we need, above all else, to know who we are in Him.
In ministry, as well as every other aspect of life, we are motivated by our sense of identity. If our identity is not found in God, then we think, feel, react, and “minister” out of our need or wrong perception. These next few newsletters are going to focus on our identity so that you can confidently speak, sing, pray and dance words of healing and restoration to those who need to discover who they are in God.
Let’s start with how people get confused as to their identity. Usually it begins when one believes that our identities are defined by:
- What we do
- A title earned or given
- A gift or talent
- Our accomplishments
- Missed opportunities
- Life’s circumstances
Not one of the things listed above define who we are, who God created us to be, or how He sees us. We cannot minister to God or to others in truth if we allow these outer things to play into the definition of who we are. We truly find who we are in Christ alone.
I want to focus on God the Father so that you and those you encourage can rejoice even more in being His son.
Growing up, I was sure that we were part Jewish; my dad has spent most of my life studying Jewish history, Jewish law, Jewish words and their meanings, etc. I benefited from his in-depth studies as I was often one of the first people with whom he shared his discoveries. Through my dad’s studies, I learned the historic Jewish perception of “son” and “adoption”, both of which differ from our current culture’s definition.
The word “son” literally means, "Builder of the family name".
After the father observed the son and knew that their two hearts were one, the father would elevate his son to be his equal. This occurred when the son reached 30 years old. That son now became the bearer and builder of the family name. He was responsible to extend that family name by freeing the name from any debts or negatives against it. At the time of elevating a young man to full son-ship, the father would declare, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”. Sound familiar?
Reuben is an example of someone who should have been elevated due to his birthright as eldest son, but because he dishonored his father and did not share his father’s heart, he lost that place. 1 Chronicles 5:1 speaks of how Reuben defiled his father’s bed, but Joseph had the heart of Jacob, his father, and honored him, so the birthright was given to Joseph’s children.
Now take a look at Jesus and his elevation into son-ship. When Jesus turned 30, he had proved himself a true Son by not sinning and obeying his father and mother on earth. His Heavenly Father rejoiced that Jesus and His heart were one. Jesus was qualified to bear His Father’s Name, act, speak, and move on His behalf. He would now work to build and establish His Father’s kingdom, release us from the debt we owed, set the captives free and destroy the lies the enemy had spread about the Father. When Jesus was baptized, the Father spoke audibly from Heaven and declared to all around, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. Jesus is the only begotten Son. This honor and glory belongs to Him alone, but Jesus made a way for us to join Him.
To truly understand how we become full sons of God the Father with a complete inheritance in Him, I need to share the Jewish history of adoption. Our current understanding of adoption is to bring a child under 18 years old into our family and give that child our name, love, and all the rest that goes with being a part of the family. That is wonderful and very important, but that is not what adoption was in biblical times.
In ancient Hebrew times, adoption was an honor bestowed on an adult of at least 30 years of age, the same age as elevation to son-ship. If a man had no son or his natural born son did not share his heart, desire for the family, etc., then that man would often adopt someone who did. This chosen son and heir was usually a slave who grew up in the home, worked hard, learned the father’s ways, honored and obeyed the father, and demonstrated that he indeed put the family first and shared the father’s heart. When the father adopted this man to become his son, he was from that time on no longer a slave, but a son and heir with full authority. Once a son was adopted, he could never be disowned. The adoption was binding because unlike natural birth in which there is no control as who the son would be, in the act of adoption, the father chose the one to be his son.
Gen. 15:2-3 is a touching story that illustrates the Hebrew definition of adoption. Abram is told by God that he would be the father of a nation. Abram and his wife, Sarai, are now old and have no children. Thinking that he has no chances of fathering a child with his wife, Abram is beginning to set his mind on adopting his servant, Eliezer, as his son and heir. Understand that Abram was a wealthy man at this time with many flocks of animals and a lot of slaves. For him to consider adopting Eliezer out of all the slaves shows us that Eliezer was a man of honor, obedience, trust-worthy and shared the visions and heart of Abram.
One of the most wonderful, incomprehensible, glorious things to ever occur in your life and mine is that God the Father has adopted you and me and He loves us unconditionally. Before we took a breath on the earth, He chose us to be his adopted sons, He loved us, and He said, “That one has my heart. That one is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased!”
Jesus, the only begotten son, shared the Father’s heart and restored us to the Father so that we are now joint/equal heirs with Him, sons of God.
God sent him (Jesus) to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. And because we are His children, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts prompting us to call out, “Abba Father” (Daddy). Now you are no longer a slave, but God’s own child. And since you are His child, God has made you His heir.
Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him Great pleasure.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into His family calling Him “Father, dear Father”. For His Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. And since we are His children, we will share His treasures, for everything God gives to His Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering.
Can you drink this all in? Amazing, isn’t it? Now we are at the place where we understand who we are and can live in our true identity. We can say “I know who’s my daddy.” Our son-ship means that all that was given to the Jesus is now also bestowed on us. We have been given the authority of Jesus’ name, the right to act on that authority. We are the builder of God the Father’s kingdom and the enemy is subject to us.
How do we maintain this relationship so our hearts remain one with the Father’s? We do this by getting quiet and sitting at His feet regularly to love and adore Him. We stop talking to Him all the time and begin to listen and obey His words. We spend time watching Daddy, the Father God, to know what He is doing, what He wants done and how He wants to do it. This is where we find our true identity; this is how we know who we are and our purpose. You are loved and you were chosen.
I need to share a precious story as I end this newsletter. In December, during the
Dancing with the Holy Spirit workshop, after spending a few minutes of time listening and receiving from the Lord, one of the women in attendance shared what the Father did for her at that moment. This lady never knew the unconditional love of a father. Her mother had been married three times and none of those men showed her father’s love; instead, these men put their aspirations, money, addictions, etc. ahead of loving her. While she sat with her eyes closed, she had a clear vision of Jesus taking her to the throne room of Heaven. He brought her high until she was face to face with the Father. Then, the Father pointed His finger into her chest and love, like ripples of water, moved from His finger to her entire body. “I choose you!” He said. And suddenly, her identity was changed.
Take time as soon as possible to respond to the Father’s heart of love for you. Do whatever you need to do; take a posture of worship, write to the Father in your journal, dance or just enjoy His warm embrace and kisses as you thank Him for elevating you to be His beloved son in whom He is vey pleased, then pass the word on to someone else.
30 - July 7, 2012 we will be teaching at the 10th Annual International
Creative Arts Worship Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa and would
like to invite you to attend and meet us there.
is more info: http://www.difc.org.za/#!__conferences
Here is a beautiful promo video from last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlHV6jqDuac