We all long to belong and feel like we fit in. Paul speaks to this in Romans 8. Understanding who God is and understanding who you are is key to the Christian life and to realizing your true identity in this world.
Paul uses the metaphor of adoption in this week’s verses, and Pastor Adam shared about their personal journey with adoption. His wife Tiffany is adopted, and they adopted Nate from China when he was 13 years old, so adoption is very personal to their family. There was nothing Tiffany nor Nate could do in order to belong to a family. They were adopted and chosen into a family. This is true for ALL of us who are in Christ. We have been willingly adopted and chosen into God’s family. Adoption comes at a great cost. There are not only financial concerns, but it is risky in many ways. You don’t know exactly what you are getting into. When you adopt, you make a vow that on good days or bad, you are committed to this person. When Nate flew to the U.S. with the Harris family, he was no longer an orphan. However, he continues to have what is known as an “orphan mentality.” He worries about food, he worries about whether he is still loved, he worries that if he does something wrong he will be rejected by his family. This is a common deep fear in adopted orphans. It can be our mentality in our lives as well. We want to know we belong, even if we have a bad day. This insecurity can lead to a performance mentality and we become fearful slaves, not walking out our lives in the freedom God intended.INVITATION: If you have decided to follow Christ, you have been adopted into God’s family. The Gospel story is an adoption story. God chose you - regardless of your past choices, job title, education, family, etc. Perhaps this week you can ask God to show you areas in your life where you still live with an orphan mindset and be set free from being a “slave” to performance.
MONDAY: Romans 8:1: Get used to this verse being in each week’s study. It is that important and that powerful! Perhaps you might consider memorizing it? Because of sin in our lives, we sometimes don’t see God as He truly is. Today ask God to show you - in a new and deeper way - what it means to have NO condemnation in your life. How might that free you up today or this week? How can you take this verse with you into every day life? How can this verse free you from an “orphan mentality?”
TUESDAY: Romans 8:9-14. Part of this is review from last week regarding the Spirit of God living in us. Sometimes we feel like we aren’t good enough. Pastor Adam spoke about experiencing God in your life. If you have, it is evidence you are adopted. Think back on the past couple of days or the past week. When and how have you experienced God in your life? Many people participate in a spiritual practice of some type to daily take time to look back to see where they sensed or experienced God each day. This can help you become more aware in your daily life, and also help you maintain more of a God focus in daily life. You may click here to read about a way to make this a regular practice in your life. Pastor Adam used this quote: "Sin takes you farther than you want to go, costs you more than you want to pay, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you want to pay” (author unknown). Have you experienced this in your life? Perhaps you are being convicted today about some area to turn over to the control of the Holy Spirit. Will you ask for God’s help with that?
WEDNESDAY: Romans 8:15: The Spirit of God is not one of fear, living life with an orphan mentality. We are bought and paid for by the death of Jesus on the cross on our behalf. God has given us a special and intimate place in His family, so that we can know him and call him “daddy.” What prayers of gratitude might you offer as you go about your day today with your “daddy” at your side? Sometimes people who do not have healthy father figures struggle with this. Is there something you can talk with Jesus about regarding that? Can you lay those fears at the foot of the cross and trust your perfect, heavenly father? Do you believe your heavenly father is trustworthy? Even if you don’t, talk to God about it. He can handle it. He knows your heart through and through. He loves you and there is no condemnation.
THURSDAY: Romans 8:16: God’s spirit touches our spirit and confirms who we are and who we belong to. How can you be more attentive to the Spirit in your daily life? Do you tend to “box” God up during the day as you go about your business and interactions? Sometimes it's helpful to simply begin the day in a heart stance of submission and obedience, telling Jesus that you long to follow His leading that day. It doesn’t mean you will be totally successful (you probably won’t be), but it has a way of setting the tone and intention for the day. Similar to life coaches who teach that making your bed helps the rest of the day. Giving yourself over to God can help you spiritually for the remainder of the day. Try it today and see if its helpful and how you sense and know God’s presence.
FRIDAY: Romans 8:17: Everything that is Jesus’ is yours. You are part of the family of God. You do not have to perform in order to earn it. However, this is not just sunshine and roses. As we share in his glories, we also will share in His suffering.