by Noel Piper (noelpiper.com)
I asked Dan Cruver of Together for Adoption to share some thoughts with my blog readers this morning. Dan is the editor and one of the authors of Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father.
What Orphans Need
by Dan Cruver
When Jesus was about to go public with the mission of God, his Father declared over him, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Although we are quick to recognize that Jesus moved forward to accomplish his Father’s will in the strength and knowledge of his Father’s delight (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22), we are too often slow to believe that the Father delights in us with that very same delight. And when we are too slow to believe this good news, the very practice of true religion (James 1:27) becomes a burden too heavy to bear.
Therefore, what orphans need are churches that are full of people who wake up each morning sure of the Father’s delight in them. Because of Jesus, the Father says to us: “You are my beloved children, in whom I am well pleased. Yes, you were once without hope and without me in this world, but I have brought you near by the blood of Jesus. I have embraced you in the Beloved. Live in my love as you move out in mission.”
If you are a Christian, God declares these amazing words over you. He doesn’t speak them over you because you have earned them. You could never do enough to earn these words of love. No, the Father speaks these words over you because of who Jesus is for you.
As our Messiah, Jesus was the faithful Son who always did the will of his Father. Never once did he disobey or disappoint Him. All of his living, from his birth in the manger to his death on the cross, was perfect in thought, word, deed, and motive. His life was perfectly lived, and he lived it in our place and on our behalf. This means, among many other things, that the words that were spoken over him at his baptism are also spoken over us today.
Living as Christians in mission—in other words, being the church—involves learning to live each day knowing that God the Father delights in us even as He delights in Jesus. Those who learn to live in the reality of God’s loving pleasure will find that circumstances no longer control them. They will find that they are able to deal with the difficulties of the Christian life with confidence and humility. To be adopted by God is to enter into a family relationship where all of God’s children are treated even as He treats His Beloved Son. If we are confident that we are being loved by God like this, we will not only desire to love others like we are loved, we will also be empowered and compelled to do so.
Imagine the impact that churches would have upon the global orphan crisis if they were filled with people who lived each day in the strength and knowledge of their Father’s delight. Just imagine.
What orphans need are communities of Christians (churches) who live in the joy of their Father’s delight.