Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Spirit Of Adoption

Today is December 28, 2013. We're only three days past Christmas, but while we're still officially in the season, I want to offer you a little food for thought. Last week, our pastor (Pastor Steven Furtick) brought us an amazing message with a focus on embracing change. He presented aspects of the Christmas story, from the initial act of obedience to the birthing of a new thing or season, and how this same pattern applies to situations in our lives. He mentioned Joseph (of course), and the bravery internally required for him to be obedient in the taking of Mary as his wife. He discussed certain ramifications that were on the forefront, should Mary's secret be discovered. He painted a vivid picture of what life had the very real possibility of looking like, without this event truly being an overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. I was intently listening, and a number of thoughts hit me like a lightning bolt. Again, this is one of my "things" - when thoughts plague me, I must respond accordingly by letting them out in print. So here goes...We know that "Jesus is the reason for the season", but the spirit of the Christmas season is the spirit of adoption. Seriously, think about it. Joseph was not just a step-father to Jesus. He took him as his son, and gave him his name. He covered Mary with love, and covered a child that shared no part of him. Joseph chose to rear this child. He passed down his mannerisms, ideals, morals, character traits, and even his trade. A father does this, not merely a man who tolerates a step-child. He adopted Jesus as his own. Jesus had the imprint of his natural father on him throughout his entire life. At this juncture, another thought struck me; the blueprint for salvation was actually embedded into the story of Jesus' birth. Crazy, right? Not so much. Romans 8:14-15 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father." Jesus had to be adopted in the natural, so that we could be adopted spiritually. Jesus willingly separated himself from His deity, for an earthly experience as a man. There was no overtly evident sign of His godhood until the Holy Spirit descended upon him. (Please don't call me a heretic, He performed no miracles that set Him apart from any other man until He was anointed and given authority to pick His heavenly mantle back up.) Jesus gave us the perfect example for living, and this includes the aspect of adoption. To become a child of God, we must be adopted into His family. We are not natural Jews, it is not our birthright. The act of being engrafted into the vine, and accepting the free gift of salvation is our only hope. It allows us access to God the Father, and because God is our loving Father, He saw the need for His son to be adopted too. I never saw the correlation before last week, and it made the Christmas message take on an entirely new life for me. Of course, you can take it or leave it, but I thought I would share. :-)

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