Lifestyle | Adoption Update (February 26, 2016)
“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when (not if!) the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,”
Have I mentioned my pastor (a.k.a. my wise and wonderful father-in-law) is currently preaching a series on Spiritual Warfare? I plan to go back and listen to all the recordings of this series. (You can find those here) This series is so applicable to the adoption process. I was reading a blog by Lindsey Wallace last night. Shel put it so clearly:
“Be prepared for spiritual warfare. 1 Peter 5:8 says we should “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (NIV) Friends, if you open your heart and home to a child in need, our enemy will seek to devour you. I am not trying to be dramatic or scare you away from this journey. It is filled with blessings. I am speaking from experience here.
Your car will break down, your washing machine will overflow, one of your kids will break their arm… And that’s just the beginning.
For us as Believers, adoption is not just the physical removal of a child from a dark and difficult life, it is an eternal redemption of their souls. If you bring a child into your family from a country drowning in idolatry, practicing the evil murder that is gendercide or sinking under the heavy darkness of poverty and HIV/AIDS you will be attacked.
Before your family said Yes to that child, Satan most likely thought them to be his. He will fight for them and we must be ready to fight back. We must put on the full armor of God.”
To be completely transparent reading this article would have terrified me not to long ago. Now it is exhilarating! A fight is not what I want to pick with the Devil, but I am invigorated to think of the impact of adoption. The saving grace to the child/children. The spiritual impact it will have on my family. The witness it may be to those around us. The opportunity it will be to spread the gospel like a California wildfire! (side note, I just teared up writing that. I have a feeling this adoption process is going to bring about way more transparency than I am typically comfortable with.)
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12
There are so many excellent sermons and studies on the Armor of God. I am no theologian, and I am quite confident I will not hold a candle to them. However, while thinking through the first steps in our adoption process I want to share with you what comes to mind when I read those famous verses.
Who? YOU, me, us! What? Be ready to fight! Where? Everywhere When? Literally ALL THE TIME. Why? Because the Devil is like a lion.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” I have God on my side. Who can be against me? I do not need to instigate a fight with the Devil, but I also do not at all need to fear it. This process may arouse him against us. God may use his monkey as a tool to try and strengthen our Faith. We are called to BE STRONG. How? With God by our side, and the armor on our person.
“So that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground” Tell me, if you thought that there would maybe someday be a huge fight in your life, would you constantly train for it? Would you wear heavy armor all the time? Probably not. This is exactly what the Devil wants. He wants you to think that there is only a possibility of a fight so that your guard is down. But our Belt of Truth and Sword of the Spirit tell us that it is a matter of when, not if, the day comes. That is huge! Train for it because it is coming.
“the Belt of Truth” Throughout the adoption process the Devil will try to make you feel guilty, like you are not caring, like it couldn’t be what God wants for your life But the scripture talks about adoption. It refers to the adoption in Christ. It talks about how we are called to care for those less fortunate, for the orphans. These are the truths. Truth:
Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—
Romans 9:8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.
Matthew 18:5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
1 John 3:1-2 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
1 Samuel 1:27 I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
“Breastplate of Righteousness” Notice, this is not something that comes with years of hard work, or an incredible knowledge. This is given to us when we are adopted into the body of Christ! And Jesus was the best example of righteousness.
Romans 3:21-26 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
“Your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” I like this one. I like it a lot. Fitted with readiness? When I call my son, he knows I expect him to come running to my side. I don’t tolerate the yell from across the house, “What mom?” We have explained to him that we might be calling for him to pick up a toy, or we might be calling him because of an emergency. We also affirm him with peace, because he knows we love him and want the best for him We as parents need to be confident that our child will stop in their tracks and come running ready to respond. This has been a great reminder to me for our relationship as children of God (and hopefully good training for our child). When God calls we shouldn’t yell out, “what now?” We should come running. Ready to do whatever He is calling us to do because, here’s the key, we TRUST His will for our lives. My son knows my voice (maybe a little too well.). I have grown to recognise my Savior’s voice in my life. No, it isn’t audible. It is a feeling, better–an urge, affirmed through His works and other urges in my life. And let me just say, when that gospel of peace makes the heavy baggage of doubt fall off of you it is such a relief. It kind of makes you feel like you could move a mountain…ahem, of paperwork.
“Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Even with your feet sprinting in their new weightlessness, the Devil will try to hit you with flaming arrows. (Note: it is way harder to hit a moving target.) The Devil is an excellent shot, so we NEED a shield. That shield is Faith, and again this is not something that we have to work for, though it is test, faith is a gift. But a cool thing to think about is when our faith is tested it grows stronger. The more we fight, the less those arrows will be able to penetrate. I know the Devil tries to get me to doubt God’s calling, His urge, and his peace. But my shield is getting stronger, and those thoughts are dissipating quicker than ever.
Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Have you read all the verses I have copied and pasted into this post? I am slicing and dicing anything the devil is throwing out there. My head (what we use to discern, translate, understand, and remember the word of God), is protected by our salvation which cannot be taken away from us.
Psalms 62:5-8 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,” Prayer. It really is a powerful thing. God uses it in ways we will never fully understand. What I do understand is that He calls us to pray. It is one of our best defenses. In all occasions no matter the request, keeping alert to know what to pray for. And then the calling to pray for eachother. I got goosebumps as I read and reread verse 19.
May God give me/my family/you/all christians the right words so that I/we can FEARLESSLY make KNOWN the mystery of the gospel!