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Words of Life

No Longer Orphans

By Alisa Keeton September 17, 2023 Words of Life

I have friends who have adopted children born in extreme poverty. It’s not uncommon for these children, now living in safe and loving homes, to hoard and hide food. Some of these babies had gone directly from their mother’s womb to a street corner, where they were left for dead. After being found by good Samaritans, they were placed in orphanages with too few adults to care for the babies in need. Without someone to provide consistent care in the form of a warm cuddle, a belly tickle, or an adoring gaze, the children’s emotional development languished.

It’s easy to see why food became a great substitute for comfort and care. If you experienced extreme hunger, think how comforting a belly full of food would feel and how strongly your brain would begin to associate comfort with food (and its accompanying release of dopamine). Food has the power to fill a tangible void through the feeling of a full stomach. It comforts like a hug on the inside since food never talks back, shames, or sends someone to their room. Food satiates physical hunger pangs and meets our emotional need for comfort and security.

But we don’t actually have to be orphans to have a skewed relationship with food. It’s possible to be born into luxury with worldly power and possessions yet lack love and attachment. For some of us, our home of origin perhaps felt more like an orphanage, a holding place, until the day God adopted us. This is especially true if we were raised in homes where we saw little evidence of God’s loving-kindness or were taught “truth” while being pressured to suppress our feelings.

Like the Prodigal Son, we may think the things of this world can fulfill our hearts and quench our need for love, belonging, safety, and control. An orphan spirit may have taken root, leading to a lack of trust in God and difficulty loving ourselves and other people. Orphans may find creative ways to stay alive, but they will never do more than survive until they stop running and turn to God. Fear is the primary source of energy that fuels an orphan spirit, and only the Father’s love can chase out all fear.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  Romans 8:14-15

God has chosen us, spiritual orphans, not out of pity but delight. He comes to give us a new life without fear, a new identity as His child, and a divine destiny to go and tell others they are invited into our Father’s house too.

Knowing we would encounter pain in this life, God entrusted us to our earthly parents until the day we would cry out for His help and so be saved and adopted into His family. In the Father’s house, the testimony of the trouble He has delivered us from and the tests we’ve taken become the rocket fuel for our divine destiny.

The children of God can be secure in their identity: “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). God, the King of all creation, is our Father, and His refrigerator is always full. We eat because we are hungry, not to fill needs that only God can meet.

Alisa Keeton joins Randy and Tammy this Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. Excerpted from The Body Revelation by Alisa Keeton. Copyright ©2023 by Alisa Keeton. Published by Tyndale Refresh, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers. Used by permission.

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