The Struggle to Know You are Adopted
Many adopted children struggle with the reality of it. Because the adopted one often feels that a deeper rejection overshadows their life. But in the spiritual realm, it is acceptance that overshadows everything. It’s an adoption that you should deeply desire – to know that you are adopted by God as His child.
The Adoption You Want
There is an incredible sense of privilege in being adopted by the Creator of the Universe. Look at it in Romans 8:
Romans 8:14–17 (NIV)
14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ
“The Spirit of Sonship”
God the Father longs for you to experience “sonship.” It means to be adopted as an heir. In the ancient world, it was common for a son to be declared the heir of an estate. One of the only reasons for adoption in the ancient world was to secure such an heir. In the Kingdom of God, the Father declares, not just sons, but sons and daughters as heirs. He chooses you, He longs to give you His name.
The Privilege of this Adoption
Look at what it can mean to you to feel the assurance of being adopted by God.
1.You are adopted away from fear and slavery. Verse 15 says “for you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear.”
Here are two devastating effects of sin in our lives. Our sinful nature leads us to operate out of fear more than any other motive. Anxiety is grounded in fear, no argument there. But so can “driven-ness” be a fear-motive. It could mean that I am afraid that I don’t measure up, so I “achieve” to hide the secret that I think I’m actually worthless. Fear motivates us more than we ever want to admit.
Spiritual slavery is deeply embedded into our flesh. Our sinful nature constantly turns to substitutes as functional saviors. Everything we turn to, other than God, in order to find significance, or security, or identity are just substitute saviors. And they all enslave — substances to find euphoria or numb the pain; the thirst for acceptance and approval of others; sex as a substitute for love and closeness; money as a substitute for security or identity. They all enslave and take control of our soul.
When God adopts you as His child, you are adopted out of this kind of fear and slavery. The Holy Spirit’s presence in you gives you a new kind of thirst. Not for the substitutes – they begin to taste flat, lukewarm, and stale. But a taste for His presence in you. This is important — you can experience freedom from fear and slavery when you daily welcome the Holy Spirit into your life.
2. You are adopted as a child of choice. Verse 15 also says, “And by Him you cry ‘Abba, Father.'”
“Abba” is a little ancient Aramaic word that represents a child’s first word. Just like the syllables “ma-ma,” and “da-da” it is the cry of an innocent child who wants to be loved, nourished and protected. And it names the One for whom the child longs.
Romans 8 tells us it is the Holy Spirit who makes this real and sure in you. When you invite Him into your thoughts and emotions – you will find Him fully assuring you that you have this relationship with your Father in Heaven.
3. You are adopted into a deep assurance of belonging. Verse 16 makes this clear, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
The word “testifies” means an authoritative witness who removes all doubt. That’s what the Holy Spirit can do, and longs to do in you. Your most basic need is the need to know that you belong. The Holy Spirit is preoccupied with deeply assuring you that you belong to the God of the Universe, that He is your Father. And that nothing will ever tear you out of His embrace.
You should long to know that you are adopted.
The Holy Spirit longs for you know. And He longs to give you the assurances of that adoption. But you must invite Him into your daily thoughts and emotions every day to know this assurance. His welcomed presence in you gives you the power and assurance that God your Father has adopted you away from fear and slavery, as a child of choice (He wants you!), into a deep belonging. And it is the most encouraging thing.