Last week, I began a conversation on sonship that you can read here.
Before we go too far, I want to make sure I frame this conversation in the right perspective. Most of what I hear taught on sonship in the body of Christ focuses on us understanding our position as an object of affection. And I whole-heartedly agree that good dads love their kids. We must understand God as our loving Father.
But there is a whole other side of sonship that I think has been lost to our generation. Sonship also has a set of priviledges and a whole different set of responsibilities. So, yes, you are a beloved son of God the Father. And that means you get all of the love and affection you can handle (and probably more than you can handle, because, hey, it’s God’ we’re talking about). But you are also going to enter into a realm of priviledge and responsibility that very few understand, because our society is not very good at raising up sons.
This realm of thinking must be explored because we are at a very dangerous place as a society and a church. Young men and women who have never been well-fathered are beginning to assume leadership roles in business and society. Believers who have been told they are only the object of the father’s affection are quickly becoming spiritual parents, but know little of the responsibility that comes with the title. A whole generation of fatherless and poorly fathered individuals are being tasked with becoming fathers and we must shift our thinking before we begin leading with an orphan mindset.
If you’ve never seen someone adopt from a third world country, let me give you an all-too-common story: Very loving adopting parents bring a child home from a third world country. When they arrive home they give the child all the food he or she needs. But despite the generosity of the parent, the adopted child instantly begins to hide and store food. Food will be stored in the craziest of places for later use. Why? Because all of his or her life, that child has had to live in circumstances where he was the only one to look out for himself.
There’s no sense in trying to convince the child to stop, either. Even though the adoption is complete and the food (at least from the child’s perspective) is never-ending, it takes months and many times years before a child understands that the situation has changed and he no longer needs to hoard. Realities have changed but fundamental ideas about their identity as sons or daughters take time to shift.
Much of this is the same in the realm of the Spirit, as well. If you’re a Christian, you are an adopted son or daughter of God. However, it can be many years (and unfortunately, many decades) before some believers experience that same shift in relationship to God. They have all the rights and responsibilities of a true son, but they go on acting like they have no father. This orphan-like thinkings has dramatic practical applications for us as believers, applications many of us might not be aware of.
Over the next couple of weeks my hope is to look at the topic of sonship. For the time being, let me ask a question and get your thoughts in the comment section: How have you seen someone’s understanding of sonship affect their understanding of their walk with God?