Christianity 201

December 23, 2022

The Orphan Spirit

Several things converged today which led to the posting of this article on the day before Christmas Eve. Today we’re back for a 4th time at the site Lionshead Café. The article today was written by Tim Halverson, who appears here for the second time.

First, I noticed that although this was written in February — and is the last posted article there, as the site has become inactive — the keynote scripture verse begins most appropriately to the season where we find ourselves.

Second, as I started reading I encountered the phrase, “orphan spirit.” Someone I met on Monday was telling me that the ministry he and his wife do is to “minister to the orphan spirit.” I didn’t recall hearing the term before then.

Clicking the link in the title below will allow you to read this where it first appeared.

Not a Slave, Not an Orpan, But a Son

“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:4-7).

Those under the law were both slaves and orphans, but are now the redeemed by Christ Jesus to be sons, who also receive the Spirit of his Son, and thereby yearn to commune with our heavenly Papa, being the heirs of God.

It is awesome truth what Christ did for us at the Cross. It penetrates into the deepest part of us. It is there that Jesus healed your innards about God, God’s innards about you, and your innards about yourself. But if we don’t understand redemption, we suffer. We can almost suffocate from the affections of this evil world and the spirit behind it. Its goal: to take away our sonship and make us illegitimate. We can miss the magnificence of our redemption, if there remains some awful past moment still under the influence of that wicked re-interpreter, the devil. A dark second of time past can be so painful that it yet haunts us, infecting every relationship, including how you even view yourself. If in our minds our wretched past is not liberated by the promise of God, those memories can hang on like a miserable squatter who seems to be entitled to stolen property: you.

Here’s what happened. I was eight I was still a small town kid from Grand Rapids, Minnesota, but then we moved to south Minneapolis. A kid picked a fight with me and I got beat up badly by a bully a year older than me with his two big brothers coaching him. One of the creepy things about this was it was a fight I think I could have won, but I got all freaked out because he kept hitting me in the face over and over again, and I gave up. I panicked as the punches continued almost all the way home. It was traumatic like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Such fear gripped me. I walked in the back door with a bloody nose and a fat lip, but worst of all shaken to my core. Mom comforted me, and Dad could have freed me from all this rot with his embrace, but instead he was ashamed of me. That was the hardest thing of all: it made the trauma permanently fasten on to me. And so I became an orphan who had a dad, but lost him in that moment of rejection.

I became a loner, unsure of myself, afraid, and on my own. I’d made an inner vow that I would never let this happen to me again. But, somehow I still had a few other guys pick fights with me. I lost, I won, but Dad still was ashamed of me, and then came the fear, and the emptiness of being an orphan. That’s the hell of it: I had a Dad who probably went through the same thing himself, and couldn’t be any different. Not at that time, but gradually I came to this conclusion and didn’t blame him; I knew he really loved me.

But if you’re made to feel like an orphan by your own Dad, you just might end up forcing that shame on others too, on everybody. You don’t have the stability and confidence and self-respect you need to trust anyone. There isn’t that noble relational fatherly hugging and fatherly delight in you which inspires confidence and lays a foundation of proper conduct and masculinity, and you end up doing things you never thought you’d do. Every friendship and acquaintance gets marked by the orphan kid, I mean, the orphan devil. The situation seems unsolvable and overwhelming. It even explained why I got so mad working on cars all those years (I’m a mechanic); there’s really no reason for it.

Enter the Gospel. For some reason, I revisited Toronto’s 25th Anniversary of Catch the Fire, an ongoing revival that I had listened to three years earlier. I heard Heidi Baker, missionary to Mozambique, speaking for a brief moment about the orphan spirit among those people. It shined a light in my own soul till I saw the same dark spirit hiding in me. I didn’t know it was there but instantly I knew why it had gotten a footing, and then grew to a stronghold in my life. But the rage really wasn’t anyone’s fault but mine.

But there’s more. I remembered those verses in Galatians and realized, all at once, that God had indeed already made me His son! And that the Cross of Jesus meant the value God put on my soul, the worth of my soul to him, and he treasured me. And the Holy Ghost was affirming this by crying out to God inside me, Daddy, or Papa, and it’s all about a relationship! And by that relationship, and that alone, that orphan devil left me. I wasn’t alone in this war. My wife, whom I’ve hurt the most, was very much a part of casting out this evil spirit. I felt it go. With a few more prayer sessions we also threw out some others that were all connected: the spirit of rage, fear, hopelessness, confusion, and religiosity. In a new freedom, I commune, worship, and fellowship with God the Father.

Now I know I haven’t gotten to the bottom of this yet, the walking out part, and I’m sure it will be really hard to step into the light and confess my awfulness to God and to others I’ve majorly hurt along the way, yet there’s this new confidence to act as a son, not an orphan. I don’t know how I’ve been so blind to this all these years – just call me blind Bartimeus (this is supposed to be funny: he was ‘the son of’ [Bar – the first part of his Aramaic name] a man called Timeus, or just ‘Tim’, me, a blind guy).

I guess the orphan spirit tries to blind us and get us accustomed to our bondage. But now I’m crying out with Bartimeus, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47). And he did and I got free. The worse the bondage the stronger the virtue Christ builds in us. I must say, this feels so good. It’s in my heart and soul, even in my gut. I feel like I’m standing on a foundation that Jesus built under me, and I feel so much better about my past and who I am in Christ.

Conclusion: Forgive everybody who has wronged you. If you get forced to fight, trust Christ and then fight hard, but don’t be bitter, or get freaked out with fear. Don’t let fear rule you about anything. Don’t give place to the devil for a moment. Learn to be a son with God: what a great revelation. You’re not a slave, nor an orphan, but a son who is also an heir, an heir of God, and he’s bent on giving you everything he’s got, including I think, what’s in his basement refrigerator – but that’s just how he rolls.


Hey, this is Paul again back for a quick footnote. I know there might be some women reading this who bristle at the use of the masculine term “sons of God,” but I know some women who are otherwise very inclusive in their language who are quite proud to be listed among the “sons of God.” Why? Because the son receives the inheritance. I know we all want to get away from patriarchal language, but consider this idea before you write the term off as archaic. Only the KJV uses it, but I like to hang on to their rendering of 1 John 3:2 — “Beloved, now are we the sons of God…”

October 24, 2021

Conviction vs. Condemnation

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1 NLT

If anyone hears My teachings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. – John 12:47 NASB

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. – John 3:17 NET

When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment – John 16:8 CSB

For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. – 2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT

This morning our pastor made this observation on the difference between guilt and shame:

Guilt leads to conviction while shame leads to condemnation.

Over lunch, I told him that I thought there was a whole sermon in that thought alone, and decided to see what others have written on this. Here are some page-one search results:

The website Campus Ministry Today offered this distinction:

Conviction and condemnation can feel similar for a Christian. Conviction is from God and is necessary for joy. It should be cultivated. Condemnation is from Satan. It is a lie and should be resisted and thrown off.

The definition there actually contrasted shame with condemnation:

Condemnation is usually hazy, hateful and hopeless. Usually when Satan brings feelings of condemnation to a Christian they are vague. There is a general thought that “Something is wrong with me!” It often has to do with shame. Some say shame means feeling bad about who I am. Guilt means feeling bad about what I did. I wouldn’t die on a hill for that definition, but it can be a helpful distinction. Condemnation often traffics in hazy, vague shame.

Conviction in most ways is the opposite of condemnation. Conviction is high-definition clarity, helpful and hopeful. Condemnation can feel like a cloud of shame hanging over your whole being that you can’t even explain. Conviction is usually very specific. It may be a precise thought in your mind…

Conviction is rooted in love not hate. God loves you and wants the best for you. He brings conviction in your life to convince you of a better way.

The website Great Bible Study continues this

Condemnation comes from Satan and is meant to tear you down. Condemnation continually points out what a failure you are, and how badly you’ve messed up. Condemnation is showing you the problem, but avoiding the solution.

Jesus did NOT come to condemn the world (John 12:47). There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)…

…Conviction is known in the Bible as Godly sorrow. God’s Word tells us that Godly sorrow is what leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4)

On conviction specifically Charles Stanley writes:

Conviction is God’s loving hand steering us back to the path that leads to life…

Conviction begins even before salvation. The Holy Spirit reveals our wrongs to help us recognize that we need forgiveness. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and choose to follow Him, we are born again. Only then are we free from the penalty of sin. At the same time, we are still human and will make some poor choices. So, even after we are His children, God continues to redirect us.

Conviction is different from condemnation…

The website Healing Streams places the distinctions in a chart form, and also offers two questions you can ask to determine the difference:

Finally, there is an excellent article at the site of Mark Ballenger. I encourage you to click through to read this in full. I’ve included his three main points and a very brief excerpt from each [note the second section may appear at first to disagree with some of the above authors]:

Condemnation Leads to Death. Conviction Leads to Life

…In love, God makes Christians aware of sin (conviction) without giving us the sentence (condemnation) for that sin. He sent his Holy Spirit to bring conviction and to allow humans to escape condemnation…

Condemnation Is for the Unbeliever. Conviction Is for the Believer

…While God is love and desires every human to repent of sin to be saved… and while God does save people from condemnation when they put their faith in Jesus Christ and repent of sin, God does actually condemn people. God is a loving God. But God is also a condemning God. If God did not condemn people for their sin, there would be no reason for him to have sent Christ…

…What is true is that once you become a Christian you will never be condemned by God ever again…

All Christians Will Experience Regular, Healthy Times of Conviction

One of the primary jobs of the Holy Spirit is to bring conviction to the Christian. When we are veering from God’s path, our conscience will convict us because the Holy Spirit now lives within our hearts…

…[C]onviction focuses on your behavior while condemnation focuses on your identity. Conviction leads you towards repentance and a stronger relationship with God. Condemnation leads you towards hiding, shame, and a weaker relationship with God…

Humans Bring Condemnation. The Holy Spirit Brings Conviction

We must leave the work of the Holy Spirit to him…

…Often times the harder you try to convict someone, the more condemning you will be.

Again this article is best read in full. He concludes:

…In short, conviction differs from condemnation because it leads to life for the believer. We must never ignore the Holy Spirits loving discipline. Conviction may hurt in the moment, but unlike condemnation, it will lead to more joy in the end.



December 1, 2012

Fear of Intimacy Due to Shame

This is a topic that probably affects more people than you realize. Although it is directed more at married people, or those desiring to be married, there are also some general principles here. (I also think that even for single people — divorced, never married, widowed — mediating on Biblical marriage exposes us to God’s heart; what he desires for all.)

Our source today is Royal Farris, pastor of Life Connection Church in Euless, Texas who blogs at e-Royal. Although we’ve linked to him before at Thinking Out Loud, this is his first appearance here. You’re encouraged to click through, where you’ll find the full 37-minute sermon for which this is the outline: Shame Leads to Fear of Intimacy. You can then browse the blog for other topics and sermon videos.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.  Ps 34:4 NLT

 Living under the fears of rejection and failure lead to shame and road blocks to healthy, honest, intimate relationships.

 In male/female relationships we have confused intimacy with sex.

 Shame:  I am what I am and I can’t change.

 Living with Shame

 1)    Feel like everyone is better than you.

 2)    Keep making the same harmful mistakes over and  over again.

 3)    The glass is always at least half-empty.

 4)    The world is against you and you feel sorry for yourself.

 5)    Resist investing in relationships.

 6)    Resist taking risks to improve situation.

 7)    Loss of creativity or imagination.

 8)    Always looking to rescue others in order to feel better about yourself.

 9)    You never feel good about your appearance.

 Get a New Intimate You

 First … Get intimate with God .. Spiritual Intimacy

 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.  Eph 4:22-24

 Identity, Purpose, Bible Study, Prayer, Church, obedience

 Gallop poll: Couples who pray together 3-4 times a week have a divorce rate of 1 in 1052.

 2)  Practice communicating intimacy.

 …you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. 1 Pet 3:7

 1)    Make the time to talk.

2)    Develop like interests.

3)    Practice active listening

4)    Ask questions to find out who your spouse is.

5)    Practice giving undivided attention.

6)    Say what you mean.

7)    Talk about physical relationship. (Married)

 One of the greatest hindrances to building intimacy between a man and women is sex outside of marriage.

 3)  Share emotional intimacy.  (Honesty)

 4)  Enjoy physical intimacy.  (Married)

 Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.  1 Cor 7:5

August 27, 2010

The Assurance of Pardon

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:37 pm
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Today at Thinking Out Loud, I looked at the need people have to confess, but often this is nothing more than a desire to get something off their chest, or to blurt out something that they’ve been keeping to themselves.

A key element of confession has to involve the WHO question. To whom am I making this confession?   The person wronged?   A third party to whom might be inflicted some collateral damage?   Or do we confess our sins to God and then expect that to be sufficient, and leave the earthly details to sort themselves out?

The next question is the WHAT question. Is simply telling God (or someone else) what we did sufficient or is genuine sorrow or remose needed as well?   In other words, is confession simply bringing the truth to the surface, or does it involve genuine repentance?   (What James MacDonald in his Downpour tour, might call “face in the dirt” repentance.)   Clearing the air is not clearing the soul.

Finally there is the matter of the CONFESSOR’S RESPONSE. If we confess our sin to God, he is faithful and just to forgive us… here’s how I paraphrased that one today: “if we confess our sin, with faithfulness and according to a justice we can’t always comprehend, he will pardon that sin and help us to work out that sin-nature that caused it.”

Then there’s our NEXT STEPS. Our response also has to involve a determination to both learn from our error and not repeat the same actions or type of actions.   And it may involve subsequent confession to other parties who have been affected by what we have done.

You can read the post I referred to by clicking here.