“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3-5)
This morning, I want to tell you my family’s adoption story because of the verse above.
In Ephesians 1:3-5, the Apostle Paul calls Christians to worship God by focusing on the truth of what we have in Him. Surprisingly, as Paul calls us to praise God, there’s really only one great act of God that he focuses on. He doesn’t talk specifically about spiritual gifts, victories over the devil, or material blessings. Paul only mentions one thing: adoption! That’s right! When Paul begins to focus on all that it means to be adopted as God’s child through Christ, there is a praise that fills his heart. He begins to see the greatness of God and His love that fills his soul with delight.
People who have Jesus as first and center in their hearts constantly refocus on the miracle and love Jesus shows us in adoption. To keep our “first love” for Christ, we often need to get our focus off of ourselves and our circumstances. We must remember that the gospel is not just about you being forgiven, it’s also about becoming part of God’s family where we are greatly loved.
Why should the truth of our adoption cause us to praise God? How will your life be healed and changed because you have been adopted by a Father who was willing to pay any price to have you as His own? I can tell you a little something about the power of adoption in my own life.
Many years ago, God placed the call to adopt a boy from Ethiopia on our hearts. Kaleb Karisso Franco officially came home to the family that God had always planned for him on July 25, 2009. He was always ours—always part of our family. We knew, in the Spirit, that our family wasn’t complete until he came. He might be a different skin color and might have begun by speaking a different language than us, but God had made us a family long before we knew his name or saw his face. A two-and-a-half year adoption process and many thousands of dollars in fees were the small prices we had to sacrifice to bring Kaleb home. When he did come, this child, who was never meant to be an orphan, came into the love of a family that would never let him go and would never imagine being without him again. When Kaleb came home, we didn’t “add” to our family, we “completed” the family God always called us to be.
When Kaleb came home for the first time, this precious son, who had lived the life of an orphan for a season, had to experience changes in almost everything he knew. Kaleb came to us as “Geremew.” We changed his first name to Kaleb as a way to give him a name that worked in both America and Ethiopia. Kaleb also had to learn a new language. He only spoke Amharic, a very beautiful, but very different language to us Westerners. Kaleb also had to learn new habits of behavior that were very different than his life in the orphanage. All those habits would have to change now that he was in a family.
Now, just think of how coming into God’s loving family changes us. As children adopted by the Father in Heaven, our “name” and identity change—just like Kaleb’s did. We go from sinner to saint, from enemy to friend, from orphan to son or daughter. We learn to see ourselves differently and live a different life because we are now in a family we never knew could be ours.
Just like Kaleb, we don’t speak the language of God’s family when we are first adopted. In our sinful nature, we are self-centered and speak that language. It often sounds like selfishness, fear, bitterness, lust, and greed. We may make it sound socially acceptable or religious, but to God it is still sin. In God’s family, we become Jesus-centered and learn the language of His love, grace, purity, and forgiveness. At first, it really is a different language—one we don’t understand and cannot speak, but in time, the language of God’s family becomes our own.
Finally, just like Kaleb, we think and habitually act like orphans, even when we are now part of a family. Kaleb used to drink whole cups of water in one gulp because, at the orphanage each child only got one gulp of water from the cup before it was passed on to somebody else. Kaleb learned that orphans need to get all they can because there won’t be any more after that one moment. How often do we act the same way with God? How much do you fear not having what you need for tomorrow that you anxiously try to get all you can today? How much do you bend your day to worry about getting what your Father in Heaven has already promised? That is an orphan’s mentality and if you are in Christ and His family, you don’t need it anymore!
Satan spends so much time trying to convince us that we are alone and helpless, but when I come to Jesus with a heart of worship, I begin to focus on God’s great love for me. I begin to see myself as part of God’s family, through a local church here on earth and for eternity with all the saints of Heaven. I remember what Christ has done to bring me into His family and I am filled with praise. With such love and care all around me, I don’t need to “gulp down” all I can get today. Tomorrow, God and His family will provide me what I will need for that day. Today, I simply choose to bend my day to keep Him first and center in my heart.
Jesus died to give you this family. He is the center of it. Come today and realize that it’s a reason to worship!
Making Jesus the Center of Monday
God’s Promise to Remember: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3-5).
God’s Power to Pray For: Lord Jesus, no matter what I need today, I praise You for adopting me into Your eternal family. I pray that I will live this day truly understanding that I am part of Your family that cannot fail. Let the greatness of Your love for me, cause me to have a heart and attitude of worship all day. I especially give You these places in my life where I tend to feel alone and like an orphan with no family or Father to count on …
God’s Person to Share With: Adoption causes us to walk in a new identity, language, and lifestyle through Jesus. Share with your prayer partner one way you tend to act more like an orphan than a child of God and how you would like that to change. Make that your prayer focus for each other today.