One tool that helped me gain a more accurate picture of myself was a list of characteristics called: Who am I In Christ. I’ve seen this list posted many places, but my first contact with it was from Neil Anderson’s book, The Bondage Breaker. That is an excellent resource for working through issues that block growth.
I suggest taking the characteristics one by one and thinking about them. Here is the link to a complete list. If this first characteristic is challenging, feel free to pick another to work with.
We’re going to camp on the first one for a few days.
I AM A CHILD OF GOD
This comes from Romans Chapter 8, Verse 16
The New King James Bible says it this way: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
The Amplified Bible says: “The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.”
So God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, tells or assures our individual spirit that we are God’s child.
This was a challenging verse for me. On one hand I liked the idea of being God’s child with all the privileges it entails. Imagine being able to go to your Father with your requests, climb up on His lap, tell Him who has hurt you, and share your dreams and problems with Him. He and you would laugh, play, and have fun. He would always be there for you to share your triumphs and your pains. You would be surrounded in the circle of His love.
But, contrasted to that, is the memory of my earthly father. When I first went to church, some of the members prayed, “Father God.” They Father God-ed so much I cringed. I already had one bad father and didn’t want another. I believed that God had abandoned me, and didn’t want me in His life. Why else would He have permitted my abuse? I wanted to be ignored by God. I believed, if I shard my secret wishes and desires, He would take great delight in denying them to me. I saw God as watching for every mistake I made and slapping me down for them. I presumed that He was as abusive as my earthly father.
The following may be a bit challenging – if it is tough to deal with now, file it for later.
Today, in the Bible study I attend, Pastor Don Moore spoke about presumption. He said that presumption is placing on God those attributes that are not His. He mentioned that women with bad earthly fathers assume that God is going to be abusive or neglectful like their earthly fathers. No where in the Bible does it ever state that our earthly father is what God is like.
He pointed out that those who presume God is like their earthly father do not know their earthly father nor do they know God.
Pastor Don said, God is nothing like our abuser. But our abuser’s were probably also hurt by someone because hurt people hurt people. As we heal, we will be able to understand more about the one who hurt us so much. We will also learn that the attributes of God are nothing like our earthly fathers. Jesus once said, “If you see me, you’ve seen the Father.” Think of all the good qualities of Jesus and that is a picture of God. God heals, comforts, teaches, protects, guides, etc.
As a child, after a beating or an incestuous visit from my father, I escaped into a fantasy world where I had an imaginary mother and father. I would spend time with them talking about my parents and their abuse, sharing my fears and pain. Years after I began to know God, I asked Him, “Where were you when I was being abused?”
He replied, “Who do you think your imaginary mother and father were?”
That floored me. Granted, God wasn’t were I wanted Him to be during those years, but He was present.
Where was God in the midst of your hurt?
If you aren’t sure, ask Him. We’ll continue about fathers tomorrow.
Feel free to share what you have learned about our Father, God. What you have experienced may help another.
Have a blessed day.
Remember: You are a child of God. He loves you so much.