I shared briefly last week about what I thought of myself after my dad left our family. As the oldest of 4 children, and being big for my age, my mom later apologized for putting so much on me. She explained I was 'so darn big' that she treated me like an adult when I was barely a teenager.
For me as an 11 year old, having mom and dad divorce (which was not common in those days and certainly had never been heard of in our circle of friends), it was devastating. My grades nose-dived, I dropped out of everything from Scouts to art classes to sports - I just didn't care.
So when my friend Janny told me in 10th grade German language class that she being Catholic, knew the God behind the Sunday morning liturgy, I was curious. I was searching for a dad. I dropped out of Scouts because all the other boys had fathers to go with them on camping and canoeing trips. Not me. So I quit. I was searching for a dad from age 11 to 16. Janny told me I could know my heavenly Father.
My 'salvation prayer' went something like this:"Jesus. If you really do have the last word on my life, then the only thing that matters is your opinion. So it only makes sense to serve you now, so come into my heart, I give it to you."
And then I went straight to the Father. Intuitively without knowing the Word, I knew Jesus was merely the heavenly adoption agency used by the Father to adopt me into His family. Which also curiously caused me to be born into the family - both born into and adopted. The adoption part meant I was chosen, for when a baby is born you get what you get. But a child adopted is special in that they were picked, chosen, from among others. I went to the Father and didn't look back.
But I brought all that junk with me. Spiritually I was born again, but emotionally and in my thinking I was still battling with all the above. It was a process. But I changed very quickly, and this is how:
What changed my life
This is the process I went through. This changed my life, and it can change yours or that of someone you know. First was Colossians 1:12-13:
"Giving thanks to the Father, who has made us able to take part in the inheritance of the saints in light; having delivered us from the authority of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son."
In one corner was my argument that I can't walk with the Father God. I have no natural abilities, I certainly didn't understand algebra or care about school. My dad left our family choosing to raise his new wife's kids as his own. I wasn't wanted, and what I did want was every vice my anger and hurt was driving me to.
In the other corner was 'Giving thanks to the Father who has made us able to take part...' My thoughts had to fight it out. My emotions had to be put down. I forcibly made myself believe that my Father has made me able to take part of what He has done for me. That wasn't instant. I had to think on that for days...weighing my own faith in my failings arguing against His faith in me and what He did to enable me to take part in what He had for me.
What built on that and really made the difference was this statement:"Having delivered us from the power (authority) of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son."
That statement completely destroyed my arguments 'in the other corner'. I reasoned that if I have already been delivered out of the kingdom of darkness and translated into heaven, then the battle is over. I can simply think right thoughts and those will produce right emotions, and I can move forward.
That single verse broke something inside me. When I was born again the Father had already at that moment, translated me out and away from the authority of darkness and put me in His Son's kingdom. When a police officer holds up their hand to stop traffic, that is authority. If they use their gun to stop traffic, that is power.
The Greek is 'authority' (exousia) not 'power' (dunamis) as the King James Version has it. Satan has no authority over me, indeed I have authority over him, and we two have nothing in common any longer. I had to start thinking as God the Father saw me, as that kid translated out of the authority of darkness into the kingdom of light.
I began to see Satan for what he is; Powerless, working by fear and intimidation to ignorant or fearful masses of people who don't know what the Heavenly Father has done for them. Fear left me, confidence took its place.
This first thing I remember the Father saying to me was at that time:"A person's body gives them authority while they are alive on the earth. But when the body dies, their spirit and soul automatically become subject to the kingdom they are a citizen of."
(Yes,'...are a citizen of' is improper English, but that's how I talked so He spoke to me according to my age, maturity and knowledge. If He had spoken that to me 10 years later He might have said "...of which you are a citizen", which is proper grammar. This principle is why in prophecy for instance, the word can be spoken by someone with improper grammar yet it is still a valid word from the Lord - because the divine flows through the imperfect.)
It was then I asked the Father:"How can you send people to hell?" He responded to my question with a question:"What does a judge do?" I thought for a minute, then said, "A judge applies the sentence." He responded:"Very well, and what does a jury do?" I thought again, and said, "A jury decides guilt or innocence." He answered:"Exactly. The Word decides guilt or innocence, the judge just applies the sentence. I just apply the sentence."
For me, as a 16 or 17 year old, that was deep thinking. But it settled things, and I had for the first time, an actual conversation with my Father. I understood the words of Jesus in John 12:48:"He that rejects me and my words has one that will judge him:The words that I have spoken, that is what will judge him on the last day." The Word is the jury, the Father merely applies the sentence.
These verses and these revelations and conversations gradually started to change my thinking. As that immature teenager the above instruction let me know I was 100% responsible for my life. It was like a father sharing foundational principles by which the dad hopes his son will grasp and make part of his life.
My advice to countless people has been to start in Ephesians 1 and go through everywhere you see the word 'God' and insert 'Father', for that is who Paul is writing about. Then stop and think on each verse, days or weeks if needed, until every argument you have against that truth is brought captive to the obedience of Christ. Apply yourself to it. And by pausing, by this thinking on, meditating on, you give the Father the opportunity to show you things, to personalize it to you and your life....and we'll pick it up next week, until then, blessings,
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