The Orphan Mindset

In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:5

A story is frequently told of a baby eagle that fell out of its nest and became separated from its family.

A mother chicken took pity on the apparently orphaned eagle and raised the baby as her own.

As it grew, the young eagle pecked and shuffled along the ground along with its chicken siblings, having never learned that life could be any different.

One day it looked up at an eagle soaring high in the sky and marvelled…

As sons and daughters of a living God we should bear the family likeness and carry out the family business.

But we will never fulfil our potential or live a supernatural Christian life while we are living with an orphan mindset.

Until we do, we will live like the eagle in the story, believing that we are subject to limitations that do not exist.

We need to fully comprehend the Family that we belong to.

Recently I wrote a post entitled, ‘No Longer An Orphan: How I Discovered The Father’s Love.’

I have come to realise that it is possible to experience significant healing in this area, and yet still be restricted by orphan (Fatherless) thinking.

I can pay mental assent to the truth of my acceptance as a child of my Heavenly Father, and yet my feelings and responses sometimes reveal a deep-set belief that God has left me to live life alone and apart from Him.

Like other ‘strongholds’ in our minds [1], this way of thinking needs to be recognised and expelled from our lives and replaced with the truth of God’s Word.

So how do we recognise and deal with an orphan mindset?

In previous posts I have discussed the orphan spirit as it relates to our relationship with God as Father.Here are two further areas that I have been challenged over recently:

Signs of an Orphan Mindset

1. We have an orphan mindset when contemplating what God has called us to do continually makes us feel inadequate or afraid.

Jesus said,

I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth… I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:16,18)

An important aspect of ‘comprehending the Family that we belong to’ is being aware of the relationship of the Holy Spirit to us.

The reality is that we will never be or do what Father has called us to, without the Presence and enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

So why do we often feel alone?

Here are two questions to consider:

  • How would my life be different if I brought the reality of the Holy Spirit’s presence into the picture of my life?
  • How could I live if I took into account, not my own inability, but His ability, for every moment, every challenge, both present and future?

2. We have an orphan mindset when we believe that it is impossible to follow in Jesus’ steps.

Like the young eagle gazing at the eagle soaring in the sky, I look at the life of Jesus presented in the Gospels and wonder.

Can I really aspire to be like Him?

I know I am called to be a disciple—follower—of Jesus, my life a reflection of His.

Somehow, it is much easier to relate to the unlikely heroes of Scripture—those flawed and sinful people that God used to change history—than to Jesus.

And yet, Jesus’ life is the picture of what my life can look like.

The Apostle Paul puts it this way in Romans 8:29:

‘For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.’

Or as Eugene H. Peterson puts it in ‘The Message,’
“We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in [Jesus]”(Rom 8:29)

As children of God, we are created in His image and share His family likeness—His DNA. The same Holy Spirit that anointed Jesus also lives in us.

We are called to be Jesus disciples—but orphan thinking will cause us to be His followers in name only.

To be a disciple of Jesus requires us to actually live with and to learn from Him in the same way that His disciples did in the Gospels.

This comes not only from Bible study, but also by living life with Him as a present and continual experience.

An orphan mindset and belief system will act as a veil that will keep us from encountering Jesus and having a face-to-face relationship with him.

Prayer to be Released from the Orphan Mindset

Perhaps you can identify with some of the struggles I have shared above. You might like to join me in this prayer:

Father, I am sorry for the times that I do not recognise and embrace the truth of my relationship to You—that I am your fully loved and fully accepted child.

I repent of the times I feel and act as though I am an orphan alone, when Jesus has paid the highest price of His life that I might be a member of your family.

I renounce [refuse to have any longer] the orphan mindset, with all of its lies, rejection and unbelief, especially… [include anything specific God has shown you]

I ask that by Your Spirit you will continue to expose and deal with any residue of orphan thinking in my life.

Thank You for the gift of new life and for receiving me into Your Family. I choose to believe the truth of who I am in relationship to You and who You are in relationship to me… [include any relevant scripture references here] 

Thank You for Your Spirit of Adoption, the Holy Spirit filling my life, saturating my heart and mind with the truth of who I am and Whose I am (Rom 8:15). All fear is gone. I receive Your joy. I receive Your fresh anointing right now,

In Jesus’ Name.

[1] A stronghold is a belief system that is contrary to what the Bible teaches. For more information see 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

Related posts:

No Longer An Orphan: How I Discovered The Father’s Love

4 Symptoms of the Orphan Spirit in Church Life

How Your Perspective Can Impact Your Destiny

1 Father, 2 Sons, 3 Positions: Which Describes You?

© Helen Calder   2010  Enliven Publishing

13 thoughts on “Breaking Free From An Orphan Mindset”

  1. Vinodtha Sewpersad

    Hi Helen

    thank you so much for this article. it really struck a nerve about how I feel about my relationship with the Father. i have felt such a release now after praying and can really feed God’s heart for me. my desire is to experience His passio and love for me. Thank you so much once again.

    1. That’s wonderful, Vinodtha. May the blessing and breakthrough continue for you. 🙂

  2. I did have an orphan mindset, thinking I had to do one thing or the other to be acceptable to God or to avoid punishment. I lived in perpetual fear. Today I asked God to break the stronghold of fear in my life, that’s when I got the first article I read on orphan mindset in my mail. After reading that article, I decided I wanted to know more. And that’s how come I found this article. The more I read, the more I can relate and I’m starting to feel Peace finally! I also found the prayer particularly helpful. I’m not quite where I need to be yet but God is taking me there

    1. Hello Toms, yes sometimes the journey is like God is unwrapping the layers of orphan thinking off our lives. He takes us deeper as we are able, and our faith is strengthened – He is so faithful! May the peace continue and grow in your life.

  3. Hi,
    for me the worst thing about an orphan spirit is a constant internal conflict between longing for intimacy with God, to dwell with Him and know His presence and walk in His Spirt and my NEED to be alone which leaves me with only my own resources and walking in the flesh. It’s like being two different people. I know I will be restored but it is taking such a long time and I get so discouraged and frustrated at times. I get it to a certain level but deep in my heart is a strongly defended, hurt little girl who doesn’t seem to respond to what I know to be true or what I believe. Who shuts everyone out and doesn’t know how to let down her guard or open the door, even to the Holy Spirit who won’t force His way in but needs her to open up. Feels like such an impasse.

    1. Hi Debra, I am praying tonight that you can find the baby steps forward God has for you. You don’t have to take the giant leaps – there may be one small thing He is encouraging you to do. I pray you will find a person you feel safe with to help you on the next stage of your journey.

Comments are closed.