Are you familiar with the phrase “orphan spirit”?
Perhaps you’ve heard someone toss that term around, believing it just applies to literal orphans, those without a biological mother and father.
I first heard this term a few years ago, but it wasn’t until I listened to our pastor preach an in depth sermon on the orphan spirit that it really resonated with me.
I believe we all have orphan spirits at some point in our lives, regardless of who is raising us. We all have orphan spirits before we’re adopted into the family of Christ through His blood, but even after we’ve been adopted, we might still struggle with an orphan spirit without even realizing it.
“The orphan spirit causes one to live life as if he does not have a safe and
secure place in the Father’s heart. He feels he has no place of affirmation, protection,
comfort, belonging, or affection. Self-oriented, lonely, and inwardly isolated, he has no
one from whom to draw Godly inheritance. Therefore, he has to strive, achieve,
compete, and earn everything he gets in life. It easily leads to a life of anxiety, fears,
and frustration.” –Jack Frost
The term “orphan spirit”, has deep meaning, for everyone. God created us to belong. He created us to be treasured. He created us to need and long for human touch. He created us to both receive love and to give love.
There are many reasons why we might be living with an orphan spirit, even as Believers. Maybe we didn’t feel treasured by someone important to us. Maybe we didn’t receive proper physical touch. Maybe we were abused. Maybe we didn’t develop authentic, deep, meaningful relationships with our loved ones? Maybe we didn’t receive unconditional love. Maybe we actually got all of those things, but we’ve been living with an orphan spirit without even realizing it and it’s become a way of life for us. A habit.
Habits that may cause us to search for acceptance, significance, and identity in all the wrong places. We may seek the approval and praise of man. We may feel a deep need to be recognized for our service, for the things we do. We may have critical spirits and place blame on others. We may be jealous of others.
We may be strong Believers with a heart for serving Him, yet our motives are from the heart of an orphan instead of from the heart of sonship.
I urge you to review the chart below and pray for God to reveal to you if you might have an orphan spirit without realizing it.
Our earthly father has a huge impact on how we view our Heavenly Father. When we are secure in our relationship with our earthly father, it’s much easier to have trust in the security of our Heavenly Father. It’s unconditional. We don’t feel like we have to act a certain way, be good enough, or do enough good things to earn the love of our Father because our earthly father didn’t make us feel that way. We knew without a doubt that our earthly father unconditionally and wholeheartedly loved us, that we belonged, that we were treasured, and that nothing could ever change that, no matter what.
Unfortunately, because we are human, no one is going to have as perfect of an earthly father as the Perfection we find in our Heavenly Father. Perhaps even worse than having a fallible earthly father would be not having a father in your home at all, like many children growing up today experience. If we’re not secure in the love of our earthly father’s heart, how can we be secure in the heart of our Heavenly Father?
The good news comes when we recognize the orphan spirit and acknowledge our need for change. We must allow the Holy Spirit to replace our orphan spirit with the spirit of sonship (daughtership).
“The spirit of sonship is all about having a heart attitude of submission – being subject to
another’s mission. Jesus Himself said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is
something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son
also does in like manner.” (John 5:19) In Hebrews 12:9, “Be subject” is also the word
“submission.” In the Greek, this word means “to get underneath and to push up.” So
to have the spirit of sonship is to put yourself underneath another’s mission and do all
you can to make them successful, knowing that as a son/daughter, there is an
inheritance that lies ahead. Sonship is about security, significance, identity, patience,
basic trust, faithfulness, loyalty, humility, and being others-oriented.” –Jack Frost
“The orphan spirit is not something you can cast out because it is ungodly beliefs and/or
attitudes of our flesh that has been developing over a lifetime. It has become part of
our personality and character. It must be displaced (put to death) by a personal
experience in the Father’s love and a revelation of the spirit of sonship. This will require
a re-positioning of our life.” -Jack Frost
I don’t have all of the answers, but I know our Father does. The first step is recognizing the orphan spirit in ourselves. It’s so easy to pinpoint this in others, but we must ask God to search our hearts and show us if we are struggling with an orphan spirit, as Believers.
Here is what Jack Frost wrote once he discovered the revelation that he and his wife had been serving in the ministry for years with an orphan’s heart instead of a heart of sonship.
“The spirit of sonship was not a garment we put on, but it was a change of heart so deep that it brought
change to our habits. No longer did we want to bless in order to get something in return. No longer did we grudgingly give of our finances. No longer did we have to be seen or accepted. We knew our identity was in the Father’s love, and it became the desire of our hearts to do everything we could to see
another’s vision and calling fulfilled.” -Jack Frost
I ordered Jack Frost’s book Experiencing Father’s Embrace yesterday. This is one of the books our pastor’s orphan spirit sermon was based upon. I believe Father has a word for many of us through this book and the revelation of the orphan spirit in all of us, including Believers.