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Heavenly Adoption: The beginning of our spiritual childhood

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“Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

Ephesians 1:5

Do you find that certain phrases in the Bible are so familiar, you don’t even read them properly anymore? As an adoptive mum, I realised I took a verse like Ephesians 1:5 for granted, not really thinking about it when reading until we adopted our children. To be adopted into God’s family, having the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Such an encouraging, positive word, right?

As with all Scripture, there is a lot more to this word then we think at first glance. Looking at my gorgeous kids, I learned so much more about the depths behind that word, as well as the other verses in Ephesians 1. Please allow me to share some of the things I found out, and I pray it will fill you anew with wonder at the Saviour, who is the Living Word.

God blesses His children

It starts to speak about our adoption in verse 3, telling us how God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings. Are you aware of those blessings? My youngest was 5 months, my oldest 5 years when they arrived, the other two somewhere in between. Were they aware of the blessings we were giving them? Not always, or probably more accurately, hardly ever. We gave them healthy, nutritious dinners, but they cried, for we denied them chocolate at dinner time. We gave them a warm, comfortable bed at night time, but they shrieked because they wanted to play outside in the dark, rainy night. We held their little hands when crossing dangerous roads, and they pulled and wriggled, for they wanted to run ahead.

Aren’t we like that with our Heavenly Father? He gives us what we need, and we feel let down, because we’re pointing at our wants, without realising the implications. He gives us spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, and we grumble because the shop was closed. We spend time comparing prices on the gadget we feel we need, thinking it will make our life so much better, whereas God is offering us spiritual blessings, not just at our desk or living room, but in heavenly places.

God has chosen you

So why does God offer us spiritual blessings? Because he has chosen us (vs3). We bless our children because we have chosen them. They didn’t apply to us to become their parents. We picked them, out of 200 sibling groups. As we were only one out of four adopters approved for larger sibling groups, this meant that we were free to choose any children, and we would probably receive them. Only four of those 200 groups of children was going to get a family, and there was nothing the other 196 groups could do about that. It was beyond their control. They could not assign more parents to the adoption world. They could not even make themselves more ‘adoptable’.

Our children are a great blessing to us, and we love them dearly. They are happy and content, feeling blessed (most of the time!) and they love us. But they did not choose us. We chose them, and before we met them, we were already determined to love them. We saw them as our children, we wanted to bless them, care for them and protect them.

We didn’t know what they were like. We didn’t know if they would be obedient, funny, kind and sweet. We determined to love them regardless. It was a case of two sinners loving four young sinners. Our love is imperfect, our blessings are limited, and we had no idea how our love would be accepted. We never know beforehand how our blessings will be regarded.

We cook a delicious meal, and our children might wrinkle up their noses, and make derogatory remarks. They might also declare this meal the best meal ever, their mother the best chef in all of Christendom. We don’t know, but God knows. He knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb. He knows we are dust, He knows our going out and our coming in. He knows what’s in our hearts. But still, he calls us a chosen people, a royal priesthood. He chooses to pour out His blessings on us. He redeems us, He leads us, He draws us with cords of love.

Next time when you read the word adoption, think of the blessings God has shown you. Think how amazing it is that an Almighty God has chosen you, set you apart, called you by name, bestowed on you all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. We are so blessed, and often we don’t realise it. I challenge us all to be more aware of God’s blessings in the coming days and weeks.

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Maressa Mortimer
My name is Maressa Mortimer, and I’m Dutch. I live in the beautiful Cotswolds, England, with my husband who is a pastor. We have four (adopted) children. My debut novel, Sapphire Beach, was published December 2019. I’m a homeschool mum, so my writing has to be done in the evening when peace and quiet descends on our house once more. I love exploring questions of faith using novels, as it helps me to see what faith looks like in daily life.
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