Wednesday, March 5, 2014

We "Messed Up" Birth Order But Not God's Sovereignty

When researching birth order and adoption I have found it to be a huge "No-No". Some adoption agencies and social workers will not approve you if you even consider disrupting your family's birth order. What is it about birth order that makes it "the unbreakable"?

We must be very careful when putting manmade philosophies about birth order above God's Word and Sovereignty. Is God not sovereign in adoption "birth order" and only in biological birth order? Is God surprised when we adopt an older child and "mess up" the birth order He established? Can God, being all-knowing, build our family's birth order with our future adoption(s) in mind?

We may have adopted out of age order but we adopted in the perfect "birth order" that God birthed our adopted family!

Israel was God's firstborn.

In the Old Testament God refers to Israel as His first born, "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son," (Exodus 4:22). Israel, as a firstborn, was to receive a double inheritance as outlined in the Jewish Law (Deut. 21:15-17). So God does put a higher stock in the oldest child, therefore we should NEVER ever adopt out of birth order, right? forward a few thousand years and Israel, God's firstborn, was one-upped by another Son. This Son came and became God's true firstborn. Did God really just "mess up" His own family "birth order"? Ruin family-ranking? Re-distribute inheritance? Yep.

Jesus bumped Israel out of their firstborn status.

How did newly displaced Jewish Israel respond when Jesus came on the scene and stole their firstborn birthright? (Romans 8:29Colossians 1:18). Some hated Him and plotted to kill Him and some believed in Him and became His disciples. The same way our displaced children will act, if a new child takes their firstborn position, their words and actions will allow their heart to become visible. Anger, bitterness, and malice will show a child that is struggling with putting their status in the family unit higher than their status with God. On the other hand, Love, compassion, and service will overflow from the heart of a child filled with a trust in God's ultimate sovereignty over the growth of their family. 

Could disrupting birth order make our parenting harder by uncovering heart issues and behaviors we would rather not deal with? Most likely. So are you opposed to adopting out of birth order due to comfort, convenience, superstition or God's Word?

Even disciples bickered about their "birth order".

Who would be greatest among them? Jesus sat his disciples down and explained that they were missing the bigger picture. They weren't to focus on their place in His family or kingdom but their focus was to be serving His children,
"“If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.” (Mark 9:33-37, also Matt 18:1-5, Luke 9:46-48)"
Let us not be consumed with worldly notions, putting ourselves in bonds of obeying birth order, neglecting our call to serve the least of these, so that we relate to the goats on Jesus' left (Matthew 25:31-46). Let us do as the sheep on Jesus' right and serve the least of these by meeting their need, regardless of their age. Let us have the pure religion that God accepts, religion undefiled by worldly philosophies and studies, let us just care for the orphan (James 1:27).

But birth order defines our personalities.

Birth order studies on personality differences are fun and are sometimes accurate stereotypes but let us not strip our children of God's unique fingerprint of individuality He created in each one of them in exchange for a natural view of "the almighty Birth Order made them this way." Even if birth order helps to define and shape our personalities, it certainly does not effect or define our relationship with God. If big brother Johnny gains a new big brother through adoption he will still be big brother Johnny, as God designed him. Now he will also have a new role as little brother Johnny, just as God planned before the foundations of the world. We are give a new status when we are adopted into the family of God. Given a status not as oldest, middle child or baby, but as equal heirs and firstborn with Christ.
"In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will (Ephesians 1:3-6)" 
"In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures (James 1:18)." 
"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-17)"
"Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God (Galatians 4:7)." 
"In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:10-12)" 
Little brother and big brother Johnny are both offered the same adoption, the same inheritance, the same free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 6:23).

God does not define us by our earthly labels but our heavenly one.

We need only to be labeled "adopted" or "child of God". Earthly labels of birth order, gender, race, heritage, or age are not counted by God for a heavenly inheritance. Why do we put any stock in earthly labels for our family inheritance?
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28)."
Once adopted we have a place with God as His son, as His people, even though we were once separated from Him. He doesn't hold one believer higher than the other, even if say the Jew "knew" God first (Romans 9:24-26). Followers of Jesus are not adopted in age order. God encourages us not to put stock in the age of His believers (1Timothy 4:12) or their strength (1 Corinthians 1:27).

Let us not put a greater pull on worldly philosophies of birth order than we do on the Spirit and will of the God of Adoption!

 Six other blog posts and articles about birth order:

1. Here is a worldly, evolutionary philosophy that shares why birth order matters:

"'We’re in a Darwinian struggle from the moment we’re born, fighting for scarce resources within a family – our parents’ time, love and affection,’ he says. 'Through human evolution, birth order has determined who inherits power (the first-born) and who is sent to war (the youngest as he was the ‘spare’). By Psychologies"

2. Birth order may not be the only link in determining our future personality:

"In short, it's not necessarily the fact that a child came out of his mother's womb first that he grew up to be a leader who talks a blue streak. Rather, it's the fact that his parents treated him as their firstborn child that shaped his attitude and behavior. By Parents

3. Birth order - Science or Myth?

"After reviewing 35 years of research -- some 1500 studies -- Cécile Ernst and Jules Angst of the University of Zurich reach a simple conclusion:
"On a scale of importance, the effects of birth order fall somewhere between negligible and nonexistent " (Science, December 1983, p. 16). By Biblical Discernment Ministries"

4. Lots of adopting out of birth order resources and links here:

"To find voices against adopting out of birth order, simply type that phrase in a search engine and many adoption forum discussions will pop up. It is a popular topic on many adoption forums, but I caution you to note how many are written by those who have experienced it. It is not for everyone or for every family. The needs and resources of all family members must be considered, but there are many families that have done it and done it well. By Creating a Family"

5. This is a personal blog post from a mom who has adopted out of birth order:  

"I know we made the right decision to adopt an older child, to disrupt birth order, and I’m seeing beauty rise up out of the ashes.  All three of my kids are being refined. Yucky stuff is sloughing off. Even during this painful spiritual exfoliation, I see moments to treasure. By"

6. Where in the Bible does in address the issue of birth order?:

"To be truthful, the Bible does address birth order, especially as it relates to being the "firstborn". God certainly did not give us an exhaustive treatise on birth order and its affects (should be a warning right there of putting too much stock in birth order), but He did allow us to see the premium He put on inheritance and the firstborn. Click here for the rest of a fantastic article on firstborns"

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone 

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