Wednesday, Jul 30th

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Benefiting from Spiritual Fathers

Benefiting from Spiritual FathersApostles are spiritual fathers. You need a spiritual father in your life. Apostolic ministries have apostolic fathers. I came from a generation of preachers who grew up in ministry without the benefit of spiritual fathers. Like thousands of others we had to get whatever we could through books, audios, videos, seminars, conferences and brief meetings with men of God hurried off platforms and away from the people. I have wondered how much more effective I might have become if someone would have taken a personal interest in the call of God on my life.

As the apostolic church moves forward we can expect the heart of spiritual fathers to be restored toward the sons of God. One cannot be an apostle who doesn’t have the heart of a spiritual father. Let’s look at the Apostle Paul as an example. Paul had a vested interest in the success of his spiritual son Timothy. You can hear the heart of the father when Paul says to Timothy,

“For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ you do not have many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15).

Today fathers are abandoning their wives, children and responsibilities. This is a reflection of the spiritual condition of our world as we note the same pattern of abandonment taking place in ministry. Over 1500 pastors quit the ministry each month and thousands more leave churches without cause. Pastors are leaving because the ministry is tough and a lack of understanding the roles of fivefold ascension gifts leads to abuse. If you don’t understand the role of your leader then you can abuse that leader. Some leaders protect themselves by becoming insensitive. Callousness, however, can damage the work of ministry. In the past some ministry gifts would not take time to raise spiritual sons or daughters. Some even went out of their way not to make a way for any spiritual kinship at all and focused on building their own ministries instead. 

Some sons and daughters only want blessing, not correction and guidance by loving apostolic fathers. The result for many of God’s leaders has been to follow the path of least resistance by concentrating on their own ministries and avoiding further aggravation. It takes more time to raise a spiritual son or daughter than it does to convert a sinner. The cry of the Spirit is the return of apostolic fathers toward the sons and daughters and sons and daughters toward fathers. For decades, we have been missing the spirit of the father in our churches and homes.

Our society is a mirror of the spiritual condition of our nation. A lack of fathers in the home is the main social problem facing America says 72.2 % of those polled. In 2006 there were 12.9 million one parent families in the United States, 10.4 million single mother families and 2.5 million single father families. Just over 67 percent of the nation’s 73.7 million children younger than 18 lived with two married parents. The results are grimly revealing. Children of single parent homes are:

5 times more likely to commit suicide.

32 times more likely to run away.

14 times more likely to commit rape.

9 times more likely to drop out of high school.

20 times more likely to end up in prison.

The outcome of a lack of both parents in the home is lawlessness. The family is under attack but hope is on the way. God spoke of the turning spirit of Elijah returning to His Church in the last days.

“And he will turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:6).

Times are changing. The Holy Spirit is challenging hearts and reversing them from self-centeredness to helping others.

Millions of children have been raised in single parent homes, mostly by good mothers doing the best they could. The role of mothers, however, is different from fathers. Take little Johnny, for example, that was told not to play baseball in his friends’ backyard. He disobeys and breaks the neighbor’s glass window. Who do you think he runs home to tell, his mother or father? Most likely he ran to mommy. That’s because the role of mothers is different from fathers. Mother’s nurture and comfort but fathers set rules and boundaries for behavior. Fathers also discipline and correct. Little Johnny’s mother probably offered him hugs and plenty of love. I’m sure she told him that everything was going to be all right. But when dad came home little Johnny had to face the consequences of his rebellion, go to the neighbors house, repent and arrange to have the window repaired.

Spiritual fathers do not replace natural fathers. Don’t expect them to take you on fishing trips or out to ball games. They are spiritual fathers. Spiritual fathers are mentors that offer wise and trusted counsel designed to get you to think.4 Submission to their oversight is biblical, voluntary and comes through relationship. It also affords you spiritual covering and accountability. A mentor offers instruction, advice, guidance and counsel. A spiritual father also corrects. Don’t expect a true spiritual father to ignore your mistakes and personality malfunctions. Correction is designed to help you grow both spiritually and emotionally. Spiritual fathers do not replace your relationship with God. They point you toward dependency on the Lord and away from themselves. It is Jesus that is the author and finisher of your faith.


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IDENTIFYING SONS AND DAUGHTERS

It takes a father to give birth to a son. Son, from the Latin root su means to give birth. Not everybody that attends your ministry is a spiritual son or daughter. Some are autonomous sheep, disgruntled goats or barbarous wolves. Others are just good people passing through. So how do you know who your spiritual sons and daughters are? One time the Holy Spirit said to me,

“I have many sons and daughters for you in every nation if you will go.”

I asked him how to know who they were and he answered, “You will know them by their pursuit.”

Pursuit is the key. It doesn’t mean that you were the one that led them to the Lord. It’s possible to have many spiritual sons and daughters that heard the salvation message through someone else. Hundreds of people have told me they wanted me to be their spiritual father. To know who they are, I look for pursuit. Like everybody else I am busy and want to spend my time with the right people. When we have meetings in other countries, for example, I am keenly aware of those present. If I take the time and expense to travel to another nation and they won’t attend when they live there then I know they are just talkers. I spend my time with workers, not talkers. The same is true for identifying your spiritual sons and daughters. Talk is still cheap and doesn’t mean much. Pursuit tells you who they are. If they are not pursuing then don’t spend much of your time with them. On the other hand, those who do pursue are the ones you can do exploits with and help them become champions. Spend your time with them and watch them become all that God has called them to be.

VICTORIOUS LIVING

Spiritual fathers don’t teach you to pass examines, they prepare you for victorious living. Our educational system has given us a pattern of learning based on lectures and exams. Students learn only to pass academic tests. Teaching to pass a test is not the biblical pattern for learning. The learning pattern throughout Scripture is to find a mentor who teaches and trains you through internship. Paul mentored Timothy, Silas and Erastus, and Elijah trained Elisha, and Joshua interned with Moses. All creation is waiting for the sons of God to manifest (Romans 8:19). Without spiritual fathers there can be no revealing of sons. Marks of true spiritual fathers include:

Trustworthy

Guide

Protect

Direct

Nurture

Shape and mold

Discipline

Encourage

Give wisdom

Instill purpose

Give hope

Consistency

Listen

Involved

Instill moral values

Demand integrity

Develop character

Provide spiritual leadership

Correct.

Spiritual fathers caution behavior.

“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you” (1 Corinthians 4:14).

Warn, Greek noutheteo, means admonish, caution and exhort.

“As you know how we encouraged and comforted and charged every one of you as a father doth his children, that you would walk worthy of God, who hath called you to his kingdom and glory”  (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

Spiritual fathers set a good example.

“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Corinthians 4:16).

Spiritual fathers admonish.

“But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What do you want? Should I come to you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?” (1 Corinthians 4:19-21).

The relationships between spiritual fathers and sons and daughters are significant in the local church. Without strong spiritual fathers we cannot have strong spiritual sons and daughters. Again, Scripture declares the entire world is waiting for the “manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). Let’s number some of the benefits of sonship.

BENEFITS OF SONSHIP

The benefits of sonship include training from a spiritual father, protective oversight, prodding for spiritual and emotional growth, preparation for inheritance, and correction.

1. TRAINING, COUNSEL AND EXPERIENCE

A spiritual father is a gift to you from the Holy Spirit. Spiritual fathers are competent and seasoned through trial and experience. They have passed through places in life that you have not yet been. Wouldn’t it be nice to counsel with someone that has experience in what you are facing? Paul told Timothy,

“You have known my manner of life, persecutions and afflictions” (2 Timothy 3:10-11).

2. PROTECTION FROM DEMONIC WILES

Spiritual fathers provide protective oversight to their sons and daughters. Inattention is not healthy for anyone. Because of their experience they often see things that you can’t and their vision offers protection from evil wiles and demonic onslaught (Ephesians 6:10-12).

3. SUCCESS AND ACHIEVEMENT

Spiritual fathers provide a safe environment to grow. Fathers train and prepare their sons and daughters for transition from adolescence to adulthood. They get you to think. Everyone gets older but not everyone matures. Maturity is vital in your life and spiritual fathers will put a demand on you to grow. Spiritual fathers inject a spirit of excellence in their sons and daughters. Demand is good for you and helps you face personal challenges that buffet success and achievement. As you submit to their instruction you will enter new levels of triumph. Expect them to motivate you to set goals and achieve objectives (2 Timothy 1:6-7).

4. INHERITANCE

Apathy is deadly and kills spiritual momentum. Growth is needed if you are going to receive your inheritance. Not heavenly inheritance, but full accomplishment of your unique calling. An inheritance is what rightfully belongs to you, benefits. Everyone has been given a gift, something specific that God has called you to do with your life. Many never discover that gift but with the guidance of a spiritual father you will find your purpose and make a difference with your life. Scripture declares that we are under tutors and governors until we come into our sonship (Galatians 4:1-3). Like spiritual fathers, tutors give private instruction and governors regulate your progress.

5. CORRECTION

No one likes correction but everyone needs it. Correction helps us improve and compliance is proof of sonship. How do you know if you are a real son or daughter? You know by your response to correction. Scripture identifies true sons in contrast to illegitimate sons by their ability to receive correction from the father and make necessary course adjustments. If you can’t handle correction you are not a spiritual son or daughter.

“And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons. My son do not make light of the Lord’s discipline and do not lose heart when he rebukes you because the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons” (Hebrews 12:5-8).

THE TWIN PITFALLS OF SONSHIP

The benefits of sonship are terrific but there is something you need to guard yourself from, the twin pitfalls of sonship. Familiarity and presumption are two major traps of sonship. Developing relationships is a lot of work and fundamental in apostolic ministries. There are many reasons for not raising sons and daughters including a lack of those who want to be raised by true spiritual fathers and an increase of rebellion in the heart of God’s children. Some true fathers, while training spiritual sons and daughters, have displayed their humanity only to find some not able to handle their transparency. Relationships are tested. Mark Twain the famous author wrote, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Contempt is disrespectful behavior that leads to presumptuous actions. This is the pitfall of sonship that causes you to take your spiritual father for granted. King Saul took Samuel for granted, he entered the realm of presumption assuming a role of ministry that didn’t belong to him and lost his kingship.6 Jesus could do no mighty works in his hometown because they thought of him as the carpenter’s son, not the only begotten son of God. Sonship is a wonderful thing to achieve and unlocks worlds of opportunity to you. Jesus never entered his ministry until he was first called a son (Matthew 17:5). He is our prototype son that was anointed with the Holy Ghost and power who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil for God was with him (Acts 10:38). You, too, can become a spiritual son or daughter. Beware, however, the dangers of familiarity and presumption.

ACTION EXERCISE

You need a spiritual father in your life. Spiritual fathers raise learning, growing, thinking, imaginative people. The new apostolic reformation includes restoration of spiritual fathers, sons and daughters. Perhaps the Holy Spirit has been turning your heart as you read this essay. If so, remember sonship begins with serving your man of God.

Find a five fold ascension gift and pursue the gift of God in him. Serving is the entrance to sonship. Jesus was always connected to his father. Get connected through serving. When you are around him, be ready to learn and draw on his gift. Sons catch the spirit that’s on their fathers. You can’t catch what you’re not around. You can expect him to give you assignments. When he does, fulfill them with excellence. Be like Joshua, the one who lead the children of Israel into the Promise Land. He was first called the servant of Moses. Today he is remembered as one of God’s greatest leaders. 

APERÇU

You need a spiritual father in your life. Apostolic ministries have apostolic fathers.

Developing relationships is a lot of work and fundamental in apostolic ministries.

Spiritual fathers are mentors that offer wise and trusted counsel designed to get you to think. A mentor offers instruction, advice, guidance and counsel. A spiritual father also corrects.

The learning pattern throughout Scripture is to find a mentor who teaches and trains you through internship. Paul mentored Timothy, Silas and Erastus, and Elijah trained Elisha, and Joshua interned with Moses.

The benefits of sonship include training from a spiritual father, protective oversight, prodding for spiritual and emotional growth, preparation for inheritance, and correction.

A spiritual father is a gift to you from the Holy Spirit. Spiritual fathers are competent and seasoned through trial and experience.
Fathers train and prepare their sons and daughters for transition from adolescence to adulthood. They get you to think.

Maturity is vital in your life and spiritual fathers will put a demand on you to grow. Spiritual fathers inject a spirit of excellence in their sons and daughters. Demand is good for you and helps you face personal challenges that buffet success and achievement.

Everyone has been given a gift, something specific that God has called you to do with your life. Many never discover that gift but with the guidance of a spiritual father you will find your purpose and make a difference with your life. Scripture declares that we are under tutors and governors until we come into our sonship (Galatians 4:1-3). Tutors give private instruction and governors regulate your progress.

No one likes correction but everyone needs it. Correction helps us improve and is proof of sonship. How do you know if you are a real son or daughter? You know by your response to correction.

Jesus never entered his ministry until he was first called a son (Matthew 17:5).

(c) Jonas Clark
www.jonasclark.com

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Jonas Clark is first a Christian. He has authored over 29 books, written hundreds of articles and recorded thousands of audios. Jonas Clark Ministries is an international organization reaching the world with the exciting gospel of Jesus Christ. Jonas is founder of Spirit of Life Ministries church, Hallandale Beach, Florida, the Apostolic Equipping Institute, publisher of The Voice magazine, president of the Global Cause Network and has preached in over 26 nations. He believes that all God's people are gifted to establish and advance Christ's Kingdom on earth. He is an advocate of private property, an unhampered market economy, the rule of law, constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press, and international peace based on free trade.

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