BY JOHN GARFIELD, BKC Director of Kingdom Advancement
Before we can run off and change the world, our hearts need to know why. Our concept of what God expects from us and what He is like makes a huge difference in our level of creativity and enterprise. Obedience is not the trademark of spiritual maturity; it is an important ingredient in our foundation, but expecting God to tell you what to do for a lifetime totally misses who He really is and how He relates to people.
We go through three stages arriving at spiritual maturity; Kings make wise decisions and take initiative / risk - READ ON!
When He gives us new revelation of truth, the lights come on and there usually is some kind of response involved. Obedience is where it starts. Dwelling in God’s presence, His word, and prayer are all great ways to stay in Him and pick up on the new.
Jesus also dwells in our hearts and He has written His desires there, as well. Maturity is balancing revelation with practical wisdom and facing the reality that God wants us to make some wise decisions without being told the details. So, I have a direction for my life. I’ve given God permission to direct me at any time and in any way (and He does, more than occasionally). I’ve given myself permission to make prudent decisions, pursue the desires of my heart, and take lots of initiative… in Jesus Name. I can see what the Father is doing (Jn 5:19), He has already shown me His business (Jn 15:15), and I don’t have to keep asking what to do (Jn 16:23) to walk with Him.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Eph 1:17 NIV
We go through three stages, arriving at spiritual maturity.
The Obedient Child – The first thing we learn after getting saved is that God is totally for us and its rewarding to cooperate with Him. It keeps us out of all kinds of negative consequences and starts us down a path to life and life more abundantly. It really feels good to do something right and see it bear fruit. Trying to live a lifetime in obedience only, eventually turns to a lifeless form of rule-keeping. God expects us to move on to the next stage and stops talking to us… religion is all that’s left.
The Faithful Son – The next step is working with people to do something great – often in a church setting. We learn excellence in spiritual gifts, service and supporting a larger vision. We’re faithful in another man’s vision. This stage teaches another level of maturity and responsibility. It’s fun to work with people who are serving God and doing something great. We can’t understand what’s going on when the organization or the leader fails and we get thrown off the truck like an unwanted turnip. It’s really God opening a door to another level. Like an eagle, our nest is dismantled and the only choice left is to fly.
The Lion King – Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords for a reason. That’s the level of our calling. We have some land via the Old Testament analogy or some talent via Jesus’ parable. God positions us to multiply an initiative and allows us to steward it on our own. Most people don’t have a theology or a language for this stage of initiative, creativity, boldness, tenacity and warfare. But it really is the only way we can function in the Kingdom. It’s not for the faint of heart!
Here are a few of the ingredients:
Promotion – God makes our name great. Kings are fruitful and visible. It’s normal for people to be drawn to us and the things we’re doing. We do give God the glory in personal worship, but the primary altar for this level of maturity is that we have given God permission to make our names great for the sake of the Kingdom – Many will simply hide behind a false version of spirituality and miss this step. We are not called to be monks… ours is to be fruitful, multiply, bless nations and go into all the world.
Resurrections – Saying “yes” to Kingdom is also signing up for warfare and the kinds of trials that deepen us. There is no such thing as untested Kings. The natural course toward spiritual maturity takes us through painful failures, lonely burials and then glorious resurrections. Spiritual maturity carries the fragrance of brokenness that only comes from walking through deaths and resurrections.
A Fathering Heart – the platform of success coupled with the depth of brokenness positions us to bless nations, one person at a time. The thrill of operating out of our own heart’s desires is both the key to the Kingdom and the basis for helping others reach their Kingdom dreams. Pulling others into the desire of their own hearts instead of imposing an agenda on them is the genuine stuff of leadership. It inspires love, loyalty and freedom. Those we touch go to even greater levels of creativity and exploits… because we’ve taught them how to take bold initiatives and wise risks while walking with the Father.
Dealing with Risk – Revelation and wisdom both have a degree of risk. We know in part and prophesy in part. Before we can engage in the prophetic, we have to deal with our heart’s fear of imperfection. Wisdom is the same. We’ve all taken personal initiatives that shipwrecked. Kings are well acquainted with making mistakes, yet they are still bold as lions. Why? They can feel the Father’s heart and the stirring in their own heart. Sitting is not an option. A few failures aren’t enough to discourage them. Kings learn from mistakes and become wiser because of them.
This is the crux of becoming a King… finding the balance between wisdom and revelation… initiative and waiting. Let your wise, practical spirit of wisdom flow. Let your future begin and shape it the way it should be.
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