I have been writing that the prodigal son’s father was dysfunctional for giving him inheritance when he was not ready. I maintain that sentiment, but I do want to mention the reason such a poor decision could occur.
Good fathers are easily taken advantage of.
The vulnerability of a good father is his tendency to smile when his children attempt to use his good heart for something they desire. This evidences in early childhood, but the maturing son comes to recognize this as a weakness and overcomes the selfishness of taking advantage.
Often, people seek a leader for what they believe that leader can give them when leaders are assigned, not chosen.
Leaders perceived to be powerful will gather a following of people seeking power. Leaders perceived to be rich will gather a following of people seeking riches. Leaders perceived to be anointed will gather a following of people seeking to be anointed as well. (The latter group is much smaller than one would assume! People who wish to be seen as anointed do not want to leave the impression they got anointing from someone else.)
Many leaders use this perception to build a false foundation, a flimsy following, based upon a perception and developed by a political spirit. These leaders become defensive of their perception, and destructive of anything or anyone who challenges that perception knowingly or accidentally, real or imagined.
Fathers must be vulnerable with their children in order to father them, simply believing in them when they are making mistakes and developing dreams of grandeur. They smile when their children go through phases of “what they want to be when they grow up.” After all, fathers are there to walk children through these phases of discovery because their true purpose comes only from their heavenly Father. Fathers can recognize this purpose because of their assignment to Father’s children.
My Personal Experiences
I have had several children in the kingdom who were “preteen” in spirit. It is rare in America to work with people who are adult in spirit, and most of the children that come are either young or entering a kind of spiritual adolescence.
Our ministry does produce maturity. Children mature when they are free of limiting spiritual syndromes, and FreedomMinistry sets people up for accelerated maturity.
Unfortunately, many of them simply refuse to grow up! They insist upon following the path of childish perceptions even when they are empowered with adult anointing. For those of you who question whether or not this happens, just read the letters to the Corinthians. They did not “come behind in any spiritual gift,” and God did great things among them in spite of their pervasive immaturity.
After entering the move of God, I was amazed that people who have received adult anointing continue to live with childish sentiments and visions of grandeur. I thought, at first, the anointing would auto-cure these issues, but soon learned that anointed people are just vulnerable to works of flesh as others until they strengthen their wills to choose to live SpiritFirst.
Of course, the strength of will comes by obedience and submission, repentance and the grace of the Cross, so many still resist these efforts of Jesus to mature their spirits. They insist upon carrying silly, childish thoughts with them into the adolescence and early adulthood of their maturity. This produces a difficulties in them to be fathered.
If the father is the one who begins to direct their minds toward reality of personal destiny, they see the father as the source of their limitation instead of the enemy or their own misperceptions of God’s purposes. They will pursue false dreams with adult anointing and leave wreckage along the road of the kingdom.
I have always attempted to be vulnerable by giving people the opportunity to mature, to face their fears and fantasies, to come to grips with the limiting factors. I believe in them even when I do not believe in their childish dreams, smiling at their desire to be something they were never created to be. All the while giving them opportunity to minister and learn leadership I am hoping for the revelation of personal purpose to hit them. I want to be there in that season of awkward struggle because that is what fathers do.
If a spiritual father is the one who seems to be bringing reality to the fantasies of maturing children, he will be seen as the limiting factor, “the problem,” to the children who need his voice, love, and wisdom during the difficult adolescence of their spiritual lives.
All the children I have worked with have metaphorically snuggle up to ask for something they want. I am laughing with delight! I really want them to have what they want, of course, and I like it that they are gaining the confidence to reach for their destinies. I smile that they think I can give them something only their heavenly Father can give, but I am there to push them, stretch them, support their failures, and continue to focus them on maturity.
Spiritual Fathers Must be Vulnerable
If a father isn’t vulnerable, he will function like King Saul and threaten his own son or those mighty men who are necessary to his very success because he is defensive. He will give people things or promise them the moon to keep them connected, but he will be defensive.
A spiritual father cannot be defensive.
I suffer under the leadership of someone who was defensive for a few years and the experience remains as one of the most valuable in my life. God taught me to answer a defensive leader with vulnerability at a whole new level. He says, “You should be easily taken advantage of.”
This experience has helped me avoid the tendency and pressing desire to defend myself when it was obvious I was being used as a leader. I know that many people who have suffered abuse from leaders feel “used, abused, and misused” for very valid reasons, but leaders face abuse, misuse, and being used much more. They are targets of anointing, so they are targets of attack.
A father should be able to respond from a position of strength. Power and authority should be part of the arsenal of a good father, so a defensive father will use these vital weapons to protect himself against his own children and threats to his power and authority from others. Many fathers are only happy with weak children, immature children, and will run off any who are a threat. This is pandemic in modern America where a “get them before they get you” mentality governs the politics of church-anity. This condition within itself is destroying the fathering spirit function in this spiritual generation.
So, you say, “I’ve been hurt before and I’m not going to let that happen again.” Well, then resign from leadership, give up your destiny, disobey God, and go wander around like a homeless vagabond! The only alternative is to the a despot. If you are unwilling to vulnerable you will cannot lead with love, so you are blight on the kingdom!
I said exactly what you thought I just said. It would be better for you to not attempt to lead if you insist upon leading with a dictatorial or manipulative defensiveness, to build yourself a safe place surrounded by people who you think cannot hurt you. You are terribly deceive to think this is possible anyway. You would be as “safe” as Ahab was in the arms of Jezebel.
You will be hurt. You will be lie to. You will be taken advantage of. You will be vilified by the people you do the most to help: in fact the people for whom you do the most will often be the ones who do the most to hurt you. The psychology of that is obvious: they are afraid of something, mostly the reality that they are attempting to fulfill a false destiny like the prodigal son. They have an overly-developed optimism that although God says they need a father, they are an exemption to that and every other protocol of the kingdom.
The spirit and power of Elijah turns the hearts, not the heads. The hearts must be turned because they are positioned in defensive postures. We guard our hearts from hurts.
Leaders must be vulnerable while maintaining a position of strength from which to lead the kingdom. We can smile at the efforts of children to move us toward what they want, but we must be there for them in the seasons of personal transformation that turn ordinary Christians into ministering leaders. We must be ready for children to become teen-agers to be adults.
Jesus was so easily taken advantage of. “What you are doing, do quickly,” He says to Judas knowing full well a rat was in the group. Jesus wasn’t taken advantage of so easily just because He was God’s Lamb. It was His fathering of a new generation of apostles, prophets, teachers, evangels, and shepherds that motivated Him. He knew very well how vulnerable the heart of the Father is after generations of chosen people turned on the One who did the most to help them!
The moment you resist vulnerability, you are resisting the heart of God in your leadership.