Alignment with Your Fathers
God set things up so that He would be your Father. God set things up so you would have a natural father. God set things up so you would have spiritual fathers. So, you have, at least, three fathers, and God set things up that way.
You didn’t have anything to say about your Heavenly Father. He loved you and created you. Although you can choose to remain with a false father, allowing hell to father your life spiritually, you will never be who you are created to be without functional relationship with your Father in Heaven.
You didn’t have anything to do with choosing your natural father. He participated in your natural beginning, God using the natural order to being your existence. You are more than a product of genetics, of course, because you are fundamentally a spiritual person. However, God set things up to perpetuate humanity in physical ways, and He was there when your momma didn’t know you were there. [See Psalm 139.]
So, you may have more to do with having a spiritual father, but not much! God assigns you spiritual father, and you choose to align with God’s strategies for your life. True sons know who their spiritual fathers are; always looking for a new spiritual father because they want to choose one who will give them what they want.
Spiritual fathering is about what-Father-wants, not what-I-want. This is the sense of the prodigal, vagabond, misaligned or unaligned. Kingdom leadership without fathering is dysfunctional, but a generation who has never know fathering has no context for perceiving this dysfunction.
Aligning with Assignment
God assigns leaders with specifically defined purposes to fulfill. These purposes arrive with strategies for fulfillment. God has an order for function in the kingdom that authorizes leaders positioned to fulfill His purposes in the earth. Leaders have the authority of the assignment they have been given.
So, alignment with leadership is alignment with God’s strategies, His way of getting His purposes accomplished. Alignment isn’t about the leader, a personality cult or personality-centric ministry; it is about the assignment the leader has recede from heaven within the kingdom, and aligning with that assignment and the leader’s authority positioned people to walk in the greater authority and prepare to inherit their assignments for fulfilling God’s purposes as well.
Note Paul’s comments about Tychicus: “Tychicus will fully inform you of my affairs. He is your beloved brother, faithful to the Lord, and he has a share in our ministry.” The point is that Tychicus isn’t faithful to the Lord outside a commitment to Paul’s assignment. He cannot just operate in gifts, preach on a whim, “do the stuff” of ministry, and be faithful to th Lord when he has an assigned share in Paul’s apostolic ministry.
Of course I hear the loud objections, the questions about what to do when the leaders get off course! Of course I hear them. And, I have walked through leadership relationship issues myself with leaders short-circuiting their authority by disavowing their assignments. I am speaking ideally but the principle remains valid: this is how God designed kingdom to function, and He will reset the kingdom to this order at strategic times in history. When God is resetting, we must embrace the change, allow our hearts to be turned, and alter our lifestyles and ministry-styles to synchronize with God!
Spiritual Fathers vs Spiritual Friends
Often, spiritual sons desire their fathers to be their friends more than their fathers. They wish to engage with leaders on common ground, safe ground, and they are surprised and offended when their fathers start fathering! Perhaps it is more common in the United States, but I am concerned this is true around the world in different ways in different cultures.
Fathering does have a friendship dynamic. However, fathering and friendship are not the same thing. Fathering defines a relationship based upon a father’s role so a father’s responsibilities can be fulfilled. Other relationships include friendship that are not, basically, friendship relationships.
My wife is my best friend but she is more than a friend! Our relationship produces friendship at a higher level, but our covenant defines our roles and responsibilities. I have many friends to whom I am not responsible as a husband: I am only responsible to be a husband to one person!
My children are my friends as well but they experience relationship with me at a higher level because they are my natural sons. Our relationship is defined by that fact. Although we are very good friends, they know dad has a different role in their lives from any other man. I am responsible to be a natural father to only the three sons God has given me.
Being more specific…my wife own property together, sleep in the same bed, share the most intimate secrets, stay together “until death do us part.” While a spiritual son or daughter may be sent to live thousands of miles away from me and remain a spiritual child in full agreement with a shared assignment, this is not true of my wife and me! My wife isn’t going to go live thousands of miles away and give her life to ministry in a way that causes us to never be together again. That is dysfunctional because of the nature of our relationship.
Being more specific…my sons will marry and leave father and mother. In that moment our relationship is altered in fundamental ways. I do not enter my married son’s bedroom to see if he made his bed and cleaned up his clothes. I don’t share a bank account with him. I don’t monitor his behaviors, tell him how to spend his money, or feed him anymore. That would be dysfunctional because of the nature of our relationship.
Spiritual fathers and children interact based upon God’s definition of their relationship, the purpose of spiritual fathering is inherent in the relationship. While that does mean we are friends and friendly, friendship cannot properly be the basis of our relationship. A spiritual father’s job isn’t to maintain a network of spiritual children who are happy with him, depend upon him, or follow him around like body guards or armor bearers.
A spiritual fahter’s job is to prepare sons and daughters to inherit assigned purposes, to expand the fulfillment of the apostolic assignment, and to populate the next spiritual generation with leaders who can “do greater than I do.”
When you discover that the person who is leading you isn’t a father, cannot father you, or only provides one or two aspects of your fathering necessity, you need to discover God’s strategy to father your life and destiny.
If your leader is a preacher or shepherd only and you have a leadership call on your life, you need spiritual fathers besides that leader. I am not speaking to your leader’s abilities or function alone. I am speaking to your function as a spiritual son or daughter as well. If you are receiving your leader only as “preacher or pastor,” you may be missing the fathering spirit that is available right in front of you, and the problem with your lack of fathering may have nothing to do with the inadequacy of your leader.
If you have no leader who is spiritually ahead of you, you need other leaders involved in your life. You cannot be fathered by someone you are fathering, someone on your own level. You need a next-level leader who pulls you up to the next level. This can occur in one area of your life and anointing, a fathering relationship that produces a next-level experience, but you need a spiritual father to walk you into the activation of this next level, and you need someone who can make you accountable for that activation who has personal experience at that level.
Growth and Maturity
Fathers all function to bring growth and maturity to our lives. Spiritual fathers are similar. They are there as we grow, someone we can grow with. They are there as we mature in personal life, someone we can mature with. They are there as we activate and function, someone we can lead with.
Without proper alignment, you cannot realize fullness in any of these areas without some measure of dysfunction.
Even the simplest things…without realizing it, learning to walk, eat, speak, take a bathroom break, dress yourself…parents are there as leaders we can grow with, and their leadership deeply affects the simplest things. Properly, they are there to “raise you up in your way you should go,” but they put a stamp on that process.
Parents come to recognize and celebrate how different each of their children are, to recognize something even their children do not comprehend, and to speak, correct, discipline, guide, and celebrate their uniqueness – uniqueness in the sense of a predetermined personal purpose, destiny created into them by their Creator.
Parents recognize subtle, yet vital, skill developments and gaps in development. Until you are a parent, you may have little or no understanding of what I mean. A parent, watching a child crawling before they walk, will recognize weakness in that growth development. Crawling is really important to strengthening a child’s back muscles, developing other muscles and coordination that will come into play when they stand up and start walking. So, the parent is there as someone a child can grow with, someone who will even adjust the crawling technique, watch the child learn about bumping their head, falling on their face from a crawling elevation so they will be more prepared for bumping their head and falling from a standing elevation.
Move this picture into the spirit. Spiritual fathering relationships are available at every developmental season of our spiritual lives. Someone we can grow with making simple, often unnoticed adjustments that assist in the most basic of our spiritual skills.
Paul walked with some newly-born saints as nursing mother. [See 1 Thessalonians 2:7.]