Elisha reaches down and picks up an available mantle. He is in the right place at the right time. By enduring. By focused commitment to preparation. By following Elijah, he is there to be discipled by Elijah, prepared for the moment he will function.
Many mistake discipling with following. Simply put, you must follow in order to be discipled. Jesus says, “Follow Me and I will make you…” Without the following, no shared spiritual experience is available to prepare you for the available mantle: “You will do what I do, and greater shall you do…”
Back to Origins
When time comes for Elijah to be carried away, he says to Elisha, “I am going. You can stay here.” We will hear this repeated scenario each step of the way back to the place of beginnings where Elijah will be carried away. Elijah will be carried away where he started, in Tishbe.
In order to raise champions, we must take them the same route we took, walk them through the same path we walked, and allow them to experience the same things we experience. The following is required for the discipling is required for the mantle.
To gain the proper identity, we must lose identity. We must become nobody in order to be made into the somebody God has in mind. We are made by grace. [See 1 Coriinthians 15:10]
The process required for losing false identity and gaining God’s design functions with the fathering spirit. We need fathers during this season of personal change to reassure us, hold us in the times when we are uncertain who we are, and keep us walking toward the place of new identity we have no map to discover on our own.
While discipling is more than following, following is required. We must be there to be discipled. For many, the test of discipling is the test of being there, of following. Many short-circuit their ministry in the preparation by failing the simplest test of “being there” because they cannot order their lives to follow.
I see more people short-circuit their preparation than I do shore-circuit their calling.
First stop, covenant. Gilgal was the place of rolling away the reproach of Egypt, the establishing of covenant in a generation who had not experienced the marking of covenant circumcision. The mark involves the covenant and is intensely personal. Many do not pass this test of nakedness, the openness and transparency that is required to be covenant-ready. They will not stand the exposure.
They will say a thousand things. They will make a thousand excuses, many of these include a “God told me” phrase that is intended to pull rank and silence the very voices that are required for their preparation. They will tell themselves that leaders are “holding them back,” but they are really just quitters. They won’t stand the knife that cuts the flesh.
Such a personal accountability frightens away some of the strongest and most anointed. Yet, without this accountability for covenant, their gifts and anointing will not be enough to function with the mantle if they receive it. Many wish to inherit without being prepared to possess the provision of inheritance. Once they inherit, they think, “I will be ready to decide what to do with inheritance. Just give it to me already!”
Yet, this is not true! What to do with inheritance must be settled before inheritance is received. That is the reason for following to be discipled.
There is no “you can be whatever you want to be, go for it” in kingdom! The verse, “I can do all things through Christ,”, does not mean “I can do whatever I want through Christ Jesus!” That kind of humanistic narcissism must be broken, cleansed, burned, and buried before we are ready for the mantle.
At Gilgal, Israel stopped being carried by God like children. The manna stopped and they ate of the land of promise. It was their first Passover in promise. Passover, remember, redeems the firstborn, the inheritors.
God has favorites. Favorite places and people. Many are called. Few are chosen. The chosen are the prepared. The potential isn’t the purpose. We must be prepared for calling before we are chosen for inheritance.
Bethel means ‘God’s house.’ Jacob slept here and saw the staircase of angels going up and coming down, the interchange of heavenly provision in one of God’s favorite places. Bethel is the establishing of a strong home base.
It is not that we have money, famous name, ready-made leadership dynamics–it is that we are called and then, chosen. The choosing comes when we have been prepared by doing the stuff of the called. No one gets to skip the test of doing. There is no “just give me my inheritance and we’ll work it all out later” with God.
We always believe we are ready before we are ready! That’s why we need spiritual parents.
How many say, “Just get me to the nations and my anointing will be released.” The truth is, if you can’t do it here, you will not suddenly be able to do it there. You say, “But I am called, so it will work out.”
Sorry, but being called isn’t enough. You must be chosen, and the chosen have been prepared. You are called when you don’t even know it; but you cannot be chosen without a full vetting of personal preparation.
You will learn how to handle your inheritance by serving with someone who has experience investing inheritance. You will learn to handle the mantle by following someone who is handling it now. Your demanding desire to get your hands on that mantle is a sign you aren’t ready for it. Your addiction to power means you shouldn’t be given power. Your passion for performance means you are confused in priority.
Jesus had an unlimited capacity for Anointing. Yet, He never said anything or did anything He didn’t receive from Father. He didn’t do whatever to whomever whenever and wherever. He knew that mantles are always strategic and function guided by direct contact with the Father.
Remember, Elijah threw the mantle upon Elisha ten years before Elisha picked it up and functioned with it. You know you have a mantle and your passion to possess it and function keeps you focused during the preparation season.
At Bethel Israel learned tithing. He learned that he must be a giver to the One who needs no one to give Him anything. He learned to personally function in first principles. This given is more than token acknowledgement that God is Source and Resource. It is fundamental to blessing: giving is more blessed than receiving.
Here God destroyed the first-fruits. The city was dedicated to God, dedicated for destruction. At Jericho, you learn that God is trying to kill you. You learn that preparation includes total destruction. The Jericho test reminds you that God will destroy some things we would turn into trophies, that would eventually become monuments that would eventually become idols. (Remember the brazen serpent.)
At Jericho we learn that breaking open the alabaster box and pouring out the perfume is appropriate behavior when the natural says this is a waste.
The first belongs to God. Always. God reminds us of several things in the destruction of first things. This lesson must be pressed deeply into the wet cement of our preparation lest we touch what is dedicated to “save it from going to waste.”
I observed a wonderful couple perform this desecration with the greatest pain. The understanding that giving God something is never wasting it comes hard to people who have an overt appreciation for money and power. They lose sight of the fact that we can give something to God. They fail the test of letting go. Tithing means that the first belongs to God and we must always let it go so that we have no control over it, for example.
It is this test that prepares us for the mantle. The mantle will never belong to us. We are responsible for it. We wear it. We function in it, but the mantle is inheritance we will relinquish to someone else who will function with it at a higher level.
At Jericho Joshua encountered the Captain of God’s Army. Face to face. “Are you with us or our enemies?” Joshua asks. The Captain says, “Neither. I am for God’s army.”
God’s army only responds to God’s strategy. We must respond to God’s strategy as well in order to do what God is doing. Joshua receives a revelation of what God is doing so he can bring the whole of God’s people into agreement behavior with God’s strategy. If not, Joshua and the people would be working at odds with God while fighting His enemies.
This is the crossover from preparation to promise. Elijah came out of the wilderness of Tishbe. He is returning to his roots and taking the next generation with him. Jordan runs into the Dead End, a sign of what we will do with the rest of our lives. Elijah in the wilderness, running from Jezebel, heard God tell him what to do with the rest of his life: “Anoint Elisha to take your place.”
It started here. It ends here. It begins again here.
People who see Jordan as the crossover to heaven miss the reality of Jordan. Jordan is not a trip to vacation land. Jordan is the beginning of inheritance and investment. Jordan is promise to be won, ministry to be released, leadership to function, kingdom to be established.
Elisha remains with Elijah for the whole journey. At Jordan, Elijah says, “What shall I do for you?” Upon hearing the reply, he says, “If you are with me, you will receive it. But, it isn’t up to me.”
Elisha recognizes what is most valuable in Elijah because he has been with him for a decade. He learns that the name and the fame are passing trivialities compared to the spiritual power. He learn that true inheritance is spiritual inheritance. He learns that there is more required of his ministry than being powerful. He needs the spiritual condition, dynamic, disposition, and dependability of Elijah’s spirit as much as he needs the power.
The next generation must walk where we walk to function in the anointing we carry. They cannot receive a mantle without receiving a model. When we become the model, we receive the message and we can lead a movement.