I hope and pray my thoughts will invoke deeper dialogue between those of God’s family who read these words!
I have learned so many things over nearly 20 years of walking in relationship with a spiritual father.
My thoughts are penetrated daily with truths I have learned through this family God has set me in. For example, “All truth is vascular!”
If I go back (since I must go back in order to go forward) to the beginning, one thing from scripture that stands out so powerfully in the present is 1 Cor. 4:15 – “… you have not many fathers ...”
The nature of my day-to-day work puts me in a place where the “need” for spiritual fathers is made powerfully evident and the “lack” of them is equally manifest! Reminds me of the Gospels that tell us, “The harvest is plentiful, there is much ripe grain, but the laborers are few!” Nearly 2000 years after 1 Cor. was penned and we are still seeing overwhelming evidence of “you have not many fathers!”
I am years down the road and I still see that people are quick to reject the idea of having spiritual fathers unless it is someone seeking to be a father without first being a son – only for reasons, as James 4 states, – “that you may spend what you get on your own pleasures.”
I know discussion about father-son order can be “all-over-the-map,” but how did we get so far down the road, with pastors and leaders who cannot get past their titles and their titular authority enough to give prayerful consideration to the notion that God might want them to become relationally involved with people He has set and entrusted into their care.
This far into the journey, shouldn’t we be able to measure our success?
How do we do that? How will you do that? I suggest following Christ’s example. When I find Him on the cross I see that He is able to recognize when the job is done! That says a lot! You can’t recognize the completion of something you don’t understand! And, if Christ could know when it was truly “finished,” then surely He could tell whether or not He was fulfilling the will of His Father in taking care of those entrusted into His care.
Still, what is a potential spiritual son looking for in a spiritual father that he is not finding? Why do people so quickly reject the idea of having spiritual parents?
I can’t help but ask, “Why do I not have more sons?” There could be so many different reasons for others, so I can only rightfully ask these questions of myself.
Why do I not have more sons? Sons, that God has divinely designed and set into relationship with me, seem to lack the ability to “stick with it. Why?” Even when I know with certainty that the relationship is the will of our Father, they still choose the road of rejecting His will! Why?
What’s up with that? What answers must I personally consider to the question, “How Can I Be a Better Spiritual Father?” God has put within me, through right-relationship and by His Spirit, the ability to love someone with the love of the Father! Why is it so hard for others to believe that? Why is it so hard for others to accept the Father’s love through me?
There are many reasons why someone would reject a relationship with a spiritual father.
How about the need for a Father’s affirmation? Has our spiritual Father ever shown us or given to us His affirmation? Absolutely! As a father, are you following Papa’s example?
A father’s affirmation can be extremely powerful! But, the absence of a father’s affirmation paves the way for the perception of abandonment, which is likewise, extremely powerful. I have come across many who won’t come close to considering such a relationship because of existing perceptions of being abandoned by those in ministry and leadership.
Have we, as sons and as fathers, truly considered how powerful our words can be, especially from Father to son? When God places a spiritual son into your life you must remember that “this is not all about you!” I pray it be far from us that after so many years, we forget to consider the will of our Heavenly Father for the son’s life! God is setting someone into relationship with you who will open their heart and bare their emotions to you! Can you find it within yourself to show the love and grace that has been shown to you?
What does scripture say?
Proverbs 18:21 (AMPC)
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].
Proverbs 15:4 (AMPC)
4 A gentle tongue [with its healing power] is a tree of life, but willful contrariness in it breaks down the spirit.
Can I truly be a spiritual father who is the authentic spiritual ensample my son needs?
Because of the love that has been shown and given to me, I have so much love to give! Why then, is that so hard for others to accept? Why are they so quick to believe it is in some way “not true” and not even possible? Has anyone else ever asked themselves these questions?
I keep going over and over all I have learned and been taught, and all that Papa has sown into me, and all that Daddy has poured into me through Papa! I am not at a loss for truth! I have been given truth! He is Truth!
What are we, who keep seeing God’s design and plan of father-son order rejected or perverted over and over, to do? There is so much we have discussed over the years, but I felt I was supposed to challenge our hearts and minds (at least mine) to “re-member” the truth sown into our hearts with the questions, Why and how? Why do I see so many reject right-relationship so beautifully designed by God? Is there anything I can do about that? How can I be a better spiritual son and father?
My daily work demands that I consistently engage with “political correctness.” As we prepare for our upcoming legislative session here in Louisiana, I must consider over and over, year after year, if the words I am writing are going to bring down the wrath of the “right” or the “left.” Knowing that most often that “wrath” comes whether I ask for it or not, I am thankful right-relationship has blessed me with an example that has taught me how to properly “not care” what others think. I am equally thankful for the example of how to love deeply while exercising that “not caring” at the same time—which I think shows how I do care.
We all have watched as the decadence of “marriage” and “family” grows at an alarming rate in our world. We have been taught about the importance of words and their definitions, about constants and variables, and about the care we should give to each and yet we still, in alarming numbers, sit back and do very little while allowing society and religion to change the definitions, change the constants, and change the variables—opening the door for the decadence to grow even more. Remember 1 Cor. 15:46 anyone? First the natural then the spiritual! God’s order will always be Father-Son.
I always “re-member” the words of our spiritual father, as he has sowed so much into our lives. It makes me want to say, “Lord help me to be a better son!” Without even picking up the phone I can hear him say, “Be a better father, It’s His way!”
May I gently remind us of the “much” that has been sown into our lives and the responsibilities that come with it. And may these words encourage you to daily find the way to be better fathers. Better fathers will begat better sons!
Thank you, Papa, but most of all, thank You Father!
Pastors Tim and Sandra Grant have faithfully served in the ministry for nearly 40 years. Tim currently works with Louisiana Family Forum, a Focus On the Family affiliate organization that encourages and supports family-first initiatives to positively impact legislation in the state of Louisiana. Tim also served on the Pastor's Resource Council as a chaplain to the Louisiana State Senate.