“A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land” – (Psalm 68:5-6).
The choice of a family we belong to is never made by us. God is the one who sets the orphan into a family by His divine providence. The error many have come to make is the fact that we tend to make our own personal decision and choice of our spiritual father and family based on the spiritual influence of a man, the size of a church or network and on wealth and spiritual achievements, but fail to recognize that it is God who does the setting into a family. And sometimes He has ordained for us to be with men who are unlikely to us.
“But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” – (1 Thessalonians 2:7-14).
The above scripture reveals two important biblical principles that must be a priority to form the basis for effective fathering relationship. These principles can only work when we are purposefully driven by an “affectionate desire” – yearning for an intimate and personal relationship.
The spiritual principle of apostolic fathering and mentoring is not just the development of a personal relationship between a father and an intended son. The father bases the relationship upon precepts of God’s Word that establish the first principle which requires a spiritual relationship begin with a devotion to speak the truth of God’s Word. Out of this the Lord begins to bond the heart of the father to the son.
The second basic priority of fathering is a desire on the part of the father to share his soul, which is the interpreted word for “life”. Spiritual fathering is a sacrificial task that requires a commitment of time and effort. It is not a ministry for the greedy and self-seeking leader.
“For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you,…..” – (1 Thessalonians 2:9).
True apostolic fathering to mentor others requires a burden of love and tender care, hence Paul would say, ‘even like a nursing mother tenderly caring for her own children’.
As leaders we must be well-pleased to impart to our sons and protégés who are disciples not only the good news of the Kingdom of God, but also our own souls. True fathers will effectively manage their time to teach God’s Word to their spiritual sons. In addition, they sacrifice their lives for their sons. The ultimate goal is to “walk worthy of God, who hath called you”. By this we can make a profound influence in the lives of our protégés to raise a spiritual family of sons who are in the class of God, which the earth is waiting for – Romans 8:19-22.
With this in mind, we can only know our spiritual father and the family the Lord has set us into when we prayerfully ask and seek His face regarding His purposes for our life and specific assignment. God will supernaturally connect the heart of the father to the son, and the heart of the son to the father. He will reveal and confirm this to us in different ways – through dreams, prophetic words or a divine setup.
It has been made clear to us from 1 Corinthians 4: 15, that spiritual fathers are few. They are apostles and they carry a present-truth revelation of the mysteries of the Kingdom. This is what we should watch out for.
Your spiritual father may not necessarily be the one that is, or was the person through whom the Lord used to bring you to salvation. Timothy was already in ministry when Paul the apostle met him, but by the administration of the grace of God upon the life of Paul, Timothy submitted himself to sonship.
Let your prayers be like that of David: “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths” – (Psalm 25:4).
Covenant – The Binding Cord:
Family is based on covenant relationship, between two who have become one in the Spirit. This is why the devil seeks to destroy the integrity of covenant so he can violate the power of the family for the blessing not to be released.
Our authority and spiritual covering comes from God, but it is worked out through a process of developing trust with a “sent man” and submitting to those in authority over us. This is why covenant relationship is very important, because covenant relationship will remove the fear that hinders our spiritual growth and help us to better understand and walk in our true identity to fulfil our divine mandate.
Spiritual father and son relationship is based on covenant, without which the family union will not work; because the impartation of the blessing is tied within the covenant of family. The wealth of the spiritual relationship is in the covenant. This goes beyond the mentality of making money, or using one another as an opportunity to make gain.
“Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?” – (2 Corinthians 12:14-17).
Both father and sons must give mutual priority to preserve the ideal of family so all members can feel safe and special.
Copyright © 2017 by Israel Onoriobe
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