Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Fathers’

Fathers vs. Teachers – 4

July 22nd, 2009 No comments

“Therefore I urge you, imitate me. ”

Teachers encourage you to buy their books, while fathers challenge you to imitate their looks. Paul simply said, “Follow me.” There’s a Christ-centered confidence in the heart of a true father that’s the product of years of experience. Fathers walk with a limp. They’ve walked with Christ through the valleys of life and they’re alive to tell you about it. The boxing match is over and they are still standing. Fathers are battle tested. They’ve been seasoned by the storms of life. When they speak, they can say with confidence, “It’s going to be all right.” Like David, they can declare, “Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25).

Fathers can boast in the Lord with full assurance, and challenge you to believe God too. They’ve been through the battles and attacks and have the scars to prove it. Like Paul they proudly wear the scars from their service  to Jesus (Galatians 6:17). Now they have earned the right to say, “Follow me. I can lead you through this situation.”

 Very few in the body of Christ can speak with this kind of meekness and authority. Teachers can talk about it, but fathers have lived it. In fact, we almost want to apologize for Paul’s boldness. Surely he meant to say, “Follow Christ,” and not, “Follow me.” But don’t forget, Paul is a son as well as a father. He has been fathered by Christ and other godly men. He has learned well and now he invites us to follow.

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Fathers vs. Teachers – 3

July 20th, 2009 No comments

“as my beloved children I warn you.” 

Teachers are like shotguns. They scatter the truths of God’s Word in a generalized fashion and hope you will make the personal application wherever it’s needed. Fathers, on the other hand, are like laser guns with high powered scopes. They make sure the truth is directly applied exactly where it is needed most. In short, fathers love you enough to tell you the truth. They warn us when we are heading in the wrong direction. They challenge our thinking. They question our plans. They remind us of character issues which, if left unaddressed, will destroy our God given dreams and destiny. They shoot straight with us and sometimes it hurts.

Without godly warning from spiritual fathers, we will never reach full maturity in Christ. Paul wrote, “So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ” (Colossians 1:28, NLT).  Solomon reminds us, ”To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction” (Proverbs 12:1). In fact, “whoever hates correction will die” (Proverbs 15:10).

Think about your own life for a moment. Do you have spiritual fathers or mothers who love you enough to tell you the truth?

Are you able to receive correction from those in authority? Do you get angry when you are corrected? Do you “cut and run” from relationships that challenge you to mature?

Before we can become a spiritual father/mother to someone else, we must first learn how to receive warning and correction from other mature believers who love and care for us. As we learn to embrace correction, we are promised wisdom (Proverbs 15:5), understanding (Proverbs 15:32) and honor (Proverbs 13:18).

Who has loved you enough to tell you the truth? Pick up the phone today, give them a call, and thank them for loving you.

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Fathers vs. Teachers – 2

July 17th, 2009 No comments

“ I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children…”

Paul addressed them as “beloved children.” His love became the context for everything else that took place in the relationship. Later in his letter he spells out what this “love” looks like (I Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT):

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

This is the kind of love true fathers (and mothers) have for their spiritual sons and daughters. A teacher does not necessarily want anything to do with you after the closing prayer. A father has a personal investment in you because he loves you.

Unfortunately, we live in a Christian culture which views discipleship as the process of dumping biblical teaching into the minds of believers. This results in Christians who often resemble “Mr. Potato Head” dolls. We have giant heads filled with information and tiny hearts and bodies. Fathers recognize the need for balance. Biblical instructions is always immersed in the context of an ongoing relationship. Fathers realize some of the most powerful life lessons and transformational moments occur not in religious settings, like worship services or Sunday School classes, as great as these may be, but in the normal, earthy, everyday occurrences of life. They understand life is a journey and, because they love us, they are willing to invite us along for the ride.

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