Is your desire to grow in Christ? To be everything that He wants you to be? To be just like Him in character? I pray it is!
1 The wise woman [and man] builds her ]spiritual] house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
4 Where there are no oxen [no commitment], the manger [spiritual content] is empty, but from the strength of the ox [a strong connection with the Father] come abundant harvests [the building up of souls].
The final category in the stages of spiritual growth is Parent. The characteristics are:
- Team-minded (unity matters to them)
These are the people we want as leaders of our church. They keep the main thing the main thing in their lives, which is the mission of Jesus. They know Christ personally and walk with Him daily. They lead by example and look for opportunities to share Christ in soundbites or in a full-fledged teaching or even an evangelistic appeal. Whatever opportunity is there, they’ll take it. They lead classes, Bible studies, and prayer groups; they mentor and disciple, along with other responsibilities. Sharing Christ is not a duty, but a passion for them.
How does a person get to this stage of his Christianity? I can offer some clues:
- Determine in your heart to know Christ. Without that inner fire, there’s no motivation. If you don’t have much, ask the Lord to give it to you. Pray for that higher desire; Robin calls it “the want-to to want to.”
- Realize that becoming a Spiritual Parent doesn’t happen quickly, but over time. Consistency is key.
- Although experience in trusting Christ through difficult times is a great teacher, walking through hard times doesn’t give us a sure spot on the team. HOW we walk through those times matters greatly. Our faith is based upon the promises of God through Jesus Christ. How we exercise that faith shows how much we believe what we know–and sometimes exposing what we don’t know. It’s also about trusting; our walk with God is put out there for the world to see when we go through those difficult times. Do we trust Him? It will show.
- Be ever-learning. We can never know it all this side of heaven (and not there, either!). Read, read, read your Bible. Finished? Start again, but from a different angle. Read it from cover to cover, then read it chronologically. Read it in its categories. Read it with a lexicon handy. Read it with a commentary in-hand. Look up the history of a book and author. The BEST way to learn a verse or truth is to TEACH it.
- Pray, pray, pray. Our connection with Jesus is what it’s all about. Praying connects us with others. Praying for people releases the Holy Spirit’s power and participation in that person’s life. Praying with a person who is in a battle encourages him and points him to the Father. Praying with a group unifies the group. If prayer is distasteful to you, I suggest you examine your commitment to the Lord. It may be based upon works rather than a relationship. If praying out loud makes you uncomfortable, get over it. Do it often enough that you don’t even think about it anymore. It’s important.
One thing I have noticed when praying in a group is that I pay attention much better when I vocally take part in another person’s prayer. I try not to get in his way as he prays, but I echo what he says, agree with him, confirm him, and join him in his travail. It energizes me when others do it while I am praying. Let me go ahead and say that prayer can be interrupted to ask the name of a person that was mentioned for prayer, or for any reasonable reason. Prayer is sacred, but it’s also conversational. Let’s keep it real.
My prayer for you is that you will want to grow up in Christ and become a Spiritual Parent. Passing our faith on to others, especially training them to pass their faith on to others, is paramount. It’s one of the things they live for. It’s what puts the “parent” in Spiritual Parent.
Abba, may You place in each of my readers the desire to become a Spiritual Parent. It’s a long, tough road–You said it would be when You said that the gate is small and the road is narrow and only few continue on it (Matthew 7:13-14). May we put in the time and effort. May we allow You to work Your way into every area of our lives like leaven in a loaf (Matthew 13:33). May we read, memorize, and teach Your Word; it’s the only way to really know You and what You desire. Do whatever it takes, O Lord. We are Yours. Amen.