ROLE OF A SPIRITUAL FATHER IN OUR LIFE
In today’s fast paced society, we all tend to gravitate to opinions we form over many issues, then over time accept those opinions as fact. In fact, if I base this on the studies I have overtaken on similar ideologies and opinionated utterances from many over the decades concerning Christians in all levels of their spiritual walk. The fact is, they dig into what they develop as a belief system without opening themselves to the facts that Bible Scholars would take the time and trouble to undertake.
On the other hand, this article has not been written to either malign anyone, nor has it designed to point fingers or suggest superiority of one person, small or large group or gathering or even church doctrine. It’s simply about helping individuals grow spiritually in their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and become more reliant on the Holy Spirit as they explore the meaning of the ancient scripture.
The reason I have begun sharing this article is that I get a lot of mail on my Facebook groups, and I suppose with over 140,000 my groups and pages, most would expect a lot of mail. Mostly I cope as I put much of what I get to prayer before I provide either an answer or suggestion to a reader. One of the people of late I have been led to communicate with was a kind hearted lady with a passion for God, called Elizabeth – and that’s all I will pass on as I do not want to embarrass or expose here.
In our communications she brought up the fact that her pastor suggested to some of the congregation that he was prepared to take on the role of Spiritual Father in order to mentor and guide some of his congregation. That upset Elizabeth who said she countered with Matt 23:8-10, 8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.”
Now before I get into the meat of this message, I want to share short direct extracts from our communication over the next few days.
I then wrote, On the last point about being a spiritual father. I am not sure if in scripture that exact reference exists, but if you read books 1 and 2 of Timothy, Paul refers to Timothy as his son many times. I have Spiritual Fathers and refer to them as such. Here in Facebook many I communicate with call me their Spiritual Father or Pappa.
Elizabeth then simply replied with Matt 23:8-10.
My reply then was, Elizabeth I suggest you do a study on Matt 23 and perhaps get the ideas of how this harmonizes in scripture through other Bible Commentators and Commentaries. I do not have time to do this right now, but will do so over the next few days. It is sometimes incorrect to take everything on face value without understand the context it was written in at the time. I will be in touch
As I meditated on the issue and began to undertake studies on the subject, I came across a wonderful extract from page 6 of Spiritual Fathers: Restoring the Reproductive Church. More information and articles of this kind can be seen on their website, www.buildingbrothers.org
Here is that extract uncensored and in its entirety …
In 1 John 2:12-14, the Apostle John gives a significant description of three different levels of spiritual maturity. Throughout the letter, he consistently calls his readers “dear children.” However, here he takes a noticeable departure from his, standard address, adding “fathers” and “young men” to his typical “dear children.” When you look at the book as a whole, it seems at first glance that this passage doesn’t fit where it is placed. Yet, this reference to “dear children,” “fathers,” and “young men” is found twice in verses 12-14. In the Hebrew culture and Greek language, repetition was used to show emphasis; the writer was saying, “This is very important, don’t miss this.” So we will take a closer look at this message to see what John had to say to his contemporaries as well as to us, the readers of today.
In verse 12, John starts by saying, “I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” He continues, “I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning.” He ends the progression with, “I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.” By using chronological age terminology, John distinguishes differences in levels of maturity among believers. Not only does John address the categories again, but he also places the levels out of chronological order. Once again, the “fathers” are placed between the “dear children” and the “young men.” Why would he do that? As we continue to look at the passage, I believe it will become clear that God has something special to communicate to us about the father role in particular.
We can summarize the definitions as they apply to spiritual maturity this way: “children” have come to a saving knowledge of Christ; “young men” are strong in the Word of God and have successfully fought the spiritual battle; and “fathers” know God intimately and have experienced a deep and fuller relationship with the “I AM”-the God of eternity (see Exodus 3:14-15). Now let’s look at the reason that I believe the Spirit of God inspired John to communicate the levels out of their expected chronological order.
God is revealing here a key element of being a spiritual father. If we miss it, we miss the main point. This critical point is that you are not a spiritual father just because of your mature characteristics and deep relationship with the “I AM. John placed the child and father together so that we would see the essential nature of reproduction in reaching and expressing maturity. You are a spiritual father because you have also been used to reproduce spiritual children. Until a spiritually mature man reproduces and disciples Christlike maturity in others, he has no spiritual children and cannot be considered a spiritual father. A spiritual father reproduces spiritual children who have a passionate and intimate relationship with God the Father. The spiritual growth process of these children and young men must continue so that they also become spiritual fathers who reproduce spiritual children.
We must mature children who have experienced salvation, to young men who know the Word of God and can wage the spiritual battle, to fathers who have walked intimately with God over a significant period of time and have been used to reproduce the next generation of spiritual fathers. If men are not reproducing spiritually, they have stopped short of experiencing and practicing full spiritual maturity.
Again I stipulate this is an extract from the website www.buildingbrothers.org. Restoring the Reproductive Church. More information and articles of this kind can be seen on their website.
I hope that helps with your study. It helped with mine. Peter Collins
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 68 business books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. Peter had his first book published in 1969 and now has over 133 books in all, including Business, Marketing, Sales, Free Publicity, Body Language, Music and over 30 Christian books to date. Peters books have sold over 2.5 Million copies of his books over 49 years. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
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