221. “Does This Apply To Me?” – Redemptive Gifts (5)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We are going to look at some of the behavioural characteristics again in each of the redemptive gifts found in Romans 12:6-8. However, just because you have a particular gift that does not necessarily mean you will have all of the strengths and weaknesses associated with it. As we saw a couple of posts ago, there are all kinds of reasons why the way each of us expresses a particular gift will be different from how others express it. And if you are more mature in the faith, you may well be developing some of the strengths and overcoming some of the weaknesses already.

So as you consider these things, I suggest you just ask God ‘does this apply to me?’

Prophet – black and white

The prophet sees things in terms of black and white, right and wrong: a simplistic worldview in which it is imperative to make sense of everything. As a result, the prophet is able to assess situations quickly and discern whether they are good or bad. Prophets will seize the initiative quickly, and like new things, especially those that threaten the status quo. They are quick to form an opinion, and have no qualms about expressing it without reservation.

But prophets are likely to be moody and to experience emotional highs and lows. They may tend to be impatient or find difficulty with timing in other ways. They are quite hard on themselves, so may struggle to forgive themselves. If an organisation is running well, don’t ask a prophet to maintain it – he or she will try to change it, ‘improve’ it, or quit. Because they don’t do ‘maintaining’ or the ‘status quo’, they can find it hard to maintain excellence, and need vision to see the next ‘new thing’. They can also be poor at maintaining relationships with others.

Servant – meeting needs

Servants are very practical, adept at seeing needs and meeting them. They are committed to the present moment, to meet present needs. They are disposed towards saving things that they or others might need in the future, but not always in an organised way. They have very few enemies, and are considered ‘safe’ people. They extend honour readily to others, because they always see the best (or the potential) in them. They rarely get angry, but when they do it usually revolves around questions of loyalty, and then watch out! They have a purity of motive like no other gift, never counting up what’s owed to them or holding a grudge.

The servant is a team player, relatively free from the desire to build his own kingdom.

But in thinking the best of others, servants may make excuses for them (especially their own children) and conversely struggle with their own self-worth, apologising for themselves while serving others. They struggle to see their innate value and don’t readily believe God’s truth about themselves or their calling. They may be unable to affirm themselves or accept affirmation from other people, especially around excellence in work.

Their desire to help may draw them into enabling others’ neediness by doing things for them instead of teaching them and empowering them to act for themselves. They will often become anxious by taking on other people’s problems and worries, and be disproportionately affected by disappointment. Because they have a strong desire to please, they can find it hard to say ‘no’ (even to mutually exclusive demands), so are often both overcommitted and taken for granted. They risk being easily victimised and exploited and may attract dishonour (especially at home) which they fail to resist even as they honour others.

Teacher – validating truth

The teacher typically has a need to validate truth. Teachers usually do not normally receive or reject new ideas – or people – right away. They tend not to overreact or jump the gun but make new decisions slowly and carefully. They like to save things.

Teachers are highly relational, with a great sense of humour, and may have a reputation as emotionally safe individuals because they can listen to someone’s brokenness and sin without rejecting them. Very patient and slow-tempered, they will usually be the last to speak in a group.

They are unwilling to begin a process until they can see how it’s going to turn out, and can be indecisive, impractical and theoretical. They are self or ministry focused and often unwilling to confront or challenge others. They find it hard to return phone calls and are typically late, not good with handling money and poor at returning borrowed items. They usually resist using human illustrations.

Exhorter – a party waiting to happen

Highly relational, the exhorter has the ability to understand and relate well to others, often forming an instant rapport with strangers. The exhorter is able to avoid alienation and maintain relationship even though solidly disagreeing (and even arguing loudly) with the other party. Family is very important, and the exhorter will always seek to nurture and facilitate family members.

A high energy person, natural leader, dramatic (often melodramatic), an obsessive-compulsive verbal expressive master communicator who governs (and is governed) by persuasion rather than principle. May have a tendency to seek the approval of others, and their flexibility allows them to abandon a plan easily.

The exhorter is finely attuned to feelings, which may lead them into prioritising people over God. In fact, exhorters can struggle to spend time with God, partly because of their time management issues. They do not always prioritise their best abilities and may spend (waste) their time doing things which would be better left to others.

They can seek to rule by relationship, leading them to be manipulative and controlling (though with the best possible intentions). Non-confrontational by nature, they will wait for an opportunity to get the best out of any situation rather than knocking down hurdles and making things happen. Exhorters often have an immense heart for evangelism but stop short of actually sharing the gospel overtly.

Giver – flexible, adaptable

This is the most diverse, adaptable and flexible of all gifts.

The giver is designed not to be needy, so is very independent, not looking to others for help. Insightful and intuitive, the giver can look at a problem and see a solution without anyone else’s input. A good listener, for the other person’s sake not their own.

The giver is not a big risk-taker, cannot be hustled and accepts the need to accrue money before giving. Givers tend to be cautious and concerned about safety and can look at themselves objectively, without shame.

But their independence can include independence from God. Faith, being a risk issue, is hard for a giver who needs a sure thing and whose security is likely in money or family. Caution can lead to overprotective behaviour and to giving mental assent rather than heart agreement.

The giver may lack holiness, and find it hard to receive from God and others.

Ruler – thriving under pressure

The ruler is skilled at time management, thrives under pressure, and expects the same of others!

Rulers readily own their problems, but will be their own solution and do not have a welfare mentality. They are not interested in apportioning blame, only in how to fix a problem and move on. Empire builders, they are designed to look at things and want to make them bigger, so are really not into details. But they are implementors, who will take a vision, break it down into pieces, and make it happen. If necessary, rulers are able to stand alone on an issue of principle or integrity.

It is difficult for a ruler to partner with others unless loyalty is built. They are big on loyalty, which they see as far more important than competence in their colleagues and co-workers, and will draw the best out of imperfect people. They are expert in dealing with people in projects, but will not choose to place themselves on a team unless they know they are really wanted and have the loyalty of others.

Rulers have an innate ability to measure character. They don’t micro-manage, and hate to be micro-managed themselves, but do tend to be task oriented and neglect to nurture team members.

Empire building can quickly turn into self-aggrandisement. They may overlook the faults of others, lack moral authority and exhibit casual ethics: ‘the end justifies the means’. They can be overly independent and unwilling to volunteer.

Mercy – non-confrontational

The mercy gift finds common ground with just about everyone, so has few enemies (or none at all). Conversely, the mercy may have only 1 or 2 close intimate friends but many acquaintances with whom they are on friendly terms.

Easily confided in, non-judgmental, the mercy provides a safe place for wounded people and is able to pick out those who are troubled and to see through facades.

Mercies connect readily with the heart of God, very intuitive when it comes to following God’s leading, but may have difficulty explaining why they feel God is directing in a certain way. Their fierce anger usually only surfaces around issues of loyalty, and they have been known to take up offence on behalf of others. They can be drawn into spiritual warfare when someone they care for is being spiritually attacked.

They find it easy to blame themselves but difficult to express their own feelings. Stubborn in the nicest sort of way, they can be slow in making life transitions because it takes a while to disengage emotionally and move on.

The mercy gift loves beauty, and has a strong predisposition to worship, moving more easily into the presence of God than the other gifts.

The mercy hates confrontation, avoids issues, is indecisive on matters of right and wrong and unwilling to step on other people’s toes, so may allow injustice to continue and tolerate abuse and exploitation. The mercy may even have a tendency to be exploited and become a victim because of unwillingness to confront even a predator.

Being non-confrontational can lead into compromise, accepting a mixture of holy and unholy without calling people to do what is right. The mercy can be enabling rather than empowering, wanting to nurture and protect others from pain, but needs to learn that expressing love alone will not suffice. Seeing all pain as bad, mercies will tend to flee their own pain and unwittingly keep themselves and others from the discipline of God when God intends to use that discipline to build maturity and wholeness. This can be because of unresolved fathering issues in their own lives.

Mercies can choose to be life-giving when they want to, how they want to, and where they want to, but can stubbornly resist doing all the other things that God has called them to do.

The mercy gift craves intimacy and needs physical touch – the danger is that this can lead to sexual impurity.

Kingdom benefit

Please remember, this is not about looking at anyone else and pointing the finger. Our aim in all of this is to look at ourselves and see what God wants to do in us. And let’s look not only at the gift we think we have – if we show some of the tendencies of other gifts, not only can we embrace transformation there too, but also it may indicate that we have been given a portion of those gifts in addition to any we had previously recognised. So if you skipped over any of the sections above, thinking ‘I don’t have that gift’, I would encourage you to go back and read them again!

Above all, let’s seek first His kingdom, pursuing understanding of how God has made us and looking to mature and develop in our gifting, for the benefit of His kingdom purposes.

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Attribution of main image at the head of this post: Flickr image ‘Golden Spiral’ by Ian Muttoo, used as a background under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence. The original photograph is of the underneath of the staircase in the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. We used a mirror image.

220. Sacrifice, Transformation, Destiny – Redemptive Gifts (4)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

rg4My redemptive gift (Romans 12:6-8) is how am I wired up or made that enables me to engage in the process of restoring creation (Rom 8:19-21).

We have seen that there are both positive and negative potential characteristics that go with each gift. Like me, perhaps you have been wondering why the negatives are there. So I asked God about it. I mean, from our point of view it would be much nicer if everything was just positive, wouldn’t it?

But He reminded me that it is through overcoming things that we mature and grow. That process teaches us to develop and maintain our dependence on Him, as we learn to trust Him and engage with Him. He is with us on that journey which brings us into the image of Christ. Adam was sinless when he was created, but he was not perfected – even if he had not sinned, he would still have needed to mature into the fullness of the stature of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

We need each other’s gifts, so that we learn not to act independently. Other people outworking their gift contribute to helping us outwork our gift, and in a culture of honour we allow one another to speak into our lives, to encourage and to challenge. That helps us maintain our humility, and stops us being arrogant, or full of ourselves. When we are aware of our weaknesses it becomes very clear that it is not all about who we are, but rather about who God is in us.

Do not focus on the negative

We have looked at the principles and blessings associated with each gift, and at some of the other factors that can influence how our gift works in us. In this post and the next we are going to look at some of the negatives but it is important to realise from the outset that we can overcome all these things with the virtues that God puts in us and with the blessings inherent in the gifts. Do not focus on the negative but take any issues to God and allow Him to transform you into the image of Jesus. Our series on ‘Transformation’ can help with this process.

Associated with each redemptive gift are:

  1. a demonic stronghold where the enemy looks to engage,
  2. a root of iniquity, and
  3. curses associated with the birthright.

Below is a table which sets those things out for you, and you may recognise some of them outworking in your life. I am not going to go into detail here, but as I said, please take any issues to God and ask Him to show you how you can be transformed so that they can be overcome.

rg4-table

Click on the image to download this table as a PDF

Note: Arthur Burk has gained a great deal of revelation on this and taught on it much more fully. If you want to go into this more, I would encourage you to seek out his treatment of Redemptive Gifts on YouTube and elsewhere.

Let our spirit rule

We must learn to let our spirit rule over our soul. For years, before we became Christians, our soul ruled (it was the only thing that could rule). Often it still tries to do so, and gets into a mess by trying to use things of the world to meet the needs that God placed in us.

Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden, a picture of intimate relationship. And so in the process of our journey with God, coming into our identity and destiny, we must walk it out relationally with God. He is with us in this process: we are not on our own. We don’t have to do it in our own strength: we do it by surrender.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). We can allow God to lead and direct us, through the power and victory of the cross, so that we can be like Jesus and outwork all that He has for us.

Sacrifice and surrender

We cannot get around the fact that maturity and transformation come through sacrifice and surrender. We might wish for an easier way, but there isn’t one. If we choose not to sacrifice and surrender to God and allow Him to work it out, then we continually fight against Him and we continually have problems with our soul.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Gal 2:20).

Jesus was our example. He loved us and He gave Himself up for us, so that we can enter a relationship with Him. And He wants us to do the same – to give ourselves up for Him.

Let’s apply the victory of the cross to our lives, stop living independently, and stop living selfishly. God wants us to be in relationship with Him, which is why we have to go through a process in which our soul gets transformed and changed. This scripture was the basis for the ‘Transformation’ series, so we should know it really well by now:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:1).

Right there, that is your destiny; that is your redemptive gift; that is your identity. It comes as you are transformed from the ways of nurture, nature and trauma that the world has imposed on you to coming into what God says about you, and having your life operating in the good of that.

So the process is this: Sacrifice > Transformation > Destiny.

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217. Redemptive Gifts (1)

Mike Parsons

creationIn this series on ‘destiny’ we have looked at ‘who I am’, and it is time now to move on to our redemptive gifts or ‘how I am made’. After that we will go on to ‘what I am made for’.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).

If we want things to work together for good (and not just our own good but for the good of everything and everybody), then we really need to know that we are called and that we have a purpose.

Do you know His purpose for your life?

Have you accepted His call?

His purpose and His call will work together to enable us to see our lives outworked for the glory of God and bring transformation to this earthly realm. If we know His purpose for our lives and know what He has called us to, both in this realm and in heaven, that will enable us to be a gateway of heaven on earth.

Transformed or conformed?

‘A redemptive gift is the grace of God woven into who we are; that when we are made right with God we become able to honour Him with how He has made us to be’.

Sadly there may have been other threads ‘woven into us’ which have affected us negatively.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is… (Rom 12:2).

God’s will is for an open heaven over us, for us to engage with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in intimacy, and for that we need to be transformed (not conformed). The world wants to conform us to a particular pattern and rob us of what God intends us to have and experience.

The world may have masked, damaged or perverted our identity, our gift and our destiny, because of our own experience and that of our generations. If we don’t know who we really are we will forever be asking ‘where do I fit?’ and ‘where do I belong?’

God desires to transform us to outwork who we really are, in His service. In that way we will be able to fulfil our part in restoring the whole of creation.

Redemptive gifts

Redemptive gifts are different from the spiritual gifts of 1 Corinthians 12 (healing, words of knowledge, wisdom, distinguishing of spirits, tongues etc.), and from the offices appointed for the church in 1 Corinthians 14 (apostle, prophet, teacher, miracle worker etc.), and from the ministry gifts of Ephesians 4 (apostle, prophet, teacher, evangelist, shepherd).

Redemptive gifts are found in Romans 12.

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy , according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who rules,  with diligence; he who shows mercy , with cheerfulness (Rom 12:6-8).

There are seven different gifts, and these are given to ‘each of us’, which leaves nobody out. We are to line up with what God has given, rather than what the world has attempted to impose on us. Each of us is to exercise the gift(s) He has given us; and as we do we are to be that gift to the rest of the body.

The seven gifts are: prophet, servant, teacher, exhorter, giver, ruler and mercy.

Paul writes that faith is intrinsic to being a prophet and that a servant will actually serve (you cannot be a servant in theory). The same with teacher and exhorter – it is only in teaching or exhorting that they express themselves. The next three are interesting. ‘With liberality’ describes how a giver gives. ‘With diligence’ describes how a ruler rules. Finally, mercy operates ‘with cheerfulness’, indicating that the mercy gift may perhaps struggle to be cheerful. We will look at each gift in more detail in coming posts.

Why ‘redemptive’ gifts?

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be redeemed from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Rom 8:19-21).

Everything God created in the spiritual realm and in the physical realm is waiting for God’s sons to be revealed, and to bring back to creation what is missing. And so ‘creation itself will also be redeemed’, and we are called to be part of God’s plan to do that. That plan includes the gifts God has given us, and when we discover who we are then we can discover how we fit in to God’s overall purpose. The way we are wired and designed enables each of us to fulfil our destiny and engage in the process of restoring creation.

Redemptive gifts are dealt to each person in differing measures of faith.
God gives people as the different gifts.
God gives these gifts as necessary to fulfil his redemptive will on earth.
Each of us is a gift, differing according to the grace given to us by God.

Each person is and has a primary gift, but will have others as well, and the mix and degree of the various gifts in each of us is a unique combination.

Received at conception

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).

Redemptive gifts are received at conception, rather than salvation. We are born with them and they will influence the course of our lives, regardless of whether we become Christians or not (though they will be more effectively expressed if we do). Psychologists term these differences in people ‘basic temperaments’ or ‘personality types’.

We are designed on (and with) purpose.

Redemptive gifts tend to shape our personality. They also affect the way in which we may receive or express one or more of the spiritual gifts, offices or ministries.

So my redemptive gift is how I am intrinsically made to function, ideally with spirit and soul in harmony. But because of separation from God, my soul or heart personality traits developed independently of my spirit. I need to discover the gift, then purify and refine the heart to define and polish it, so that it begins to shine.

There are some common behavioural characteristics which can help us identify our redemptive gifts (primary and secondary). Compassion, for example, may come more easily to servants and mercies than prophets and rulers. However, we must not use our gift as an excuse for not growing in love! We are all called to walk out the fruit of the Spirit, whether it comes naturally or not.

Arthur Burk has done a great deal of research into redemptive gifts. Here are some of the characteristics he has identified and how he correlates them with other sevens in the Bible (click here or on either image to view or download them both in one PDF file):

slide-1-hd
slide-2-hdGod is your Father and designer, and He desires to call forth your identity as His child. He desires to reveal your redemptive identity. He wants you to know who you are and how you are designed. You are called to be a world-changer.

As you exercise your own gifting you are free of the need to compare yourself (favourably or unfavourably) with anyone else. You can be comfortable in your own skin, not having to try to be like other people.

You are you.

You are unique;
Everyone else is also unique.

You are messed up in some way;
Everyone is messed up in some way.

You are a mixture;
Everyone is a mixture.

Every one of us is in a process of being refined, purified and transformed so that we can be ‘us’ as designed by God.

We must learn to respect and honour the differences and uniqueness in each other. As members of the body we will not all see things the same way, but when we put it all together we (as a body) will see things as Jesus does.

Next time we will begin to look at each of the gifts in more detail.

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216. Twelve Steps to an Orphan Heart

Mike Parsons – 

We are coming into a revelation of who we are as sons of God, and learning how to live out of that revelation. But if instead we listen to the whisperers, the familiar spirits which empower demonic strongholds and mind-sets, then we can find ourselves on a downward spiral.

12 steps to an orphan heart

Humans are designed to be survivors. We develop coping mechanisms and protection mechanisms – layers, walls or skins that we believe keep us safe. But they quickly become behavioural blind-self prisons, and they are stumbling blocks to our destiny.

How does a slavery mentality or an orphan heart form?

  • Nature – we can inherit it genetically from previous generations.
  • Nurture – upbringing, parental and relational influences. Words, attitudes and treatment can have a powerful effect on how we see and think about ourselves.
  • Traumatic events.

And we too can pass it on in our DNA to future generations. In the field of epigenetics, scientists are showing that genetic material can change, even within a single generation.

Here are the 12 steps:

  1. We are affected by faults in parental activity.
  2. We receive parental faults as disappointments, discouragement, grief, rejection or insecurity.
  3. We develop unmet needs and coping mechanisms.
  4. We move into the fear of receiving love, comfort and admonition from others.
  5. We develop a closed heart.
  6. We take on an independent, self-reliant attitude.
  7. We start controlling our relationships.
  8. Our relationships become superficial.
  9. We develop an ungodly belief that says no-one will be there to meet our needs.
  10. We begin to live life like a spiritual orphan.
  11. We begin chasing after counterfeit affections.
  12. We begin to daily battle a stronghold of oppression.

Counterfeit affections

Depending on individual circumstances we may have extreme or mild symptoms. But we are all born separated from God and our souls have unmet needs and an emptiness that must be filled. Until we come to a full revelation of being truly loved and accepted in God, the counterfeit affections we seek include:

  • Passions – addictions – food, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, escapism etc. – comforts for our needy hearts.
  • Possessions – security in materialism.
  • Performance – perfectionism, doing things to prove or feel better about ourselves.
  • People – looking to people to meet our needs as substitutes for God – whether being people-pleasers or abusers.
  • Places – needing somewhere better to be happy – wanderlust looking for home.
  • Position – striving for acceptance and approval, especially from significant others: praise of man.
  • Power – seeking to control life and our own destiny by controlling emotions, people, or circumstances so as never to be hurt or disappointed.

We have all tried these things, and we know they do not work. Only God can truly meet our needs. So how can we get free of this bondage?

We have a 20-part series on Transformation which will certainly help!

We need healing from our wounds. We need to surrender our defences and be willing for those coping and defence mechanisms to fall away. We need to be redeemed, reconciled and restored to our relationship with God. We need to open our hearts to God as our Father and receive His adoption, acceptance and affirmation. Nothing and no-one can replace Father God, He wants us to receive our security and acceptance from Him.

We need to desire an intimate relationship with God where trust develops; to pursue Him – to ask, seek, knock, as Jesus taught (and it takes persistence to overcome the obstacles). Let’s give Him our first love, give Him our priority time, and then we will know Him and feel His great love for us.

Love languages

God desires to father us in such a way that we know we are truly loved as individuals. We are not just a ‘job lot’. We all have different love languages – the way we feel love is different. Our particular love languages may correspond to our different gift types or unmet needs. We need to find out which is ours:

  • Gift-giving
  • Quality time
  • Words of affirmation
  • Physical affection
  • Acts of service

Our love language with God may be different from the one we have in our natural relationships. It took me a long time to realise it, but quality time is my spiritual love language. Father God sharing revelation with me of His heart, mind, purpose, and word is what makes me feel loved, valued and appreciated. I am unique, special, and He fathers me uniquely, according to my destiny.

Our spirits all start out separated and orphaned from God, and separated from our souls and bodies, and from our heavenly home too. The spirit is orphaned and the soul therefore has a slave mentality.  Satan was the first orphan spirit, and therefore disunity, disharmony and division is always his goal.

Meeting our soul’s needs

We have seen this diagram before:

orphan1

Our soul has natural needs, but is separated from God and from our spirit. Our body (flesh) reaches out to the world looking for love, acceptance, security, significance and purpose – it has nowhere else to look. That causes damage (including hurt, pain, rejection, insecurity, fear, disappointment, guilt and shame).

When we are born again and our spirit is brought back to life, we then have access to the fountain of living water that is within us, and find love, acceptance, security, significance and purpose in God orphan2and in our relationship with Him. We are connected back to the source of life. So when we go through a process of transformation, in which we are restored and renewed to God’s original intended condition, we have this tension between how we have learned to meet our needs when disconnected from God and how we can now get those needs met in Him. After years and years of following the flesh, this is a battle we must persevere in and win. Once we learn to be cut off from the world, then we can be healed, restored and ultimately transfigured, so that the flow of life from heaven goes through our spirit, soul and body out to the world. We will begin to manifest God’s glory, His presence and His power to change the world in which we live.

We are supposed to be world-changers. It was always our destiny to bring God’s dominion and His blessing to the earth. But to fulfil that destiny we need to be willing to persevere and go through this process.

In Genesis 2 God said that it is not good for man to be alone, and that is because relationship is key to reflecting heaven on earth. God’s desire is for man to be joined, reunited, reconciled, and restored to Him in relationship. That is why unity is so important, as we see the early church of one mind, one heart, in one accord. They were together in their love for and pursuit of God, and they changed and transformed their world.

Centre of our being

Here is another familiar diagram, representing the gateways in our spirit, soul and body.orphan3

But we have a black hole on the inside which absorbs everything, lets nothing in and nothing out, until we enter into a relationship with God through Jesus.Then God’s glory and His Presence come to live in the very centre of our being (see the next two images), so we can engage with God in our spirit. However for far too many believers God is locked away in there.

orphan5

‘Gateways’ by Adam Butterick (Vimeo video). Click the image above to play (opens in new tab).

One spirit with Him

“But the person who is united (joined) to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him” (1 Cor 6:17).

That is God’s intention, that we become one spirit with Him by being joined or united to God. We do that by opening up our first love gate, because that establishes a reconnection between our spirit and the Father and heaven. It also reconnects our spirit to our soul and body, so that we become one, holistic, unified piece. God’s desire is for us to be whole, that we would be completely reconnected to everything, to have the relationship with the Father and the Son that our spirit was designed to have in eternity.

Our spirit will be orphaned unless it finds its home with the Father and in heaven and God finds a home in us, which connects it all back together.

I encourage you to look at this picture right now, at the First Love door in the centre. Behind that door is the presence of God, the glory of God, God Himself. This is in the midst of your spirit.

orphan6

‘Gateways’ by Adam Butterick (Vimeo video). Click the image above to play (opens in new tab).

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev 3:20).

That is an invitation to relationship, fellowship and intimacy. Maybe you have never opened that door. The handle is on our side, so we have to open the door. Will you open that door today? Will you become joined and reconnected to God today?

Open the door

Close your eyes and imagine this picture in your mind’s eye. There is a door, and behind it is God: His love, His acceptance, His affirmation. If you have never opened it before, you can do so now. You can say, in your heart, “I open that door to you, God. I choose to let you into my life. I choose to receive Your love. I choose to follow you and become Your disciple. I choose You.”

I encourage you, open up the door of your life to God. He is knocking, wanting relationship with you so that you can begin this journey from slavery to sonship, this journey of intimacy with God.

Now for those who have done this before, maybe you are feeling separated, distanced from God? Again, just open up that door right now, because Jesus is the source of life, and start drinking from the river of life that begins to flow. Get into that river of living water, allow it to envelop you. As you open the door, feel His love, feel His embrace, feel the joy that comes from His heart to you. Jump in the river. Let the energy of that source of life begin to flow in you, becoming rivers of living water to flow out of you. Just spend some time there, if you just need that refreshing, enjoy the feel of His arms around you.

Perhaps you are used to opening this door, and you want to go further, then you can follow that river back into heaven – you can walk through the open door and access the realm of heaven. You can get into the river of life there and follow it back to its source at the throne of grace, back to the Tree of Life, back to the garden of God. The atmosphere of heaven is the breath of life, the glory of God is the oxygen of heaven. You can experience Him in the realms of heaven, because you have opened that door and it becomes a two-way flow of life.

Meet the Father today.

Wherever you are in your journey, just spend a few minutes today in the presence of God, in your own heart or in heaven, experiencing His presence and receiving His love and affirmation. Receive His acceptance. Hear these words of affirmation from your heavenly Father.

I love you, my child. Receive My words of affirmation.
I accept you. I affirm you. I embrace you.
Receive My peace. Receive My love.
Return to me. Return to your heavenly home. Return to the intimacy of relationship.
I love you.

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Note: all the ‘Gateways’ images are based on an original by Ian Clayton and used with his permission.

215. Revealing the Sons of God

Mike Parsons

RevealingWe are all on a journey from slavery to sonship, and those two conditions are very different. Slavery breeds a poverty spirit, fear and lack of identity; sonship breeds faith, identity, resources and responsibility.

Empower a slave and it leads to rebellion, betrayal and treason, as with Israel in the wilderness. They were given freedom and responsibility, but they showed no loyalty to God or to Moses because they still had a mindset of slavery (see Exodus 15-17, 32, Numbers 21). On the other hand, restrict a son and it will hinder creativity. When someone knows who they are, God can inspire them to release their own creativity into His creation.

So we have to be careful not to empower people who don’t know who they are nor to restrict those who do. We need to put things in place which will help sons come into the fullness of sonship and to deal with any slavery mentality they may have.

The spirit of slavery vs the spirit of sonship.

The root issues of how we think are in our hearts, not our heads. To use a computer analogy, the heart is like the hard drive and the head is like the Random Access Memory (RAM): things get loaded from our heart into our conscious thinking and then we act out of them.

Our characteristics and behaviour will help us identify to what extent we are acting out of a spirit of slavery and to what extent out of a spirit of sonship. Almost none of us will fall completely into one category or the other. A spirit of slavery is often the product of poor nurture, unhealed wounds and brokenness in our own lives, but it can also be generational: particular ways of thinking handed down to us from previous generations.

We are going to look at a number of areas. It’s important to be honest with ourselves, not asking ‘how ought I to think?’ but ‘how do I in fact think?’ And please, let’s use this as a tool to assess our own condition, not to label or judge anyone else!

In the tables below, you will see a category in the centre column, and on either side of it, the characteristics typical of slaves and sons. You can download these tables as a PDF file to save or print if you wish.

slavery #1 Slavery #2 Slavery #3 Slavery #4

An opportunity to be transformed

Spend some time working through this. Use these checklists to ask yourself: “do I have more thinking on the left side as a slave or more on the right side as a son?” Then you will get an idea of where you are on this journey. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction, so that you can change.

If you recognise demonic strongholds in your thinking, see it not as a criticism but as an opportunity to be transformed. Those strongholds are defended and empowered by familiar spirits – spirits that are familiar with your mindsets, your patterns and ways of thinking – and they constantly seek to ensure that you continue to think that way. Continuing in that way of thinking only results in continuing to demonstrate the same patterns of behaviour, or worse, a downward spiral that leads to an orphan heart, shaping us and blocking our destiny.

But God wants to do something about it. He is only showing you any slave-mentality you may have so that He can free you from it and enable you to think and act more and more like a son. Access to heaven and heaven’s blessing, heaven’s authority and heaven’s power all come from knowing who we are as sons.

In the heavenly realms we have places of authority that God has destined for us: mountains with thrones that God is calling us to possess. We can only possess them when we come into maturity (see Gal 4).

What do we do?

When we recognise that our mindset is not right, we:

  • forgive and release those whose words and deeds have resulted in us being the way we are. We don’t rationalise it away. We see that it happened and had an effect on us, and forgive and release them.
  • own the way of thinking or the behaviour. We don’t make excuses for it, it is sin to think like a slave when God has said you are a son, and if you don’t treat it as sin you will most likely carry on and be comfortable with thinking that way. Confess it, renounce it, repent of it (turn from it and turn to the truth). Take it to the courts, if you know how to do that, and get divorce papers which enforce separation from that way of thinking and behaviour.
  • meditate on the truth of God’s love for us and his acceptance of us. Meditate on the destiny He has for us. Get these things into our spirit by experience and encounter so that they become the basis of how we live. This is not an instant fix – it takes time.
  • attack the familiar spirits. Don’t let them lie to us and whisper into our minds. Take captive every thought. Deal with the thoughts that come, don’t entertain them and allow them to take root. Challenge them! We must be very careful about what is coming out of our mouth, not saying negative things that line up with the spirit of slavery. Speak out the truth.
  • get help if we need to. If we cannot deal with familiar spirits ourselves, we enlist the help of someone else who can minister deliverance to us. We may need healing from a wounded heart, and someone to minister that healing if we are not receiving it on our own.

Then we can be restored, and come back into a place of peace and rest, knowing who we are as children of God, knowing God’s love.

He really wants us to know our identity as His sons, and to renounce our slavery and orphan mentalities. He wants us to receive our security and acceptance from Him. Then we will be manifested as sons on the earth, to bring the whole of creation back into alignment with God’s eternal intentions before Satan fell.

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19).

That’s us!

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206. God’s Eternal Purpose

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

multicoloured jewel

“The manifold wisdom of God is like a multi-faceted, multi-coloured gem.”

…for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:18).

Our destiny is to have access to heaven, where the Father is, and to have relationship with Him.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22).

We are to be fellow-citizens with all those who have gone before us, that cloud of witnesses in heaven. Like them, we are citizens of heaven, but we are also ambassadors of heaven, representing heaven here on the earth.

Both corporately and individually we are a temple of God’s presence, with the Presence of God dwelling in and among us.

In this generation

…which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit (Eph 3:5).

God is revealing a heavenly blueprint to apostles and prophets in this generation so that a reflection of heaven can be established on the earth. That is what we at Freedom are called to do (it is why we are an apostolic resource centre: we are to bring that heavenly blueprint into people’s hearts and lives on earth), but this is not only for us – reflecting heaven is what all God’s people are called to do.

…and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph 3:9-11).

Manifold wisdom

The manifold wisdom of God is like a multi-faceted, multi-coloured gem, which we will spend eternity looking into without ever beginning to grasp its fullness. But it is our role to represent that manifold wisdom in creation and bring the heavenly places, the atmosphere of the earth, back into order. We are to manifest God’s power, God’s wisdom, God’s glory in these realms: that has always been His intention, His ‘eternal purpose’.

He is giving us an opportunity in this generation to be involved in something which sums up all the ages, which brings everything to a conclusion and sees Jesus return.

Unity

I… implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:1-3).

We are called to demonstrate heaven on earth, to walk in a manner worthy of our destiny: one heart, one mind, one purpose. If relational, corporate unity was easy, Paul would not be making such a big deal of it. We rub each other up the wrong way, and we cause each other problems, but God is calling us to work it out with each other in relationship. And sometimes, as our friend Mike Bryant is fond of saying, we just have to get over ourselves.

Jesus described it as being gentle and humble in heart, just as He demonstrated (see Matt 11:28). True humility is accepting our identity, accepting our calling and our destiny, not being fearful, and working it all out in our daily lives for the benefit of the world around us.

Gift

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift (Eph 4:7).

Every one of us has been given grace: the divine ability to outwork who He called us to be. No-one is left out of that. Each person is able to do what Christ has called us to do. We are all individually called to play our part.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:11-13).

Those ministries are there to equip us to fulfil our destinies (not to rule over or lord it over us). We need to grow and become who we are supposed to be as sons of God, and as we individually come to maturity, so the church will come to maturity. We are to be like Him,  conformed to His image, to the ‘measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ’.

Grow up

…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Eph 4:15-16).

Those joints are our relationships, our connections in the kingdom, in the Spirit. If one of us does not fulfil our destiny and our calling, then we are lacking something. It is like someone who is missing a body part: they can find ways of getting around their disability, sometimes in quite inspirational fashion, but it is not ideal. When we all do our bit, the body will function properly. And each church, each congregation or ekklesia, has a destiny of their own to fulfil, and a redemptive gift to work out.

…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth) (Eph 5:8-9).

Jesus was the light of the world; but now He is calling us to be the light of the world. There is a glorified, shining light within us which we can manifest (something which most of us have never realised but are beginning to reach for in these days). We cannot hide that light, it must shine out of us.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph 5:15-17).

We do not have time to waste. God wants us to use out time carefully to outwork His will.

God’s ultimate purpose

His ultimate purpose is…

…that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Eph 5:27).

When I look around (or in a mirror) there are a few spots, a few wrinkles! We are a work in progress, in a process which is ongoing. God still has work to do to get us the way He wants us, both individually and corporately.

He wants to bring us to a place of maturity where we know who we are, and who He created us to be.

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205. The Song of Our Destiny

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

pablo (9)God is calling forth our spirit to maturity. He is calling forth each of us to our identity as sons. We have a destiny both now, in time, and in eternity. Our spiritual identity is eternal: it came from eternity, and it will go back to eternity. What we do here in the middle determines what our eternity will be like.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations (Jer 1:5).

God has always known us, and appointed each one of us to something in particular, to a destiny, to a purpose. He intends us to fulfil that calling.

How precious

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book (scroll) were all written the days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
(Psa 136:16-17)

This is what we call our ‘scroll of destiny’. God has a vast amount of good thoughts about us, and wants us to know what they are. He wants us to know how He designed us, how He sees us, what He made us to be like. That book of our life was given when we were in eternity with God, and we come into this life with that scroll. It is like a commission for our lives, and it is important for us to know what is on it. It contains both purpose and provision.

We can access that scroll in the heavens, and we can access it in our hearts.

Eternal record

You started out in this physical life as an overcomer: the result of the one out of 300 million sperm that won the race to fertilise the ovum. When your spirit burst into that fertilised egg, it carried with it God’s record of who you were to be. You carry 23+23 chromosomes of the record of your parents’ history, but you also carry the record of your eternal destiny.

As that first cell begins to multiply, every cell of your body contains that record. We need to be transformed so that we no longer manifest the record of our physical genealogy but the record of the eternal destiny God has for us.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is (Prov 23:7a).

We need to think according to our destiny, not our history.

Frequency

Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart” (Ps 40:7).

Again, this scripture confirms that we each have a scroll, a record of our eternal destiny. God’s intention for our life is written in our heart. Our destiny carries a frequency, a vibration, and each of us has a unique frequency which we vibrate at, our own song. It carries a colour and a fragrance; a formula with all we need to fulfil our destiny encoded within it.

There is a service available where you can get your DNA analysed and they will turn it into a song for you. Now the problem is, that DNA vibrates with the record of the chaos it was created in (sin and iniquity) whilst the scroll vibrates with the record of our eternal destiny. Are we going to listen to the genetic record of our past generations, or are we going to listen to the record of what God said and thought about us in eternity?

We get to choose which we resonate and come into harmony with, and that ultimately determines how we will live. When we start to listen and come into agreement with the heavenly eternal record, our lives begin to be transformed. After all, we were destined to be conformed to the image of Christ, and to be a joint heir with Him.

Proper alignment

…with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph 1:10-11).

God has designed something for the fullness of time that is going to include the summing up of all things in Christ. He knows all about us, and He has chosen us to be part of His plan for the whole of creation. He has destined us to be part of that administration to outwork heaven on earth, to reconcile heaven and earth by bringing earth into proper alignment with heaven again.

A place for us

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places… (Eph 1:18-20).

God wants us to use the eyes of our heart, our imagination, to grasp what he has called us to. Christ is already seated in the heavenly places, and He has made a place there for us. He is:

…far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph 1:21-23).

He has sent us to go in the authority that He has, in this age, both in heaven and on earth. Since Christ is the Head, and we are the body, whose feet are His feet? Ours. So He has given us the authority to bring everything back under His dominion and under our feet, and wants to fill us with the fullness of heaven, with the fullness of Himself, so that we can represent him on the earth.

…and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:6).

That is our destiny. That is where we came from; that is where we will be going back to. In the meantime we are seated there with Him, and that is the position God always intended us to operate from.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  (Eph 2:10).

We can choose to walk our own way, or we can choose to walk God’s way. One way will lead to disaster, the other to blessing, to purpose, and to fulfilling our destiny.

Which way will we choose?

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203. Manifesto of Love

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

loveIt has always been God’s intention for this material universe to reflect His heavenly, spiritual, supernatural kingdom:

Pray, then, in this way… ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven’ (Matt 6: 9-10).

And we are citizens of that heavenly kingdom.

Exact representation

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb 1:3).

Jesus is the exact representation of God and we are ambassadors of Jesus, conformed to His image. (see Rom 8:29)

  • He upholds by words of power
  • He sits on a of throne of authority
  • His identity is as a son
  • His throne has a sceptre of authority
  • He loves righteousness and hates lawlessness

Ambassadors have an honoured position, which carries responsibility. Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father”. Make no mistake, the world sees us as personal representatives of Jesus Christ in every situation. People will base their opinion of God on what they see in us.

Words and deeds

For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart (Matt. 12:34).

Our speech should mark us out as different. If we listen to what is coming out of our mouth, day by day, week by week, we will see what fills our heart. We want our hearts to be filled with God, with His word, His truth and His life, so that when we speak, we speak words of truth and life. By what we say, people should be able to realise that we are followers of Christ. Our words should come with authority and resonate with righteousness.

Words can be extremely powerful: God created (and sustains) the whole universe with words. But speaking the words of God is not enough: our deeds and our words much match up, demonstrating the kingdom as Jesus did.

For our [preaching of the] glad tidings (the Gospel) came to you not only in word, but also in [its own inherent] power and in the Holy Spirit and with great conviction and absolute certainty [on our part]. You know what kind of men we proved [ourselves] to be among you for your good (1 Thess 1:5 AMP).

This may involve more than just meeting people’s spiritual needs. Jesus healed the sick and fed the hungry, and He did so supernaturally. We need to learn to supernaturally meet people’s physical needs as well.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14:12).

Demonstrate love

As ambassadors, we are representatives of another culture, another way of life. We must function as servants or stewards, faithfully representing our country (heaven), practising hospitality, courtesy and graciousness.

We will demonstrate love to one another, because God is love.

Since Jesus, our Lord and Teacher, washed his disciples’ feet, we also ought to wash one another’s feet.

We will be devoted to one another in brotherly love; giving preference to one another in honour; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practising hospitality. We will bless those who persecute us; bless and not curse.

We will rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. We will be of the same mind toward one another; not haughty in mind, but associating with the lowly, and not wise in our own estimation. We will never pay back evil for evil to anyone, and will respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on us, we will be at peace with all men.

We will  pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one anotheraccepting one another just as Christ also accepted us, to the glory of Godso that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

We will not judge one another any more, and will not put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.

We will put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one anotherbeing kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven uswith all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.

We will maintain the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose, doing nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regarding one another as more important than ourselvesWe will encourage one another and build up one anotherlive in peace with one another, and see that no one repays another with evil for evil, but that we always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as we see the day drawing near.

We will confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another so that we may be healed, because the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. As we walk in the Light, as God Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Above all, we will keep fervent in our love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins, being hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, we will employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

For we were called to freedom, and we will not turn our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love we will serve one another, bearing one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfilling the law of Christ.

That is the manifesto of love right there. If we truly lived that way, the world could not help but take notice.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13: 34-35).

Let us be transformed from the inside out, and become faithful ambassadors of Christ, seeking to reconcile all men to God, embodying the message of Good News which we carry; bringing heaven to earth.

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If our free or paid resources are a blessing to you, please consider making a donation to sow into and support this ministry. Thank you!

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

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202. Answer Creation’s Call

Mike Parsons
and Jeremy Westcott

universe 2For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God… For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now (Rom 8:19, 22).

The whole universe is groaning, waiting and calling us forth as his children, every one of us, God’s sons of light. If you are a believer in Jesus, you are called to be a true son of the light, a fully matured son of God, in order to change and transform the whole universe in which we live. We are to bring everything back into the order God always intended from eternity past. That is how we are to answer creation’s call.

While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light (John 12:36).

You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night, nor of darkness (1Thess 5:5).

Then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear (Matt 13:43).

God wants us to hear what He is saying. There is a sound coming from heaven in these days, which is calling forth the children of God to be revealed on earth. It is calling us to be like Jesus, to say the things that Jesus would say and to do the things that Jesus did.

So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe (Phil. 2:15).

God wants us to be shining like stars in the midst of all the darkness that there is in the world, so that we bring light and transform that darkness. The world is only dark because we are not bringing enough light. God wants to manifest His light through us. It is our destiny to restore light to the whole universe as revealed sons of God.

God wants to reveal us. He wants to show us off and to demonstrate who we are, because it will demonstrate who He is.

WWJD?

Everything Jesus did on the earth, He did as a man. He gave up His majesty and came to live among us. He was anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit to do everything that He did. Jesus did not do it as God. So we have no excuse.

If He had done it as God, we could legitimately say, ‘we cannot do that, because we are not God’. He did it as a man to show us what is possible for sons of God, operating in the power and authority of God’s kingdom. We are joint heirs with Christ. He conferred on us all the authority and power He had, and sent us out with it into the world. When we look and see what Jesus did, it should be our goal and our aim to do the same things (and greater).

What would Jesus do? It has become a catch phrase, but it is a good question. We can ask ourselves that question in our life, in our situation, in our workplace and in our home. But we do not have to stop at just reading about what Jesus did two thousand years ago and trying to work out what to do for ourselves:

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something he sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does, these things the Son does in like manner” (John 5:19).

Eyes on the Father

Jesus had his eyes on the Father. He lived in the realms of heaven and earth at the same time, all the time. He could see something happening on the earth, look into heaven and see what the Father was doing in that situation, and cooperate with it. That ability came out of the level of intimacy of relationship He had with His Father. The Father was in Him and He was in the Father. He lived that way as a man, and so can we; some of us are just beginning to grasp the reality of these things. But it will take a thorough reordering of our priorities, plenty of practice in developing our spiritual senses, and a radical transformation in us.

We are supposed to rule over and change some of the things we see happening. We are not to be under the circumstances but over them, because we come with a higher level of authority. We are called to bring heaven to earth, in us, through us and around us.

The gift of righteousness

…those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Rom 5:7b).

We must realise we have been made righteous. We receive righteousness, right standing before God, not because of what we have done, how good we are, how smart we are or any of those things. It is a gift, and because of that gift we can reign in life.

To reign is to have authority over and to rule. It is to administer the existing laws and to enact new ones where they are needed. But to handle that kind of power and authority we will need to be wholly submitted to God and know that He has made us righteous.

For I say to you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:20).

That is a challenging statement and much misunderstood. On the surface the scribes and Pharisees looked really good. They tried to keep the external provisions of the law, but in reality God was not interested in what they looked like on the outside, but rather what was going on inside them and motivating their hearts. Were they doing the will of God or were they doing things for their own selfish gain and purposes?

Intimacy

Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles. Then I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness (Matt. 7:21-22).

If He did not know them, that means they were not intimate with Him. That is how they came to be doing things for their own motives, which is what ‘lawlessness’ means. We can do good things for our own motives and completely miss out on God’s best for us. Jesus had no agenda of His own, but only did the Father’s will.

God is not fooled. He is always looking on the inside rather than the outside. He knows our hearts. He knows what is motivating us and why we do what we do. We can fool each other by behaving in a particular way so that we fit in and are accepted. If we are trying to hide from God what is going on inside us, it will hinder us from being intimate with Him. He knows who we are and what we are. He knows who He created us to be. He knows all the work that still needs to be done to make us like Jesus.  Knowing all these things, He loves us anyway.

We do not need to try to pretend or hide. If we are open, honest and vulnerable with God, He is not going to punish us. But because He loves us too much to allow us to stay where we are, He will transform us. We need to own and acknowledge where we are so that He can take us to where He wants us to be. Let us be real with God. Let us be intimate with Him and not hide from Him any longer through fear.

The whole world is looking at us, ambassadors of heaven, and seeing if we produce good fruit. Good fruit comes from the motivation of our spirit, not our soul. Where is our motive rooted, in our spirit or our soul? When we are living in intimacy with Him, when we are joined to the Lord and one spirit with Him (see 1 Cor 6:7), then we can bring heaven to earth as we reign in life.

And be revealed as the sons the whole creation is longing for.

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201. Flavours and Colours


saltyMike Parsons

with Jeremy Westcott – 

You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (Matt. 5:13)

We are supposed to be different. If our lives are like everyone else’s, if we compromise and become just like the world, applying the world’s standards, it is like being completely tasteless and trampled underfoot. We cannot have kingdom authority operating in our lives if we operate according to the world’s system and values.

We must put God first and do it His way.

Saline

Salt was a very important substance in bible times. It was very precious and quite costly. In fact, the English word ‘salary’ derives from the fact that sometimes the Roman army was paid with salt.  If you have ever been in hospital and had a saline drip, you will know that a certain level of salt is essential in your body.

Flavour

Can flavorless food be eaten without salt? (Job 6:6)

Salt brings out flavour. Our lives are supposed to be appetizing and appealing to others. God’s flavours include love, joy, peace, mercy, grace, faith, humility, and power. Those things will flavour the world around us as we live them out.

Covenant

You shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings, you shall offer salt. (Lev. 2:13)

Salt also speaks of covenant life. God has always dealt with men through covenants, life and death agreements that He made. It was literally an exchange of life, but men could never keep their side of the deal.

We now live in the New Covenant, a covenant Father God made with Jesus, His Son – and Jesus is able to keep covenant. Through Him, we come into relationship with God, we promise our lives to be given to Him and He promises all His resources are made available to us. Our lives need to reflect the salt of God’s covenant blessings.

Authority and wisdom

 Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David, and His sons by a covenant of salt? (2 Chron. 13:5)

We are here to be the head and not the tail. We are supposed to be over and not under the circumstances of life. We are to rule and bring God’s kingdom blessings and rule through it. That will be of benefit not just for our own lives, but for all those who come into our sphere of influence.

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders; making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech, always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to respond to each person. (Col. 4:5-6)

This means that the way we speak, how we approach people, and how we interact with them should reflect the flavours of God. God wants to guide us in what to say, and the attitudes to have so that we will know how to respond to each person in a way that will attract them, not drive them away.

Applied

Salt was also a means of preserving food from corruption. Salt helped meat last longer. It was a disinfectant from disease. It was used on dung piles to purify, and as fertilizer to help produce fruitfulness.

Salt has many uses, but it has to be applied. If you do not apply it, it is of no use at all. We must be applied to the world to be able to influence and transform it as ambassadors of heaven. We cannot do it if we stay inside our buildings. We have to do it today in the work place, this evening in our home, at all times and in all our relationships.

It cannot be something we switch on and off. If we truly are salt, if we ‘have salt within ourselves’ (see Mark 9:50), then we will be salty all the time. Wherever we are we are to be salt.

ID-10023748Light

We are also to be light.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16).

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1John 1:5-7)

If we come to Him Who is light, everything we carry with and in us will be brought into that place of light. If you bring a light into a dark room, you can then see what is in it. Light will expose what is darkness, both in us and in the world, so that we can deal with those things.

We have renounced secret and shameful ways… in the sight of God. (1Cor 4:2,6)

We do not have to hide in God’s light and in His presence. We can be free to be real and open because we know He loves us. His light is only there to bring us into more light. It is not there to expose us and make us feel bad, but rather enable us to live in truth.

Our relationships with others will be lived out in the light: vulnerable, open and accountable. That is what discipleship is. It is walking in the light with other people who share the same common family, God’s family. God wants us to live open lives, not hidden ones, so that our lives are a demonstration, showing where the path is to real life. When other people see how we live, and how our relationships work, they will be drawn to want the same thing for themselves.

Judgment

This is the judgment: that light has entered the world, and men have preferred darkness to light because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).

Jesus was the perfect example of light shining in the darkness. People should be able to see the light in our lives just like they saw Jesus’s light. That light throws everything into sharp contrast, and demands a decision from those who see by it. Will they choose good or evil, right or wrong?

Transfigured

The more we come to reflect God’s glory, and the more He works through us, the lighter our lives become; the more we can actually bring light into darkness. We can be one of those God-colours that changes the way the world looks (see Matt 5:14 MSG)..

And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light (Matt. 17:2).

You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. (1Thess 5:5)

I believe that what happened in the transfiguration is going to happen to those people who walk with God, who pursue and work through the transformation which He desires (‘transformation’ is the same word that is translated ‘transfigured’ in that scripture). The light strand missing from our DNA will be restored. Literally we will be glowing with light, looking visibly different from other people. God wants us to be a frequency of radiation of light. It is an explosion of the light that comes from God. Since God is light and we are His sons, this is simply our true nature as sons of light being manifested.

And the whole of creation is longing and waiting in eager expectation for the day those sons are revealed (Rom 8:19).

Before sin came into the world and darkness came, the universe was full of life and light. It will be like that again when we shine like the stars and like the sun. That is God’s desire. Light never stops lighting, and salt never stops seasoning. Let our lives reflect a different kingdom, and we will see that kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.

Related Articles by Freedom ARC
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Salt and spoon on wooden background image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Bright Clouds In The Sky image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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