The Bible speaking of John the Baptist says this in Luke 1:16-17 - "And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
We hear a lot today about the need for spiritual fathers and mothers, and rightfully so! There is a great need in the area of fathering and mothering. Younger people today need fathers and mothers to come alongside them and "show them the ropes" on navigating life. I think sometimes we over-spiritualize what this looks like - at least I know that I do. We need to pour into young believers not only on how to study the Bible, pray, and be a witness for Christ, but also how to develop perseverance, discipline, character, etc. This includes how to hold a job, manage money, make good decisions, take care of your body, have a good marriage and be a good parent. It is vital that we have fathers and mothers today, and I believe God is raising up those people to champion this need! But just as vital are the sons and daughters! We learn to be great fathers and mothers by being great sons and daughters. For the sake of time and space I will refer to both men and women as "sons" and "fathers" in the rest of this blog. If men can be the bride of Christ, then women can be sons.
How to be a great son:
1. Pursue a Spiritual Father
I have found that the people to father us are all around us. God never places us anywhere where there is not a father to pour into us. We need to pray and ask God to open our eyes to those right in front of us that can help. I have been blessed to have incredible spiritual fathers in my life, but not one of them came to me and offered to mentor me. I approached them. I saw something on their lives that I wanted and I pursued them. Once I was given about three names from the ND District of the A/G and asked to place them in order of priority on who I would desire to mentor me. At the top of my list was Pastor Hessler in Dickinson. This began a 2.5 year father/son relationship where I grew immensely as I met monthly with him. I still see Pastor Hessler as a spiritual father today. Later I was introduced to Pastor Ron Enget. I began calling him and asking for prayer and advice. I attended conferences in Beulah long before NLC Bismarck ever existed. This resulted in a father/son relationship that continues strongly to this day. I am convinced that there are numerous strong men and women of God ready to spiritually parent others, so start looking sons and daughters! Start asking those who are strong and wise to pour into you!
Remember, it was Elisha that pursued Elijah. Don't waste time waiting for someone to drop out of the sky. Pray and pursue!
2. Communicate Your Need
I think sometimes we place spiritual mentors on a pedestal. We assume that they are always going to know what we need and when we need it. And sometimes this is true. Sometimes the Lord reveals things to them or through their God-given wisdom they just know. But far more often than not, we have to communicate what our needs are, what our struggles are, and where and how we're hungry to learn. I have learned this the hard way. There have been times that I wasn't completely up front with my mentors and found myself frustrated at them as if they should just know what my needs are and be willing to help me! We are not entitled to have a spiritual father and we are not entitled to their help. We are blessed to have them and it is a privilege to have their help. When we understand this we stop assuming and expecting, and we start communicating and receiving!
3. Be Teachable & Correctable
It will do us absolutely no good if we have a spiritual father but we already think we know all there is to know! It is also of little use if we are unwilling to receive correction. We have a tendency toward rebellion and disobedience. Once we accept Jesus as Savior, our sin is forgiven and we are made right with God, but this tendency toward disobedience doesn't completely disappear! Hebrews 5:8 tells us that even Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered! If Jesus had to learn obedience, how much more do we? I am convinced that the greatest movers and shakers for revival in the coming days will be those who are submissive to authority, obedient to God at any cost, and walk in extraordinary humility. Spiritual fathers will sometimes require things of us that will highlight areas of our heart that need to be dealt with! They will teach us and correct us, but they will also affirm us.
So if you are in need of a spiritual father or mother today, I pray for you! I pray that God will open your eyes so you may discover who He has already placed around you. Then I urge you to follow through with these points above. Prepare your heart to receive. Once you find someone, don't get in a hurry or be impatient. Allow them to pour into you and God will grow you. If you can be a great son, you'll soon be a great father.
Marc P. Eidahl
New Life Church