228. Alien Destiny

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

In the pursuit of our destiny there is something we need to be careful of: coveting somebody else’s calling. If we do, it is possible we will find ourselves pursuing an alien destiny. I am not talking about little green (or grey) men, I am talking about chasing something God never intended for us, but for someone else. That can lead us into frustration and confusion because something seems to be constantly obstructing our path, hindering us or tripping us up. All right, no-one said it would be easy, but this is more than just obstacles to overcome, this is a dead end.

Arthur Burk calls it an ‘alien birthright’, and likens it to an immaculately constructed train track (complete with ballast, signals and crossings) laid across the middle of a cornfield we are called to cultivate: it leads nowhere, and meanwhile it gets in the way of what we are supposed to be doing.

Lot

Lot’s destiny was not in Canaan. We know that, because God told Abram to leave his family behind.

Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
(Genesis 12:1).

Lot’s destiny was in Ur or Haran or some other place. And yet in verse 4 we read that Abram went forth as the Lord had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Lot wanted a part in Abraham’s destiny. He tagged along with him and for a few years he prospered on the back of Abram’s blessing. His herds and flocks multiplied just as Abram’s did. But eventually there was a falling out between their servants, so Abram and Lot agreed to go their separate ways:

So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord.

Abram offered him the option of taking the best land, and he did! But the best land took him to Sodom. Soon after, Abram had to go and rescue him when he was taken captive by rebel kings, and still eventually he lost everything, including his wife, in the destruction of the city. The  only reason he got out with his own life was that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived (Gen 19:29). Finally, his daughters got him drunk and had children by him, Moab and Ammon, who each became nations hostile to God’s purposes.

All because Lot coveted Abraham’s destiny.

Occult

There are plenty of other ways to pick up an alien destiny. Our past generations can have an effect on us, or there may be things we have done as individuals which have allowed it to take place. It can happen through occult involvement, or through masonic oaths and curses, and if we do not deal with it these things can project onto our future generations too.

It can happen through fortune-telling, tarot cards, astrology or reading tea leaves, anything which involves looking to a wrong source for your destiny. Cults are another way. A cult is designed to take away your individual identity and purpose, and draw you into a group identity and purpose. If you embrace that and buy into the vision of the group, you lose yourself.

If we open the door, the enemy will lay all kinds of false trails because he wants to deflect us from fulfilling the true purpose God has for our lives. Any legal right we give him, or that he can find in our generational line, he will take.

Perhaps our parents wanted a child of a different gender, or tried to fulfil their unfulfilled dreams through us. Perhaps we were coerced into conforming to the family tradition or business, maybe becoming a doctor, a lawyer, a pastor or a thief. That kind of pressure can prevent us connecting with our true calling. Or perhaps we glimpsed our own destiny and turned it down as something we could never attain (or the reverse, something we could never be content with).

How would we know?

Buried under layers superimposed on our lives, our true birthright still endeavours to make itself known. If we do not know who we are or why we are here, if we sense deep down a yearning for something completely different, if we often have daydreams, if we come to realise that we would fit in better somewhere else, if our deepest wishes and desires go constantly unfulfilled, it may be because we are pursuing an alien destiny.

If we have reached the pinnacle of achievement but still feel unfulfilled, perhaps we have attained that success in an area God never intended. It feels like a mockery. Solomon knew a little about that. He never really fulfilled all that God called him to do because he got distracted by ‘the girls, the gold and the glory’.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecc 1:2).

When we are following God’s ordained plan for our lives, our timeline is designed for our success (Ps 139, especially verse 16). He has positioned events, people, structures, assets and resources at certain points along our pathway in such a way as to facilitate our destiny, divinely ordered appointments to help us, to stimulate us and enable us to fulfil God’s purpose. But if we are stumbling over a length of rail track across the middle of our field, we will never encounter them.

Spiritual laziness

We are in danger if we look at someone else’s anointing, mantles, gifts or position and desire it for ourselves. Now there is a place for having heroes of the faith, people we look up to and in whose example we find encouragement and inspiration, but we cannot covet someone else’s birthright because it looks more glamorous, more high-profile, or offers more kudos. We must not despise our own calling by yearning to be someone else.

Again, if we are always looking for shortcuts to success because of spiritual laziness, if we do not want to take the time to develop character and deal with our issues, if the price for that seems too high, we will find plenty of people willing to oblige. They are those who prey on the lazy, looking to legitimise their own ministry by giving away things that do not fit our lives, offering mantles, impartation and false prophetic readings. Many have taken on things which were never designed for them because some prophet with mixed motives said “you should be doing this”. Too often, instead of being willing to pay the cost for unpacking something of true value and worth, we are seduced by the lure of the sparkly and attractive, offered on the cheap.

We live in the culture of the instant, in a society which expects immediate gratification. That is not God’s way. People with great anointing have normally paid the price for what they have, so if someone is offering it to us cut price or free of charge, then beware! If we get zapped by something which is alien to us, it can create that ‘track in a field’ which leads to nothing.

There is a legitimate laying on of hands, to impart gifts, pass on the baton, or receive mantles which release our own destiny. This is to help us be who we really are, not to tell us we are to be something or someone else. God will tell us who we are and we will find it already vibrating within our hearts. I know some people here at Freedom who have had ‘prophetic words’ spoken over them which they were wise enough to reject because they did not resonate with what was in their hearts.

What can we do about it?

If we are constantly tripping over others’ tracks, then we need to ask ourselves the question, have we pursued or lusted after someone else’s destiny? If we feel that we have, or that our generational line has, then we can repent. The true meaning of the word in scripture is nothing to do with being sorry or making amends, it means ‘change your mind’.

We need to change the way we think, turn away from it, renounce it, and get deliverance. We will have to forgive and release the people responsible, whether ourselves, our ancestors or other people who had a part in causing us to go after the alien destiny.

Have we despised and rejected the amazing destiny God actually designed for us? If we have gone chasing after something else then yes, we have! Let’s repent of that too.

All this might take a while. We are talking about transformation of a whole mindset, which rarely happens overnight: let’s give it whatever time is necessary to do it thoroughly. Even as we do we can begin to engage with Him about how to pursue what He really has for us, and get back onto the path of our true destiny.

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218. Principles and Blessings – Redemptive Gifts (2)

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

We saw in the last post that every redemptive gift has a particular principle that operates with it, and a blessing or birthright that goes with it as well.

The ‘principle’ is simply how things are designed to work, or (if you are looking for something more technical) it can be defined as a universal, non-optional, cause-and-effect relationship. The ‘birthright’ or ‘blessing’ is how creation and people are supposed to benefit from our gifts.

Let’s look at the principles and birthrights of each gift in more detail:

Prophet

  • Principle: Design – the art of weaving principles together in order to produce change.

God speaks to prophets before He does anything (Amos 3:7), because prophets are wired to bring about change. The principle of design is foundational to all the other principles. God has called the prophet to study principles (to look at problems and opportunities) and assemble them into sets that produce results.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

The passion of the prophet is to take themselves and others to the outer limits of excellence with God, to explore the boundaries of what is possible (and nothing is impossible with God). The prophet wants to demolish barriers and expand our understanding so that we can go further.

The prophet will display a picture of God so dynamic and real that it moves people out of their comfort zones (which can become prisons) and into a journey that will bring them to fulfilment of all God created them to be.

Servant

  • Principle: Authority.

God gives more spiritual authority to servants than to other gifts precisely because they will not use it for their own ends. They are not infected with the empire-building germ like the other gifts. The servant’s prayers for leaders carry more weight than other gifts.

The servant has the highest level of authority over the Death Spirit in spiritual warfare because God desires to set people free and servants serve the needs of others. God trusts the servant to do only what He has asked them to do.

Authority over land (restoration of ecology) comes naturally to those with a servant gift.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

The servant walks in holiness in their own life. They are willing to embrace a high calling of holiness and bring a sense of purity and cleanliness.

When the servant hears truth spoken it resonates deeply.

The servant has the tenacity to reach out to the wounded and hurting (not limited to, but especially in, family situations).

The servant finds fulfilment in being a life-giver to enable others to do their work.

They provide cleansing and authority to others.

There is a deep desire to empower others to achieve their best.

Teacher

  • Principle: Responsibility

The teacher is to walk in responsibility in every area of their life.

Their highest responsibility is to worship God. They must make worship a lifestyle, that they would anticipate and enjoy being with God.

If the teacher is carnal they will be selectively responsible and unwilling to impose responsibility on others.

The teacher would prefer to work hard at persuading people to change, rather than confronting them (or their behaviour) head-on.

A teacher must realise that their relationship with God is of primary importance, because otherwise they will just be bringing theory. There is no value in expounding theoretical principles to others without having worked them out yourself.

  • Birthright/Blessing: Intimacy

The teacher must know who they are as they walk out God’s will and then reveal the manifest presence of God to the rest of the body of Christ. Again, this must come out of personal experience and not just study. The Lord wants to be present in the life of the teacher, having them experience and celebrate Him.

Exhorter

  • Principle: Sowing and Reaping

Exhorters will use their life experiences to help others: therefore they must embrace pain and suffering. The most difficult area for the exhorter is to suffer rejection. But they must confront sin and be willing to face rejection from within the community without becoming disheartened or taking it personally.

Exhorters must incarnate truth, must live it out, through the authority they receive via their own personal experience. An exhorter who has gone through pain and suffering is well placed to use their own testimony to help others who are experiencing the same.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

Know God personally and experientially, which involves taking some time away from people in order to truly know God and have His authority.

The body of Christ is dependent upon the exhorter becoming all God created them to be; God has called the exhorter to be a world changer!

Giver

  • Principle: Stewardship

The giver knows that God doesn’t want 10% of their finance/assets; He wants everything the giver is and has. This is about establishing relationship so that they are able to release blessing. Money is not the issue, it’s about their relationship with God.

Example: in Job 31:16, Job had an incredible relationship with God, and was a good steward of his money and assets. He walked in high justice, holiness and ethical behaviour in all that he did.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

The blessing for the giver is to release a generational anointing. The giver has the authority to release a generational blessing into their family line and community and be a life-giver through blessing (and again, this is not just about money). Givers have a desire to see others succeed and prosper in fulfilling their destiny; they give to enable others.

The giver is to have a generational worldview – to think long-term.

Example: Abraham received authority from God and passed it on. He changed the world and was considered a friend of God.

Ruler

  • Principle: Freedom

The ruler is to go from bondage to obedience to freedom. But rulers have the tendency to be focused on task and do what’s required – and not walk in freedom. The ruler must learn to walk in spiritual freedom.

Like the giver, they are good at making things happen in the natural, but God wants this to be in the context of total dependence upon Him. The ruler is to be first of all righteous.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

Generational freedom from sin.

The ruler is to release generational blessings into the world and spiritual realm. The ruler who honours God and goes beyond obedience will possess a high level of spiritual authority. The ruler is called to express that immense authority in the heavens and release it to the generations.

Examples: David, a man after God’s own heart, and Noah.

The ruler must seek God to find out what He has called them to do and then honour Him in walking it out.

No other gift has the spiritual dominion that the ruler has.

Mercy

  • Principle: Fulfilment

By design the mercy is able to engage spirit to Spirit with God. This is the highest fulfilment for the mercy, who loves intimacy with God. In Hebrew thought, every end is a new beginning, so the mercy needs to find fulfilment – if things are partially done, they struggle.

  • Birthright/Blessing:

The mercy finds fulfilment in God and imparts blessing to others.

As the mercy is sanctified they sanctify their environment (time, people, place) and are able to transform the sinful into the holy.

Where do I fit?

In going through these characteristics, I encourage you to ask ‘Where do I fit?’, ‘What is it that I resonate with when I read these things?’ so that you begin to see how God has made you to be. Some of us may need to stop fighting against these characteristics and embrace them, especially if the way we have been brought up, or other people’s opinions, have caused us to undervalue or even reject them.

Here is a link to a PDF ‘Redemptive Gifts Survey‘ which you can use to help you identify your primary and secondary gifts: http://bit.ly/2gOFX8i.

If you would like more detailed questionnaires which open as Excel spreadsheets and do the calculations for you, you can find examples of those here (#1)  and here (#2).

Please note that Arthur Burk, an acknowledged expert in the field, says that even the best tests he has seen are only about 60% accurate and he declines to use them! So do bear in mind that all of these are only indicators and may give different results. We will look at some of the reasons for this inaccuracy next time.

Appreciate the other gifts

We need to learn to appreciate our own gifting. And the reciprocal argument is also valid: let’s acknowledge that people with different gifts to us will think and operate in ways we just don’t understand. We need to learn not to be frustrated, but to appreciate! This is part of a culture of honour. We will more readily live in harmony if we recognise that God has hard-wired each one of us to respond to Him in a unique fashion. In music, harmony is created when a number of different but related notes are played together to create a really pleasing sound. We are not all the same, but God has called us to relate together.

Appreciating this can be really helpful if we are working in a team on any kind of project, because we can assign tasks to individuals in line with their gifting – and avoid asking people to carry out tasks for which their gift is not suited. Let’s learn to honour the different gifts in one another and receive the blessing and benefits which those gifts confer.

Yet how many of our churches function in ways that reward those who conform and marginalise those who don’t? How would it be if we were to learn instead to prize distinctiveness rather than uniformity, as God does, and to see how beautiful diversity can be in making us a ‘whole church’?

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Image credit: Meme created using background image ‘Ever Present’  by JD Hancock. Used under Creative Commons licence.
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