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

My 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. 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 probably 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 come 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

In 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; 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, both 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. 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 into 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-hd

God 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 the 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 mindsets, 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 with a sense of separation from God, so 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, including God: 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 experience the reality of being 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 our Father God, He wants us to receive our security and acceptance in the fullness of relationship with 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 get to know Him personally and feel His great love for us by experience.

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.

At one time we were ‘alienated and hostile in mind’ (Col 1:21), feeling separated and orphaned from God, and separated from our souls and bodies, and from our heavenly home too. That was the ‘reality’ we lived in until we realised the truth that we were included when ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them’ (2 Cor 5:19). The spirit was orphaned and the soul, therefore, had 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 accustomed to living in separation from God and from our spirit. Our body (flesh) reaches out to the world looking for love, acceptance, security, significance and purpose – it does not know where else to look. That causes damage (including hurt, pain, rejection, insecurity, fear, disappointment, guilt and shame).

orphan2

When we realise 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. We can find love, acceptance, security, significance and purpose in God and in our relationship with Him. We are connected 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 now know we can 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. Relationship is at the core of the life of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God’s desire is for man to experience being 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 their 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 experience relationship with God through Jesus. Then we can connect with God’s glory and His Presence 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. It is an invitation to all – whether or not we call ourselves ‘Christians’. 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. Meet Jesus, meet the Father, meet the Holy Spirit; hear what they say to you.

Now for those who have done this before, maybe you too 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, ready 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 walk through the open door and follow that river back into 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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We developed this just for you:

eg free trial eg homepage 2019

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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Note: all the ‘Gateways’ images are based on a diagram originally shared with us by Ian Clayton.

215. Revealing the Sons of God

Mike Parsons

We 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!

Related articles from Freedom ARC
Other resources from Freedom ARC

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

eg free trial eg homepage 2019

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

Find out more and get started today*

*Technology permitting: automated process on completion of online registration form and payment plan setup. Terms and conditions apply.

Support Freedom ARC

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206. God’s Eternal Purpose

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

…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

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

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. As our friend Lindy Strong says, ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about becoming who God created you to be.’

Related articles from Freedom ARC
Other resources from Freedom ARC

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

eg free trial eg homepage 2019

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

To find out more and get started today*, click here…

‘Engaging God’ is an interactive modular programme developed by Mike Parsons.

Through using it you will learn how to access God through Jesus who is the Way, Truth and Life, in the realms of heaven and within your own spirit and heart; and how to take up your responsibility as a mature son [daughter] in God’s kingdom.

Many people have had involuntary or ecstatic encounters or experiences where they have engaged God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and the realms of heaven in visions. Whether you have had such experiences yourself or not, through this programme you will learn to develop the ability to engage and re-engage those encounters at will, and to mature in outworking the revelation you receive from God on a daily basis.

Choose monthlyquarterly or annual options for your automatic recurring subscription payments via credit or debit card, and try Engaging God free for 2 weeks – no payment will be made until after 14 days, during which you can easily cancel if you wish.

*Technology permitting: automated process on completion of online registration form and payment plan setup. Terms and conditions apply.

205. The Song of Our Destiny

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

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.

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, has always loved us, and has 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 139:16-17)

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 get 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?

Related articles from Freedom ARC
Other resources from Freedom ARC
Resources from others

Are you part of the Joshua Generation?

We developed this just for you:

eg free trial eg homepage 2019

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

To find out more and get started today*, click here…

‘Engaging God’ is an interactive modular programme developed by Mike Parsons.

Through using it you will learn how to access God through Jesus who is the Way, Truth and Life, in the realms of heaven and within your own spirit and heart; and how to take up your responsibility as a mature son [daughter] in God’s kingdom.

Many people have had involuntary or ecstatic encounters or experiences where they have engaged God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and the realms of heaven in visions. Whether you have had such experiences yourself or not, through this programme you will learn to develop the ability to engage and re-engage those encounters at will, and to mature in outworking the revelation you receive from God on a daily basis.

Choose monthlyquarterly or annual options for your automatic recurring subscription payments via credit or debit card, and try Engaging God free for 2 weeks – no payment will be made until after 14 days, during which you can easily cancel if you wish.

*Technology permitting: automated process on completion of online registration form and payment plan setup. Terms and conditions apply.

Support Freedom ARC

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!