On to the final pitfall of the Mirror, Mirror Syndrome – Immaturity.
To get the full picture, you can get links to all the articles in the Mirror, Mirror series here.
#4 – Guarding Against Immaturity
Instead of growing old gracefully into Fathers and Mothers to the younger generation , I’ve seen most men and women grow into bitterness, insecurity, and strife.
Learning to become a Father/Mother does not happen automatically at a certain age… if we wait for it to magically happen, I can assure you that it most likely will not. It is a mindset that has to be cultivated while we are still a Snow White in our prime.
What are some ways to grow towards being a Father/Mother NOW while you are still young? (Do take time to check out the awesome resources mentioned in this section)
1. Start inspiring others to godly living. Make it a habit to impart everything you can to the younger generation. Read this article on setapartgirl.com that shares some practical ways you can do that.
2. Learn what it means to be a Father/Mother. Watch this 17-minute sharing by Landon Schott, the spiritual son of John Paul Jackson, on the qualities of a spiritual father.
3. Be fathered. In an article by Tony V. Hammack on spiritual fathers he says, “By having spiritual fathers that don’t know us personally it sterilizes us spiritually. We don’t know how to birth spiritual sons because we ourselves are illegitimate, never having a spiritual father we don’t know how to raise up a son in the faith ourselves.”
4. Choose carefully who you allow into your life as fathers/mothers. One guy wrote from his experience as a spiritual father to many:
- A spiritual father will see you for who you are and will be a champion of your heart.
- Fathers give their sons and daughters an inheritance. An inheritance has to do with a tribe, a ministry, and spiritual DNA. Read more about it here.
- Fathers are generous with their time with their sons and daughters. They are there for them in life’s storms.
- Fathers teach their sons and daughters how to live life. They help wake them up to the kingdom.
- Fathers don’t give themselves the designation of “father,” sons or daughters do. Men who talk about themselves as fathers a lot probably do so out of their own need for affirmation. Be careful of them.
- A son or daughter should be slow to call anyone their spiritual father. They may want to do so prematurely because of the hole in their heart, but a father must prove his faithfulness over time.
- Fathers are consistent. Too many of you have suffered under inconsistent father figures. Their inconsistency can be a form of abuse.
- Don’t confuse authority figures, especially your pastor, with your spiritual father. Pastors may qualify as a spiritual father if they show up in your life over time in a deeply invested and personal way.
- Some of you are fortunate to have dads who have loved you well and become a spiritual father to you. Recognize that your dad is part of a rare breed of man and you are privileged. You may have other spiritual fathers, but be sure to never let that fact diminish the role of your dad in your life. Honoring your natural father for who he is and what he’s invested in you is the fifth commandment God gave his people.
- To get the most from a spiritual father, you have to press into them. Don’t expect them to do all the work. Make it easy for them to invest.
5. Always consciously cultivate the qualities of a spiritual father, as well as look out for men & women who possess these qualities and learn from them. Rev. Tony Cooke gives this list of qualities that a mature leader possesses, based on the apostle Paul’s relationships with Timohty, Titus, and the Churches he was mentoring:
- He did not flatter them (1 Thess. 2:5). He wasn’t buttering them up just so they’d like him or so that he could get something out of them.
- He was not covetous toward them (1 Thess. 2:5). He didn’t see having a relationship with them as a means of getting their goods.
- He did not seek glory of men – he wasn’t seeking to be exalted (1 Thess. 2:6). This wasn’t about Paul gathering sons around him to feed his own ego.
- He was not demanding of them. He wasn’t controlling, manipulative, or dictatorial (1Thess. 2:6).
- He exhibited a heart-felt, compassionate concern for their well-being.
- He was gentle toward them (1 Thess. 2:7).
- He cherished them (1 Thess. 2:7).
- He longed for them affectionately (1 Thess. 2:8)
- He not only gave them the gospel, but he gave his own life to them (1 Thess. 2:8).
- They were dear to him (1 Thess. 2:8).
- He exhorted, comforted, and charged every one of them, as a father does his children (1 Thess. 2:11).
- His energies and efforts went toward their spiritual development (Gal. 4:19).
- He was not interested in shaming them, but did feel obligated to warn them. He wasn’t putting them on a guilt trip or making them feel intimidated (1 Cor. 4:14).
- He was different than a mere teacher – he wasn’t just passing information on to them, but he had “begotten them” through the Gospel and was setting an example they could follow in their spiritual development (1 Cor 4:15-16).
- He wasn’t seeking what was theirs (their money), but he was seeking them (2 Cor. 12:14).
- He was willing to spend and be spent for them – in other words, he was willing to live and give sacrificially for them – for their advancement and their development (2 Cor. 12:15).
6. Be freed from the spirit of poverty and the orphan spirit. You’d be surprised at just how many of us have this in some degree or other, and it will greatly affect our ability to father/mother others.
- Consider reading this book by Jack Frost, Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship
- Consider some inner healing ministries like Ellel Ministries, Restoring the Foundation, Immanuel Healing.
*Just a note that every human being needs inner healing – there is nothing shameful about going for inner healing ministries. In fact, many established ministers have said that they go for a ministry session once a year as a “yearly medical checkup” for their emotional and spiritual health.
There’s a whole lot of resources I’ve just given to you; do take the time to check them out and also do your own research (: In fact, share with me any new thing that you have learnt!