God wants you to receive the full portion of your spiritual inheritance--so purpose to glean from the leaders He puts in your life.
Years ago I was faced with a decision about whether or not to leave my church. As I sought God's will, my thoughts went back to situations and circumstances I had experienced in the body of Christ through the years.
Interestingly, I began to realize the direct relationship these situations and circumstances had to my relationship with my pastor. Even though I had been extremely active in church for years, I had never before understood how relevant my relationship with my pastor was to my relationship with my heavenly Father.
Suddenly I was confronted with the realization that although I was able to say I had been in church for years--indeed, I was raised in the church--I had never before thought about whether or not I was receiving everything my heavenly Father intended for me to have as my spiritual inheritance. A lack of knowledge about His portion for me had robbed my life and hindered me from reaching my full potential in Him.
Now I'm concerned that this could happen to other believers. I'll tell you why.
I see the onset of a mighty revival across this nation. Everywhere people are being saved and ushered into the body of Christ. These new members of Christ's body are looking for churches where they can be nourished and fed with the Word of God.
I don't want them to miss out on an authentic experience in God!
You see, you can have the experience of salvation and receive a new heart but still miss the experience of walking into your spiritual destiny--your spiritual inheritance--the portion that is supposed to be implanted into your heart.
After you receive a new heart, that heart must continually be fed by your heavenly Father. Receiving your spiritual inheritance is an ongoing process. You can miss out on all He has for you if you try to diminish the experience by isolating it to a one-time event. Just as you need daily nourishment to keep your physical body alive, you need to receive your daily spiritual portion from your heavenly Father to reach your full potential in Christ.
One way you do this is through developing a relationship with spiritual parents. It is vital that you know when you have met the ones God has appointed to be your spiritual parents and that you recognize they are preparing you to receive your spiritual inheritance. This will help you to guard against losing that inheritance.
THE FATHER'S PORTION When the Lord led me through the process of reviewing my past experiences, I remembered how I felt as a young teenager when my first pastor, Luke Austin Sr., passed away. I was lost, disconnected. From that point on, I began to wander spiritually.
Almost 18, I asked my mom for permission to move to Milwaukee. I was searching for more but didn't know it.
Since my pastor was an older man, he had been like a spiritual grandfather to me--but I didn't understand the weight of his influence on my life or what the loss of it meant in my spirit man. I didn't recognize that the loss had created an empty place within.
I started searching, not knowing what I was searching for. On my quest I met several pastors, but it wasn't until 1982, when I moved to Port Huron, Michigan, that the Lord connected me to my spiritual parents, Pastor William and Sister Veter Nichols.
Pastor Nichols immediately became concerned about me as a person. He observed my life and saw some issues that needed attention.
God stepped in through this godly man to make certain I would not miss out on my spiritual inheritance. The Father wanted me to receive the full portion of what He had to give me--and He wants you to receive the full portion of your spiritual inheritance, too.
His portion will change you. It will birth you into destiny. When you are receiving your spiritual portion from God, it will feed your spirit. As your spirit grows, you will come to maturity in Christ. And as Christians everywhere mature in Christ, maturity will come to the body of Christ. So we must be sure we are getting the Father's portion.
I believe a lot of people are asking in this season, "Where is my spiritual inheritance?"
If you are seeking spiritual leadership and nourishment in the body of Christ, your introduction to a local ministry should be based on a divine connection, communication and relationship that you have with the leadership of that local ministry. Your connection to the church should not be based on the choir, the praise and worship team, the basketball club or the usher's board. In short, you should not join a church for its activities.
Too many people have done this. They haven't linked to the divine portions of their spiritual fathers and the deposits of their spiritual mothers. God's Word gives us this advice:
"My son, hear the instruction of your father; reject not nor forsake the teaching of your mother. For they are a [victor's] chaplet (garland) of grace upon your head and chains and pendants [of gold worn by kings] for your neck" (Prov. 1:8-9, The Amplified Bible).
People--like sheep--must be led. Why? People can easily become entangled with their peers in situations that magnify issues they have not dealt with. They come to church, but their hearts are not in the right posture.
Leaders have been called to feed, which means those being led must eat. The Bible's pattern is clear--spiritual leaders are to lead, and we are to submit to them for spiritual direction.
Jesus addressed our need for spiritual leadership when He talked to His disciples, who were future leaders. In the following verses we can identify the posture we must have as believers if we desire to obtain our Father's portion.
"Jesus said to them, Come [and] have breakfast. But none of the disciples ventured or dared to ask Him, Who are You? because they [well] knew that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so also [with] the fish" (John 21:12-17).
The Father's portion is a meal that satisfies, and it must be digested in order to work in our lives. So when we walk through the doors of the church, we should be prepared to worship the Father and receive a meal from His table.
EATING WELL A dietician will tell you the best time to eat isn't when you're starving--because you will eat anything. That's our problem. Too many in the body of Christ are starving because we eat a healthy meal only once or twice a week.
In other words, we don't maintain intimacy with God on a daily basis, so we can't even digest properly what we receive from Him. We are malnourished.
Recently I have been changing my diet and lifestyle. The first time I went to the dietician's office, they inquired about what I had been eating. I told them I had been eating one big meal each day, though I snacked on potato chips and other quick foods throughout the day. When I wanted to lose weight and started removing snacks and sodas from my diet, I couldn't lose the excess pounds--even though I was still eating just one meal a day.
After I described my eating habits, they told me why I hadn't been able to lose the weight. My body knew that it would get only one full meal a day, so it kicked into survival mode. In other words, it held onto that one meal and turned it into fat reserves. Therefore, the meal wasn't giving me the energy I needed to do what I had to do.
They told me to start eating at least six mini-meals a day, and along with that to increase my water intake. That way, my body would know that it didn't have to turn each meal into fat storage. It would understand that another meal would be coming in two hours, so it would turn each meal into energy.
As I was faithful to the new diet and lifestyle, my metabolism started kicking in.
And when this happened, everything began to change, including the appearance of my skin. Even better, the excess weight started dropping off.
This same dynamic happens in the spirit realm. If your spirit man knows that it's going to get only one meal, you won't be able to lose the "excess flesh" you've been carrying around. One meal a week is not enough to make your spiritual metabolism kick in and burn off everything that is not pleasing to God.
You must increase your intake of balanced meals in order to digest the Word of God properly. Through this consistent intimacy with the Father, your character will begin to change. You will become a mature Christian.
A healthy walk with the Lord cannot be developed on a one-day-a-week meal; it must be nurtured every hour of every day. This is why the Bible tells us we must always pray and not faint (see Luke 18:1-8). Praying allows us to stay in communication with God throughout the day and builds our faith to believe that He hears the cries of His people.
How does this tie into our relationship with leadership? Just as our heavenly Father requires us to be in constant communion with Him, He wants us to go as often as we can to eat from the table of the "messenger" He has sent to stand in His stead on the earth. It is all part of the process.
Spiritual leaders stand in the stead of the Father. If you do not have a relationship with your spiritual leaders, God will not stop until He establishes that relationship. The Father is concerned about every individual sitting in the pews, but His primary goal is relationships--with Him and with those who represent Him in leadership. He is a God who moves through divine order.
That is also why He didn't send an angel or another created being to fulfill His plan of redemption. He sent His very own Son. In doing so, God was helping humanity to understand that deliverance must come through the relationship of family. Deliverance comes through the bloodline. Deliverance comes through God's being our heavenly Father--and our being children of the Royal Family.
Leadership is supposed to be set up in our hearts as well as in our churches. This is His order. And when the body of Christ receives this revelation, our spiritual metabolism will kick in and cause us to shed the excess flesh that has hindered our growth and development as a family in Christ.
At this point, you may be considering the conditions in your own church. You might be thinking: But you don't know what I've been through. You don't know about the Jezebel who is trying to take over our church. You don't know how many times I have been humiliated and embarrassed by people in leadership positions.
I can respond to your objections by saying, "I can identify!" I have experienced the same types of things. What I didn't realize at the time is that God has a remedy for every condition I was experiencing.
I had to come to grips with this important fact: If God didn't tell me to leave my church, then I couldn't go anywhere. And if God is not telling you to leave your church, then you might as well buckle your seatbelt because He is preparing you for your next level. Believe me when I tell you, He is about to birth something great in you--and you cannot give birth while running.
You may think that it is time to switch ministries, but it may just be time for you to switch your "spiritual seat" and begin to see through the revelatory eyes of the Spirit. That's what I did...and it changed my life. So pull your chair up to your father's table, and dig in!
Juanita Bynum is a speaker, writer and TV host.
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