In my Bible reading recently, I was led to read I Chronicles 22. There were several things that stood out to me as I read the account, and in asking the Lord to reveal the message, He showed me that we are entering a season where spiritual mothering and fathering is of utmost importance. Spiritual parenting as a whole should be very similar to natural parenting in that you have a strong desire for your child to succeed in his or her God given purpose. It’s easy to feel this way when it is your own child born of your flesh, but what about spiritual parenting? How do we respond when our spiritual babies surpass us? In natural parenting we WANT our children to do the things we never could, go places we could never go, and have opportunities that we never had, yet in the spiritual realm there is so much jealousy and competition. We who are meant to be spiritual mothers and fathers hoard our gifts rather than impart them, afraid that someone else may get more recognition. Divisions, gossip and slander enter the church as leadership fights for the platform. This should not be, and it grieves the heart of the Father.
Jesus imparted miracles to His disciples and in fact told them that they would do greater things than He. Jesus gave away what He had in order to create an army of men and women who would teach, preach, evangelize and perform miracles signs and wonders in His name. Why are we not doing so? Those who do not have a desire to replicate what Jesus did must examine their hearts. Elijah passed his mantle on to Elisha who asked for twice the anointing his mentor had. Elijah did not flinch but granted his request on the condition that he witnessed Elijah’s departure. He did not worry about his “reputation” or question the fact. The bigger picture is what was most important.
We are living in a time where revival is about to break forth and God’s glory is multiplying and manifesting itself. We cannot be lone rangers hoarding our gifts given to us by God! We need to be mentoring, teaching, imparting and guiding. Those we father and mother will eventually have spiritual babies of their own and the beautiful spiritual birthing process will continue. We are not to just make converts but carriers of His presence and power. We are to equip the saints so the Kingdom of Heaven can be manifested on earth. We are not to create co-dependency but courageous warriors with the Word as their weapon. Our hearts should see the diamond wrapped in coal and intercede, counsel, and equip so the coal dissipates and the light shines through.
A look at David and his son Solomon can teach us a lot about spiritual parenting. What touched me most about this chapter was that David had desired to build the Lord’s Temple, but God would not let Him because of how much blood David shed in war. God told David that his son Solomon would build it instead. Here is what we learn about spiritual parenting through this passage:
- A spiritual parent prepares for what is about to be birthed. 1 Chronicles 22: 2-5 says,
“2So David gave orders to assemble the foreigners residing in Israel, and from among them he appointed stonecutters to prepare dressed stone for building the house of God. 3He provided a large amount of iron to make nails for the doors of the gateways and for the fittings, and more bronze than could be weighed. 4He also provided more cedar logs than could be counted, for the Sidonians and Tyrians had brought large numbers of them to David.”5David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death.
Although David was told that he could not build the Temple, he realized that Solomon was young and inexperienced and most likely would not know how to build a Temple fitting for the Lord. Although it was David that had the vision and the desire, he had no issue with doing the preparation and obediently let Solomon do the building. This reminds me of the importance of the five fold ministry working together. Prophets who receive the vision may want to build, but often times the Lord assigns the Apostle to lay the foundation. It may not always be this way, but in David’s case, a worship warrior, he prepared the materials from his vision and gave it away so it could be built by his son. So many with spiritual gifts today want to be everything; the visionary, the builder, the teacher, the preacher, etc. This is not to say that God does not create those with various gift mixes as He is an out of the box God. This IS to say however that we are not and were never meant to be a one man show. What was important to David is not WHO built the Temple but rather that it was built properly. Those who want to be a one man show or a one woman show stifle the work of the Lord. They are a hindrance rather than a help to the Kingdom of Heaven. We can prepare for God’s work through intercession and birth many spiritual babies through prayer.
- A spiritual parent knows his/her calling purpose and identity in Christ. 1 Chronicles 22:6-10 states,
6Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. 7David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God. 8But this word of the Lord came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. 9But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon,a and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. 10He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’
It’s so important to understand that God was not punishing David because he was a warrior. In fact, David did not go to war without God’s approval. David was a warrior poet, a worshiper, and the apple of God’s eye. This was not condemnation but a simple truth of his purpose. God created David as a warrior and in fulfilling his purpose there was a lot of blood shed. David was not a man of “peace and rest” but his son was. Solomon was being lifted up in a season where God was going to grant Israel peace and rest. This is vastly different from David hiding in caves and other strongholds while being unfairly pursued. One is not better than the other. One man was not more worthy than the other, but their purpose and call was different. David understood this and did not pity himself or leave his son to fend for himself in spite. David shared the Word of the Lord without jealousy or strife. Can we say the same? Are we willing to share a Word in obedience that is difficult to hear and obey? Are we willing to pass the baton to our spiritual offspring even if it is something that we want to do for God ourselves? This is the hard stuff of spiritual parenting, which is why we need a Kingdom mindset which only comes from a heart rooted in identity. David knew who he was in God so he was not threatened by the Word or Solomon’s elevation because David knew that Solomon’s elevation did not mean his own descent. I think this is an important point to meditate on. We often look at someone else’s success as our failure, so when God gets ready to promote someone else this faulty lens can create a spirit of jealousy. We must understand that this is not a lateral comparison. The finger is not better than the hand nor is the leg greater than the arm. All are needed to make the body work well and effectively. Solomon was a man of peace but peace is often achieved through the wars fought before. Both David and Solomon were needed to fulfill task even though their roles differed.
- A spiritual parent speaks life and wisdom over their offspring. 1 Chronicles 22:11-13 says,
11“Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”
In the natural, parenting requires discipline but more often it requires speaking wisdom and life over your children. Always pointing out what is wrong is way to discourage and frustrate a child. Yet time and time again I have seen leaders speak curses over their offspring. Rather than lifting up they tear down with critical attitudes and complaining. This is not the true heart of a leader. Spiritual parenting requires patience and words spoken over offspring should be blessings and wise advice. The heart of a true spiritual parent is one that strongly desires the manifestation of God’s destiny over their child. They water and refresh with encouragement and truth, planting seeds of wisdom. Understand that correction is not criticism; but the heart differentates the two. Correction spoken with a heart looking to tear down is criticism, but a correction spoken in love is the heart of wisdom.
- A spiritual parent knows the season to release. 1 Chronicles 22:14-16 states,
14“I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the Lord a hundred thousand talentsb of gold, a million talentsc of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone. And you may add to them. 15You have many workers: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as those skilled in every kind of work 16in gold and silver, bronze and iron—craftsmen beyond number. Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.”
There are many different seasons in natural parenting. The diaper season is what I despised the most. Cleaning up those messes was not the fun part of parenting. It was such a great thing when my son learned to go to the bathroom on his own. I was so excited yet a part of me was sad too. Sure, I was happy to not have to change the diapers but during the diaper stage my son needed me in a way that he no longer did. It’s so important that we encourage our spiritual offspring to fly on their own. When we try to keep spiritual offspring in diapers we are harming them immensely creating a dependency on us rather than God. I have seen leaders who enjoy the dependency of their spiritual offspring because it makes them an idol to be worshipped. Again, this is the wrong heart. Our goal as spiritual parents should always be to equip our offspring so they develop a deep dependence on the Holy Spirit to fulfill the task assigned them. David left Solomon with many materials and reminded his son of what he had at his disposal, materials and the Lord. With that he released his son and commissioned him to perform the task. David did not insert himself into the project or try to control it. He left the vision, the plans, and the materials. He reminded his son Solomon that he had all he needed, he was not alone.
- A spiritual parent introduces their child to a community of likeminded leadership. 1 Chronicles 22:17-19 says,
17Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon. 18He said to them, “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not granted you rest on every side? For he has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subject to the Lord and to his people. 19Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.”
Community is such an important aspect of natural parenting. No parent has ever been successful trying to do it all alone. Whether it be a network of family, friends, or church family, parenting is most successful when there is a support system of like minded people. Unhealthy leaders isolate themselves and their spiritual offspring creating a co-dependent toxic relationship. Healthy spiritual parents invite their offspring to fellowship with other likeminded leaders that will assist them in Kingdom tasks. Before commissioning his son to build the Temple, David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son. David was still King and rather than use his authority to benefit himself, he used it to create a network of support for his son Solomon to complete his task. Remember that the overall mission was the completion of the Temple, and Solomon could not complete the task alone. When a spiritual parent releases their offspring they don’t do so without making sure that there is a group of leaders to hold them accountable.
Spiritual offspring who are not taught to hear and heed the voice of Father God will never develop the discernment and wisdom necessary to fulfill their purpose. This is the same in the natural. We, as natural parents, are the voices our children first hear. Eventually, however, other voices will begin to speak and at a certain age if we have not equipped our children to discern the source of that voice then our children will fall into disaster. If children grow into adolescence unable to make a decision without their parents telling them what to do then we have failed as parents. The goal is never to control our children, but sow seeds that will allow them the wisdom to discern the path of righteousness when the age of accountability arrives.
- Spiritual Parenting creates a Father’s Heart /Mother’s Heart legacy
2 Chronicles 1:1 says, “Solomon, the son of King David, now took firm control of the kingdom for the Lord his God was with him and made him very powerful.”
Immediately, God asked Solomon what he desired. He could have asked for anything, but Solomon asked that God keep His promise to David by allowing him wisdom and knowledge to rule such a large kingdom. In turn, God blessed Solomon for his heart. Solomon did not ask for wealth or anything that would indicate personal gain or prosperity. The Father’s heart within Solomon was such that his people would be cared for well.
In 2 Chronicles 1:11-12 “11God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”
In order for spiritual parenting to be successful we must be willing to stop looking at our spiritual offspring through the lens of our own desires, perceptions, and inadequacies, and look through the only lens that matters: the heart of Father God.
Prayer Starter: Father God, I pray that you search my heart so I may be spiritual parent who has the right heart, Your heart, God. Give me the vision to see outside of myself and through the lens of your Kingdom reality. Give me the wisdom to equip, counsel, and uplift this next generation of leaders for your Glory. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.