As a parent we recognize the various stages of life our children go through. First their is the newborn, totally dependent on us, then the young child, filled with passion and enthusiasm. After that comes the older child, a bit more externally focused but still keen to please parents.
Then out of the blue, as the child becomes a young adult with ideas and passions, the rebellious teenage years. As young adults they begin to settle down and find their purpose and passion in life. After that children and their most productive years. Thereafter middle age and grand-parenting and finally the later years with rest from labor and striving.
There is the same cycle as a Christian. We are born again, of Spirit, and filled with the revelation of a whole new dimension, new thought processes, new perspective and revelations. At first we know nothing but are caught up in the Spirit. Everything is new and exciting. We attend church regularly, partake of as many activities as we can, receiving blessing after blessing. Many Christians live for this feeling alone and fall away when the season of young love begins to pass. They never move on from self focus and being fed to wanting to do something for others. Their faith is stifled because it never translates into outward action.
Others press in and as their understanding increases they begin to share their experiences and to evangelize those around them. With faith in action, gifts start to mature and with that comes the discernment of things never noticed before in the church… the carnal, the unrighteous and even evil intent of those that linger within Christianity. There is the crusty and cynical older brethren (who have done it and seen it and invariably know it all), the so called prophet’s and prophetess’s (whose sole purpose seems to curse others, especially the church leadership, under the guise of discernment), the self promoting ‘movers and shakers’ whose intent is to get into position’s of influence and leadership through their natural wealth or skills and then those that just have evil intent to break down the church and others in some way.
It’s a dangerous season because the devil also starts to take notice of you and will move others against you or will attempt to use your immaturity and work through you, against others. (Never forget, making mistakes is part of maturing spiritually). If your church leaders are mature they will be able to channel your passion and emerging gifts and discernment, help you realize your calling and direct you forward, so as to be an asset to the church and the Body of Christ. If however, as is often the case, they rise up against you or take offense because of their own carnality, they will marginalize or rebuke you in some way which will cause pain.
At this point one can humble oneself and repent before the leadership or leave and find another fellowship that can hopefully harness for good that which God is doing in or revealing to you. Sadly most church leaders only recognize their own authority and ministry as God’s authority in the church and they suppress any other gifts or ministry, which is considered a threat. For this reason there are very few active prophets and apostles, few evangelists and fewer teachers and why church’s never move in real power.
Many will leave and wander from church to church become increasingly discontent, feeling they know more than church leaders. The offense is realized when they begin to speak against the church leaders, which is in fact cursing and in so doing become a tool of the devil (like a rebellious teenager, they exercise spiritual rebellion) Others will simply withdraw from contributing and become pew warmers. Many, many Christians don’t move on from this place; they just stop maturing and and that is where their faith remains. They never move on to the fullness of their calling in Christ. God is not really interested if you are correct at this time, He is interested in how you respond to the situation when others reject your discernment or gifting? The response should be humbling oneself, intercession for that leadership, finding small ways to impact lives outside of the church and maturing their gifts further. In due season God will raise up those that are humble and patient. If one can just hold on, be submissive in spite of the rebuke or offense, God can turn it out for good for all – even for the carnal leadership.
Beyond this is the stage of blessing and increase. Christians who have become humble, who do not take offense on behalf of the Cross, who do not judge others but are rather a blessing in the face adversity, have learnt to wait on the Lord to move instead of acting and expecting God to follow…. these are mature Christians who can receive favor, increase, authority and position without being corrupted, without lifting up the self.
There are so few current Church leaders, especially those within the latest response to God’s outpouring (the Charismatics) that have reached this station of authority by going through this ‘4 soils’ schooling of the Holy Spirit . They have short circuited this process in some way and the evidence is clear for all to see. The leadership is in many ways an offense to God.
Thankfully God has been preparing the leadership for the next revival that is coming soon. They have been refined, rejected and have wandered through the desert without purpose or direction. The time is coming soon for these leaders to rise out up out of obscurity and bring forth the greatest revival since the days of the apostles. Their only danger is that of pride. Pride that might come through such great manifestations of the Holy Spirit. I hope not.
And here’s hoping those that have led the previous responses to God’s outpouring will become intercessors for the work instead of judges and accusers as has always happened in the past.