Spiritual Fathering

The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.

I have had a number of men and women who have had a significant impact on my life – especially when it comes to my walk with the Lord. The first pair would be my father and mother. I grew up in a Christian home for the most part, seeing my Dad pastor churches ever since I could remember. It was a Christian environment where the Gospel was welcome, lived and spoken. They both mentored me in the ways of life at an early age and gave me spiritual direction during my earliest of decisions.

When I was in junior high, I met a man named Travis Jones. I usually credit Travis as being the one who led me to Christ. While he wasn’t the first person to preach the Gospel to me, he was the one God used to water the seed that had been planted. His selfless love and genuine compassion for me broke through my hard heart. Travis was also the person who, after I made a profession of faith, helped me learn the spiritual disciplines.

When I moved back to Tulsa, OK after I graduated from The Master’s Seminary, I had an older man named Michael Tyler who invested in me and, in many ways, is still doing so. His wisdom is priceless and his devotion to my walk with the Lord is wonderfully encouraging.

Today, I have three elders I serve with at WBC – Mark, Warren and Grady – and in 2014, I had another elder who passed away named Rick who my spiritual fathers are going forward. All these men, my mother and others have all fathered me in my Christian walk.

If you know the Lord, you too have had men and women pour their lives or their time or their energy into you to bring about your spiritual development. Spiritual fathering is a means by which people invest, nurture, prod, love, admonish, teach and instruct us in our walk with the Lord.

Discipleship is a means of one following another. It begins with a believer making disciples through the proclamation of the Gospel, but it doesn’t ends with conversion. It continues with this new believer needing a lifetime of sanctification, which discipleship assists in accomplishing.

Spiritual fathering and discipleship are fairly synonymous. Paul told his spiritual son, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (II Tim 2:2).

It is more than likely that all of us “wear the hat” of being a spiritual father and spiritual children but all of us are involved in this spiritual family in some form or fashion. The man who taught me how to study the Bible, Howard Hendricks, once said,

“Every disciple needs three types of relationships in his life. He needs a ‘Paul’ who can mentor him and challenge him. He needs a ‘Barnabas’ who can come along side and encourage him. And he needs a ‘Timothy,’ someone that he can pour his life into.”

Hendricks says, “Have men and women in your life who challenge you, men and women in your life that you can help, and men and women in your life you can give your life to.”

Spiritual fathering is what we do and what we are a part of. Who are you fathering?

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