"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, lest they be discouraged" (Col. 3:21, MEV).
I have read this verse many times and always applied it as a natural father dealing with children, but I believe there is another level. This same verse can be applied to spiritual fathers. Spiritual fathers are called to identify, declare, impart, activate and release the next generation to destiny. If we hold them back, squashing the authentic calling upon their lives, we create a well of bitterness and anger.
How many world changers have been sidelined by Saul leaders who refused to empower and equip them? All too often, apostolic leaders who should be identifying and activating the next generation instead restrict and control them. They place a demonic lid upon their gifts and potential because they are operating from a place of deep insecurity. When their protégés begin to advance beyond them, it triggers their insecurity just as Saul became enraged by David's acceleration.
"When they came home, as David was returning from slaying the Philistine, the women came out from all cities of Israel to meet King Saul, singing and dancing, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. The dancing women sang and said, 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.' Saul became very angry, and this saying was displeasing to him. Therefore he said, 'They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what remains for him to have but the kingdom?' So Saul was suspicious of David from that day and forward" (1 Sam. 18:6-9, MEV).
Saul was vexed by the promotion of David. Far too many ministries are dominated by a Saul mentality that creates a toxic atmosphere of pain and rejection. The reality is that we, as children of God and spiritual leaders, must allow Holy Spirit to examine and challenge our hearts. We must get healed and lead from a place of humility and honesty.
There are many who want to prophesy the gifts of others but refuse to pour into them and prepare them for destiny. There are also many who carry an apostolic title but do very little to actually invest into sons and daughters, launching them forth in power. This is one of the absolute pillars of apostolic ministry, divine reproduction and release. We are made to train and equip others, who we will then release for responsibility and promotion.
There is a Malachi mandate that releases a prophetic picture of the hearts of the fathers turning toward sons and daughters.
"See, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreaded day of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse" (Mal. 4:5-6, MEV).
God is raising up a prophetic movement, establishing the hearts of spiritual mothers and fathers in love toward sons and daughters. He is birthing a paradigm of ministry where one generation does not live for its own destiny but they are intentional about the destiny of the next generation. They labor, pray, and build in order to create a platform for sons and daughters. This takes extreme commitment and requires a totally different way of thinking and functioning. The ministry becomes more team oriented and intentionally develops others. It is not a one man or one woman paradigm, but a family advancing together.
There are a lot of confused and angry men and women who were looking to be confirmed and identified, but instead were controlled, confined and dominated. Let me be clear, for every call, there is a process! No good father or mother just shoves a young leader out of the nest.
I am not advocating sloppy promotion. I am not saying that leaders just approve of everybody and everything. On the contrary, I believe that a good father brings correction and instruction.
"I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you" (1 Cor. 4:14, MEV).
Paul issues a strong warning here! The Bible says that God corrects us as a Father.
"My son, do not despise the discipline from the Lord, nor grow weary when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and scourges every son whom He receives" (Heb. 12:5-6, MEV).
Fathers need to say no. Fathers need to discipline. Correction fuels growth and creates health! Spiritual fathers and mothers will bring correction, but it flows through relationship. They are invested in the mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of those they love.
Fathers also need to empower and release as God leads. When there is no release, there is anger and then discouragement. There are vital ministries that have been sidelined by wounds inflicted by insecure leaders who had no vision to empower the next generation.
I see in my spirit a massive shift happening. The Lord is bringing forth leaders with hearts like David who are for the underdog and willing to pour out! He is opening the doors of favor to those who have a pure heart and are willing to mantle the next generation. We must be a people that is willing to sow into the destinies of emerging leaders and equip them for their assignment.
As we launch into this type of ministry, we will actually move from addition to multiplication. We move from a single man or woman doing exploits, to a family having amplified impact. This is the hour to fulfill the Malachi mandate and bring healing to many.
Ryan LeStrange started in ministry after training and serving under his spiritual father, Dr. Norvel Hayes. Ryan and his wife, Joy, lead Impact International Ministries, based in Bristol, Virginia. The ministry consists of several local churches and revival ministries. Through Ryan LeStrange Ministries, he travels the globe preaching, igniting revival and moving in the power of God. Ryan can be seen weekly on his television program, Power 4 Today, airing around the world on GodTV. He is the founder and apostle of Impact International Apostolic Fellowship, networking and fathering ministers around the world. Ryan has written several books releasing an apostolic and prophetic perspective to the body of Christ.
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