Finding a Place as a Son
Several years ago, James Jordan was speaking at our annual supporters' conference and asked the question, "Whose son are you?"
Immediately my walls of resistance sprang up. My mind flashed back twenty years to the beginning of our ministry. The old discipleship movement was around and without even knowing it, Jack and I were caught in the middle of it.
The movement began with group of men, leaders in the charismatic renewal of the seventies, who came together to hold all things in common. But what began as a good idea gradually went off balance. These same men began to adopt other “sons” who became spiritual “fathers.” Slowly the move degenerated to a place where disagreement with one’s spiritual father resulted in your being labeled as rebellious if you were a man or a “Jezebel,” if you happened to be a female.
I had always had an analytical mind, and needing more information than most people in order to understand what was being asked of me, I was constantly asking, “Why?”
But the fear of being labeled rebellious caused me to begin to live a life of blind obedience.
Even during times when I felt the Lord was saying something different to me, I disobeyed God and obeyed man. I became afraid to offer my ideas for fear that I was not a good servant. However, serving someone and really being a true son are two very different things.
To an insecure leader, being a good servant means allowing the leader to define who you are. In order to demonstrate loyalty to this kind of leader, you must obey without question to prove that your heart is right toward them.
However, anyone, good servant or not, becomes very frustrated when he or she is not allowed to ask the questions of conscience. When a leader forces those he leads to bury honest questions, he despises the valuable input from those God has placed around him and stunts the spiritual growth of his followers.
Eventually, under this kind of leadership, I became angry, a volcano ready to erupt on anyone. Unfortunately, I tended to spew all over my dear husband, Jack. I certainly would never spew on those father figures and my hidden resentment toward them continued to grow.
Why were the father and mother figures in my life trying to define who I was instead of helping me to discover who God had created me to be, I wondered? Why did God give me the ability to think creatively, outside the box, to see those things others didn’t initially notice, if I were not allowed to use that gift? I desperately wanted those I served to see my gifts and talents and help me develop my spiritual identity.
So, that night many years later when James Jordan asked, “Who is your spiritual father?” suddenly all the negative emotions erupted again. This time I had matured spiritually and had learned to ask myself the painful question, “Why does this bother me?”
I knew that unless I found the answer, I could not become a spiritual parent myself. I needed to become a real son/ daughter and forgive those authorities in my life for not meeting my expectations. As I prayed, the Lord led me on a path of discovery about myself that eventually led to greater spiritual maturity and a revelation of spiritual sonship. This is what I learned.
TAKING A LOOK AT MYSELF
As I examined myself with God’s help, I realized that I was more aware of my leaders’ responsibility toward me than my responsibility toward them. I began to use my analytical mind to ponder the issue of sonship. I saw that I had been looking to men to assume responsibility to teach me what only the Father could teach me.
I began to study the example of the greatest Son I knew to discover how He learned to become such a good son. I once heard my husband, Jack, say that Jesus was a good son because of the Father that He had. He could be that good son because I John 4:16 tells us that God, His Father, is love. It isn’t hard to be son when you know your Father loves you and you trust Him implicitly.
But what sort of love is this? In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul explains it.
“Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love is not proud or rude. Love is never irritable or keeps records of wrong done unto it. Love never gives up, never loses hope, is always full of faith. Love endures through every circumstance. Love is never glad about injustice but rejoices in truth. Love does not demand its own way.”
This is the love the Holy Spirit alone can place in our hearts. It is supernatural, but it is available to every Christian.
I wanted this love and began to study the scriptures. I wanted to know whose “son” I was. In addition to studying the word, I began to take a good look at my spiritual heritage by looking at my first spiritual parents, my own mom and dad.
I grew up with good parents who loved me more than life and took me to church every Sunday, but in my spiritual development I only felt valued if I were serving without asking any questions. But where did this need to question everything come from? I wondered, am I really that analytical or is it just an excuse not to walk in blind obedience?
During this time I also learned about word curses, negative accusations and statements people pronounce over others. When you believe false statements about yourself, you really believe Satan’s opinion of you, lies sometimes disguised as half-truths, about who you really are. Those words can create a highway for you to travel down the rest of your life if you choose to embrace them. I asked Jesus to show me where I may have embraced a word spoken over me that became a curse in my life.
I had been analytical from childhood. Jesus took me back to a moment that my mom and dad unknowingly spoke what amounted to a “curse” over me. That day, in particular, they were tired of my many questions.
“Trisha you would argue with the devil!” they said.
My parents had no idea then that I would suffer a lasting effect from that statement. When it left their mouths, I began to believe it and conform myself to it. Those words, which really came from Satan, the first spiritual orphan, led me into a lifestyle of orphan-like thinking that lasted into adulthood. I began to think like a spiritual orphan, someone who feels like they have no value, no home where they feel safe.
"I was afraid to think outside the box"
I only felt valued by spiritual fathers/mothers in my life if I were serving them. Subtly the devil, the father of spiritual orphans used those words to sabotage my destiny. He deceived me into believing that I was not a creative thinker with innovative ideas and creative inventions. Instead, I concluded, my questions came from my rebellion.
From that moment on, I never felt valued for being creative. I was afraid to think outside the box. The deception that I was rebellious then became a highway of deception in my life that caused me to shut off my own creativity. That fear caused me to put up walls against anyone who resembled a father or mother influence in my life. I could not respond to authority figures in any healthy way. While I wore the mantle of a good little servant, underneath I wanted to explode with a thousand questions, all beginning with the word, “WHY?”
Before I could become a “son,” I had to deal with my own orphan thinking that had created in me the temptation to reject authority. I realized that I needed the help of a trusted Christian friend to help me discover the deep issues of my orphan heart and bring my wounds into the light so that my mind could be renewed.
I opened my heart up first to my husband Jack who himself had been walking down his own path toward spiritual sonship. I saw in Jack the humility that enabled him to confess sins of resentment and repent of how he had not appreciated the spiritual fathers in his own life. I heard him confess his orphan thinking to Pastor Houston Miles of Evangel Cathedral, Spartinburg, SC where we had once served on staff.
When Jack confessed his sin, he never blame shifted or gave excuses. He simply brought into the light how he had responded to the times he felt he did not have a place in Pastor Miles’ heart. He repented for allowing his resentment to keep him from wholeheartedly supporting the vision at Evangel. Instead of helping to make it successful, he had separated himself in his heart and had drawn a following of people to himself.
Watching my husband confess his sin caused me to realize that situations in my life had hindered me from feeling as if I had a home in a spiritual father/mother’s heart.
I had to consciously break the power of those words that were spoken over me during my childhood which I had believed and were now stunting my spiritual growth. If you are serious about walking in the Holy Spirit and sonship, you must, with God’s help, look at all of the issues in your life that hinder you. If you do not, then you will hide your true spiritual identity under a mask of religious denial and will walk, instead, in a form of spiritual slavery.
MY PATH HOME
While there is no formula to follow, there are several steps that I took to that place of sonship, into knowing that I had a home in the hearts of my spiritual parents.
The first step came when the Lord showed me that a curse was in operation in my life: “Trisha, you would argue with the devil!” Being set free from that word curse required more of me that just commanding the words to fall to the ground, I had to forgive those who had spoken curses over me.
With God’s help, I consciously forgave them.
I then repented for allowing my spirit to believe those lies. Next I stepped behind the cross, consciously placing it between me and those words. With the cross between me and those words, I disciplined my thought life by recognizing and refusing to listen to the orphan thinking that tried for a time to replay the curses in my head.
I didn’t stop there. I asked some of the authority figures in my life to forgive me for the times I responded to them with my orphan thinking rather than with God’s love.
I began to allow the Holy Spirit to develop a heart of sonship toward the authorities in my life and found that place of sonship in their hearts. I now seek to find out what is important to them and position myself under the vision God, our Father, has given to them by making it important to me.
Now I am no longer a slave, but a son and am free to serve without fear respecting the spiritual fathers and mothers God has put in my life to help me learn. I believe they would tell you now that I am a “son” that they can depend on to make what is important to them important to me.
So I ask you now the question that started me on my journey, “Whose son are you?”