I love the true stories in Scripture which go epic. The sure fire way to ascertain if the story will go epic quickly is contained in these key words: “The Spirit of the Lord came upon. . . .”
For years, I’ve grappled with the question—how can a person who moved in synchronization with the Spirit of the Lord and accomplished such mighty feats end up in such epic failure?
Think Samson whose life ended with him blind and by suicide. Gideon who immediately built a graven image from the gold of the spoils he’d won by the Spirit of the Lord which caused his whole community to sin—and whose rebellious son killed his heirs. Jephthah who made a tragic vow, lost his precious only daughter after a great victory, and died broken-hearted six years later.
I know we live in the New Covenant with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to cover our sins and grant us freedom, thank God, but not all people who’ve moved mightily in the Spirit of the Lord under the New Covenant have finished well, either.
Father began to reveal to me the difference between the Spirit of the Lord and our spirit, and how it’s His desire for His Spirit to work with our spirit (Spoiler Alert: Success for this endeavor rests on our end!).
When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon a person, Old Covenant or New, epic feats are accomplished.
However, it’s the life lived in the middle parts that determine whether the person will complete their life well or not. Father always ends things on a good note, so He’s on our side to finish well. Thus, it’s up to us to work with Him in order to accomplish the happy ending.
Our children who’ve been nurtured spirit first (and those to whom Father gives an extra measure of grace) have a full-throttle approach to life because of their inner health. They are at a higher level of energy, functionality, engagement, enthusiasm, etc. because of their spirit health.
Because of their inner health thanks to Father and parental investment, they have these strong reactions in their will, emotions, and thoughts (and opinions!). Living with these reactions 24/7 can weary us as parents.
Consider the story of Samson. He was so demanding! Father designed Samson to be a forceful person—in fact, the spirit of might described in Isaiah 11 is connected with strength and valor, indicating force.
Samson demanded his parents get him a Philistine wife. At their reply which accosted his request, but was marked with resignation nonetheless, he bluntly retorted, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me.” Judges 14:1-3. Honestly, this is not the respectful conversation exchange we’d expect between a grown Israeli man and his law-abiding parents.
It turned out that Samson was right that time—the Lord did intend him to walk in that direction to incite the Philistines. However, the point is that Samson, with his nurtured spirit and the Spirit of the Lord upon him, was accustomed to getting his way, being unrestrained by his parents as he forced his will on them. The force was right; it was Father’s design for Samson, but the direction and self-will-guidance of the force was wrong.
His dad’s response indicates weariness with his son’s constant force, and the resignation that comes from the constancy, Judges 14:3.
Father’s plan for this process of raising children spirit-first is two-fold. He intends for parents to nurture and train the children, and He intends to mature us through them. For Samson’s parents, this would have been to recognize that his forceful nature was Father’s design, to bless it, and to partner with Father to shape it. This would include their they modeling and enforcing healthy boundaries in the family, and helping Samson learn to process his emotions and moderate his responses. That process would have helped Samson’s parents mature as they had to face his forcefulness and overcome their fear and passivity.
Of utmost, eternal importance is this process.
If we do not engage with our issues with the Father, and stay engaged with our children, they will grow into adulthood with the thought/belief/behavior patterns such as: anger fits are acceptable, self-control is optional, and speaking up is futile, not necessary, and/or not worthy of using respect in conversation, as well as a host of other issues.
Our goal is that when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon our children causing them to accomplish epic feats, that they can walk out the rest of their lives from a heart (spirit and soul) that desires to and follows through with putting Father first-place so that no matter what the mighty works they accomplish they will be able to finish well.
If you’re reading this, you’re called to help prepare your children, grandchildren, or someone in the next generation to be ready for Joel 2:28 so that they can: 1. sustain life with Father daily 2. be ready for the times when His Spirit comes upon them in might and prophesy, and then 3. step back into daily life without undisciplined (or untrained) places sabotaging themselves or their destiny.
To that end, we parents must stay engaged with Father on our issues (this is a daily stance, not 24/7. Father backs our God-designed human need to build in breaks to our lives, rest and rejuvenate, take care of our needs, for sure.). Further, we parents, by dedicating this goal to the Father, by His grace, must not give in to a spirit of resignation, acquiescence or blissful ignorance to our children’s issues as they grow and develop.
My prayer for you:
Father, thank You for these parents, grandparents and caregivers. Thank You for sending the unique children You have chosen to send them for their mutual love and care, and for Your eternal plan in their generations. Please make space and grace in their lives for them to be able to renew and refresh so that they can sustain the marathon of raising their children spirit-first. Please show them what to do and what to drop so that they have continued grace and space in their lives.
Shine Your light and reveal to the parents (and those in the parental role) what You are wanting to work on in their lives specific to the season they’re in, and send Your Holy Spirit to do this work deeply as You strengthen and encourage them.
Shine Your light and reveal to the parents (and those in the parental role) what You are wanting to work on in their children’s lives specific to the season they’re in, and send Your Holy Spirit to do this work deeply as You strengthen and encourage them. Father, give wisdom to the parents on how to approach, grow, and train their children, specifically as You desire and direct, and adjust their “issues” specifically by Your Holy Spirit.
Please release all the resources into their lives in Heaven and on earth in order to work with You in this process of raising/nurturing/training their children and growing in their own personal inner maturity. Restore the years eaten by locusts. Prepare them each (parents and children) in their spirits and souls to be ready vessels for the Spirit of the Lord to come upon them and stay upon them as You did upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Get them ready for the Joel 2:28 outpouring! Restore them personally and generationally, and do much more. Grant them greater grace because of the greater sin that abounds in our days. Quicken them to recognize the opportunities You open between them and You, and between them and their children, and give them energy and desire to act so that the time can be redeemed in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
by Crystal Wade, copyright 2018