This past weekend, I was privileged to share at IHOPE and the Vineyard about something the Lord has been speaking to me about lately- spiritual mothering and fathering.
I have been blessed to be spiritually mothered and fathered by many people in my life. Some of these relationships were just for a season, others have been and will be over many years, some are for a lifetime. My first and most “life-long” spiritual mother is my own mom. She passed on to me what she knew about God– taught me how to pray, taught me by her life example that God is a part of every part of our lives- she showed me that being a Christian means having a real and growing relationship with God.
As I have been mothered and fathered spiritually, I have also mothered others. As Christians, we are all both spiritual children and spiritual parents. We ALL start out on the same playing field- children of our Heavenly Daddy. So, we are children. We are raised up by those who have gone before us. We pour out into those around us who are hungry, broken, and journeying with Jesus. So, we are parents. As we pour out, we are still encouraged and strengthened by the Spirit of God and godly men and women. So, we are children. We are both! Spiritual parenting is both cyclical and directional.
I have A LOT of thoughts about this topic, so to get the conversation started, I will just cut to the chase and tell you what I really think about spiritual mothering and fathering:
The reality is this: EVERY Christian is called to spiritually mother and father those “younger” than them (sometimes this is an age factor, sometimes it is a spiritual maturity factor).
The requirement is this: pass on WHAT YOU HAVE. Pass on the wise and Spirit-led counsel you have received from others, from the Word, and personal revelation God has given you.
You don’t have to be a superstar Christian to spiritually parent. You don’t have to even be a “good” Christian to spiritually parent. We realize that the phrase “good Christian” is an oxymoron, right? We are Christian precisely because we AREN’T good apart from God. We have much better spiritual clothing than our own “goodness”- we have Christ’s righteousness. I say that to preface this exhortation: DON’T YOU DARE DISQUALIFY YOURSELF from being a spiritual mom or dad. The younger generation (in age and spiritual maturity) NEED you. If we don’t rise up as spiritual parents and name the younger generation, someone else will- the world, the enemy, and humanity’s own perverted and distorted view of who we are without God- THEY WILL NAME the younger generation if we don’t do it. It is a parent’s job to name children and call them to the fullness of their true identity in Christ.
The enemy is more than willing to make children his own and name them. Are you?