I have come to the end of the road and cannot move forward. I have received confirmation several times in the span of maybe two or three weeks and so now I can no longer avoid or run from the truth. It’s just like someone with a megaphone in your ear, and they are shouting so loud that it even hurts to a degree. So what it is the issue, you might be asking. Well, I have no choice but to accept that the Lord is calling me into rest. Painfully, I am going to have to find some sort of peace in this because I know now that there are some personal issues that have come up that must be dealt with, and that my endeavors will have to take a backseat for now. A better way of saying it is that communing with God is going to have come before everything that I adore and am hoping for. My life is going to have to be restructured and I will have to commit to changes that might seem undesirable. It is time for me to put the rest the issues of my heart that are holding me back. It is not enough to simply know Jesus Christ as my lord and savior. It is not enough to simply have salvation and operate in my various talents and spiritual gifting. It is now time to know God more intimately as my Father and finally become a son.
Recently, I read a book by Jack Frost entitled, From Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship. To say the least, the words about spiritual slavery described me almost to the nth degree. I’m not going to give you a dissertation about the book, but in short, it is about becoming a son of God and becoming secure in your identity in Christ. Only a son of God will trust Him enough to simply rest in and believe in His promises. A son of the Most High doesn’t strive to get what he wants and doesn’t have anything to prove. He is not moved or threatened by the success of others. A son has connected with the heart of the Heavenly Father in such a way that it brings a supernatural joy and peace that he walks in. He is not anxious, nor jealous, and has learned to delight in the Lord. The son desires a deeper relationship with the Lord more than blessings or success.
A slave in the spiritual sense is constantly doing and does not know how to be a son of God. He doesn’t know how much the Father loves him and lacks a sense of affirmation and worth in simply being who God has created him to be. The slave needs to be busy in order to feel productive. He often needs to feel a sense of accomplishment in order to avoid feeling like a failure. The slave is unable or even maybe unwilling to believe that God wants the best for him and is not withholding anything from him. The slave often times has good intentions but is subject to doing what he wants to do instead of looking for the will of the Father. He is always searching and looking, but often times he has no clue as to what he is looking for.
The perfect example of the spiritual slave is the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15:11-32. He seemingly did everything right and was extremely loyal to his father but felt that he was owed something. He didn’t understand that his father loved him deeply and celebrated him everyday. Seeing his younger brother being celebrated for simply returning home after committing a lifetime of sin was unbearable because he didn’t realize that his father celebrated him everyday. While I believe that I have had the experience of both brothers, more often I have felt very much like the older brother. In one of my earlier posts, I talked about how I felt like I wasn’t properly rewarded for being a “good little church boy” and how it hurt me to my core to not experience certain things that others did. All because I failed to trust in His plan for me and allowed circumstance to convince me that He loved me less. This is some of the worse kind of slavery one can experience.
The truth is that I’ve had the attitude of the slave for a LONG time. This started with me back in my earlier years and never really stopped. The only period I can think of where I may have had some measures of peace and affirmation was the period after I decided to leave my past life behind and follow Christ for real. I miss those days. I had some of the most amazing quiet time experiences and started hearing the Lord’s voice so clearly! I long for those days to come back in some form. What happened was, I then started trying to make up for “lost time.” Reality slapped me upside the head and despite all that I had experienced, I allowed the enemy to come in and poison my mind with the idea that I had wasted too much time. I believed that I was supposed to have been so much more successful and that I needed to start “moving and shaking.” So off to the races went my life. Bombarded with media images, thoughts of all my past failures and the feeling that I had to something to prove to everyone and myself, I started casting several irons into the fire. But it got even worse after my near-death experience in 2008. Now I REALLY had to “succeed” because my present reality looked like failure and I was consumed with ideas that my life was going to be full of disappointment.
So to remedy these thoughts and feelings, I got busy with ministry and my writing. I have become involved in different ministries outside of the four walls of a church in order to gain experience and “build my credentials.” I began to stay busy with ministry as a means for filling a deep void in my heart. They were all irons in the fire so that I could achieve my dream career and overcompensate for what I considered to be a waning social life. They were my ticket to building the life that I believed would fulfill me and to redeeming the times. In addition to the mayhem is my present-day indifference and boredom with the institution of church… So I’m like a car running on empty and my journey to nowhere has reached its end. I have become worn out and tired. My mind is always racing and it is RARE that I even get a full night’s rest or even sleep soundly. My mind is obsessed with the future to where I don’t enjoy the present the way that I should. Spiritual warfare has become heightened as I now know that the enemy is trying to make me lose my mind with all these negative thoughts. Not one day passes where I don’t have at least one “THIS SUCKS!” moment. At the same time, I know that I have placed demands on God, which is a BIG no-no. I have not accepted and trusted in whatever inheritance He has awaiting me. I’ve been trying to earn it, even if I didn’t realize it.
I’m not trying to throw myself under the bus here because God has been gracious and has used me in the midst of my madness. I have grown as a spoken word artist, and I have gained experience with teaching and leading small groups. Most importantly, others have been blessed. However, if I were resting in Him and allowing Him to call the shots, I could have been and would be much more effective. I also no longer want to minister from a place of pain and where it even begins to feel like a burden. But let’s be honest. If it is your season to go forth in your purpose and destiny, all you have to do is move when He says move and do what He says. Everything else will fall into place. If I have to strive on my own to make things happen, that is usually a sign that you are out of His will. For a true son, opportunities will usually present themselves. Even though there will always be challenges, life still flows much more smoothly. A son is never out of position and rests in knowing that he is bringing glory to God, no matter the cost. A slave needs self glory to feel good and is going to pursue whatever looks good, smells good or that which seems like a good idea. A slave is subject to be led by “passions” and desperately needs to be “happy” in the midst of his own chaos. A slave will get burned out over time because he is following his own mission which leads to heartache and death while a son follows the Father’s mission which leads to life and peace. That mission also involves periods of rest as well. (smile) A son is content and has authentic joy because he is resting in the promises of the Heavenly Father.
In closing, I have decided to answer His call to rest. I will need help with this because I am fearful. I don’t even know what rest is going to look like. I already know that I will be consumed with thoughts of “falling behind” and “being overlooked.” Not to long I ago I came face to face with someone who has walked in places where I desire to as well. This just may be a test to see if I love Him or the doors that He can open. The truth is that I’ve forgotten how to have fun and savor the blessings of each day. I have been like the Energizer Bunny and would now be uncomfortable with the very peace that I desire. How sad… My life doesn’t look the way I had hoped, but carrying on the way that I have will only lead to more stress, more tiredness, more anguish and more compulsive activity. The joy of the Lord seems to have departed from me and I don’t have a hunger for His Word. This is what happens when you don’t enter into His rest. Spiritual slavery is just like an addiction, and those caught up in it need an intervention. Hopefully mine begins now.
Nathan Allen Copyright© 2012