Ephesians 6:1-2 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise”. This scripture describes two kinds of parents you can have; you can have biological parents and also parents in the things of the Lord. People usually refer to fathers in the things of the Lord as “spiritual fathers”. Paul also mentions it in 1 Corinthians 4:15-17.
15 “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church”.
Paul calls Timothy his son and in this verse, he states the fact that a father in the Lord must be one. Paul stated that He must be the standard when it comes to following Jesus so you follow him as he follows Jesus. So having a father in the Lord is scriptural.
When I got closer to the things of God, I had many men of God that I was speaking to; some I met through people and I would call them when I had issues, etc. My relationship with Pastors wasn’t that close, till one day I had a dream. The dream indicated that I had to draw close to my current father in the Lord, Apostle Joseph Kwadwo Yeboah. In the dream, he was teaching me something profound in the Bible and afterwards, the dream moved into another scene where I was teaching other people many things from the scripture he had taught me. The dream was self explanatory so I knew I had to go to him directly for spiritual tutelage. I however did not rush and go to him till one dawn while praying, God spoke a word to me and asked me to go to him and tell him about the encounters I was having; and God added a prophetic word that will confirm my encounters. When I met with my father in the Lord and told him what God had asked me to tell him, he marveled. That was the beginning of our relationship as father and son.
Many people ask why won’t God continue to lead me directly but wants me to understudy someone? The Bible defines the place of spiritual authority. We read stories of how Joshua served Moses, Elisha served and understudied Elijah, and David served Saul. It is important to note that these men learnt so much about their ministries and callings by learning from their predecessors including their strengths and weaknesses. You need a spiritual authority to learn from their experiences. They have been where you are in ministry and there are many things they can share with you that can stop you from entering into error in ministry.
You need a spiritual authority to know the prescribed and heavenly ordained methods eg. Elijah parted the Jordan with a mantle (his cloak) and Elisha did the same. After Elisha saw how Elijah parted the Jordan in 2 Kings 2, when he caught the mantle, he did similar in 2 Kings 2:14, which reads:
“Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over. You can learn how to deal with certain issues in ministry by observing how your spiritual father has dealt with it. Remember Solomon says there is nothing new under the son”.
You need a spiritual covering to be a beneficiary of their covenant with God. Solomon enjoyed the covenant his father had with God. Solomon’s throne was established because of God’s promise to David. 2 Samuel 7:12-13 reads:
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever”.
Some people experience exponential growth when they are commissioned in ministry because God has graced their spiritual fathers with such anointings. There are people who enjoy financial overflows and operate spectacular prophetic graces in their ministries because of God’s covenant with their spiritual covering.
Spiritually gifted people can feel very powerful and with independence, they can easily fall, fail or bring the ministry into disrepute; so it is important to have someone in authority to prompt, rebuke, and correct you when you are walking on the wrong path. You need someone to scold you and shout at you like Paul did to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 4) You will need an authority to guide you so you do not crash with your giftings.
You also need a spiritual authority to help you in discerning the voice of the Lord. Samuel heard the audible voice of the Lord but could not discern who it was. Eli helped Samuel in discerning the voice of the Lord and also gave him the key to unlocking details from the Lord. Your spiritual authority has walked with God longer than you and they know many things about the ways of the Lord than you, and God can use them in helping you discern his voice to help you in your own walk with Him. Your spiritual authority can help you grow your giftings to greater dimensions. Samuel would have been stuck at hearing God calling his name, but by Eli’s instruction on how to respond, he was able to unlock the full message from God. You need a spiritual authority to help you unlock the giftings God has given to you.
You need a spiritual authority if you desire greater works because when Jesus walked on the earth He served as a spiritual authority over the disciples. He spent 3 and half years teaching and guiding them and when he was about to ascend he gave them power to do greater works. Also, when Elisha was about to ascend, Elisha caught his mantle, which propelled him on to greater works (a double portion of Elijah’s anointing). It was the same with Moses; when he died He imparted into Joshua and this propelled him on to greater works. He was able to lead the Israelites to the promised land and was able to cause the sun to stand still supernaturally.
Although it is important to have spiritual authority, you must be led by God to whom He has sent you to. God spoke Cornelius about Apostle Peter in Acts 10. God must speak clearly to you about who you should understudy. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. I will speak about how to relate with spiritual authorities in Part 2 of this post. Share with us how you knew who your spiritual authority was.