Let me start by saying 2 things: 1) this (finding a spiritual father or mother) isn’t easy and 2) I don’t have all of the answers. As I walk through this process of finding my spiritual father, I keep coming across great information and getting revelation that I want to share.
The 2 Defining Characteristics of Christians
Ok, so I admit this a pretty nerdy analogy. But, honestly, it hit me pretty hard after seeing Star Wars Episode VII. When you look at every Jedi, whether they are pursuing the light or the dark side, they have 2 defining characteristics: 1) they can use the force and 2) they have a master teaching them.
When you look at every Jedi, whether they are pursuing the light or the dark side, they have 2 defining characteristics: 1) they can use the force and 2) they have a master teaching them.
What if we, like the Jedi, had 2 defining characteristics? As we watch the film of our lives, we could look at us and say: 1) we have a relationship with God and 2) we have a spiritual father or mother guide us.
Why We Need a Spiritual Father or Mother
Proverbs 29:18 makes it clear that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” A lot of times we lack vision in our spiritual lives. We may understand what we want to do in life or what our calling or purpose is, but we don’t have a vision for how to get there spiritually. A spiritual father or mother keeps us spiritually aligned with our purpose, much like Yoda leading Luke or Palpatine leading Anakin.
The “Been There, Done That” Wisdom
A good spiritual father or mother has years of experience on you. They have seen what you now see. They have experienced your pain. They have walked in your valley. And they have come out as a person that you admire and desire to emulate, just like Paul was able to tell people to “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 11:1. Though the details will often be quite different, the wisdom of how to find spiritual life in those difficult seasons of life will be remarkably similar. The application may differ, but the principle remains the same.
When you choose your spiritual father or mother, you commit yourself to them, not as a slave or blind follower but as a son learning from a father. You recognize that they symbolize the man or woman you want to be for God. When you join your lives together, accountability is required. Spiritual growth can’t happen when you’re holding something back.
Finding a Spiritual Father or Mother
Before you can begin the search, you need to know what you are looking for. Answering a few questions should do the trick. I received these from Jamie Rohrbaugh.
What are you called to do?
What are the core messages of your life and ministry?
Who are your heroes of faith (dead or alive)?
What’s your ultimate dream/goal?
Make A List
Now that you know more about yourself, you can begin to make a list of potential candidates. Be sure to take into consideration such things as:
What is their fruit?
How familiar am I with their life and work?
How accessible are they to me?
What is God speaking to me about this person?
How do they compliment my weaknesses?
Pray and Start Conversations
The best thing you can do now is to begin to pray for these people with the specific goal of guidance from God on the ability to make this decision. When prompted, begin making an effort to contact these people and get a feel for how open they are to this concept. Maybe they’ve never heard of this idea but are open to it. Maybe they know what it is but are already leading somebody else and don’t have the bandwidth to add you in. Maybe they can’t lead you in this season but are open to take you in at a later time.
I wish I could provide more wisdom here, but I’m honestly in this very process myself.
Don’t Eject Early
The process of learning how to receive life spiritually takes time. Patience may be a bad word to some, but it can’t be to us as Christians. The worries of life and the shiny opportunities to gain ground quicker will undoubtedly come before us, but don’t be like Luke Skywalker as he left Yoda’s initial training to go save the world. He wasn’t ready for the battles ahead and ended up needing a hand…ok, maybe that was a bit much! But he literally lost a hand due to his rash decision to eject early.
Stay on target! Don’t get impatient. The goal of finding spiritual life isn’t a race. It’s a war fought with many battles.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Like I said earlier, I don’t have this all figured out. Maybe you have had a spiritual father or mother for years and have tons of experience to share. Why not leave a comment below or, better yet, write your thoughts and share it. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and I can share it on this blog as a follow-up post!