Hearing through covering.
Four years ago or so, my friend and now one of my spiritual fathers Andy Taylor, asked me this question in response to my asking him what I should do about some situation: “what is the Father saying to you?” It was a question that began to change my life, because for the first time I started listening to the voice in my heart instead of the voice in my head. An essential part of the Trinity DNA is to point people to the Father as the source of their direction and decisions rather than handing out advice that may or may not be the will of their Father. It is the right way, even though at times it is easier to dispense or receive advice, rather than to wait for the Father.
But like all good and right things you can sometimes get in the ditch by not recognising there is at least one other important way to hear and move in the Spirit. If we are staying in step with the Spirit we must be, in most circumstances, in relationship with other Family members. The Spirit walk is not to be lived in isolation. Just like we are born naturally into a family, when we are born again spiritually we become part of a Family that is as important as any natural one.
Being part of a Family where you are loved, affirmed, valued, encouraged and free to grow and fail is called a covering. Under the covering of a true spiritual Family you are known as you know, your heart is knit together by the Spirit with others, and just like there is no way to be separated from the love of the Father there is no way to be separated from His true Family either.
Under this covering there is safety. There is freedom. There is failure and there is success. Under the covering there also must be direction. Spiritual families have parents just like natural families do. In a spiritual Family we have fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles and cousins. Sometimes I am as close as a brother to my Family and we relate on that level. I do not know all of my Family equally well and so relate to some more as I do my natural cousins. Sometimes for my spiritual family I serve in the role of a father/mother. And sometimes I am functioning as a son to someone else who is my father/mother.
Fathers and mothers provide direction to a natural family and they must also in the Spiritual family. I am not suggesting they are always telling us what to do, as that would negate the first principle of each Family member hearing The Father for themselves, but where and when there are decisions that in one way or another effect the life of the whole Family, then under the covering there are is a place for the Family fathers and mothers to give direction.
When those of us who serve as fathers and mothers (which in reality we all do at times) refuse to give counsel by hiding behind the first principle of hearing the Father for ourselves, we miss one of the ways the Father uses to move the whole Family in the way He is calling all of us to go and we end up in the ditch, just as we do when we are always depending on others to tell us what to do.
No question, learning to hear the voice of the Father for ourselves is preeminent. Nothing is more important and without an ability to clearly distinguish the Father’s Voice from the myriad of other family members voices that try to give direction, we will end up going from one thing to another without direction or focus and we will end up doing what others think we should do at the expense of doing what the Father wants us to do.
But under the safety of the Family Covering there are times when we need to hear the voice of fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers and even a few cousins, to confirm or affirm what we are hearing the Father say. There is also, in the safety of the covering, a place for our spiritual parents to tell us what they think is best for the whole Family, when one of us is faced with a decision that may affect us all.
Hearing the Father for yourself is essential but counsel from under the covering is a complimentary way to hear Him as well.
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