Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

A Case Against Spiritual ‘Fatherism’

Recently, I wrote about three enemies of your purpose you must avoid. First is the average mindset within. Second is your comfort zone. Third are the naysayers around to contend with.

We are often too quick to look outside of ourselves to blame others for our failures. But I believe our biggest challenge is not what others say about or do to us but what we do or fail to do for ourselves. 

That’s why the average mindset is a significant blocker to fulfilling purpose. If you can’t envision it, you can’t achieve it. 

There is no doubt that sometimes you have to deal with naysayers who never see anything good in your efforts, but you also need to learn to ignore them and stay in your lane. Because your race is different. 

Almost obeyed’ isn’t good enough for God

And on to the topic of staying in your lane, this week I found new insights in 1 Kings 13. It’s such a heart-wrenching story that reminds us of the urgency of godly focus, fulfilling purpose and obeying God without compromise.

The chapter starts with these words:

“And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel.”

Though we are never told his name, we must pay close attention to what scripture does tell us.

We have a man (a prophet), his assignment and a place to discharge the call, all of which were specific. And how close he was to perfect obedience! But with God, ‘almost obeyed’ isn’t good enough.

Truth be told, he obeyed God and went to Bethel. He prophesied against the altar with courage and faced king Jeroboam fearlessly.

He performed a couple of signs — 1 Kings 13:3-6. He resisted the offer of the king — 1 Kings 13:7-10. So far, so good… until he met the old prophet. 

The problem with spiritual ‘fatherism’

If you’re familiar with this story, a few things will strike you, including little compromises that eventually led to outright disobedience.

By the way, ever wondered why God needed to send a prophet from Judah to Bethel when there was ‘one’ there? I digress; that’s for another day. 

On reflection, I saw a new dimension to this story and came out with fresh perspective in relation to our purpose and running our spiritual race.

I believe that one of the forgotten morals of this story is the need to categorically reject the notion of spiritual ‘fatherism’ when it comes to obeying God and fulfilling purpose.

When it comes to your obedience to God, it’s between you and God first.

P.S. Don’t confuse spiritual ‘fatherism’ with the role of spiritual fathers in the body of Christ. The latter focuses on building the body of Christ and developing the gifts of others for kingdom expansion. The former seeks to build its own ‘spiritual’ empire while controlling the resulting narrative.

The old prophet keenly positioned himself as more knowledgable, with deeper spiritual insight and understanding spiritual matters more than the prophet from Judah.

Isn’t that what we get in some spiritual circles today? The man on the pulpit or with the biggest Bible is by default assumed to have ‘almost’ the final say on matters relating to your OWN personal dealings with God.

Consequently, some end up elevating their experience with men above their personal dealings with God, as if they believe and serve a different Jesus. The end result of spiritual ‘fatherism’? Spiritual control. 

God has no second-tier sons and daughters

In the church, there is typically a hierarchical order for the purpose of preaching, teaching, governance and administration. This is absolutely important, as the alternative will be chaos and lack of accountability.

But unfortunately, we sometimes abuse (and have been abused by) this order by misplacing God’s intention. We have unintentionally created an artificial two-tier class of Christians in the body of Christ — the men of God and the rest of us.

God loves leadership, order, clear roles and responsibilities. But He has no second-tier sons and daughters // A Case Against Spiritual 'Fatherism' Share on X

Spiritual leaders are generally seen as the figurative Moses of our time and those on the pew as second-tier believers who depend on their pastors to access and find favour with God (their Heavenly Father).

The irony of it all beggars belief, especially when you consider the reality of the gospel — 2 Corinthians 5:17, Revelation 5:10, Ephesians 2:10, 1 Peter 2:9 and many more.

And it is not helped when pastors keep quiet when men point to them as pseudo messiahs of their generation.

I grew up in Christian circles where culture and spirituality know no boundaries. And often times, many appease culture at the expense of focusing on and exalting Christ. 

No man, no woman, no pastor, no mentor and certainly no denomination has exclusive right or control over your life… only God does — 1 Corinthians 6:20.

Are you seeking spiritual counsel or validation?

Unfortunately, the prophet from Judah (presumably much younger) listened to the counsel lies of the old prophet over and above the word he had received from his direct dealing with God. 

I believe in receiving counsel and mentoring. But there’s a marked difference between seeking counsel and seeking validation. 

When we seek man’s validation, we forget what God said to us in the secret place. 

When we hinge our earthly joy on the approval of spiritual fathers, we forget the affirmed acceptance of our Heavenly Father in and through Christ // A Case Against Spiritual 'Fatherism' Share on X

You’re not complete because man approves of you. Rather in Christ, you find your perfect joy and completeness Colossians 2:10. 

‘Mind the gap’

There are old prophets out there whose desire isn’t to stir up a holy passion for Christ or to inspire you to run farther than them and fulfil your divine purpose.

Instead, they will systematically (even if unintentionally at times) kill your passion, subdue your fire and bring your vision under their control. 

The prophet from Judah died a terrible death. God’s judgement was swift in his case, which is a sober warning to us to focus on Jesus and obey His call on our lives, even if it ‘offends’ others.

Don’t listen to voices and reasoning that sound like God but are not. Remember that knowing God is firstly a matter of personal dealing. So, ‘mind the gap.’

And when you receive counsels that contradict what God has said to you (and that aligns with His word), choose to obey God, not men Acts 5:29. 

Don’t forget to listen to my latest podcast on Anchor FMSpotifyApple Podcast, Google Podcast and everywhere you get your podcast.

Photo by Michał Jakubowski on Unsplash.

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

2 Replies

  1. Simo

    God bless, timely and precised.

    1. Appreciate the feedback. Many blessings.

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