If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to miss the mark even with the right intentions. In fact, those intentions can create a problem if they are entirely emotional and lack wisdom in their application. This is especially true when raising up others.
A father’s heart is to raise up sons and daughters that can carry the values instilled and reproduce them by raising up others. This isn’t limited to biological sons and daughters, but can be applied where there is a mentoring relationship, as well. These relationships have areas of primary focus which can serve as a guide towards the intention of disciple making.
First and foremost, we have to understand that the process of discipleship is dependent on the disciple. If the one that is being raised up isn’t interested, committed or submitted, then they aren’t a disciple in the first place. The story of the prodigal son is thousands of years old because that type of rebellion is possible and all the father can do at times is wait for that wayward son to return. With that in mind, consider the following as a framework for what a father provides:
- Protection – This is safety and security. It’s being vulnerable and allowing vulnerability. When necessary, it’s stepping in where there is a third-party threat which the disciple didn’t invite and can’t withstand. It’s not, however, rescuing from the consequences of bad decisions. Those consequences bring about the heart change necessary to avoid those decisions again and again.
- Provision – Food, shelter and other basic needs where that is applicable as well as teaching and instruction that comes shoulder to shoulder as well as with intentional learning. This is meeting needs, not wants. Extravagance breeds expectation and giving has to be tempered to be yoked with the maturity and character of the disciple. The goal is for them to be able to get it on their own one day and pass it on to others, so if it’s given too soon their acquisition skills are one generational.
- Promotion – Calling out the greatness and gifts that God put in the disciple. Identifying their strengths by revelation and observation and agreeing with God to affirm those things. This is encouragement and honor, which have the weight of Truth and challenge of commissioning, not flattery which is empty and ultimately demoralizing. Maybe most importantly, this is not based on performance, but identity. Sometimes the recognition is despite or even opposite of the most recent manifestation of choices, but looks deeper into the design of the disciple.
The wisdom of knowing where the boundaries are is illusive in and of ourselves. We need a Source to walk in the ability necessary for healthy reproduction. That Source is the Father as these things are exactly what He provides for us as sons. Ultimately, we seek to reproduce Him.