By Mike McClung (adapted from his book Restoring the Ruins)
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God (1 Cor. 2:9-12).
Limited vision produces limited people and limited fulfillment of purpose. Mike Bickle, Director of Friends of the Bridegroom Ministries and the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, once told me that he believed that imparting vision was the key to dealing with rebellion and lack of discipline in the lives of God’s people. I believe this is a profound insight. We become what we behold: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). Anyone who has ever driven a car knows the feeling of something catching their attention off to one side of the road, only to look back to the front to see their vehicle swerving in the direction they had just been looking. One of the tragic things that has happened to the bride of Christ, especially in western society, is the lack, or inconsistency, of leaders in the church focusing the vision of God’s people on the Person and purposes of the Lord Jesus Christ. These purposes entail more than winning the lost, although this is a primary objective. The purposes of God are always kingdom purposes, with a view of exercising the dominion mandate man was originally given. (Gen. 1:26-27.) We are to exercise the authority of the Lord in every dimension of life and society: family, socially, politically, economically, music and the arts. But we have, in many ways, become Laodicea – focused on this present life and materialistic in our desires, habits and activities…even in church! Instead of getting the people of God ready for a final outpouring and resulting harvest of the glory and power of God in these last days, we have in many ways developed a “bunker” mentality. We sit around waiting for a rescue in the nick of time, while letting the powers of darkness run rampant, plaguing, afflicting and destroying the lives and destinies of people and nations, and releasing and enforcing curses on the very land itself. Proverbs 29:18 states: Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint…. Lawlessness, carnality and purposelessness mark the present generation in western society. We have become what we have been beholding! But a new generation is beginning to arise under a new kind of leadership that will impart vision of the Person of the God-Man. This will, 1) reveal to us our identity as lovers and sons and daughters of God, and, 2) reveal a vision of destiny – that to which God has called and destined us for in these last days. That destiny is to fully possess the promises laid up for us. (1 Peter 1:3-5.)
We Must Choose to be Chosen
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
To be the final, chosen generation…we must choose to be chosen. The call to salvation is a general call to “whosoever will.” (Romans 10:13; 1 John 5:1; Rev. 22:17.) Anyone who responds in faith to the invitation of the gospel for redemption through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, believing He died and rose again from the dead, and surrendering to Him as Lord, will receive eternal life. But there is another “whosoever will” extended to those who have been saved. It is the call to discipleship and destiny. We can do nothing to receive salvation except to accept what Christ has done for us. But, we must choose to be a disciple and we must choose to enter into His destiny for us.
I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one (1 John 2:12-14).
The express purpose of God in the life of every child of God is to bring forth the image and likeness of His Son in us. As it is with natural childhood development, we go through stages of maturity and growth as we develop into mature sons and daughters of God. The Lord Jesus is not going to marry a bride that does not reflect the blameless perfection revealed in His Person. Although the power of His blood and the work of the cross bring regeneration to dead-in-sin lives, there is still a cooperative work of the Spirit of God in our lives that is purposed to bring us to maturity in both Christ’s character and power. The Father will have a bride without spot or wrinkle for the Son of His love. The blood removes the “spots” (sin and iniquity), and heat and pressure remove the wrinkles (as in ironing)!
Several times, I’ve had ministers give me business cards that stated, “Apostle (their name)”. I’ve also been asked to speak at churches where the senior leader is titled “Apostle (their name). The title someone carries should FOLLOW the fruit of their life and ministry/work. I’ve known too many friends who served in the military, especially in theaters of war, who have been on the field of battle with recently commissioned, but green and untested officers, given charge of their platoons or squads. Their horror stories of theirs, and everyone else lives put in grave jeopardy because of these untested, though titled officers were all too often a correlation to what we’ve seen emerge in the body of Christ over the last two decades.
How do we prepare for destiny? It is not accomplished independently. It is attained through community and a joining of the generations. Just as we are transitioning as individuals, God is transitioning generations. The generation that has led us is now shifting to an advisory capacity. Like Moses, they have been forerunners; they have led the way into the depths of God. Now they are needed to counsel and advise the next generation. Leaders like Bill Johnson, Lou Engle and Mike Bickle represent a transitional generation that can join generations together. They are “raising up” the next generation to recognize their destiny before they are ensnared by the cares of this world.
What is your dominion gift or gift mix? We are in a kairos (God’s right time) moment. We must get in line with God’s order and His timing. Now is the time to begin to walk in our dominion gift. Until intercession is established, things never fully work correctly, and therefore operating in our dominion gifting in the culture is greatly hindered. God created man first for intimacy and from that position we are to rule and reign. The word “mediocre” literally means “half way up the mountain,” which is a picture of those who will not accept the discipline and dedication necessary to see the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose. Part of this discipline is character development and learning to prevail in prayer. “Halfway up the mountain” is a picture of those who do not completely answer God’s call and quit somewhere in the process of training and discipleship. Most people quit during this transitional phase (between the actual change, and the full enactment), because it’s the place where our relationship, character and commitment is tested.