What are, the stages of spiritual growth? Let’s look at the Jewish journey as a model: from slave in egypt, to purging the ways of slavery and receiving revelatory knowledge and law-structure for new life in the wilderness; to death, in crossing the jordan-where the things in us die which need to, in order to make room for inheritance etc; to crossing over, and co-laboring with God in Rulership- occupying then possessing, then eventually cultivating, and unifying (integrating) the land both internally (inside one self) and externally, helping others and the land itself to become more whole.
Each person is on a different place in this map; and even certain areas of self can be at different stages. The idea is to get them all into the “promised land”, leading to bearing spiritual fruit, or cultivating as a co-heir or partner in leadership, with God.
Paul talks much of spiritual development in his letters–you have the Gal. 4 passage, but also in Thessalonians, where he says they should be moving on to solid spiritual food, and to fathoming the higher mysteries of God, but they still need basic milk etc…it is implied throughout scripture, that there is to be a maturation of The Spirit’s life within us, and that we should be “growing up into The Head” in all things. These are even the reason the gifts or charisms are given to the church–that they might grow up in all areas into Christ, who is our Head. And as This Head is lifted up in the end times, we are certain that we will be rapidly maturing into His Headship as well.
To grow into this headship means co-ruling or moving more in His Authority; for this reason, we must not reject, but understand His Authority in our lives, and celebrate His Rulership not just over us but in every area. He is The Author and Finisher, and uses Real Spiritual Authority over us, and He also partners with us in sharing His Authority for His Own Purposes, of growing us up into mini-kings and queens. If we reject authority, we have a hard time in standing into our own authority–even over our own physical bodies. If you see the rebellion against authority as something internal–it is like you are rejecting your own headship within. When we do, the result is immorality etc. If we do not honor our own internal ruler, we are left in an internally chaotic situation–one of anarchy, and we spit apart internally.
I think it is helpful especially in looking at our “fatherless” generation to consider that there is an internal head, or ruler-some part of us, leads the other aspects of who we are; and to see what our orientation is towards this “ruler” part, rather than working it all out projectively in the world; why not, instead, start inside. What is your view of your own authority over yourself? If you think that all authority is abusive for instance, what about your own authority over yourself. Does your internal head allow rape, for instance? Is that ok with you–to rape yourself and others? Are we still looking to others as our representation of authority, and then rebelling against them; or, have we “owned the fact that we ourselves have an internal authority figure, and it needs to be healed and come into the image of God’s authority. If we have not, we best occupy ourselves before we occupy the “wall streets of the world.”
If we have a very warped view of authority. Or have only seen the poor use of it in our lives, our image of internal “king” or “ruler” is probably also schewed. We live with a marred image of Jesus as Ruler, King, Head; and this will play out inside of us. As a result, we will have trouble even ruling over ourselves. Often we will ignore this and protest poor rulership “out there” in the world–the government etc; but have we healed the “king: within firstly, by meeting The King of Kings–are we comfortable with our our own rulership of ourselves? Your image of authority internalizes, is my point. And if it is a mess, so will be your life.
The individuation process-or process of breaking away from parents etc- has a stage of reacting against authority which is fine, but if we stay in this stage internally, we will never be heads over others, or even be able to lead ourselves. Our lives will be, in short, unruly. If we look at it as an internal process, are we ruling ourselves well? Are we ok with how the parts of our own internal village are living? If not, do we have an internal ruler to come and help guide the other aspects of ourselves. If not, why? Is it because we don’t believe in authority. Are we internally anarchist? Or do we believe that there is one on the throne–even within ourselves. As a mirror to how it is above! Regardless of how our parents treated us, we cannot discard God’s image of His Own universe–which clearly has a King or Ruler.
There are different types of rulership, and stages, where people need more laws or structure. For instance, in the traditional, second stage of psychological childhood development, there is a the need for boundary and rules to feel even be safe to explore. There are stages in leading, where rules are important. But if we keep reacting to the abuse of power, we may loose a vital relationship with Jesus as King within ourselves, and also never really learn to rule our own lives, much less be helpful in leading others in theirs.
When you see moral depravity in political leaders, you are seeing someone who has not learned to internally rule; so there should be a real question as to whether they can rule over others.
If we have had very messed up images of fatherhood, headship and authority use, then we may have a very weak or even controlling internal ruler; so we need to come to know Jesus as Ruler there, and start moving in His Images of authority–the great servant king. The one who comes to serve with His Authority to sacrifice His Life for those under His Authority—that is our image of true authority and He modeled it on earth. To the degree we are “there” in our image of authority, we are ruling well internally, and may be allowed to share in His spiritual authority to bless others.
In Paul’s epistles, you see again and again he is having to proclaim his authority. It may sound prideful or insecure, but really he had a “holy pride” in God’s desire to rule through his life-or, maybe better stated, that God was desparate to have people who wanted to download His Own Rulership through their broken lives. Paul was saying, look how amazing this is; i was the worst of sinners, and God put His Authority on me to where I was allowed to rebuke even Peter when he got out of line. Personally, this used to confuse me, but now I get it. Paul had accepted God’s authority in his life, and was ok with moving in it out towards others, for it clearly was, not Paul but Christ who was exercising authority; and God made this very overt in the life of Paul.
Have we set up our own internal thrones, based on reactions to the broken image we have of the use of authority we have seen around us?These thrones will topple. His Throne must be set up, so we can learn what true authority is, and we can start to move in His Rulership power towards ourselves firstly, and then out towards others. To invite Jesus in as King, is to correct our own images of authority and to allow Him to topple our false thrones and set up His. Then we will be glad to co-rule as co-heirs first within ourselves, and then, when He allows, outside of ourselves.
I think there is a real crisis in our image of authority in our generation, and this must be reversed if the Head is to be lifted up! For as many who are willing to allow this Head to be lifted up, will be becoming the sons and daughters of God! I think it is a good time to think of our images of authority globally, and question if we know Him in this area of our own lives. We need to be able to discern true spiritual authority in ourselves and then out in the world. It is much easier to project our complaints onto other rulers of the world, than to focus on His establishing His rulership fully within ourselves.
Some fear their own rulership from fear of abusing others with it. Others fear rejection, if they use their authority; this was the case with the king in Jeremiah’s time who allowed him to be thrown in the pit. This king had a fear of man’s opinion of him, which blocked him from ruling righteously. In both cases we are not free or dead enough in these areas, to allow God’s authority to flow through us. And lawlessness is the result. I think it is time to allow Him to occupy us, and for us to come and protest the streets in ourselves which have not allowed access to His Righteousness, Justice and Mercy. We need to continue to topple our man made thrones within, and allow Him to establish His Holy Thrones within us in every area. In many ways, this is one of the higher levels of spiritual development, and it is one of God’s goals in the end times, as His Headship is being lifted up in His People, and His Authority comes to rule over the entire earth. This process must begin within us, and spread outwards until all the kings and queens of earth toss their crowns at the His Feet and come under His universal leadership.