“Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.” James 4:7-10 NIV

As we move forward in the work and influence of The Father’s Heart (the heart of Our King), there are key responses that must come from us in order for the Lord to entrust to us more of his heart and will and work on this earth.

These are:

  1. Faithfulness
  2. Obedience
  3. Holiness
  4. Response
  5. Participation

The Lord is our leader and our strength and he considers how we respond to him.

  • Are we responsive with a soft heart? (or do we have hard hearts that want our own way)
  • Do we yield to his direction? (or are we busy with things he has never asked us to do)
  • Are we able to trust him through the hard times? (or do we easily turn away when things get tough)
  • Have we turned our backs on sin? (or do we keep playing with sin and lust and anger and hatred)
  • Have we given him full authority to remake us into his holiness? (or do we carry self loathing)
  • Are we hearing his unique invitation to us? (or are we making up our own invitation as we want it)
  • Are we willing to fully enter into partnership with the Lord? (or are we half-hearted)

Today we take some time to look at each of these things, that we may be challenged and encouraged to step up our involvement and responsiveness to our Lord and the manner and work he has for us.

  1. Faithfulness – Sticking Through the Hard Stuff

“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favour and good success in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3-4 ESV

Faithfulness to the Lord brings two things. First it brings an experience of God’s presence in and through every part of our lives. This is critical to have. We want solid experience in God’s presence through the good times and the bad. For in this we minister alongside others with confidence of God being with them through their good and bad times.

Secondly, faithfulness keeps us on our knees before the Lord. We find God as our strength and we stop living out of our own strength. This gives us longevity. Meaning, faithfulness enables us to go the long distance with God no matter if our life road is bumpy or winding or smooth. In faithfulness we find God alongside us every step of the way and we are comforted and filled with his peace.

Of course, faithfulness is most often proven in the hard and difficult things of our life. To carry spiritual authority, our motives, attitudes, and thinking, must be tested and then purified by the Lord. We are like gold that must be hammered out and put through fire so that any impurities are cleared away.

The difficulties of our lives are used this way to try us and to test us and to see if we are faithful through the hardest things. Though we do not like them one bit, difficulties grow us up. Difficulty equips us in many ways; we find new wisdoms, new stamina, and new strength. Difficulty increases our faithfulness.

We become practiced in faithfulness through hard things. It is like building muscle. When we first begin to build our arm muscles, for instance, we are not very strong and only able to carry small loads. As we develop and grow and practice carrying things our arm muscles become stronger and we are able to carry larger loads.

Finally, as we continue to carry things that are always a little more than what we could carry before, our arms become even stronger. And we are able to carry many loads with ease.

Our faithfulness is grown in this same way. When we are first set against difficulty we groan and complain about how hard it is. But we come to see that as we remain in Christ in heart and attitude and obedience that God is still with us. We can still know and see and experience him even when we do not understand the things of our lives. We determine to stick to Christ no matter what.

Our faith is made stronger and God is seen in our lives through all circumstances.

“My grace is sufficient for you; for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (mid-verse) ESV

Faithfulness keeps us knowing both our humanity and God’s presence.

  1. Obedience – Will You Do This?

“So Jotham became mighty because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God.” 1 Chronicles 27:6 ESV

Obedience is key. It proves our heart with action and confirms our intentions and words. Obedience reveals if we are ordering our lives around the Lord Jesus Christ or not. Obedience sets the stage for the breath of the Holy Spirit through our lives.

God wants to make sure that we are up for the tasks and fully harnessed for the responsibilities that we are to carry. To do this we must hear him well and submit ourselves to his direction. Before walking in authority we must be able to come under this authority. This is absolutely critical. The best leaders are those who have learned to be the best followers.

Obedience is the mechanism in our heart and mind that acts out the still small voice of the Lord as he whispers to us his thoughts and plans and purposes. God is watching to see your response to him in terms of obedience. Are you doing what he is asking? 25 Are you living out the heart of God?

Obedience is about the continual working out of our commitment on a day by day basis. When we accepted Christ as Lord, when we welcomed the Spirit into our lives the work and our response in practical obedience, began. Every day since, we decide if we will seek him that day and if we will give our plans to him for each day.

While the love of God is unconditional, and while God is the keeper of his covenant with us and our covenant with him, our relational experience of God’s Kingdom is based on our agreements, so to speak, in the spirit realm. These agreements are sealed by our actions, by our decisions, and by our following the voice of the Lord. We can see the agreements we have made by our responses and our obedience to the Lord.

This is not about failing but about becoming advanced in our journey and with God through us. As with anyone we would work with there is a proving up. This is not about our salvation. Salvation is secured by the work of Jesus Christ some two-thousand years ago. But advancing is the evidence of a heart that knows it is most loved by the Lord and is yielded and trusting.

As God brings us into greater spiritual authority and anointing he does this on the basis of our proven obedience in earlier times? Have we walked well under his direction? Are we paying attention to what he wants? Are we living the priorities of the King or simply our own best thinking?

The continual testing as we enter into bigger things is not unlike any exam that would promote us to the next level. Testing seals the instructions of a certain time and place, which then releases us into the next level of instruction and testing.

God asks our obedience. Not to set us up for failure, or to mock us or bring us down, but as an opportunity to enter into His work that is so much more than what we would do on our own.

This is how two (more) modern day disciples of Jesus state it,

“The life that intends to be wholly obedient, wholly submissive, wholly listening, is astonishing in its completeness. Its joys are ravishing, its peace profound, its humility the deepest, its power world shaking, its love enveloping, its simplicity that of a trusting child.” Thomas Kelly 26

“God does not fill with his Holy Spirit those who believe in the fullness of the Spirit, or any who desire him, but those who obey him.” FB. Meyer 27

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT

If nothing else, simply set yourself to obedience, to hearing and doing what God is telling you. The rewards of obedience to God are never-ending, and will be the catalyst by which others are impacted for Christ. God’s work through us is leveraged and multiplied as we walk aligned and obedient to his voice.

  1. Holiness – Personal Purity of Heart

“Am I realizing that my body is a temple of the Holy Ghost, or have I a habit of body
that plainly will not bear the light of God on it?” Oswald Chambers

While holiness is not attainable in and of ourselves, it is a critical ingredient of lasting influence. Nothing will destroy our lives faster than unholiness of thought and action. Holiness is the hallmark of a life surrendered to God.

Holiness begins in the outward physical areas of life, areas of sexual purity, sober-mindedness, honest speech, integrity with money and a responsiveness to engage justice for others. God will not be mocked. We either walk as mirrors of his holiness or we do not.

Now, holiness is not something that we can create on our own. 29 Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith and it is by his grace that we are made holy. It is very important that we know this and that we are trusting in the work of Christ to make us holy (and that we trust the work of Christ to be making others holy as well).

But we can block holiness if we choose to remain in active sin. KEY: We are not the keepers of our holiness but we can refuse holiness by our sin habits of heart and mind and life.

We must always remember that the law of life as given us by God is meant to bring us into increasingly holy lives. To live by God’s gift of life is to live increasingly free of sin, to be made whole in him, to be restored back to the original image of God in all things.

Therefore, as our lives are captured by the grace and love and forgiveness of God we cease to participate in the sins and corruption that were once a way of life. God’s forgiveness and love does not mean that we can do whatever we want. On the contrary. God’s forgiveness and love brings us into increasing holiness, purity, goodness, righteousness, and right living.

Because of who God is in us, we will find ourselves casting off selfishness, lying, slander, gossip, addictions, falsehoods, and compromised integrity. We will no longer steal or make excuses. We will no longer bring violence to others, be unfaithful to our spouses, or neglect our own families. Instead of being part of the problem we will learn to be part of the solution. God’s work in us changes our character.

“He will sustain you to the end so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God who called you into fellowship with his son Jesus Christ our Lord is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:8-9 BSB http://bereanbible.com

By and through holiness we will become people of peace and will establish peace by our presence. We will uphold justice for widows and orphans, we will not take advantage of the needs of others (meaning we will not benefit from their need). Our lives will become a blessing to others as we live out God’s great heart on this earth.

  1. Response – Do You Want This?

“For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 ESV

When God first begins planting vision in our hearts he does so in a wooing sort of way. He brings our minds to larger thinking and makes us aware of a plan that is bigger than us. It is the beginning of his invitation of us and our lives into something of him and kingdom life.

And then we have a choice:

  • Will we go forward into the invitation of the Lord?
  • How will we respond?

The invitation of the Lord comes with a compelling from deep inside. Our hearts and minds grow into action for our King and for the people he calls us to, that is beyond us. We realize God’s great longing to accomplish and to touch and to renew and restore, to bring justice and to simply help others in their journey with God.

The Bible tells us that each of us have work in the Kingdom of God, Ephesians 2:10, that was planned for us before we were born.

These works that the Lord has for us are for:

  1. A certain people
  2. A certain place
  3. A certain time
  4. A certain work or influence

My own invitation is:

  1. To rural indigenous pastors
  2. Around the world
  3. For the rest of my life or until God says I am done
  4. For their strength and encouragement in the Lord.

God’s invitation to you would have the same elements:

  • To or for a specific people
  • To or within a specific place
  • For a specific time
  • With a specific work or influence

As we enter into the Lord’s invitation it is necessary to take time to discern exactly what is the scope and specifics of our calling. There are many good things to be doing in the world, but they cannot all be done, not by you anyway; to respond to what God is entrusting to us is to walk by the discipline and faith of something very specific.

Successful ministries and organizations are those that focus very narrow down to a very specific influence and work of the Lord. It is absolutely critical that as we learn to say ‘Yes’ to the invitation from God we must learn to say ‘No’ to all the other requests and good ideas that come from so many others.

If we take on four different kinds of ministry or work we will do four different kinds of work poorly. There is not one of us that can do many things well. If we try to do too much we will spread vision, resources, focus, energy, and time, too thin. We will be doing many things in a very poor fashion. This is not God’s invitation to us.

Rather, we are to enter into the work that he has ordained for us from before the beginning of time. We say ‘No’ to everything else and we say ‘Yes’ to exactly that thing that the Lord is inviting us into.

Entering into the exact work of the Lord for us means that he will then be breathing through that work. God himself will be touching others through our lives on this earth.

If we are doing work or entering into projects and programs and ‘good’ ideas that are not from the Lord then we will begin to experience a dryness in our life and work, there may be many, many problems and things will never seem to settle into place. Because God is not in our every good idea.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV

The invitation of God requires that we hear him and enter into the work he has for us. And it requires that we say ‘No’ to all the other things pulling at our attention and energy and focus. We say ‘No’ to what is not of God and we focus our lives on what is of God, for us, personally and specifically. Our response is a specific response to a specific work.

  1. Participation – Engaging the Vision

“And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach” Isaiah 58:12a ESV

Entering into the vision that God is giving us brings another set of skills. They are:

  • Prayer
  • Waiting
  • Listening
  • Timing
  • Stepping forward

As participation, the first and primary step before we take any outward action into a vision of the Lord, is to wait before the Lord in prayer. Often when God tells us about something to come, we rush to make it happen, when truly, what may be most important is to come to him in prayer.

In prayer we enter into active waiting and we learn to listen to the Lord.

Waiting brings its own rewards but it is very hard work. There are things learned as we wait on God that cannot be learned any other way. There are strengths of character built in waiting that cannot be built any other way. Waiting is hard but very vital work.

In the waiting and in prayer we learn to listen to God for specific direction and clarity and purpose.

While the Lord gives a vision the details and our full understanding of that vision may take years to discover, it takes time to fully understand what it is the Lord wants to accomplish through our lives. Listening is a critical skill that protects us from jumping ahead of God.

In prayer we learn to discern the right timing for this work and move of God.

Listening also helps us to know the right time of God. The timing of God is about obedience to what he would have, not what we would have. Sometimes we would rather hang back when he is saying to move ahead. Other times he is telling us to hold back when we would rather get going. Bottom line, we must pray, wait, and listen for the right timing of God as he unfolds his vision over our lives. And finally, in prayer we take courage to step forward as he leads.

“The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20 ESV

God’s work is not easy and it is not without its trouble. Yet we move forward with him as directed and in this we find that his strength and wisdom goes before us and we come into his plans in a way we had never before imagined. Stepping forward with God is what we must do to participate with his plans.

Now God has work for you. He has work for your spouse and your children. He has gifting and empowerment and vision for each and every person you know. The people in your congregation, those in your extended family, those who work alongside you in ministry — every person has a unique work of God, and special touch of God, upon this earth. And it is our job as leaders in the body of Christ to grow the people around us into their unique calling and gifting and vision.

We must keep in mind that this participation with God is not just for us and that we are not the keepers of God’s visions over other people’s lives.

If we are to walk pure of motive and with freedom for our own lives we must be the kind of people who give this kind of life away to others as well. Meaning — we don’t control or keep others from their calling in God. We are to be the kind of leaders that release and grow others that God’s Kingdom may be the full and vibrant influence and touch of the Lord in this world.

We grow others into their spiritual authority resume. We kindly and generously teach them faithfulness, obedience, holiness, response and participation.


“God I come to you today in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you God that you call us to holy living, that you call us to faithfulness, to obedience, to invitation and to joining you in the visions and passions of your heart. Grow us today God. Grow me today. I confess that I am dependant on your work within my life to enable all that you call me to, I cannot do this on my own or in my own power. Thank you God. Amen.”

The work of the Kingdom requires that we walk in a holiness and righteousness that is not common to mankind. To become effective, and to remain covered and kept in Christ, we must walk with increasingly pure lives, honest words, holy actions, right motives, and more.

  1. Today, allow the Holy Spirit to convict you, to bring to mind, anything of your life that is not right.
  2. Then, using the healing prayer model 30 to confess and repent of the areas of your life, heart, words, etc, that are not in the will of God for your life.
  3. Then, going forward, repeat as often as necessary.

Be blessed in the Lord as you come into greater holiness and intimacy with God.


God enables our faithfulness and obedience Philippians 2:13

We are to remain turned to God knowing that he is doing a work in us Romans 8:28

We agree to God’s revelation about us Ephesians 2:10


25 Note: To obey God is to respect our leaders. But, obeying God is not necessarily about obeying leaders. This can be discerned by the motives of our hearts, both leaders and others. A small but important distinction
26 Thomas Kelly Quoted from: http://www.quaker.org/pamphlets/wpl1939a.html
27 F.B. Meyer Quotes http://www.fbbc.com/messages/miscsayings.htm
28 Oswald Chambers quote found: http://utmost.org/classic/shall-i-rouse-myself-up-to-this-classic/
29 “And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” Colossians 1:21-23 ESV
30 Introduced in Module One, Chapter 6, FREEDOM. https://collegeofcapturingcourage.org/chapter-6-freedom/

=> Now we are ready to look at In Service to the King

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