“A son can be perfect in form and fully knowledgeable of his purpose, but live completely paralyzed by the lack of a father’s voice to bring life…” Dr. Mark Hanby
I honestly believe that the generation that is alive today is amongst the greatest generations that has ever lived. Not only are we highly intelligent and technologically advanced, we are also full of creativity, passion, and vision that can transform the world. Although some believe us to be lost and immoral, I truly believe that this generation simply demands from life a deeper meaning and purpose. A sincere authenticity, rather than baseless and antiquated platitudes, is required in order to capture the hearts of this generation.
Despite the greatness that lies within us, we somehow have not completely measured up to the fullness of our potential. It truly breaks the heart to see so many young people with greatness within, wasting their lives with ill and fruitless pursuits that ultimately culminate in unmanifested dreams. For followers of Christ, this is especially troublesome since the entire weight of the purposes of God’s Kingdom rests on the shoulders of a generation that has great gifts and potential, but for some reason seems to have lost its way.
Dr. Mark Hanby, in his book “You Have Not Many Fathers”, asserts that the reason why the church as whole is not completely walking in the fullness of the power and influence that God desires is because we have lost respect for the order of transferring power from one generation to the next; that order is from fathers to sons. Fathers (i.e. mentors or elders) are there to identify the potential within a person and assist them in developing and releasing it to the fullest. This relationship is affirming to a son or daughter (i.e. mentee/pupil), allowing him or her to be sent forth into his or her destiny wearing a coat of confidence and assurance of identity, purpose, and power. Sadly, one the greatest attacks we face as a generation is the total destruction and/or perversion of this most holy and most necessary order. Without it, this generation has been lost and stranded in a wilderness, possessing greatness on the inside that never reaches its fullness. If we are to rescue our generation and the purpose of God that lives within our hearts, we have to restore God’s order by reconciling the hearts of spiritual fathers to the hearts of their sons.
From a very young age I have always known what I was created to do. Believe it or not, I’ve been preaching since I was about three years old. At birthday parties, family get-to-gathers, anywhere there was an audience, I wanted to preach. Can you image a little kid with a small Gideon’s Bible, walking around preaching? Yup, that was me! My journey has been long, and not without a number of pitfalls along the way. Yet I never lost my zeal for God and for preaching His truth. If nothing else, my desire has only magnified and the wisdom of God has greatly increased within me. However, I can’t but wonder if I should be further along by now. I understand, everything has its season and timing. But if I ask myself “Am I living up to the level of my inner vision and potential?”, I would have to say that I clearly have work to. You know, we all start out with big dreams and visions for the future, but when the future becomes the present, it rarely lives up to the magnitude of our original dreams. Like many of my generation, I believe God called us to do great things, to have great influence, and to change the world. But what has been holding us back?
If you examine individuals that are successful in fulfilling their dreams and walking in their destiny they all seem to have few things in common. Despite being talented, gifted and knowledgeable in their craft, they all seem to have a certain grit and they wear a coat of confidence that aids them in their pursuit. They know who they are and they don’t spend time trying to qualify themselves for their destiny. Not seeking validation from their achievements, they believe they are supposed to succeed, and they do. Sometimes this confidence comes from inner strength or from a history of facing and overcoming life’s adversities. More often than not though, this power to move into destiny is bestowed upon them through the loving support of some parent, mentor, or role model that gives them the confirmation and the confidence they need to succeed.
In the life of Jesus, it was clear from the very beginning that God had an awesome destiny in store for Him. In fact, when Jesus was 12 years old, His parents lost Him for a few days because He was in the synagogues listening to the teachers and asking questions. However, you don’t see Jesus doing anything in ministry for a long period in His life. From the time He was 12 until He turned 30, you don’t hear much about Jesus doing any great miracles and preaching any great sermons. The Bible simply teaches that He grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and with man (Luke 2:52). However, something extraordinary happened to Jesus at the age of 30. As He went down to the Jordon River to be baptized, God spoke from heaven saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”(Matthew 3:17). With these words, God’s Spirit (the Father’s coat of blessings and power), came and rested on Jesus. It was only after the Father’s affirming words spoken over Jesus’ life that He was commissioned to move forward into His destiny. The words of God affirmed who Jesus was, clothing Him with assurance, confidence, and the power that was needed to fulfill His destiny.
Like Jesus, we may have a great calling or destiny, great gifts and visions, but without the validation and commissioning of a father, we are not properly equipped to carry out our mission. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you need validation from man before you know you are called or before you can function in your destiny. God and God alone, the heavenly father of us all, calls us and affirms us before any man says anything. However, whatever God affirms in your heart, he also confirms through the heart and vision of elders. It’s one thing to know that you have a calling. It is a different thing when that calling is confirmed by a father or elder. It is one thing for you to see it. It is a different thing when someone who is seasoned and respected in the area you are called to can look you in the eyes and say “I see it too”.
Not only does a father confirm that there is greatness within you, he also helps you correct areas of weakness and creates an environment where you can gain experience and increase your skill, confidence, and self awareness. Finally, a father knows when you are ready and can declare when it is time for you to be sent forth. This fathering process is a clothing or equipping relationship for the son; it provides a mantle of confidence and power to commission purpose and destiny in his life.
Like so many children of this current generation, I have struggled for years in my life, knowing I had greatest within me, seeing it for myself and experiencing a measure of success, but without experiencing the benefit that comes from a father’s confirmation in ministry. Although knowing your own greatness is vitally important and beneficial, being fathered by someone that can stand on the outside looking in and who can see and speak to that greatness adds a measure of power that can not be obtained any other way. Sure, the world is full of “self-made” men and women who have to do it all by themselves. But this was never God’s intension. The problem with being self made is that every generation is doomed to have to start over from scratch, wasting years and strength having to figure everything out anew, without the benefit of wisdom passed on from elders. The pain of abandoned sons struggling to find themselves and to overcome challenges without the benefit of the love and support of spiritual fathers is both crippling and paralyzing, leaving many in our generation lost in the wilderness still pregnant with unfulfilled dreams and unrealized potential. Oh, what many of us wouldn’t give just to hear the voice of a father say “I see your greatness too! I am here to help you to fulfill your dream.” It is the key to unlock the greatness within and to set us on the course to fully release destiny.
A father’s confirmation acts as coat of confidence (i.e. Aaron the High Priest’s rob or Elijah’s mantle in the Bible), that is passed from father to son, transferring power from one generation to the next to fulfill destiny and purpose. What this current generation needs more than anything is fathers to show us the way, to turn their hearts to us and commit themselves to fathering the vision and potential that lies dormant within us. In the Malachi 4, God declares that the day is coming when God will cause the hearts of the fathers to turn back to lost and abandoned children and for children to turn back to their fathers. Without the restoration of this vital bond, this generation will remain lost and naked, condemned to try to navigate through the wilderness of destiny without a compass to lead the way.
To purchase “You Have Not Many Fathers” by Dr. Mark Hanby, click the following link