Thursday, April 5, 2007

What Are You Wearing Right Now?

Recently I have had several engaging conversations with my friend, Justin Kauffman, concerning divine shifts. During our first conversation he shared how someone had sent him a book in the mail: The Coming Shift by Larry Randolph. “Just reading the title was all the revelation I needed at that time,” said Justin, “I haven’t even started reading the book yet.” Indeed, it is a phrase that is pregnant with prophetic expectation that God is indeed doing something globally in this hour. There are multiple shifts transpiring daily that will culminate in a shift on a grand-scale that unleashes a visitation of God’s Spirit in an unprecedented way in the earth today. I believe this involves the emerging generation in the United States and abroad experiencing an awakening unlike anything we’ve seen in recent history. This is the posture of my heart when I envision the coming shift.

An ensuing conversation with Justin revolved once again around the theme of divine shifts. He stated that we must learn to change our way of thinking when we are in a new season, which isn’t always easy. He gave an illustration that I thought would be applicable here: We must dress appropriately for the season that we are in. This physical reality has spiritual connotations that I want to explore. When we enter into a new season, we must change out of what we had previously worn in the past season, and put on clothing appropriate for the new season. Furthermore, if we are dressed for a winter snow storm, yet the weather is sunny in the mid-80s, we are going to be miserable. The manner of how we dress can either inhibit our effectiveness or enhance our adaptability within the new season. If construction road workers are wearing three layers of clothing (including thermal underwear) along with a heavy coat in the middle of the summer, they are going to potentially endanger themselves, due to the retaining of body heat. Their quality of their work will also diminish. We must learn to dress appropriately for the season that we are in so that we may maximize our effectiveness within that given season. Likewise, we must endeavor to take off outdated mindsets, underlying assumptions, and perceptions that will cloud our discernment in the new season.

A blog that I’ve read consistently over the years is by Dr. John Stanko called The Monday Memo. Both Aneta and I heard him speak at the church that we were a part of in Dallas, Texas, while attending Christ For the Nations Institute. In February Dr. Stanko wrote an excellent piece titled What Are You Wearing Right Now? (read it) – which had a profound impact on my own thinking and planning for the future. I had been in somewhat of a wrestling match as tension arose in my soul the past few months: What am I to do regarding the strong desires within my heart to travel and minister? Last spring I graduated from Regent University with a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership; immediately I started contract work for Dominion Technology Resources, Inc., a growing company in the national defense industry. I am working with the head engineers to develop an extensive seminar on leadership in complex systems. DTRI is on the cutting-edge of system engineering within their respective industry. Overall it has been a rewarding experience. With the completion looming, I’ve been pulled in a number of directions regarding my future plans.

As I read the following statement by Dr. Stanko, it struck a chord deep within my heart:

“It’s hard to walk in someone else’s expectations, especially when those expectations don’t relate to your purpose. You can try to please society, your family, and even your own expectations of what you think you should be or do, but eventually you will fail. It will deplete your energy and creativity and you will be miserable. So what’s the answer? It’s simple; just don’t do it.”

This brief posting gave me incredible insights into a remarkable dream that I had three years ago. Until then, the dream wasn’t clear, or it didn’t have the impact due to the lack of interpretation.

The Dream

The dream opens in our kitchen where Jerry and Shara (our spiritual parents) are seated at a round table as we are serving and feeding them. Jerry Seinfeld walks in as we are eating. Aneta proceeds to pray for Jerry Seinfeld while I am led by the Lord to pray for protection over his finances so that no one would steal his money; especially by someone who has been entrusted to watch over it. I specifically prayed for him to have the armor of the Lord on, as written in Ephesians 6. At the conclusion of this time, Jerry Seinfeld states that he had just read the section about the armor. As he was saying this, I was thinking about the passage in Ephesians 6 – however, he states that it was in I Samuel 17, which I was not familiar with. I thought he was mistaken. [End of the dream]

That morning I sat down at the kitchen table for breakfast as Aneta was reading her bible; I told her about this interesting dream. When I shared the part about Jerry Seinfeld’s comment that he had read about the armor in I Samuel 17, Aneta exclaimed with excitement that she was reading I Samuel 17 at that exact moment. Moreover, she noted that there was indeed a passage on armor. I was enthralled!

It was the story of Saul dressing David in his own armor:

Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,“ he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. (I Samuel 17: 38-39)

Saul perceived that in order for David to be successful against Goliath the champion, he would have to go in the king's armor. However, David rightly discerned that he could not go in Saul's armor, and acted upon this discernment, instead of adhering to the expectations of others.

Interpretation of Dream

The name Jerry means literally “called of Jehovah” which lends understanding to the dream. I believe that both Jerry(s) represent the calling of the Lord; however, Jerry Seinfeld represents one that isn’t necessarily the Lord’s “good, pleasing, and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2). They represent a contrast between walking in the fear of the Lord versus walking in the fear of man.

In the dream I was drawn to the round table where Jerry and Shara were eating. Round shapes speak of eternity because it is ongoing, without beginning or ending. Therefore, Jerry Phillips represents a calling that is feasting upon the things of eternity, namely Christ himself who is the Alpha and the Omega. Scripture also reveals that God has placed eternity in our hearts.

Ecclesiastes 3:11He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. (NASB)

Hence, it is plausible to suggest that God has placed eternity within our hearts so that we may pursue Him, and the calling, which He has upon our lives. What is it that burns deep in your heart to do? What does the sound of eternity point to when you ruminate upon the possibilities of the future? What must you do with you life, lest you die in vain for not attempting the destiny that God had in His heart for you? In 1996 I received a prophetic word through Jim Laffoon, who prophesied that “Heaven’s will is the only limit on your life.” It isn’t enough to peddle and meddle aimlessly about as eternity beckons us to live our all for the glory of God. In the grace of God, we must live our lives for His utmost glory and honor as we walk in the fear of the Lord.

Dr. Stanko’s article penetrated my heart due to his insights concerning David's refusal to wear Saul’s armor. Since Jerry Seinfeld alluded to this biblical episode (I Samuel 17), it represents a calling that is trying to be lived out according to the expectations of others. Our calling in the Lord can be thwarted because we’re trying to fulfill our calling according to the expectations by those whom we have entrusted our hearts to. To those whom we entrust ourselves to (I'm talking about unhealthy relationships that are predicated upon the fear of man), we become a captive audience, attentive to every whim, wish, or word. We seek to derive our sense of fulfillment through the approval of others – therefore, we find ourselves in a bind to meet their expectations. In short, we are walking in the fear of man.

We fall short of our destiny when we are living according to the expectations of others that is not in alignment with God's will. This in turn robs us of our “provision” due to the depletion of energy, creativity, and joy. Often we entrust our provision (our primary calling and purpose in life) to the expectations that others have for us, thus sabotaging all that we were called by Jehovah to pursue and accomplish. I recently read about a pastor who had a secret obsession: to own his own bakery. Yet, because of societal, family, and personal expectations, he was fearful to disclose this dream to others. Laboring tediously in a vocation that he abhorred, he trudged about fulfilling what he thought others perceive to be a noble calling. Nonetheless, his heart longed to sift the dough with his hands, to smell the aroma of fresh-baked bread, and to provide customers with delicious bread. This was the God-dream that burned within.

When I put on the “armor of Saul,” the enemy steals my divine provision because I am ordering my life – consciously or unconsciously – according to others’ expectations, and even to my own misguided expectations. When we conform to the expectations of others [at the expense of God’s “Father-Purpose] for our lives, then we are allowing our calling to be compromised. We need to repent of allowing ourselves to be deeply affected by the fear of man, thus choosing. to walk in the fear of the Lord. Floyd McClung recently spoke at Missionsfest, stating "If we fear man, we will not fear God".

So the question remains: Are you still "wearing" the expectations that others have for your calling?

3 comments:

Karen said...

Brian:

Good Stuff.

I think, too, with the shifts, the "clothing" required will be attire we have never worn before - I believe, especially in the church system, the shift will bring such change, that we will need completely new wardrobes, never before seen by man.

Which will REALLY blow out of the water mans "expectations" for us. YOU, Brian, may even be wearing a DRESS! *grin*

Karen

Grace said...

I found your link from Kirk Bartha's blog. This particular entry really spoke to my heart.. Earlier this year I sensed that God is starting a new season in my life.. He begin his work of renewal and rebuilding in my life and it's really exciting. At the same time, though, I think I might have worn the old attire that doesn't fit with the season as you have said in this particular entry..

Thank you so much. I think it all makes sense now... =)

in Christ,
Grace

Brian Francis Hume said...

Grace - in the Scriptures a change of clothing often signified an inward change that had transpired within the heart or a change that was in progress.(Zechariah 3:3-5; Isaiah 61:3) May the Lord continue to give you insight into what garments you are to put on in this season of rebuilding and renewal! Praise God!