THE SCHOOL OF THE SEERS - (third installment of new chapters for the Expanded Edition)
SEER ORPHANS AND SPIRITUAL MATURITY
When Karen wrote the preface to this book, we had only been traveling as conference speakers for a brief period of time. In the preface she described a group of people with the phrase I coined, “Seer Orphans.” Since the School of the Seers became a bestseller in 2009, we have traveled extensively and met multitudes that feel like the orphans Karen described. This chapter is for them.
Although it may feel like there are dozens of different types of orphans, there is one issue that is a common thread throughout every one that I have met. The core issue for those that feel like Seer Orphans is an identity issue.
Whether it is the insecurity that comes from feeling misunderstood or the fear of being in relationship with church leadership because of trust issues. The majority of seers I have meet are still struggling with knowing who they are, where their value comes from and their true authority. Without these questions being answered, many issues will arise.
To see where you are at, let me ask a question. Would you be able to say “yes” to the following regarding your life?
I know that this is a hard list to answer honestly, yet this is how the Bible describes the normal Christian life. If this does not describe us, then there is disconnection between the normal Christian life and us. I believe that disconnection comes from a disparity between our understanding of our identity and Jesus’ view of our identity.
This is not a matter of heaping guilt. We are all constantly growing in our understanding of our identity in Christ. In fact, I believe that the main objective of our spiritual growth is understanding our identity more and more. While many have set disciplines as the mark of maturity, that is not the way of the Kingdom. Self-control is an outgrowth of the work of the Holy Spirit, not the way to force oneself to be “better” or more “mature.” The more than one understands who they are, the more that self-control will naturally flow out of that identity.
THE CORE OF GROWTH
The true course of growth as a Christian is progressively understanding the fullness that we have received in Christ more and more each day. We are growing in our understanding of our position and identity in Christ. Our growth is not about achievement; Jesus already achieved everything for us. Our growth is about receiving the achievement that Jesus fulfilled. Many Christians try to work for a spiritual paycheck, rather than understanding that Jesus already did the work, our job is to walk in grace and to go pick up the paycheck He already earned for us. The concept that I am briefly covering in this chapter could easily fill the pages of many books, so I can do it no justice here.* Suffice it to say that this is what Paul was communicating when he wrote to the Philippians: “Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (Philippians 3:16) Growth is about understanding your identity. It is growth into what we already have received.
GREATER LEVELS, GREATER DEVILS
One of the biggest challenges for the Seer Orphan is that many people gain their sense of maturity and identity from the amount of spiritual warfare they are engaged in. The cliché says “Great levels equals greater devils,” therefore if one matures, then spiritual warfare increases. Also an increase in spiritual warfare is proof that one is doing something right or is important. The thinking being that the devil doesn’t bother wasting his time on unimportant prey.
While these concepts are broadly accepted in Charismatic circles, I would urge you to reconsider some of them.
As I have come to understand growth in the spirit and how it intersects with spiritual warfare, I have come to a simple belief. The more identity an individual is walking in, the less that spiritual warfare is a focus. Here is an analogy to help explain my perspective.
Let’s say that a man named “Steve” accepts Jesus as his Lord. After being a believer for 6 days, a demon comes along and wants to mess with Steve. At day 6 of Steve’s walk with the Lord, he hasn’t yet learned about his authority, identity, or his full rights as an adopted son of God.
With that in mind, add to the picture the idea that perhaps there is a scale of demons in the spirit realm ranging from 1-9, 1 being the weakest and 9 being the strongest.
At this point in Steve’s spiritual walk, any demon from 1-9 can come and discourage, lie and steal from Steve.
Six month’s later we come back and visit Steve again. Now he has grown in his understanding of what Jesus did for him, that Jesus gave Steve authority, that he is an ambassador of heaven, that he is a dearly beloved son. This has made it so that levels 1-4 of the demonic realm have no ability to lie to Steve because he knows better than to listen to them. They can’t steal from him because he identifies them and makes them repay. Basically demons 1-4 don’t even show up for a fight anymore. In this sense, Steve has moved to a greater level, therefore he is dealing with a greater level of devil. Now only demons 5-10 show up to bother him at this point.
Now six years later we visit Steve once more. He has become solid and secure in his identity, like never before. He stands on the finished work of Christ on the cross. He operates fully in sonship, He lives by faith through grace. Grace empowers and drives everything he does. For Steve, to live is Christ, to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). At this point he is able to identify with Christ in saying that he has all authority over the devil. Steve is living as a 10. The greatest that the devil has is a 9, so Steve has become untouchable, just as John the Apostle understood himself to be.
“We know that no one who is a child of God lives in sin, but He who is God's Child keeps him, and the Evil one cannot touch him.” 1 John 5:18 (Weymouth)
This understanding is a challenge because many do not even believe that it is possible to live as a 10. Yet John believed it and it worked for him. Even among the apostles there were differing views. Take Paul for example, he referred to the devil as having blocked him on his travels (1 Thess. 2:17-18), whereas John would claim to be untouchable.
Church tradition tells us that all of the remaining 11 apostles (as well as Paul) died as martyrs, yet John did not. John had a revelation of his sonship, which kept him untouchable. John was persecuted and boiled in a vat of oil, yet it did not harm him and ultimately he had to be exiled to an island because he was truly untouchable.
If we apply my analogy to Jesus here is what we see. Jesus gets baptized in Matthew 4 and the devil (Level 9) and his cohorts (levels 1-8) are in their war room having a debate. The devil is trying to assign someone else to go tempt Jesus in the wilderness. “Go and tempt him” the devil barked at a level 8 demon. The demon pleaded back, “but Jesus is the prophesied level 10, it is of no use. I am only an eight. You should go satan, you are the only level 9 here!” So satan showed up to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, not because he ever stood a chance but because he was the highest rank and the best that the dark side had to offer. Every time that Jesus encounters demonic levels 1-8 they are in an absolute panic. They are pleading not to be thrown into the abyss, they are frightened and yelling, “We know who you are!” Demons didn’t want to be there when Jesus showed up. Demons don’t want to be there when you show up either, but if you don’t have your identity straight, then levels 1-9 will beat on you with lies, discouragement and thievery.
It is true that as you progress in understanding your identity in Christ, you will face greater devils, if you become a level 4 in your understanding, then you will face level 5 and higher demons. But at the same time you will not be dealing with demons 1-4 because you have stepped into your authority over them. Once you move to level 7, you no longer have a struggle with levels 1-7, but you will face levels 8-9. So although you face higher levels, your overall warfare decreases because the majority of the demonic horde doesn’t even want to mess around with you.
My practical recommendation is that we do not focus on warfare, but that we focus on getting a revelation of our identity in Christ. That is how we grow.
ACTIVATION: Put this prayer in your own words.
“Lord, I ask that you would give me a revelation of how you truly see me. That I would understand the heights, depths, width and length of the love you have for me. That I would fully know and experience being your child.”
Take a few minutes to let Him speak to your heart. Write down what He shows you or says to you.
Endnotes: *(If you want more understanding about “identity” read Eyes of Honor by Jonathan Welton)