by Gary Carpenter

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Being a male, fifty two years of age this month (January 1999), I look back over my life in astonishment as to how much of it was spent trying to "earn" my earthly father's acceptance, or you could say, approval. I wanted my earthly father to be pleased with me.

That, in itself, is not wrong. The problem arises when we begin confusing "pleasing" our fathers with "being loved" by them. For years I never could distinguish the difference.

Somehow I fell into a trap that is common to young males who think that the only way to gain their father's love is by exemplary performance on their part. The astounding thing is, that I have only discovered later in life, is that my earthly father loved me from the day I was conceived. True, any father is pleased when their sons do well. But my father loved me from the day I was conceived, before there was any performance on my part at all.

From my earthly father's point of view, I am his son. I am heir to all that is his. He has loved me as his son my whole life, even during those times when my "performance" fell far short of what he desired (sometimes it still does).

Amazingly, it was only after I began understanding the heart of a father, both by raising children of my own, and by learning of the love of our heavenly Father as demonstrated at the cross of Jesus Christ, that I was able to "rest" in the love of my own earthly father. As I began to identify with my earthly father based more on our "relationship" than on my "performance," the "fellowship" between us has become much more rich, full, and enjoyable.

Fathers desire "sons," not servants, nor employees. For years I attempted to approach my earthly father with a mindset more like a servant than a son. In a way, I was approaching him by my "works," rather than by my "relationship" as being his son. No wonder our fellowship was so strained during those lost decades.

The ability to "rest" in my "sonship" is what has improved my "fellowship" with my earthly father. I am finding the same to be true with my heavenly Father. I am also finding that the "relationship" of "sonship" is the foundation which all true "service" in the kingdom of God rests upon. Without that revelation, man winds up spending his life in "programs," the "works of man," rather than in "demonstration of the Spirit" and in the true "power of God."

How important is it for us, once and for all, to come to the place where we are totally secure in our "sonship" in relation to our heavenly Father? Notice this: "Sonship" is the very foundation that Satan first attacked when he tempted Jesus, THE Son, in the wilderness.

Mat 4:3a  And when the tempter came to him, he said, IF THOU BE THE SON OF GOD ...

Mat 4:6a  And saith unto him, IF THOU BE THE SON OF GOD ...

The devil was tempting Jesus to get into "performance" to prove His "Sonship." He was attacking the very foundation that all future ministry was to be built upon ... SONSHIP!

It is not by "proving" our sonship that true service for the kingdom comes forth. It is by "resting" in our sonship that the foundation becomes secure for us to "serve in our Father's fields."

Two of Satan's three attacks in the wilderness were aimed directly at destroying the foundation of SONSHIP! When Jesus could not be swayed from the security of His own Sonship, then Satan was left with no other alternative but to try and "buy him off," to bribe him with the deceitfulness of riches and the lust of other things. Praise God, Jesus was the SON who, by His own choice, was also His Father's SLAVE.

He is the embodiment of the "bond slave" that we see in the old testament. Jesus was totally free, and even the heir, yet for love's sake alone, He chose to completely give His life in service to His heavenly Father. THIS is the same character that the Holy Spirit is endeavoring to bring forth in all of us who have been born again, having received a new spirit from the Second Man, the Last Adam, Jesus Christ.

We are the Father's "sons." We must rest in that truth, just as the bible declares:

Eph 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

ACCEPTED (Strong's) 5487. charitoo, khar-ee-to'-o; from G5485; to grace, i.e. indue with special honor:--make accepted, be highly favoured.

How few Christians see themselves that way, made that way by grace alone, as Eph 1:6 declares ... "the glory of his grace." As our Father's sons, we have been "graced," indued with special honor, made accepted, and are (already) highly favored.

This mindset is foundational for all true "service" in the kingdom of God. It is from this firm foundation that all of us go forth into our Father's fields to do our part to reap a harvest of souls for Him, no matter our particular assignment (call) in that field.

For the Gospel Entrepreneur, this security of "sonship" is absolutely required to ever be involved in the supernatural transfer of wealth from the world system of mammon into the kingdom of God. Sons dine at their Father's table ... simply because they are sons. Their own provision is based on their "sonship," not their performance. This knowledge frees them from all fear as they go into their particular field, the risky and dangerous world system of mammon, to reap a harvest of finances the Father can use to finance revivals around the world.

If the Gospel Entrepreneur is not first "fully persuaded" that he is "accepted" in the beloved as a son, and that all of his own personal provision is based on that foundation by grace alone, then he will forever confuse his "performance" in the field with his right to partake from his "inheritance" by grace.

This concept is simple to understand as long as we are diligent to view Christianity as a "family" and not as a "religion." You fathers out there, does your son first present you with a list of all his accomplishments of the day, his "good works," and then wait for your approval before he sits down to dine from the family supper table each night? "Absurd," you would say. "My son eats from my table BECAUSE HE IS MY SON!" Amen!

Jesus knew, rested in, was totally secure in the knowledge that He was God's Son. Knowing that, He had no need to "command stones to be made into bread" to get His own needs met. He refused to substitute "performance" for "Sonship."

When the Father sends the Gospel Entrepreneur into the fields, the world system of mammon, to reap a harvest of finances for the kingdom, it is not for them to get their own needs met! That is their "service," not their "provision."

If we allow the devil's deception to base our "provision" on our "performance" rather than on our "sonship," then we will forever be approaching our Father on the basis of our "works" instead of on His "grace" that made us sons in the first place.

Rom 4:1-5  What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Like Abraham, we are to simply "believe God" when it comes to our "sonship." We are to believe that God has made us His own sons through faith in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ when He made it possible for us to be adopted into the "family" of God. We are sons, by grace alone.

Being sons, we are heirs, free to always dine from our Father's table of grace. That knowledge frees us completely from all "fear of lack." That knowledge frees us to become absolutely fearless when it comes to our warfare in the financial trenches of the world system of mammon. Nothing that happens there will affect our right to dine from the Father's dinner table every evening ... IF ... we remain secure in the knowledge of our sonship. The devil will attempt to confuse the two, but we are not to waver in "believing God," just like Abraham of old.

Jesus, the firstborn, taught us plainly how to always dine from the table of our Father's grace when He said:

John 16:23  And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

Sadly, most of us have spent our lives trying to "turn stones into bread" ... our own bread! Not understanding that we are sons from whom the Father will withhold no good thing, "we have not, because we ask not," when it comes to our own provision.

Getting your own needs met is as simple as any earthly son asking his father to "Pass the mashed potatoes, please" at the family dinner table.

Mark 11:24  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Mat 6:30-31  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Being completely secure in our provision as God's own sons, we are now free to be our Father's bond slaves, for love's sake alone, to become the "first class servant" Jesus described in Luke 17:1-10. We can give our full attention to always "making sure our Master's needs are met FIRST!"

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