Aug 30, 2012

Re-arming The Saints

A few weeks ago I had a dream:

In the dream, people received a six digit numerical code. (No - it wasn't the mark of the Beast) The code specified what type of body parts a person would receive while they were being assembled. The codes that had been assigned to some people were incorrect. I was involved in the assembly process. The people I worked on had received the wrong code and as a result, the wrong type of arms. Based on what I knew about their calling, gifting and the types of arms available, I had to re-arm all of them.

The dream seems to be referring to my calling as one of "arming" the body of Christ. When I think of "arms" I often think of weapons, equipping and training. The usual context of that language is in equipping the body of Christ for ministry. (See Eph. 4:11-12)

In the dream, there was a problem. The code was a six digit code, which probably represents a number given by man. People had been assigned the wrong codes and as a result received the wrong arms. I would interpret that as an error on the part of leaders in arming the saints and misidentifying their calling.  My job was to remove the arms they had and give them the ones they needed.

The dream is a revelation on correcting others - particularly in the area of ministry. This is a strange subject for me, since I gave up on correcting others years ago. While I enjoy teaching those who are willing to learn, I don't enjoy correcting people. But this dream is definitely a call to make corrections in others. And I don't think it's just for me. I believe this is a word for others who are similarly called to train and equip the saints.

I'm not certain about how leaders have misidentified the calling of people, but I have a hunch. It's common for us to want others to walk in the same type of calling that we do. What father doesn't want his son to take up the family business?

The value we place on something is personal, yet we tend to project our values onto others. Pastors desire to train and equip more pastors. The same is true for evangelists and prophets. I suspect that herein lies the problem.

I once knew a man who pastored a small church. In talking with others who knew him, it became obvious that he was called as an evangelist and apostle, but he wasn't walking out that calling. He was miserable in the role of pastor. He got excited and energized every time he traveled outside the US and operated as an evangelist, yet he never fully embraced that calling and instead, accepted the pastoral role he'd been given.

This man's ministry is an example of how we tend to fall into the habit of operating in things we're really not called to. There are many reason why we do it - mostly out of convenience or following the traditions of men.

The solution proposed in the dream was to re-arm people based on what was known about their true calling, their true gifting and what arms were available to them.

It's been my experience that before we can effectively correct others, we must have a relationship of mutual trust and respect. Yes, we can speak correction to anyone we want, and many of us do, but correction from strangers is almost never heeded. That type of correction bears no fruit and often creates bitterness, mistrust and resentment.

Having a relationship of mutual trust and respect with someone allows us to speak words of correction in a way that it can be received. And it's only when correction is received that it bears fruit.

The calling and gifting of others are matters that require God's counsel. Once we've established a relationship of trust, we can ask God what areas of ministry a person is called to and what type of gifts they have that will help them operate in their calling.

Arming them for their calling is a matter of understanding how the weapons of warfare function and how they aide us in operating in our calling.

If a friend is called as a prophet, we would do well to encourage them to spend time developing the ability to see visions, receive words of knowledge and words of wisdom, since prophets are people of revelation. These weapons (arms) help them walk out their calling.

If a person is called as an evangelist, we might help them become trained in healing and miracles, since healing and evangelism make a powerful combination.

Leaders who are able to correctly discern the gifting, calling and weaponry of others and who can successfully correct them are an invaluable resource to the body of Christ.

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