Spiritual Vision

by Morris Ruddick on January 16, 2014


© Morris E. Ruddick


Note: This is not just a change of seasons, but a change of generations. Isaiah 26:8 of the NASU captures an unusual glimpse into what is underway today: “While following the way of your judgments, we have eagerly waited for You.”  

Yet, in the face of growing turbulence, many have been prophesying revival–and I am convinced that the key elements for strong revival are in place. My generation “in the Lord” had its foundations in the early 70s, in a most incredible time of revival. For those I knew as a part of it, that revival was birthed out of an insatiable spiritual hunger, a catalyst to God’s power, that resulted in nothing having greater priority than in knowing Him, truly knowing Him and discovering and applying the realities of His Spirit and Truth to our lives.

“Reaching” for the Lord and spiritual vision, seeing beyond the veil, was key. This sequence in Isaiah 26 continues by aptly capturing the heart of this reality: “My soul longs for You. Indeed, my spirit seeks you diligently.”

Culturally, it was a time in which the mix of growing prosperity, idealism and dissatisfaction with the status quo collided. The revival that drew us to faith, seemed to bypass the idealism of the counter-culture movement of the 60s; resulting in a broad cross-section being swept into the reality of God. Simultaneously, others tried to modify it. There were abuses. Some capitalized on it. Some tried to quench it.

This post, a sequel to “The Mantle of Fire” and another “upgrade,” taps the dynamics of another change in generations, not unlike the one upon us. The prophetic then (I Kings 13) as it should now, played a major part. Yet, the maturity in leadership fell short, not unlike the combination of those who abused and those who quenched the revival of late 60s and 70s. May today’s emerging leaders have the anointed wisdom to walk a path that truly opens the gates.



“When King Jeroboam heard the man of God, he stretched out his hand, saying, ‘Seize him!’ Then his hand withered and the altar was split apart.Then the king cried, ‘Please entreat the Lord’s favor and pray for me, that my hand may be restored.’ So the man of God prayed for him and his hand was restored. Then the king said, ‘Come home with me and I will give you a reward.’ But the man of God said to the king, the Lord commanded me not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way. So he left by another route from the way he came to Bethel. On the way, an old prophet came to him and said, ‘Come home with me and eat bread, for I too am a prophet and an angel spoke to me to bring you back to my house.’ So, as they sat at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet and he cried out, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, ate bread, and drank water, your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’” 1 Kings 13:4-22

This unique story describes a time of revolt, a time of chaos against the House of David. It takes place, with a shift in generations, in the generation following Solomon.

Solomon’s son Rehoboam had ascended to the throne. When he did, across the land the various factions David had brought together sought affirmation after suffering hardship and change during Solomon’s reign. Jeroboam had been overseer of the labor force from the house of Joseph. Amidst dissatisfaction verging on an uprising, Jeroboam had fled for his life from Solomon to Egypt.

Change and the Prophetic
On the way, he encountered Ahijah and was given a prophecy that he would be king over the ten tribes of Israel. Yet, upon learning of Solomon’s death, Jeroboam wasn’t seeking position for himself. Instead he came with an assembly of leaders to appeal to Rehoboam for more equitable conditions. Against the advice of his father’s advisors, King Rehoboam took a hard stand against their offer.

With that response, the smoldering division in Israel finally manifested. Then, in keeping with Ahijah’s word, a “congregation of the people” made Jeroboam king. This caused Rehoboam to muster an army against the rebellion.

However, when Shemaiah the prophet brought a word from the Lord not to do so, Judah laid down their arms and stood down. Yet, despite the incredible affirmation from two high-ranking prophets and this reprieve; 1 Kings 12:26 reveals a lack of trust and fear in the heart of Jeroboam. He built false altars so that his people would not have to go to Jerusalem to worship. His fears clouded the spiritual vision needed for his mantle of leadership.

The people also heeded to Jeroboam’s substitution for the Feast of Tabernacles. Instead of walking into his destiny by upholding or raising the standard, Jeroboam gave into his fears and lowered it. At that juncture, another prophet from Judah came to King Jeroboam and cried out against the altars and prophesied that the altar would be split (1 Kings 13:3). Dramatically, it was.

The Setting’s Dynamics
This setting describes a time in which the government of God fell short. Intervening action had taken place by the hand of the Lord through a series of prophets. The story punctuates the critical need for maturity and a big-picture perspective for those assuming the mantles of both the prophetic and of leading God’s people. It also underscores the significance of the prophetic word and the boundaries of responsibility tied to those administering it. It points to the need within leaders for spiritual vision that supercedes “self;” and the perils resulting from spiritual myopia.

Ripples of Spiritual Short-Sightedness
Solomon’s digression into spiritual short-sightedness was a prime catalyst for the discontent brewing during his reign. It was the tripping point over which Solomon went from being the man who God anointed with the wisdom to rule and judge His people; to being undermined by the seductive, blinding influence brought into Israel by his hoard of idolatrous wives.

In short, both Kingdom leadership and the prophetic bear an awesome requirement of accuracy within big-picture settings that has no place for half-cocked presumption or short-sightedness.

The young prophet sent to Jeroboam delivered his prophecy with great power, but lacked the wisdom and maturity to impart the big-picture restoration God intended in this encounter; and he paid with his life.

Serious Times
We’ve entered serious times. One of the major challenges for spiritual leaders today is talented people operating on their own abilities, with a bit of wisdom and anointing thrown in. It’s the cart before the horse. Without proper spiritual maintenance and ongoing spiritual vision; the momentum of past exploits will grind to a halt.

In today’s spiritual environment, it requires more. On matters concerning the Kingdom: it’s not what you can do for God; it’s what you allow Him to do through you. (2 Cor 12:9; Heb 11:34)

Recent prophetic words describe a diabolical unleashing of blinding confusion that internally infiltrates and manifests as division. This division undermines the authority tied to administering the PURE prophetic word needed for societal transformation.

This high-level demonic activity targets the fertile turf fueled by arrogance and spiritual self-satisfaction among Christian leaders. Its subtle snare is releasing a mix of the destructive intent of the “accuser” (Rev 12:10) and judgment into the household of faith.

The initial impact of these stratagems is a spiritual myopia such as was evidenced in the lives of Solomon, Rehoboam, Jeroboam and the young prophet in the opening scripture. When allowed to mushroom, as it was then and is today, the result is ugly with manifestations of organizational and community-level division.

More of the same harder will not work. Along with maturity and a big-picture outlook, the cloak of humility represents the most strategic counter-response for those with mantles of the prophetic and leadership of God’s people bearing on societal transformation. Moses, whose impact with the prophetic and transformation extends to this day, was known as the most humble man on the earth (Num 12:3).
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
John 3:30

Variations of Spiritual Myopia
When spiritual maturity for the task falls short, spiritual short-sightedness can gain entrance in seemingly innocent ways.

Broad Catchall Applications of “the Kingdom.” The Kingdom is not a synonym for church or ministry activities. It is God’s authority to employ righteous power in corrupt settings. It is the power of God that releases societal transformation. Its principles, as taught by Jesus, are paradoxes to the way the world employs power.

What Has Begun in the Spirit Being Worked Out in the Flesh. A subtle seduction comes when results deemed “successful” evoke self-satisfaction. The distinction is a fine line between operating in the Spirit and yielding to the flesh.

Add-ons to the Prophetic. It takes maturity and seasoning to recognize the boundaries between a word received and simple embellishments due to the attempt to give “clarity.” Its why in most cases the one receiving a prophetic word should not attempt its interpretation.

Jumping to Conclusions with the Prophetic. The other side of the add-on temptation is getting a pure word, but then jumping to conclusions or trying to fit it into a limited understanding or mind-set with a teaching or explanation that may undermine its original potency or intention.

Limitations of Cultural/Doctrinal Mind-Sets. Within the word of God are the principles needed for life and godliness. Then the Bible has countless real-life examples that demonstrate the models, mandates and wisdom needed for the application of these principles. These principles and models give us a universal wisdom that transcends generations and non-Biblical cultures and mind-sets.

A Void in the Prophetic. Historically, one of the hardest requirements for God’s people has been in waiting on Him. Sometimes the most spiritual thing that can be done in a storm is to take a nap (Matt 8:24). Prophetic words, as in the case of Joseph’s dreams, often need to mature and await set times. Impulsiveness, embellishing a genuine word and an array of other digressions that short-circuit a maturing word are the causes of more misfires than is prudent to recount.

The Temptations: Provision, Power and Purpose
Navigating accurately with the spiritual begins by recognizing the primary temptations that divert it from its full impact.

Preceding the time Jesus imparted the keys of the Kingdom to a select group of followers, He encountered three temptations. Surmounting each of these areas is essential corporately, for the prophetic and for leaders, in order to avoid short-sighted tendencies in the employment of righteous power in corrupt settings.

These dimensions address the foundation needed to bring change: provision, power and purpose.

When the evil one challenged Jesus with “command that these stones be made bread,” the issue involved authority over provision. When the challenge was “throw yourself down for He has given His angels charge over you,” it was the foundation of power. Finally, when shown all the glory of the Kingdoms of this world and being offered “all these things I will give to you,” the matter addressed the purpose.

These are the dynamics operating with big-picture, corporate-level spiritual matters. They were in evidence in the evolving process leading to Joseph’s and Daniel’s roles in harnessing Egypt and Babylon for God’s purposes. Provision, power and purpose are at the heart of the issues of societal transformation. Each represent pivot points for apostolic, community and prophetic leaders needed to gain full authority when operating as society-changers; as the ones bearing the mantles of modern-day Josephs and Daniels.

The Maturity Factor
Provision, power and purpose are also key factors bearing on community-level maturity. They are the dimensions with the leverage for change, for good or for bad. They can be the seedbeds for short-sightedness or the foundations for the spiritual vision needed for transformation.

In the opening scripture, it wasn’t because the young prophet was beguiled by the old prophet that he was gobbled by a lion. His myopia was an obsession with his return; of confusing the sign of his failure, as being his path to safety. In other words, he was gripped with fear; and what he feared came upon him.

Although scripture doesn’t elaborate, the context and this short-sighted misfire are strong indications that he didn’t get the original word quite right in the first place. At the point, when the King was open to his correction, his spiritual myopia blinded him. It bore on the “purpose” factor for which his maturity for the task was lacking, AND he was judged within the framework of his myopia.

Reaching for Spiritual Clarity
The attack against the Body today targets maturity bearing on the prophetic and leadership for transformation. Again, the subtlety of the challenge facing the Body is talented people going on their own abilities with an element of the anointing spliced in. The demarcation into maturity will pivot on humility and be Spirit-driven.

Spiritual maturity is not our limited perception of being right or doing right. It is when those matters, we refer to as ego, issues and self, have no root from which to manifest and true spiritual vision can manifest. It is the discernment that knows the difference in the close calls between His will and what may be blind-spots or matters kindled by the soul.

Spiritual maturity on a community-level basis is when there is an alignment of the provision, power and purpose among those deemed as leaders.

Spiritual maturity and spiritual vision enable God’s Light to shine and disperse the blindness and confusion. It releases the Kingdom power that paradoxically transcends the division and reverses it into opportunity. It is when there is no vestige of variation between His will and our own. Spiritual maturity with spiritual vision is a complete oneness with the Lord.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
John 12:24-25

“I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”  Matt 10:34-39

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