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One of the most profound ingredients of “Kingdom” is making the transition from servant to friend in our relationship with Jesus. God is walking us all through this transition to Kingdom by teaching us how to connect with what He’s already written in our hearts.
The transition from servant to friend – 1) When we first meet Jesus we hear something in our hearts that says “follow me.” So we do. It’s simple obedience, we welcome mentoring and pastoral oversight, and we grow because of it. 2) As time goes by and we test our wings and experience success and failures in our faith, we also are brought to a place of brokenness. We lose our desire to have our own way, and just yearn for His way. 3) In the third stage we receive an invitation from the Lord to transition from servant to friend. Just when we drained ourselves of initiative, God invites it back and we find a place where our will and his will overlap in the desires of our own heart.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15
If we try to stay in obedience when it’s time to graduate to friend or King, we dry up spiritually and our prayers go unanswered. We start our discipleship there, but we can’t live there and mature. A servant is very different from a friend, a son and a King. They give themselves permission to see what God has written in the desires of their own hearts. And, they recognize and deal with the wrong scripts from the past that are written on their hearts.
Hearing God – servants “obey” the word of God, the voice of the Holy Spirit, the counsel of mentors and the direction of their pastoral oversight. The transition to friend doesn’t move us out of those four areas of hearing God; it simply adds one more. Friends examine the desires of their own hearts to find the will of God. We are used to finding many wrong motives and evil desires in our hearts. It’s hard to believe that God can change our hearts and write His own purposes in our natural talents and desires. As friends, He also invites us to a place of choosing our own destiny – it feels like an oxymoron at first.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. Ezek 36:26-29 NIV
10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Heb 8:10 NIV
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Heb 10:16 NIV
A servant will never trust his own heart, never feel comfortable with initiative. Servants yearn for a King to rule over them so they can obey. They are happy in a hierarchy, and prone to define “church” in terms of leaders, followers, accountability and submission; afraid to go beyond the structure, yet frustrated by the constraints on their freedom.
Friends become Kings because they know Jesus as the King of Kings. They will volunteer to take their land and step into new areas. All those verses where Jesus invites us to “ask whatsoever” mean just what they say. We should have desires, and pray and work toward their fulfillment. The “religious mindset” simply can’t receive this simple truth, yet it is the very key to the Kingdom and making disciples of all nations (Mt 18:19). The desires in our hearts can and do overlap the desires in God’s own heart. When we make those dreams come true, we also thrill the heart of God. These Kings become very intentional about having plans, creating wealth, and converting money into ministry.
In touch with my own heart – Once I cross the bridge and realize that God delights in the desires of my heart, my identity shifts. I’m happy to be myself. I can trust the desires of my own heart now. There are a number of ramifications:
1. I can be myself – Getting in touch with your heart is learning that it’s OK to be you. It’s OK to sort through wrong heart beliefs to get the right ones. Our choices are to ignore them, hide them or fix them. Ignoring them looks like religious privacy all the way to a pharisaic cover-up – hypocrisy. Hiding them looks like a minefield waiting for an accident. Dealing with them and the feelings that go with our heart beliefs feels like being human, forgiven, a child of God.
2. Transparency – When we are connected with our own hearts and we deal with the issues, there are no secrets. We can admit to ourselves and others what our heart’s desires are, how they are changing and where there have been struggles. It frees us to be very natural and open with other people.
One other little secret – everyone on earth can tell if we’re connected or not. When people complain about hypocrites in church, they are not really pointing to the occasional Pharisee. They are pointing to the fact that most Christians are not connected with their hearts… they are driven by a standard set by others (even God’s law) that is not “natural” even for them.
3. Enthusiasm – Connecting with our own hearts and ridding our lives of boundaries and baggage frees us to really be passionate, creative, excited, fulfilled, prosperous… all the ingredients that lead straight into the Kingdom. Finally, our lives naturally flow and work. The greatest place to look for the will of God (Biblically) is right inside the desires of your own heart. Obedience alone does not define spiritual maturity for a Christian.
4. Freeing others – The next thing that happens is that we start accepting other people where they are at. We are able to help them get in touch with their hearts. It’s much easier to see their heart’s desires and help them make progress. In fact, it’s much easier to be prophetic. This whole process helps us access the heart of God and the heart of other people. It’s very prophetic and helpful in practical ways. Most of all, it feels like love. When we know one another at a heart level and share our deepest heart’s desires, it’s very easy to love one another. We can see the good things God has written in their hearts, instead of just the baggage from the past.
5. Promoting others – When we connect with our own hearts and help others connect with theirs, we become channels to help them succeed in life. We understand that we’re all part of the same Kingdom team, and we share a sense of victory when our friends break through. Our conversation is naturally built around two questions, 1) “What’s your dream?” and 2) “How can I help you take the next step?”
6. Leadership – I’m aware of my own strengths and direction, and have the same awareness of those around me – their heart’s desire and direction. It becomes very natural to put the puzzle pieces together and form a team, delegate and organize around our hearts. Other people feel appreciated and valued and respected. It’s great for business. We are not peace-keepers as much as peace-makers. Our leadership releases creativity, imitative, passion and teamwork.
7. Listening – We learn to hear what a person’s heart is saying rather than just focusing on their words and actions. Hurting people often camouflage their true heart beliefs with very pious words and deeds. Instead of reacting to their cover, we can see the God’s writing on their hearts and help them connect with their true heart and with God’s heart. I’m not listening to their words as much as hearing their heart.
8. Divine encounters – It becomes very unnatural to just share “our” information. We see people in terms of where they are in terms of being connected with their hearts and share only those things that might help them take the next step (their information). We’re helping people connect to an experience with the Holy Spirit that will justify a heart change. Gifts often flow through us for their sake… particularly the prophetic and wisdom. The process of helping another person with Jesus as the third party is so much fun that we are emboldened to “go to the back row” to reach out to those who need help overcoming the boundaries in their own hearts.
9. Accountability – Accountability from others or self-discipline from ourselves simply doesn’t work if I’m working against my heart. Real accountability is me holding you responsible for your own hearts desires and dreams – something you are already motivated and created to do (by God). The traditional view is that I would hold you accountable for my vision and agenda instead of yours.
10. Networking – Once we both understand the other’s heart direction and goals, it’s an easy next step to find other people who can help you to take the next step. Networking is a huge follow-up component to being connected with your own heart. It’s also a very practical business advantage. One of the by-products of coaching is that we see one another’s heart plan. I’ve become personal friends with everyone I’ve coached because relationships are a natural byproduct of heart connections.
The greatest insight is that people who are connected with their own hearts are successful in business, in life, and in relationships. Great accomplishments are preceded by connected hearts and motivated people who are doing what they naturally enjoy… fulfilling a Kingdom destiny because they have tapped into the reason they are here. Their work is worship and their accomplishments are crowns laid at the feet of Jesus. They is us… we’re destined for something great, each one of us.
We use coaching to help people through this transition (see the link to coaching tools below).