From Obedience to Creativity
April 10, 2010
From Obedience To Creativity
God is the boss – One of my favorite verses is the foundation for new believers. Mary encountered the angel, Gabriel, who explained her future pregnancy. She asked one technical question about the absence of a man and then her response was, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” That attitude of letting Jesus be the Lord brings a rest into our hearts that has no comparison. We feel the Father’s embrace.
Our Christian lives are typically built on a revelation / obedience dynamic where we get guidance from the Lord and simply do what we are told. That is the premise for most of the messages in our church equipping process and it’s healthy, scriptural and foundational.
As we mature in the Lord, guidance sometimes feels like it tails off. It felt like the Lord frequently spoke to us about what to do when we first got saved. But now, years later, we make decisions at work or in business and we’re not getting black and white answers. Is something wrong? I want to suggest it’s a normal occurrence as the Lord switches us over to a better balance between revelation and wisdom.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened… Eph 1:17-18 NIV
What’s after obedience? – I experienced a maturing process with my own father that sticks with me to this day. Here’s the sequence:
1st stage “He told me how” – Working with my father on the ranch as a kid was fun. At 6 to 10, I had didn’t have much of a clue what we were doing or why. He just told me what to do and I did it. I was prone to be “absent-minded” and made some silly mistakes. The more he corrected me, the more I developed a rationale for why I did thinks, so I could explain myself if something went wrong.
When I was about 14 my dad moved me up from running the tractor with the rake to the hay bailer. It was a promotion that I didn’t particularly enjoy. It was 3 weeks of sitting on a slow moving tractor in a hot dusty environment and I got bored and allowed my mind to wander a million miles. One day my dad noticed my lack of enthusiasm and came over and stopped me for a pep talk. He said, “Now Johnny, we’ve got this hay to put up and you need to get excited and get this bailing done. You don’t have to stay in first gear.” The confrontation took me back a little because I thought I was being obedient and hiding my rebellion well; I didn’t know it was OK to go in 2nd or 3rd gear. Going faster made the days speed by and I began to take pride in my bailing assignment. I felt like part of Dad’s team… which was more fun. My heart began to engage.
2nd stage “He told me what and let me figure out how” – As I matured, Dad would send me off to do things on my own without telling me exactly how. He wanted me to figure that out. So when it was time to move the cows to a different pasture he would just say, “Johnny, go get your horse and move the cows.” That left room for a million little decisions about how.
3rd stage “he told me why and let me figure out what and how” – At this stage when I was out riding he would ask me if the grass was short and it was time to move. The reason we moved the cows was to put them on better grass. I would check various parts of the pasture for the condition of the grass and tell him if it was time to move. At this stage I was engaged in the thinking process and shared his vision for the ranch and the work we had to do. It was a lot more fun than just being told what to do all the time. Teenagers resist that anyway and my father was wise enough to understand the independence teenagers naturally seek… that lasts all our lives.
Is your heart engaged? – We are designed by God to have our hearts and minds engaged in what we do. The Old Testament is seemly filled with admonitions for obedience. Yet God favored David because he was “a man after my own heart.” What set David apart was his willingness to take initiatives because he and God were on the same page. David could obey God, but he also came up with huge, new ideas like building a temple.
But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” 1 Sam 13:14 NIV
After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22 NIV
Notice that Saul and David both made some real blunders. The difference was in relationship; David understood the big picture and knew how to repent and get back on track. David saw himself as a player in a bigger scheme. Saul only saw himself.
From obedience to creativity – The creative process God intends for all of us is not well explained by the revelation / obedience model. Moving from an obedient servant to a creative King is a significant step in our spiritual maturity. Here is fact of human nature: servants trying to obey, whose hearts and minds are not engaged, are ultimately less obedient and less motivated. You already know that from experience!
It’s God’s purpose to show us the bigger picture. Maturity is seeing what the Father is doing in the larger scheme and taking initiatives in our area of responsibility. When we say “yes” to taking that responsibility, instead of waiting for detailed directions, creativity is the result… the Father will give you whatever you ask!
You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 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. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:14-16 NIV
The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. Ps 25:14 NIV
Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7 NIV
He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Matt 13:11-12 NIV
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. 1 Cor 2:9-10 NIV
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure… Eph 1:9 NIV
What drives creativity? – Creativity starts when you give yourself permission to think. Servants value obedience over creative thought and personal initiative. Creativity for them is God showing them something new. It doesn’t work that way (although that is the only language many Christians have to explain their initiative).
A Kingly relationship with God is simply understanding the big picture and knowing that you’re not going to get detailed instructions on what to do. We see the big picture by revelation but we implement a plan of action through wisdom and personal initiative. When Kings don’t know what to do, they are willing to do their homework and make a wise decision, instead of waiting for God to make it for them.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. Prov 25:2 NIV
Creating wealth – Creativity applies to business as well. God isn’t going to tell you what stocks to pick or exactly how to run your business. You’ll have to develop a skill through a mentor and use wisdom to make decisions. If revelation and obedience to God is your only model, you will naturally skip the mentoring, make foolish instead of wise decisions, and fail. We see this scenario in the body of Christ all too often. Can you see the roots in faulty theology?
There is an open door in the Spirit right now to learn to multiply finances. It doesn’t happen through prophetic revelation or impartation. It comes through learning wisdom from a relational mentor, having a plan and working the plan. You’re invited!
If you enjoyed this newsletter, you might also enjoy some related past issues:
And last week’s newsletter Kings – Serving Without Being a Servant
John and Sue
Newsletter – If your newsletter comes incomplete (filtered), you can always catch the latest version in our archive along with nearly 200 others. 1400 people from around the world get Kingly encouragement from our weekly newsletter. Invite a friend to subscribe – they will be blessed.
How to Start a Small Group – Kings are increasingly getting involved in Bible study or mentoring groups to facilitate their “Release.” Here are some helpful suggestions www.Releasing-Kings.com/Starting-a-Group.html. We’ve also updated our Vision Brochure with graphics show how to become a King and how your can help Release Kings.
French Translation – Releasing Kings is now available in French thanks to the efforts of Cees Bakker and Support Ministries in the Netherlands. In France, copies can be obtained from Editions Menor or Librairie Chretienne CLC. The Title in French is “Libération des Rois pour le ministère dans le monde du travail”. Cees is also the guy who made the Dutch translation possible – available through his website. He can be contacted for Releasing Kings conferences in France and throughout Europe.
Facebook – I’m starting to post more information on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/john.garfield1
PS: I want to recommend some follow-up reading.
Who is God by Harold Eberle provides the best explanation of the open view of God. It’s must reading that connects our perception of God with everyday life.
Releasing Kings for Ministry in the Marketplace takes that foundation into marketplace ministry and the entrepreneurial nature of Kings. Fruit in the marketplace naturally springs out of sound doctrine.
Desire to Destiny – Takes the foundation and marketplace ministry and puts them in the context of seven practical keys or stages of growth you can apply in your own life.
You’re invited into the vision to release Kings; communicate the message, make the money, and do the mission.
1.The Message – Our first goal is to get the Releasing Kings message into the hands of the messengers that will carry it… do it, preach it, teach it, example it.
2.The Money – The second goal is to help Kings break out of poverty by networking them with practical opportunities to prosper. We want to introduce them to the right people, the right opportunity, and the right financial approach.
3.The Mission – Network Kings with opportunities to mix business and missions. Accomplish the great commission through the marketplace and occupy the Seven mountains of: business, media, arts & entertainment, education, family and government in addition to the church. See video #1 and video #2
You can get your copy of Releasing Kings for Ministry in the Marketplace or Desire to Destiny at