Over the past several years, as I have had the privilege of discipling several younger believers, on occasion, I have noticed certain peculiar times in their lives and in our relationships. I call these seasons, times of pressing!
When these seasons of pressing occur, they will produce activity in either one of two directions.
The pressing may be of a seemingly negative nature where certain truth presented causes a young brother to struggle internally by requiring a release of certain beliefs, conduct and/or identity concepts. I am not speaking of your average, run of the mill issues here. I am referring to things that strike at the core of their being and determine whether or not Christ will truly be Lord of their existence!
Depending on the matter at hand, things can get a bit prickly. A brother may press by hurling accusations, questioning even the very basics of faith and, ultimately, running away from relationship and hiding for a while. Obviously, handling this type of scenario with a young brother requires a certain approach. While it may appear to be negative, this type of pressing has its place, is actually required in the discipleship process and is normally what it takes to get to the root of some things.
The other extreme when a young brother presses……..(hopefully by now, you realize that when I use “brother”, I am not discriminating against the female gender. My wife and I also invest in relationships with and in discipling young women but for the sake of space and clarity, I am restricting my comments to young brothers. I apologize for my limited writing ability. I just want to make sure you know my heart! ) Anyway…….
The other extreme when a young brother presses is that he is in hot pursuit of learning, experiencing and entering Father’s Ways and Purposes. There are many phone calls, texts, emails, questions, requests to get together and their initiative is aggressive and unrelenting. Young brothers during these times of pressing are spiritually hungry and they are not shy in letting it be known.
In contrast to the first scenario cited above, one would think that this is an extremely positive condition and precisely where you would want a young brother! How exciting to see a young believer hungry for the things of God and eager to give themselves over to them! Back in the day (though some still do) we used to say, “He’s on fire for the Lord!” However, I have learned over the years that this apparently positive scenario can be just as treacherous to a young disciple’s journey as the previous example given of conflict and questioning.
Both directions of pressing, while intended by Father to significantly form Christ in the Seeker, can actually be perilous times when growth is stunted and the intended benefit of the process is delayed. Would you like to know how?
Well, the problem is usually the Disciple-“er” and not the Disciple-“ee”. That’s right………..I can tell you from my experience and I am not proud when I say, I have mishandled young brothers who were going through a time of pressing. Whether the scenario with the young brother was on the apparently negative side or on the apparently positive side, I extended (my) knowledge to the young brother rather than offer (Father’s) Wisdom.
While the exchange of knowledge and raw information is absolutely necessary in the process of discipleship, these pressing times that I am referencing in this post are not ordinary times! Pressing times are critical, strategic inflection points in the life and relationship of a young disciple with his Lord and should be treated and respected as such. For an equipper, understanding the difference between the two is critical when it comes to handling a young brother and dealing with any type of pressing season.
Here’s the deal. When a young brother presses, it is a response to Father pressing him. Father is up to an individual something in the life of that individual young brother and Father’s Will must be done. And, if we think we KNOW what that something is, even based upon our own experience as an individual or based upon the experience that we have had in other’s lives, we will deal with this particular young brother accordingly. The result will not be advancement in full of Father’s Purpose for the destiny of that specific young brother………….it will be a getting off track or a delay. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to deal with a young brother’s spirit and heart. In turn, it is the grace of Christ given to us as equippers by the Holy Spirit that suits the time, pressing season and the young brother involved.
Ultimately, the goal of such pressing times in the lives of young brothers is precisely the same as the goal revealed in Jesus’ life in Gethsemane, which was a pressing place. “Father, not my will but Your Will be done!”
May I submit to you, that it is incumbent upon the one called and graced to disciple a young brother to humbly pray this prayer long before the young brother is expected to pray it. An equipper praying this prayer out of love for and in relation to a young brother’s spirit/soul actually sets the environment for the discipleship process.
Painfully, I have learned over the years that was is required in pressing times is NOT WHAT I KNOW or REVEALING HOW MUCH I KNOW! What is required in times of crucial pressing in the lives of young brothers is to MODEL the NATURE OF FATHER!
In the next post, I will share some keys in handling a young brother who is pressing.
Keep your peace!