Theresa Harvard Johnson

Copyright 2010 Theresa Harvard Johnson

1 Sa-mu-el 17:34-40

34 David answered Sha'ul (SAUL), "Your servant used to guard his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear would come and grab a lamb from the flock, 35 I would go after it, hit it, and snatch the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned on me, I would catch it by the jaw, smack it and kill it. 36 Your servant has defeated both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised P'lishti will be like one of them, because he has challenged the armies of the living God."

In my walk with the Lord, I have sown a great deal of faithfulness in my service to His people. I boast in the Lord in this, not in myself. I've walked with some mighty and anointed vessels. Whomever I sat under as a student, I gave them the very best I had to give -- and did so without reserve, and often to a fault... unquestioned loyalty. Father said to me a few years ago that "because you have sown this kind of faithfulness in the Kingdom, I will return faithfulness to you as you follow hard after me." All I can think of as I share this is the passage of scripture that says, "A man reaps what He sows."

Despite the things that took place in King David's life, one thing that we knew from his childhood to the end of His reign was that He was faithful. He was a faithful Shepherd under his natural father Jesse. He was faithful under his assignment with Saul even when he learned that the man wanted him dead. He was faithful as a military leader sometimes to a fault, and most of all He was faithful in His pursuit of Father.

In this passage, we see him reporting to Saul. Some who are reading this has sown some intense faithfulness into the Kingdom. You didn't bail when things became hard, even when you didn't understood. You waited until it was your time to go.  Father wants you to know that "in that place of faithfulness" you must keep your eyes on HIM. WHEN YOUR EYES ARE FOCUSED ON GOD AND HIS MOVING, you will always know His will for you. You will even know how to respond when that faithfulness is challenged.

David's humility in this situation is amazing as we watch his maturation. You see, even though he served Saul... this soon-to-be King already knew what God had prophesied over him. He had already been anointed and ordained to one day hold that office. His time with Saul was SIMPLY A PROCESS OF TIME, a TEST OF OBEDIENCE, an issue of DUE SEASON, a PLACE of making or training in patience and greater humility. David had to be MADE and every step along the way, no matter how painful, was a part of this process. This is very, very important...

David, who believed the prophecies of the Lord, did not stand up and say to Saul: "You know, I'm gonna run this very Kingdom some day. Who do you think you are?" WOW! Even then, He was walking in the PROCESS OF TIME with the Lord -- a time of sowing in faithfulness and obedience before Saul and unto the Lord. David even called himself Saul's servant! Now, that's a revelation that only wisdom can unfold. That's something you RARELY see among the Body today. Why? Because many have not come into understanding what servanthood was understood to be from a Hebraic perspective in relation to the Word.

37 Then David said, "ADONAI, who rescued me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will rescue me from the paw of this P'lishti!" Sha'ul said to David, "Go; may ADONAI be with you." 38 Sha'ul dressed David in his own armor - he put a bronze helmet on his head and gave him armor plate to wear.

In the midst of His service to Saul, David began to praise the Lord and declare what HE KNEW Father would do for Him in the days to come. Saul whom he was serving, said to David: "GO! May the Lord be with you..." Then He proceeded to place HIS MANTLE on David.

What I want to point out here is this: Many leaders FALSELY believe that the mantle they walk under IS ALSO the EXACT mantle those who are submitted to their leadership for a season is supposed to walk under. THIS IS A LIE! NOT EVERYONE WILL WALK LIKE ELIJAH AND ELISHA, MOSES AND JOSHUA or even PAUL AND TIMOTHY. Not EVERYONE can wear the mantle of someone else NOR can they FORCE that mantle upon someone else.

You see, your children, your students, etc. should draw from your mantle whatever it is - if anything -- Father wants them to receive. Saul did not understand this because of His lack of true relationship with Father. He was in fact, attempting to place a "perceived authority" over this young man... one that Father had not extended to Him. Saul would have known this had his heart been in rightstanding in relationship.

The role of shepherds and mentors in our lives is to help MAKE STUDENTS of those who walk with them -- not to clone themselves. They are making STUDENTS who understand that the sit before a Holy God, not students who follow after and study the flesh of men. In Voices of Christ, every leader is encouraged to see themselves as cultivators in the garden of the Lord... helping those around them embrace and walkout their full potential.

Now, here me in the Lord on this. Your service in the Lord to or with others should NEVER stifle or hinder the beautiful diamond bursting or being refined on the inside of you in the Kingdom. It should enhance it, strengthen it and polish it... even when walking through the valley as David did with Saul.

39 David buckled his sword on his armor and tried to walk, but he wasn't used to such equipment. David said to Sha'ul, "I can't move wearing these things, because I'm not used to them." So David took them off.

Look at this! David TRIED to walk in SAUL'S ARMOR. He tried to be who Saul, whom he was serving, wanted him to be. He tried to be obedient to this request to walk in the armor BUT IT DID NOT FIT! He found himself stumbling, falling, struggling to walk in ARMOR (an anointing, calling or position) that had been FITTED for someone else. That armor was SAUL'S DESTINY. That armor was SAUL'S purpose. That ARMOR was Saul's DEFENSE.

 That armor worked well for SAUL -- but it wasn't for DAVID. The scripture clearly says, "...but he wasn't used to such equipment."

One of the most heartbreaking things I've experienced and seen in ministry have been when leaders FORCE THEMSELVES on the people of God, raping them of their unique indentities and purposes. They are told that in order to be an apostle you must LOOK LIKE THIS, FLOW LIKE THIS or LOOK LIKE THAT in your OUTWARD OPERATION of the gift. And because you don't know AND because you trust those in headship over you, you follow --- knowing this is the truth, but without determining yourself to seek out God's will for you.

There were many, many times when SAUL'S ARMOR was forced upon me personally. Apostles and Prophets who mentored me would often tell me, "A prophet is more than a scribal prophet. Is this ALL there is to your call as a prophet? There's more to the office of the prophet than what you are doing with Voices of Christ. You're missing God focusing on this literary portion."

You name it, I had heard it.

SIDE NOTE: As leaders, we must also protect ourselves from idol worship. We must make sure that we are not allowing those who serve with us to WORSHIP US, to become SLAVES TO US and desire to BE LIKE US (AS IN CLONING THE ADMINISTRATION OF THEIR MINISTRIES LIKE US) in the realm of the spirit. Our desires should be that people are drawn to the heart of the Father in us, the Christ that they see... not the flesh.

Now, here is a very subtle example from my own life: When I began walking in the office of the prophet, I would hang around other seasoned prophets. I was so amazed by "how" they prophesied and "how" they prayed that I wanted to prophesy and pray like them. So, when I got ready to deliver a word under their guidance, I found myself "mimicking" what I'd heard and seen them do. Now the word was accurate and pure, but the delivery, my tone and some other stuff was all added to it. Yet, I was encouraged in it. The more I matured, the more I realized this "persona" didn't fit me... and I began backing away from that particular group. These were powerful women of God I'm speaking of... some 30 years older me who were WARRIORS for the Lord. HOWEVER, Father was teaching me that this was no okay FOR ME. This was not the path I was to walk in order to meet the destiny set aside for me.

People of God, it is so important to hang on to the YOU Father has created and is developing. When you walk in prayer and intercession with the Lord like David did, you will come to fully know Father's will for your life. Daily, I thank God for these experiences in my life. Were it not for them, I would not have learned to grow in the valley.

In my life, I had an identity crisis going on... from past hurts that had not been dealt with. I had a need for maternal affirmation, and a whole lot of other stuff. Father began to show me all of these things as I stepped away from environments like this. I knew that if I did not get healed, I would be drawn to "mimicking what I saw" and walking in the anointing of others vs. walking in my TRUE SELF -- not only as a prophet, but as the woman Theresa.

Father commanded Moshe (Moses) to use the staff in His hand. OUR CHALLENGE people of God is ALWAYS learn to use our specific staff. Did Joshua receive Moses' mantle? Did Elisha receive Elijah's mantle? Did Timothy and Onesimus receive Paul's mantle? Yes, but they received THE HEALTHY PORTION that was pre-ordained for them. They received what FATHER wanted them to have, not what man thought they needed. Their submissive relationship with Father in the midst of their spiritually directed service revealed this to them -- not flesh and blood.

I was one of those people who have had to go into my prayer closet many times to REMOVE ARMOR that did not fit me! People tried to put PRAYER ARMOR on me so that I would pray "like they did" -- loud and boisterous; "preach like they did" -- hooping and hollering; "establish a ministry like they did" -- focused on four walls; or "sink my teeth into a denominational lifestyle" -- like they did. I'm sharing this not to point fingers, but to bring home this very simple point -- "Father wants you to walk out your destiny in Him. Your identity, destiny and purpose is hidden SOLELY in relationship with Him."

40 Then he (David) took his stick in his hand and picked five smooth stones from the riverbed, putting them in his shepherd's bag, in his pouch. Then, with his sling in his hand, he approached the P'lishti.

Look at this! David used the ARMOR that fit him, the armor of a shepherd! We know the end of the story, David was victorious over the P'lishti.

People of God, it is okay to take off Saul's armor. Ask Father to keep your spirit sensitive to identifying the "SAULS" in your life -- those who harbor secret jealousies, competition and ill-will toward you -- whether on the workplace or among the congregation. Ask Father to continue to build true servanthood in you so that you do not become Saul in the midst of his precious people. Listen, I was almost a type of Saul. PRAISE GOD, I broke away from this mindset. Today, I'd say that I'm more like Elijah in the sense that if you are there when the mantle falls... and Father has granted you a portion... grasp hold of it, and let it be between YOU AND GOD alone.

Be free...

Be whom God has called you to be...

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