What is Towardness and How Do I Get It?

Power in the Fellowship of Trinity Towardness

BeginningThe Trinity existed for an eternity before creation, and will exist for an eternity after–no beginning or end for those who exist as Beginning and End.

So what were they doing before creating the physical realm?

What were they doing?

John gives a hint:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

Twice this passage reveals their engagement: the Word was with God.

Okay, so they were with each other. But that doesn’t tell us what they were doing, at least, not in English. The English “with” describes the proximity of one thing to another. The Word being with God is not much different than Sue being with Jim.

The Greek pros (translated “with” in this passage) portrays a meaning more active than just a position. Pros relays direction–the destination of something, a motion towards, or forward.  Most often pros is translated “to” rather than “with,” though there’s not really an English equivalent.

And so, in the beginning, the Son wasn’t just biding His time beside God. Throughout eternity the Son was towards God. His destination was God, a forward motion, constantly moving towards the other’s nurture and well-being. We call this other-focused relationship towardness,” Father, Son and Holy Spirit, interwoven in an intricate dance of forever moving forward toward each other, building kingdoms, creating beings as one thrilling, communion of other-focused passion.

Even after becoming flesh the Son continued this motion toward His Father, a truth that provoked most violent persecution. “I and My Father are one” He announced, inciting the religious crowd to throw stones meant to kill.  “He claimed to be the Son of God,” they tattled to Pilate demanding crucifixion as punishment.

Consuming FireHow terribly awesome, how beautiful, how true and mysterious, this Triune communion, this perfect, undiluted, untainted, wholly satisfying, ever moving, eternal community.  But even more mysterious, more staggering to our limited minds, the words of The Word, just before His sacrifice, inviting us to join Him in this relationship of Trinity towardness:

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me . . . I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one (John 17:20-23, NKJV).

…the birthing of true Christian community. God exists in eternal towardness, and He created us in that image. Our fellowship is neither Christian nor true if not beginning, ending, and saturated within the communion of the Trinity, through listening prayer, saturation of His word, and loving others. The evidence that we abide in fellowship with God is in how we reflect Trinity towardness in our relationships. They will know we are Jesus’ disciples if we have love for one another. 

As we worship our Lord in spirit and truth, it’s more than just a feel-good act of music and praise. It’s a lifestyle of drawing close enough to God that His image is burned into and reflected from us to others. As God moves toward us, we move toward Him, become more like Him, and reflect this fellowship in our community relationships.

Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 1:8; Hebrews 2:7-9; John 1:1-2; 5:19-23; 10:30; 13:35; 15:1-8; 19:7; Philippians 2:1-10; 1 John 1:3,7; 2:24-25

PBL Front CoverLearn more about the the power of towardness in your life and leadership in Keith’s book, Mastering the Art of Presence-Based Leadership

– Patricia Tillman

How to Recognize Wisdom from Christ… ScripPIc

James 3, Wisdom from Above

Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let him show by good conduct 
that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts,
do not boast and lie against the truth. 
This wisdom does not descend from above,
but is earthly, sensual, demonic.
For where envy and self-seeking exist, 
confusion and every evil thing are there. 
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,
then peaceable,
willing to yield,
full of mercy
and good fruits,
without partiality
and without hypocrisy. 

– James 13-17

Click here for free Wisdom From Above Bookmark

“The Look” of Authority: How Do I Get It?

Where do Leaders Get “The Look?”

Teacher Authority

During my stint as student teacher, a fellow student teacher voiced a question we all harbored: When will I get The Look?  As long as the “real” teacher (who bore The Look) remained in the classroom, the kids behaved as model students. But when she/he walked out? We did more chaos survival management than teaching.

For those of us who persisted, The Look eventually blossomed. No, we didn’t learn this aura of authority through a step-by-step process, and it didn’t somehow transfer from seasoned teacher to novice. It emerged through suffering hard knocks and trial-and-error decisions, persistently seeking to fulfill our purpose in healthy classroom authority. Confidence emerged as The Look.

Switch gears. Our previous blog Authority for Leaders Who “Get It” implies that Jesus had The Look.

How did He get this genuine authority? At least three times in scripture, Jesus called Satan the ruler [prince, highest in rank or authority] of this world. Jesus wouldn’t exaggerate. Satan won that authority when mankind turned it over to him through turning against God.

So how did Jesus become Lord of all authority crowned with glory and honor to whom every knee would bow, with all power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, blessing to Him alone?

Hebrews offers insight:

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor… For it was fitting for Him… in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

And again,

…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered…

The Son of God didn’t “demand” authority. Instead, though He did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, He made Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of a bondservant… He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore [because of His obedience through suffering] God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…

If Jesus had forcefully demanded His authority—by calling down twelve legions of angels, for example—He would have violated His own character as God of both Justice and Love. Christ could have banished Satan from the earth in Justice, but without the Love that sent Him to the cross, He would have destroyed mankind in the process. Instead, He stripped Satan of his legal power over earth by submitting to death by sacrifice. His obedience in both Justice and Love cleared the way for the Father to legally bestow on Him authority as Lord of All.

Jesus modeled this godly principle: genuine spiritual authority comes through obedience in overcoming fear and sin in the midst of suffering. Suffering pressures us into making decisions, and sharpens our capacity to follow the Father’s will apart from the sinful way. As we increasingly overcome, spiritual authority increases in our lives.

The Look emerges as the overcoming power and presence of Christ increases in us.

Matthew 26:52-54; 28:18; Luke 4:32; 10:19; 22:42;  John 5:30; 12:31, 49; 14:30; 16:11;  Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:5-11; I Corinthians 5:24; 15:49; II Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 1:4; Hebrews 2:7-10; 5:1-9, 14; I John 5:19; Revelation 5;12-13

– Patricia Tillman

Note:  Scripture quotations from New King James Version

The Only Way to Leadership Success… ScripPic

Lord Jesus, show me today how I can acknowledge You in my attitude, actions, thoughts words and daily tasks.

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants,
to love the Lord your God with ALL your 
heart and with ALL your soul,
that you may live.
Deuteronomy 30:6)

In all your ways Prov 3

 I thank You, High God—You’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!

You know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book,
You watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before You,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with You!

– Psalm 139:15-18, The Message

Photo copyright 2014 by Tammy Teague. You have permission to copy for personal, non-commercial use only.

Authority For Leaders Who “Get It”

What is it we need to “get”?
Something we need to lose in order to own…

authorityThe centurion “got it,” as Jesus said (in so many words): “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”

Then Jesus elaborated on the centurion’s humble submission: “Many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:10-12, NKJV).

According to Jesus, lots of people from all over the world would “get it.” But others who claim to know God won’t “get it.” Not mincing words, He said that those who don’t would go to hell while those who do would go to heaven.

The obvious question: What did the centurion “get?” Something about authority. NLT translates:

Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed! I know, because I am under the authority of my superior officers and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come…
– Matthew 8:8-9

Jesus was so impressed with the centurion’s response that He broke into a sermon which spotlighted the man’s faith as as the ideal model. Was it because he recognized Jesus had enough power to do long-distance-healing? That Christ could order diseases around like officers ordered soldiers? But most others would have recognized that too. What made the centurion’s observation so special?

The answer may lie in his “I am not worthy to have you come into my home” statement. Roman military officers such as the centurion relished their authority over Jews, considering them a defected people far below the superior Roman race. And Jesus was a peasant Jew from Nazareth. Lowest of the low (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” – Jn 1:46). Yet this centurion not only humbled himself to beg Jesus’ favor, but honored Him as a superior officer, with spiritual power in His word that had no boundaries. In other words, his own ego was small enough that it didn’t obscure the absolute authority of Christ in His affairs.

Something surreal surrounds those of well-seasoned, submitted authority—you might call it an aura that attracts respect. They “get it.” They serve, NOT because they have to or crave to control others, but for a purpose beyond mere position, money, or power.

Some crave to possess authority, grasp for it, fight for it, kill for it, but never truly get it. Some fake it until they implode, never realizing they can own it only if they lose it.

Jesus had it, and the centurion knew it—authority founded by genuine submission, fully surrendered to the One who ordained the authority in the first place. They have no fear of loss because, with no grasping for gain there’s nothing to lose even if they sacrifice everything. An inner strength. Peace. Integrity. Proven obedience. Wisdom beyond intelligence.

Where does true authority come from? Ask the One to whom all authority was given:

For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command…
– Jesus Christ, John 12:49

Matthew 8:5-13; 20:25-28; 28:18; Mark 1:22; 8:35-36; John 7:17; 12:4; 14:10; 16:13; 17:1-2

PBL Front CoverIncrease clarity and godly strength in your sphere of leadership with insight concerning spiritual authority in Keith’s book, Mastering the Art of Presence-Based Leadership

– Patricia Tillman