[Course 43 Index] [Prophetic-School Index] [Mini-Series Index] [Prev Week] [Next Week]

-- © GodSpeak International 2008 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net

FireSide Chat II

Informal Prophetic MentoringWith Teresa Seputis

Week 2
Integrity and Anointing

I want to talk about character and anointing, and how those two things are not always at the same level in a person's life. It is possible for a person to move in a very high level of anointing (for a season) and still have a serious character flaw.

I am bringing this topic up because of something sad that happened in an out-of-state friend's church. Her senior pastor was recently caught in a very serious sin, and he was removed from ministry.

This type of thing is always a sad thing, but in this case it was also quite a shock to a lot of people. If you looked at his life and ministry, you would think that he walked in integrity and personal holiness. He had an international ministry; he was known and respected in both healing and prophetic circles and he even published a book. He seemed to carry a very strong anointing. He had a passion and a love for God, and he had a way of stirring that same passion in the hearts of those who he ministered to. In fact, he specialized in making people hungrier for more of God and drew a lot of believers into a closer walk with Him.

I have heard him preach and I interacted with him personally on a few occasions. He seemed warm and loving, and I really liked him. He also appeared to be very spirit-led. If you met him, you would assume that he walked really close to God because he moved in a lot of spiritual gifts and carried an amazing anointing. I had never heard him prophesy, but I am told by others that he moved strongly in that gift. I have seen him pray for the sick--and some pretty significant healings took place.

He seemed like someone who really had his "act together" with God and who was a great spiritual leader. But for the past six years, he has been living a very serious secret sin, and he has been actively concealing it.

This sin came to light recently. He did not came forward to confess it and repent of his sin. Instead, someone who felt harmed by his secret sin hired a detective to collect evidence against him. That evidence was delivered to the elders of the church, and they confronted him with it. When that happened, he did not lie or deny it. But if he hadn't be caught and exposed, he would still be living in the sin and he would still be concealing it.

This situation has been very hard on the people in his church because they loved and respected him; they were loyal to him and believed the best about him. When they found out, the vast majority of them felt really hurt and betrayed. Some of them are going to struggle with trusting their new pastor (who ever that person will be) because they were deceived by their previous one.

The negative effects reached wider than just his own congregation. He had been ministering regularly in another church, and many of the people in that church also felt betrayed. Also, some people that he only ministered to once or twice during his travels were shocked and upset when the truth came out. They wondered how he could move in such a strong anointing and at the same time be living a life of secret sin and deceit.

This is a sad story, but he is not the first spiritual leader to have a secret sin. He is not the first strongly anointed person to be caught living with an area of his life in blatant rebellion against God's word, and he is not the first to be removed from ministry because of it. This type of thing has happened many times before and (sadly) it will probably happen again.

You might ask, how can this be? How could God anoint someone when He knows what they are doing? Shouldn't God yank their anointing because of the sin?

The answer to that question can be found if you look at God's nature and character. One of His attributes is grace and another is patience. God will frequently give an errant leader a grace period before He exposes him/her, hoping that leader will repent and be restored. God can be patient with them, but He will also begin actively working in their life during that grace period, inviting them to turn them to repent and turn back to God. That strategy worked well with some of His leaders, such as King David. (That story is found in 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12).

David fell into sin with Bathsheba. He committed adultery and murder and he worked hard to conceal what he had done. This caused David to be separated from God, until God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him on it. At that point, David confessed his sin and repented, and God restored him. Look at what He said to David through the prophet: "The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die" (2 Samuel 12:13).

That implies that if David had not repented, the Lord may have struck him dead for the sin and cover-up that he did while in his high-ranking leadership position. We will never know for sure, because David did repent, and he received mercy and restoration.

There are many leaders throughout history who fell and who repented, and God forgave them and restored them to ministry. Their sin was not okay, and God did not approve of what they did as a spiritual leader, but it was covered by the blood of the lamb. Here is the key that allowed them to stay in leadership: they turned from their sin back to God, and submitted to His correction and began living according to His ways.

This is not true of all leaders. Some continued in sin through the end of their grace period, and they were eventually removed from ministry. King Saul is an example of this. So are Eli's sons, who were struck dead for abusing their priestly ministry. They had been given a grace period, just like King David was. But they did not repent. So instead of being forgiven and restored, they were removed from their leadership role.

This concept of a "grace period" is not a new thing--it has been going on almost as long as man's history with God. God doesn't reserve this grace just for leaders, He extends it to many--even to entire people groups. The Bible first introduces the concept of a grace period in Abraham's life. We see it in Genesis 15:13-16, when God was making His covenant with the childless Abraham. He told Abraham the future history of his descendents, including the fact that his descendents would one day possess the land where Abraham was standing as God spoke to him. But God did not give it to them at that point in Abraham's life, because the Amorites (who currently live there) were still in their grace period. God looked forward in time and saw that they were not going to repent. Even though He wanted to give their land to Abraham and his descendents, and even though He knew they would not repent, He still extended the grace period to it's point of completion.

Why would God do that? It is because grace is a part of God's nature. He is a God of grace and mercy, and he extends His grace to people in hopes that they will respond to Him.

The book of Jonah gives us another example of God's grace period-- grace with the hope of repentance. In this case, His grace period was extended to a very sinful and corrupt city named Nineveh. God sent an unwilling prophet named Jonah to prophesy to them of an upcoming judgment, so that they could have a chance to repent. If God just wanted to destroy them (to punish them for their sins), He would have been completely within His rights to send the judgment with no forewarning. But God's desire wasn't to punish; it was to restore.

God wanted the people of Nineveh to repent and be restored to right relationship with Him. That is why He sent a prophet to warn them of the upcoming judgment. In Nineveh's case, they responded precisely the way that God hoped they would--they sincerely repented and determined to change their behavior. As a result, God spared their city. Repentance always leads to forgiveness and restoration with God.

The same thing applies when a spiritual leader falls into some type of secret sin. God's greatest desire is not to punish that leader, but to restore that leader to holiness. That is why He usually gives them a grace period where they can continue moving in their ministry before they are exposed and removed. God is hoping that they will repent and be restored, just like King David was.

[Note that there is often some type of punishment for the sin even after repentance. That is often a natural consequence of sin, but that punishment does not disqualify them from future ministry. In David's case, the child produced by his adulterous affair with Bathsheba had to die. David was very sad at the loss of the child, but his punishment did not remove him from ministry. God restored David and he went on to do many amazing things with God.

By the way, the consequences of David's sin did not end when the child died. His sin had opened the door for a spirit of strife and discord to enter into David's family. That plagued him and caused David intermittent hardship for the rest of his life. (See 2 Samuel 12:9-12 for more details on this.) In short, David had to live with the consequences of his sin for the rest of his life. But because he repented during his grace period, and he was fully restored to his leadership role.]

Some of you might be thinking, "OK, the grace period is great for those leaders in secret sin, and some of them might repent. But what about those of us who these leaders minister to while they are in still walking in their secret sin? It isn't fair to us to get inferior ministry because of their sin."

If you thought something like that, you have just unveiled why God frequently continues to anoint them when their are in their "grace period." They haven't been exposed and removed yet, so they are going to continue to minister. They will be ministering to people who God loves and cares about, so He allows His anointing to continue on their ministry. God doesn't do that for their sakes, but for the sakes of the ones who they are being ministered to.

If you receive a physical healing from someone living in secret sin, that healing doesn't go away when their sin is exposed. The healing is still a love gift from God to you, even though it came through a flawed vessel. If you are given a true prophetic word from someone who has secret sin in their lives, the word is not nullified when their sin is revealed. At times, God chooses to do real ministry through flawed vessels while He is inviting them to repent and be resorted.

Some people think that God "overlooks" the sin because He continues (for a season) to anoint the ones involved in the sin.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that way, it is not how God operates. God hates sin, and He will not tolerate it "forever." He does give many of His servants a grace period, but it is only for a season. If they don't repent during that 'grace period,' then God has another (and more severe) course of action.

God tell us what would have happened to David if he did not repent. Go back to 2 Samuel 12:12, and you will see that God's next step in dealing with David would have been public exposure. "For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun." God will not put up with secret sin in the lives of His leaders indefinitely. If they do not repent during their grace period, then He will remove them from ministry.

He may choose to do that in either of two different ways: permanent removal (such as Anaias and Sapphira experienced), or temporary disqualification. Most of the time He chooses temporary disqualification, still hoping the leader will repent and eventually be restored. God removes them from their ministry for a while, and at the same time He actively works in their lives to try and get them back on course. If they respond to Him and submit to His purification, then God will release them back into ministry at some future time. Sometimes God uses something like sickness or personal tragedy to remove them, but most of the time He publicly exposes their sin and cover-up, which gets them removed from their leadership role.

That is what He did in the case of my friend's pastor. He had a six-year grace period. He loved God and most of his life lined up with God's will, but he had somehow convinced himself that God had given him special permission to live in this one area of sin. He most likely convinced himself that God was so pleased with everything else he was doing that He would overlook this one shortcoming. He mistook God's grace period for God's approval, so he continued in the sin and continued covering it up. But that grace period eventually ran out, and God took him out of ministry by publicly exposing his sin and cover-up.

I personally believe that he will repent and get right with God, and that he will one day be restored to ministry. (That might be wishful thinking on my part, because I liked him.) But I think he has the same type of hunger/passion for God that King David had, so I believe that he will chose to repent and cooperate with the Holy Spirit in being transformed and refined. But that choice is up to him--his future in ministry will be defined by how He responds to God during this phase of his "correction."

The bottom line is that God will not tolerate ongoing sin and deception in the lives of His servants. He may put up with it for a while because He is patience and grace, and He hopes that they will repent and be restored. But God is also Holy, and He commands His servants to walk in His holiness. Secret sin will not stay secret forever, it will be dealt with. One of the ways God deals with it is by changing the sinner to set them free from it's hold over them. But if they don't cooperate with Him in that, then His other way of dealing with secret sin so to expose it; God will bring the sin into the light, where all may see it and know about it.

Personally, I think it is much smarter to deal with any/all secret sin by responding to God's grace. Repentance and restoration sound a lot better to me than public exposure and disqualification. It is my prayer that if any of God's leaders are in secret bondage to an ongoing sin, that they will repent and confess to the Lord during their grace period. Grace and restoration are always a better choice than discipline or punishment.

I would like to close this discussion off by sharing a definition of "integrity" that I recently heard in a sermon: "integrity is behaving the same way in the dark that you do in the light." And my prayer is that you will be able to walk in integrity before the Lord at all times; free from the bondage of recurring sin, walking pure and holy before Him.

-- © GodSpeak International 2008 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

[Course 43 Index] [Prophetic-School Index] [Mini-Series Index ] [Prev Week] [Next Week]