By Francis Frangipane
I know a man who, as a young teenager, endured a violent outburst from his father. The incident had to do with a style of shirt that other teens were wearing. First, his dad told him not to buy the shirt and then, after the young man showed up wearing it anyway, his father told him to take it off. When the boy resisted his dad exploded, actually ripping the shirt while it was still on the young man's body.
For whatever damage the violence did to the young man's psyche, there was a deeper side effect. Later in life, my friend married and had his own children. As life would have it, his oldest son wanted to wear a certain "hip-hopper" shirt, to which my friend objected. Later that day his son tried to sneak out of the house wearing the shirt but was caught. Just as his dad before him had done, my friend exploded and, while the shirt was still on his son, he ripped it in several places.
My friend was not an evil or violent man, but something wrong, like a "time released curse," had been imparted to him 25 years previous. This enraged behavioral pattern had incubated in his spirit until the right circumstances arrived; then it repeated itself identically.
My friend was shocked by his unpremeditated action. However, he was also amazed as he pondered the power and mystery of impartation. His father's deed was a seed that, apart from my friend's conscious choice, bloomed on its own in the garden of his life. It was true: the "sins of the fathers" are "visited" upon the children.
Human Relationships: Channels for Good or Evil
Of course, my friend's dad had imparted many good things into his life as well. My point is that the principle of impartation shows itself in a thousand ways during our lives. There are things we are doing and ideas we defend, not because we thought them through, but purely because they were imparted to us by others around us.
The fact is, the unfiltered human spirit is very much like a sponge that absorbs into our soul the substance of the world around us. Thus, scripture warns "bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Cor 15:33). I know of too many kids who were raised in Christian homes who, for one reason or another, became friends with kids who were sexually active or experimenting with drugs. Soon, the morals of those children were quietly compromised. How? Through impartation.
Yet, God's word also promises "he who walks with wise men will be wise" (Prov 13:20). There are those whom God has put in our lives, whose influence inspires us to reach for the stars.
The human soul must not become an "unwalled village"; we cannot exist spiritually without guards and boundaries. Plainly, we need rules and standards of God's word; divine truth creates a wall that keeps out the enemy. We must be selective and wise in walking in this world for it is, in truth, a war zone.
It is also why Jesus warned, "Therefore take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him shall more be given" (Lk 8:18). Whatever you intently focus upon and listen to, of that thing "shall more be given." What we yield to in unfiltered openness in varying degrees conforms us to itself. Entertainment "enters." Consider wisely, therefore, the next time you turn on the television or select a movie to watch. Whether the impartation comes via the media, friends or family, take heed what you allow into your spirit. For whatever you allow into you through impartation, that reality shall more be given until you have an abundance.
He Who Receives a Righteous Man, Receives
Yet, the good news is that impartation can be a wonderful and positive influence in our lives. A life-giving church can fulfill and support your spiritual journey. Prayer partners can stand before God with you and for you, encouraging you by the holy and impartable influences of their faith. We can also receive impartation from our pastors, mentors and Christian authors.
As a spiritual leader, my goal is not just to inform you, but to conform you to Christ. This involves not only instruction, but impartation as well. If you are reading a certain author that God is using right now in your life, believe God for the best that ministry can supply. There's no reason you cannot receive of the grace given to that person for you.
Jesus was specifically talking about the value of godly impartation when He taught, "He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward" (Matt 10:40-41).
Of course, God may meet you sovereignly, and we should covet and pursue times alone with the Holy Spirit, in prayer or study of God's word. But, often the Holy Spirit will have something to impart to you through a righteous man or woman. You say, "I don't need men, I have the Bible and a relationship with the Lord." The Bible did not fall from heaven, untouched by human hands; it was written by men inspired by God. Imagine if the early church shared that attitude! Of course, today there is much deception in the church and we must each personally know the written word of God. Impartation does not take the place of our personal relationship with our Father. Simply, Jesus says that God will "reward" us just by our ability to "receive" from those He sends.
Moses and Joshua
The Bible supplies many examples of impartation: Elijah and Elisha, Saul prophesying among the prophets and, of course, Jesus and His disciples (1 Kings; 1 Sam 10:5-11; Jn 14:12). Consider the commissioning of Joshua, the son of Nun. I'm sure he had his own walk with God. He didn't need Moses in order to dwell in right relationship with the Almighty; Joshua was a man who followed the Lord fully. Yet, we read,
"Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him . . ." (Deut 34:9).
The laying on of Moses' hands imparted the spirit of wisdom to Joshua. Joshua, apart from Moses, possessed personal character; yet through Moses' hands, God gave Joshua the "spirit of wisdom." Joshua received Moses in the name of a prophet and received a prophet's reward.
Not only did Joshua receive by impartation, through his unique ministry God would impart great faith to Israel. Consider what the Lord told Moses, "Encourage [Joshua], for he shall cause Israel to inherit [the land]" (Deut 1:38).
Joshua didn't just lead the Israelites, he would cause them to inherit God's promises! I am struck by this verse. Just as my friend's dad imparted something that caused him to temporarily fail, so there are people God has given us whose faith, example and encouragement will "cause" us to succeed. That individual may be your mentor, pastor or a leader in your church; he may be a national leader whose messages seem perfectly timed for your needs. Either way, God has placed people in your life whose influence will "cause" you to inherit His promises! Beloved, even as you hold fast to Christ as your head, may you also understand the gift and power of spiritual impartation.