their spiritual lives.
I. What is covering?
The Webster's dictionary definition of covering is: Something laid over a thing or wrapped around it for concealment, protection or warmth.
I recently watched a DVD called "Garden of Eden" wherein a man in Washington State discovered a new way of gardening. His method eliminates the need to till or do much to the soil in the way of weeding or fertilizing. His method of gardening was discovered as he prayed and the Lord showed him the "covering" of natural material (compost or mulch) that had accumulated on the floor of the forest around the trees and bushes. Each tree in nature is surrounded by natural mulch which holds moisture, helps keep weeds down, and requires no cultivation. This man, a Christian biochemist, decided to put about four inches of mulch around his vegetables and fruit trees. Over the years he discovered that the longer he left the layer of mulch around trees and shrubs the better they produced. He also discovered that if he would pull back the mulch layer over his garden, plant the seeds in the soil below and then as the plants grew, push the mulch back around the new plants, his garden required very little work. The plants grew bigger and healthier and were more productive.
As I was watching this DVD, the Lord began to speak to me that we are like this. We need covering to really be protected and more productive. Fruit bearing is easier when we're under cover. We become more productive for the Kingdom of God when we're under spiritual covering. We are shielded from some of the attacks of the enemy and we have a greater anointing as a result of covering.
A spiritual covering shields, protects, provides spiritual nourishment, impartation, anointing, training, and counsel.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings (Gen. 3:7)…. Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them (Gen 3:21). In Genesis chapter 3 we see the fall of mankind. Fallen people always make "fig leaf" coverings for themselves to hide their shame, condemnation and guilt. Fig leaf coverings are man's religious attempt to re-establish "respectability" and alleviate the condemnation of a guilty conscience.
There are many "fig leaf" coverings. Religiosity, social status, good works, education, socialism, communism, atheism, are just a few examples of the "fig leaf" coverings people use to feel good about themselves without having to submit to God and His ways. Fig leaf coverings are substitutes for God ordained covering.
Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve were in a Shekinah glory covering of the presence of God. The light of God emanated from them. When they sinned and obeyed the word of the Devil instead of the Word of God, they lost their Shekinah glory covering from God. For the first time in their lives they realized they were naked. Realizing they were naked, vulnerable, ashamed, condemned, guilty and fearful after the fall, and tried to cover themselves. However their covering was inadequate in the eyes of God. Their covering did nothing to get rid of the sin stained shame and condemnation they felt. So God intervened in their lives.
God made them tunics of skin. They were probably lambskin, from an animal sacrifice whereby through the shedding of blood God made a substitutionary sacrifice for their sins. [In fact] under the Law almost everything is purified by means of blood, and without the shedding of blood there is neither release from sin and its guilt nor the remission of the due and merited punishment for sins (Heb. 9:22 Amp).
We see the first act of God after He confronted Adam and Eve about their sin, was to bring them to a place of repentance and covering. Covering is therefore very important to God. Man who is not under proper covering is vulnerable to attack of the enemy and subject to further deception. God knew he had to get man back under proper covering in order to preserve them. Covering signifies a proper relationship with God wherein His redemptive and restorative work is in progress.
II. What is Spiritual Covering under the New Covenant?
1. The true Local Church provides covering.
Spiritual covering for the believer is first of all a Bible believing, God fearing, New Testament type Local Church. A true local church has a Pastor, elders, deacons, and saints, or it is in the process of being established by someone functioning apostolically to develop it according to the scriptural pattern. This is why every believer needs a local church. God has not called us to be lone-ranger Christians. In a day when many people want to be "free agents" and do their own thing, floating from church to church living the life of smorgasbord Christianity, this is not a popular message. These rovers accuse pastors who preach against McChurchianity of being "legalistic" and stifling to their freedom in Christ. True freedom in Christ, however comes from being under the covering of a local church and under the mentorship of a local church pastor.
2. Apostolic Fathers provide covering.
Those mature men and women of God who function apostolically and have long term proven track records of being able to establish churches, para-church ministries, and mentor leaders to fruitful ministry provide covering. This type of spiritual covering can either be a man of God who functions apostolically, a group of such leaders. Covering in the Bible follows the order of father to son. This is usually not a natural order of father to son, but a spiritual order. The Apostle Paul referred to Timothy as his true son in the faith (I Tim. 1:2). We see the Spiritual father – Spiritual son relationship all through the scriptures. Moses mentored Joshua and was a spiritual father to him. Elijah took Elisha under his wing by the leading of the Lord and developed him into a mature prophet ready to receive his mantle. Paul had Timothy. Jesus chose 12 spiritual sons that He invested His life in to establish his Kingdom. This has been God's intended order through the centuries. We see shining examples of this type of effective mentorship in modern ministries.
I will write more on this subject next time.
Have a blessed week.
Bishop Darrell Ellis
Anointed Word International Fellowship