I have a friend who regularly reminds me that I am a forerunner. I didn’t used to understand why, but as I have pursued the revelation of life and immortality I have come to understand more of why he, a fellow forerunner, always reminds me of that. It’s because he has been there, knows how difficult it can be, and is trying to ease my way.
When I put out my book Faith To Raise The Dead, I had multiple people ask me the question “How can you write a book about raising the dead if you haven’t raised the dead yet?” While writing the book I wrestled with this very idea. What I realized is that lots of people teach things they haven’t done and we consider it perfectly normal and/or reasonable. Science teachers teach about volcanoes, water currents, outer space, atoms and subatomic particles, cellular respiration, and all sorts of other natural phenomenon and physiological processes they have never personally witnessed. History professors teach about cultures they have never actually encountered personally. People teach business courses all the time who have no actual experience running a business. It is actually quite common in higher education to do exactly that, and it happens in the Church as well.
End-times prophecy is a perfect example of this. We have well-known speakers, authors, and teachers who have deeply involved understanding of their subject matter, but at the end of the day it is technically 100% conjecture considering not a single one of them has ever actually “experienced” the end times they are speaking about. People flock to conferences, buy books, and are glued to television programs with these individuals discussing these theories that don’t even really influence our day-to-day lives, but when someone talks about raising the dead, living in divine health, or living forever the first thing many point to is the fact that I haven’t lived it all experientially yet.
The thing about forerunners is that we don’t always have all the details worked out yet, but we are the people who get everyone moving in the right direction to begin with. We are the innovators who spread the message to get the early adopters on board. As with any new idea, invention, etc. the innovators and early adopters face the most ridicule because they are willing to step out and take a risk with no guarantee of return. However, that risk-taking eventually pays off when everyone else hops on board and wishes they had started earlier.
One of the threats forerunners face is Imposter Syndrome—the fear that you risk being exposed as a fraud for what you are doing; that someday your areas of lack will be exposed and people will see you for “who you really are.” As I said before, I really had to fight this idea as an author because I haven’t raised the dead yet, but I realized that I’m not an imposter just because I haven’t been successful yet. I have learned a lot through my experiences as I have pursued resurrection, and God has taught me even more as I have continued on this path. The same is happening with the revelation of abundant life and immortality—God is revealing new levels and aspects of this truth even though I have yet to live in the fullness of this promise that Jesus gave his disciples.
The apostle Paul ran into this same problem, to the point that he repeated himself twice when speaking to the Philippians about this in Phillippians 3:12-14, saying, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Paul was very clear that he had not already attained the fullness of the revelation he was preaching, but he didn’t let it stop him from proclaiming the revelation.
I had a dream the other night that seemed to suggest there are two main ways God gives us a message He wants us to carry. The first is as a prophetic revelation, and this typically comes first. Prophetic messages are often those given by the forerunners, as they are speaking of realities that have not manifested as of yet. The second are apostolic messengers—those who have lived out the message, have struggled through the ups and downs as they have pioneered the experience, and who have become the living embodiment of that which they speak. Neither means of carrying a message is better than the other, nor is either inferior to the other; they are simply different. Apostolic messengers carry the experiences within them, while the prophetic messenger is often speaking of things he or she has yet to attain to. It is important to understand whether a message is prophetic or apostolic as defined above, as prophetic messages are those that place us in greater danger of Imposter syndrome.
Finally, it is important to have our approval grounded in God’s love for us instead of in the accolades found by other humans. If we find our solace in the encouragement and agreement of other people then when discouragement and discord come along we are not going to be able to stand firm and carry the message strong. If we are grounded in the Father’s love and approval of us, then it doesn’t matter what trials or tribulations come our way because we will be filled with an inner strength to hold our ground and lift our standard high.