A principle is a universal law that God has set in motion. For example, the principle of sowing and reaping. God does not need to intervene in every situation to show us that we reap what we sow, because the natural law of sowing and reaping is set into place in the universe. It applies to all us, believers and non believers. It is so recognizable that we are never surprised to see it in operation; in fact, we are likely to shrug and say, "Well, you reap what you sow." Whether is a bad result from poor choices, or a reward from sowing righteously, no one would dispute the accuracy of the principle.
A principle is not the same thing as moral law that might bring us to a court of justice if one of them is violated. Although we are justified by grace, if we violate God's principles, we are left to suffer the consequences, unless God intervenes or we apply principles that affect the consequences. Principles need to be applied, woven together, in order that our lives are rebuilt and we receive what we are meant to inherit. We must understand the principles that will bring us the greatest reward and fulfillment, and we must build based on those principles. There are seven: design, responsibility, authority, sowing and reaping, stewardship, freedom, and fulfillment. While each is important, there is one that applies most to every gift.
Proverbs 9:1 says "Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out its seven pillars.
The seven pillars are the seven redemptive gifts and each one has a principle at its disposal that enables us to go beyond our understanding o into creativity and freedom, by finding new ways to sow principles and reap joy. We can become aware of its worth and attain it, once we realize that it is God's desire and our key.
The principles are as follows:
Prophet: Principle of Design: the prophet is able to see patterns and weave principles together to bring about change. The challenge for the prophet is to embrace all laws, not just the ones that come easy for him. Usually his difficulty is in relationship to people. He may be gifted to know and help others know who they are. He is called to speak truth and bring light.
Servant: Principle of Authority: Because the of the servant's ability to see needs and meet them without a personal agenda, he can be manipulated and used to meet another's agenda. God wishes the servant to come out from any domination and to understand that he has dominion over manipulation and abuse of any kind. The servant, by submiting to the laws of God, can have authority to cleanse and detoxify people and land, bringing it under God's dominion. His battle for the principle is to understand His authority and His high calling. He must overcome any feelings of fear and victimization to truly claim the principle of his design, but it is there for him to walk in when he does.
Teacher: Principle of Responsibility: There are two areas where the teacher must face responsibility. First, he must avoid being selective about his own responsibility, and he must hold others accountable about their responsibility when he had rather not. The carnal teacher may have a strong desire to appear to be walking in the truth, while he puruses truth in some areas and ignores it in others. God despises religious activity where there is still obvious injustice. He wants the teacher to fulfill both the first and the second commandments: loving God and loving others. It will be an easier journey for the teacher to live in seclusion, pursuing knowlege, avoiding conflict. But when he embraces responsibility to be intimate with God and others, he is on a path toward deep revelation and an ability to affect many things.
Exhorter: Principle of Sowing and Reaping: the exhorter, often finds himself short of time. He feels that he invests and he doesn't reap in proportion, or he invests too little and reaps accordingly. God means for the exhorter to understand and maximize this principle and to use his time wisely to see major changes in the world. His sphere of influence and his ability to relate serve him well, but when he is able to use his time wisely and invest it strategically, he will see the harvest he longs for.
Giver: Principle of Stewardship: Because a giver often receives blessings of one kind or another, he can take ownership of everything. He must become a steward of his abundance, dependent on God, not relying independently on himself. He is meant to secure generational blessings, and to the degree he renounces ownership and control, he will father and steward according to his highest design.
Ruler: Principle of Freedom: God wants the ruler to know how to fight and how to build. The ruler needs to leave the world a better place. He does this by submitting to God's agenda, identifying the resources he has, learning how to assemble principles, and expecting God to intervene in blessing to accomplish them. He is able to walk in the highest level of generational blessing when he recognizes that he is building for God, and not himself, and he is driven by God's purposes and timing and results.
Mercy: Principle of Fulfillment: Man was not meant to seek happiness, but to seek fulfillment. There are a particular set of problems we are meant to solve, and the mercy gift is meant to find his niche and be fulfilled as he solves the problems he has been designed to solve. The mercy is complex. On the one hand, his sensitivity and depth of feelings, which others do not share, make him fearful of pain that others might inflict. He must learn to deal with pain and overcome it on an ongoing basis, or he will find himself retreating or fleeing, creating a comfort zone for himself where he hides and lives.
A mercy is meant to use his easy access to God to help others find it, and to let any pain drive him further into God's presence. Ideally, that is where he overcomes pain and lets God's presence heal and rejuvenate him so that he can offer the keys he has found to others. King David had plenty of dark secrets, painful memories, failures, and longings. He feared his enemies (with good cause) and although he was a peace maker, his enemy pursued him for many years anyway. His son turned against him, and David displeased God any number of times.
But he was a man "after God's own heart." He wanted to know God's heart, and he pursued his presence with a passion. He poured out his heart in the Psalms, and generations have used them for comfort and encouragement. That is fulfillment for a mercy; to make pain an access road for communion with God, a place of healing, a marvelous takeaway for the rest of us.
There are four different kinds of spiritual authority and a believer needs to understand all four.
Govermental authority of the church as the body of Christ meant to overcome the world.
Positional Authority believers have in Christ (Eph. 2:4) We are told that because of Jesus' death, we are seated with Him in heavenly places. We rule with him there because we are already in him. That is a completed authority that we understand by faith.
Personal authority given to believers in certain situations, such as miracles and healing or revelation for a specific time, which any believer can access by faith and alignment with God's will.
Earned authority: when a person overcomes the weakness of his gifting and is able to develop the opposite virtue, he has earned authority. A teacher who has been selective about responsibility and has only done what he wanted to do in the way of studying, who disciplines himself to be responsible in all arenas, has earned authority. We earn authority by our obedience, our faith, our integrity. This authority is added to the other kinds of authority that we have as believers. In the quiet and unseen day to day, believers accrue earned authority by living their lives in faith.
The areas of authority are drawn from the seven days of creation. Each day parallels the gifts and is the source of our understanding our authority.
Day 1: Let there be light. A prophet is able to bring light to the darkness by revealing sin and letting the light of the truth bring correction, alignment, revelation, and healing. A redemptive prophet has a deep desire to see God's purposes and design and bring it to light so that others can see.
Day 2: Cleansing of the atmosphere. The servant's life giving presence brings a new freshness to the atmosphere. He is able to cleanse people and land with this authority and his recognition of his high calling.
Day 3: Separation of dry land from the sea; plants; the seed to plant for future nourishment as the teacher plants seeds into the dry earth. He searches for deep revelations and truths that he backs up with the word of God, and he guards traditions and truth that have value from the past.
Day 4: Sun, moon, and stars which declare God's glory; the exhorter is verbally expressive, meant to know God and make Him known. He is often in the limelight and influential.
Day 5: God created diversity in the birds and the fish. "Life in the blood" came into the world. The giver is concerned about life: quality, safety, health, and generational blessings. He can do many things well, and he values the creation and the abundance God provides.
Day 6: Animals, insects and humans were created and Adam and Eve were told to have dominion over them. God breathed into the spirit of man. Rulers may be driven to tasks,but their highest call is to father people's spirits by creating community with God's goals in mind.
Day 7: On the last day, God rested. He had been "doing," and now he was "being." The mercy is meant to enjoy God and His presence. The mercy is able to experience and savor God in the most intimate way.
Birthright: This is the revealing of our purpose, put there by God. We are unique in our purposes, and while they will align with the principle of our redemptive gifts, there are countless expressions of those purposes.
For example, a mercy may be a worship leader and find his purpose in seeking intimacy through music, and leading others into the inner court of God's presence with him.
But he might also own a restaurant where he creates an atmosphere of intimacy that draws people to a presence that is comforting and unique.
Or she may be an artist who creates beauty that is an expression of her sensitive nature.
She might be a nurturing teacher who has an impact on her students because of her ability to create a special environment of safety that translates well being to their spirits.
The list is endless, but every purpose will be affected by the mercy gift.