Sometimes, change is uncomfortable. Sometimes, a “new normal” doesn’t feel normalor comfortable at all. You’re not just having a bad hair day, POOPSI, this is spiritual warfare!
So how do we joyfully embrace what God is doing when we can’t see all the details and the results are still invisible?
We come to places where we must relinquish the right to try and understand spiritual matters with our natural mind. They must be embraced from a much deeper place. They are light and life and truth. They are not confined to earthly terms, or methods or positions. However, Jesus defined spiritual truths by physical illustrations from the world around him. We call it parables…
For example, there are parts of the game of baseball that, for me, help illustrate our spiritual faith journey.
Take the batter’s swing for example. The swing that seems so natural and fluid, is actually the result of years of hard work. What looks like instinct is actually self-discipline. The batter has hit thousands and thousands of baseballs in batting practice. This is how, in the twinkling of an eye, he can discern between a breaking ball and a fast ball. A ball on the inside corner of the plate and a ball outside (only a matter of inches). So, let’s say a batter needs to change his swing to be more effective. He now has his work cut out for him because he is so ingrained with the swing he has used so long, that he now has to develop a “new normal” and the only way to do that is by, trusting his coach and hitting thousands and thousands of baseballs in batting practice. It can be frustrating too, because he instinctively wants to go back to what felt right before,so, while this new swing process is taking place, and he finds himself in a pressure situation at game time, he will instinctively resort back to his old swing … which brings the old results. You know that the batter has finally switched to the new normal (the new muscle memory) when, he’s in a pressure situation, and he no longer thinks about his old swing but just “naturally” uses the new swing. It’s the new natural! As we surrender to God’s Spirit, we can tell that things are different – even our desires have changed – but there is still that “old normal” that old “muscle memory” of how we used to respond to things, and it can cause a lot of frustration. But God (our new coach), now dwelling within us, begins to help us fundamentally change how we respond. Our training begins to feel more and more normal. We are moving into our new normal..
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation 19 for we understand , that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be reconciled (come into harmony or agreement) with God”.
The name Egypt in Hebrew language is “restraint”…. The Jewish people were restrained from the destiny God had Intended for them because they chose compromise over liberty, comfort over security, and the things of the flesh over the things of the spirit. Satan never jumps up in your face in a red jump suit with a pitchfork and shouts that he is the devil. No, he comes as your favorite feel good thing, a new adventure, or some forbidden fruit… and in a beguiling voice he whispers, “Try it you’ll like it”….
Satan doesn’t tell you right out to disobey God, he just gets you to question and doubt His word. He gets you compromise just a little here and a little there, then he gets you to justify what you have done and blame someone or something else…. And it gets easier and easier to be around others who are doing the same….
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep (guard, protect, watch out for) your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the issues of your life”.
1 Peter 5:8 8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking the unsuspecting, to devour”.
Revival is spiritual warfare….. Stop taking it personally, (poor me, woe is me) The focus of Satan’s attacks is Jesus in you. He’s attacking righteousness, Godliness, Holiness, those who hunger and thirst for the Holy Spirit!
We must be like the little girl whose children’s pastor asked her, “what would you do if satan came to your house and knocked on your door. She said, “I would send Jesus to answer it”….GOOD ANSWER!!!
1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy”.
Spiritual warfare is your new norm…. stop wondering why you’re being attacked, or thinking that your faith is being tried without cause….
2 Corinthians 10:3 “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds”.
What are your strongholds… Back to the Hebrew word for Egypt…. It is the areas of “resistance” which you are experiencing in your life. Those areas that are keeping you from entering into the promises God has given you…. People are not your problem, it is the demonic strongholds that are using the people that iscreating your resistance…
The good news is Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you”.
That tells me when we are involved in spiritual warfare, God is saying we win!!!! We’re not fighting just to test our faith, we are fighting to win… God says we win!!!
Hallelujah, it says All the power of the enemy, all the strongholds of resistance which are coming against you….shall not prevail!
In The Word For You Today, for April, it gives the account of Winston Churchill’s commencement speech at Oxford University. Where he stood before the audience during Hitler’s assault on London and declared, “Never give up, never give up, never, never, never give up”!!!
I hear the bell ring, Satan is in one corner of the ring and you are in the other. You are about to meet in the center of the ring and the battle begins. Ding, ding, ding!
We’re training for reigning….. Your training is about getting full of the word of God…. Your training is about guarding your confession…. (training your tongue, training your brain)….
You and I have been given redeemed speech….I have said it before…. A person who speaks Spanish, but who has learned English, doesn’t think in English, they think in Spanish, then translates it into English…. The language of heaven, where our citizenship is, is the Word of God… We need to get to the place where we think the word of God…. then translate it into the heat of the battle so it can bring redemption’s power into the fight.
Someone says, let’s go down town and get drunk…. Immediately you think your redeemed language… “I am the temple of God, the Holy Spirit dwells in me, I am full of the Spirit, so I don’t need to get drunk” I have a right mind, so I don’t need porn, I have a redeemed spirit, so I don’t need to get angry and cuss, and give someone a piece of my mind (as though I could spare it anyway)You just did Spiritual warfare….
Hey, I cheat on my wife, cuss, go out drinking, look at porn, and party with those who do, all I want to…. I JUST DON’T WANT TO! I’M REDEEMED, I HAVE A NEW MIND, AND A NEW MASTER! PRAISE THE LORD!!!
Focus on Spiritual things….Satan often gets by with blocking us, stealing our peace and our potential, and he is often effective in his work because he is an expert at getting us to focus our attention on things in thenatural, so we as physical beings come against it and fight it in the physical realm, and get caught in the revolving doors of discouragement, doubt and wearing us out.
The devil knows if he can get you to expend all your energy on fighting and struggling and warring in the flesh, he has already defeated you.
Spiritual battles can never be won on natural terms with even our best efforts..
Spiritual battles must be fought with spiritual weapons
Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. Your enemy is not the IRS, or DMV, or the DHS or the GOV. And your enemy is not drugs, alcohol, nicotine, and your enemy isnot homosexuality or lesbianism, or fornication or adultery. And your enemy is not sickness and disease, and poverty and lack, Yes all these things may be manifest against us but they are just the devices the devil uses.
Your real enemy and mine is spelled (d-e-v-i-l). The good news is: We Have been well equipped to fight this battle.
2 Corinthians 10: 4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
When you don’t feel like shouting Hallelujah, you shout anyway…. When you don’t feel like raising your hands in praise, you raise them anyway…. When you don’t feel like repenting, you repent anyway!!!
No doctor will examine a person and diagnose them with Cancer or With Tuberculosis, or arthritis, or deafness and say (It’s a demon) No, because they can only see the natural, physiological results.
But we know that disease may manifest itself in the natural, but its roots are spiritual. That’s why scripture says, “by His stripes we are healed”, (by the supernatural power of the finished work of Christ). For every physical cause, there is a spiritual cure!
When the enemy comes in like a flood the Lord raises a standard against him. That’s why, when I had my 5thheart attack in 2000, doctors said that I would have those scars on my heart for the rest of my life and any EKG, would reveal them. They would be part of my life, for the rest of my life…. But in 2010, the same doctor, (doctor Burros) released me, saying that the EKG showed no scars on my heart, and I had a clean, scar free heart!!!
In 1984 I found myself unable to move the lower part of my body. The doctor (Doctor Callejah) said I had a crippling virus that had lodged in my lower spine. He said it could be months or years or permanent. I swung around on crutches for a month, and one Sunday, as I was in the pulpit preaching, the Holy Spirit said to me, “You are healed”…. I threw my crutches down the isle and walked out of the church that day with no more effects! And I never went back to get them….
In both cases, I fought with my faith confession based on the word of God and it created a new normal in my thinking. God’s word was the language I spoke, to defeat the symptoms.
Jesus defeated the devil with “It is written”, and as he vocalized what was written, Satan had to flee!
But please listen, It is not just what is written in a book, that defeats the devil in your life: It’s when God’s word is alive in your heart and mind, and comes out of your spirit through your mouth in Jesus name, that defeats the devil. It has become part of you! It’s how you now live your life.
Just as the ark of the covenant was carried upon the shoulders of the priests, and their enemies knew they could not stand against the glory of God upon the ark, so also, God has committed His presence and power upon the shoulders of
praying, believing, declaring saints.
We win because we carry His Glory, His power, and His authority!
It is in the closet of prayer that the Christian, is dressed for the battle, and for life. We are not dressed for battle until we’ve prayed. It is in the place of prayer that we are clothed upon from on high in the full armor of God.This is where the real battle is won or lost. Public victory owes it’s accomplishment to private prayer. We pray for God’s presence and his power to be made known, for Revival, for souls, for signs and wonders and miracles, and that his kingdom be advanced in the earth.
Jesus Said He that prays to his father secretly shall be rewarded openly.
Your prayer life is the thermostat which sets the atmosphere for your Christian life that is seen by the public.
James 5:16 “The effectual (making a difference) fervent prayer of a righteous man avails (or accomplishes) much”.
Would I shock you to say, without a life of prayer, you cannot be righteous! To be righteous means you are in right standing with God. Righteousness is not about behavioral modification it’s about heart transformation.
Spiritual warfare means, That we are in a Battle, It means that the Battle is not Imaginary (the battle is real)and the real Battle is Spiritual not physical.
It means, we must fight it in the Spirit with spiritual weapons. And it means that we cannot win alone we must win together.
Two are better than one….Matthew 18: 18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
When it comes to revival, there are three kinds of people, Those who wish it would happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder “What’s happening.”
For those who are wondering what’s happening…. I want to say… Jesus has already won the battle!!!!(wonder no longer)
And you may ask, then why are we having to fight him, if Jesus has won?
After all, Colossians 2:15 tells us that Jesus "disarmed principalities and
powers, and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them.”
The answer is “Free Will”…. Even though we have authority over demons, God gave mankind free will. SoSatan uses man’s free will to choose who they will serve. Every person who chooses to follow the path of rebellion against God, becomes the place where demons now have permission to take up residence. You see where there is lust, there is a lust spirit… where there is blasphemy, there is a blaspheming spirit….where there is drunkenness, pornography, drugs, adultery, greed, wrath, murder, and on we could go… there are spirits who dwell in those who commit these things. We could also say, where there is rebellion against God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, there are rebellious spirits which inhabit those who do that. Satan and his demons reject Christ, so those who reject Christ, are impowered by the same demons.
Yes, Christians can still be under the control of demons. They are not possessed, but they are compelled. Oh, it’s much easier to hear, “The devil made me do it”… But the Devil uses his demons to do his work. Hear me, Oursins are forgiven, not our demons. They must be addressed, told they no longer have permission, and commanded to leave, in Jesus’ name. Come on, surelyyou’re not surprised that Christians can be in rebellion!!!!? I have known Christians with unclean spirits, lazy spirits, spirits of anger, contentious spirits, argumentative spirits, lust spirits.. greed, covetousness, etc. I’ve known Christians who were driven to spend, spend, spend. Or who were always restless and confused. What was it that was behind that?
Why do Christians get divorced, or fight, or their families fall apart, or they fall away from God….it’sspelled D.E.M.O.N.S! We have to deal with our demons! Don’t give those spirits a free ride.
It comes back to Free Will. Every person must choose to let go of those spirits which motivate and compel them to live with less than God says they can have… Spiritual warfare must be waged to see these who are under the control of these spirits, released and set freed!
This is where 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 comes in…. “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, being ready to win over all disobedience when your obedience is complete”.
In a mental hospital they devised a test to determine when their patients were ready to be released. They brought a candidate into a room where a water faucet was left on so that water was pouring all over the floor. Then they handed the patient a mop and told him to mop up the water. If the patient had enough sense to turn off the faucet before mopping up the water, he was ready to be released. But if the patient started mopping while the water was still flowing, they kept the patient for more treatment." In the same way, we often start trying to fix problems while the water is still running and we get no where. Until the source is taken care of, no headway is made. Until the powers behind the rebellion, drugs, alcohol, lust, and Godliness, is turned off, it will continue to prevail and no headway will be made, because of each person’s free will…. That door must be opened from the inside….
We must clean our own house before we will have the power to tell someone else to clean theirs.
Psalm 51:16 “For You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You take no pleasure in burnt offeringsor I would do it. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise”.
When we humble ourselves and deal with our own areas of disobedience, God will move in and convict and convince others.
I have so many stories where believers tried to cast demons out of someone else, and the demon began to call out their unrepented sins, and transgressions. But if we approach spiritual warfare, with clean hands and clean hearts, those spirits that hold others in bondage, cannot accuse us before God, because it’s under the blood where they cannot find it!
One of the gates of the city of Jerusalem was called the “The Dung Gate” has a powerful message for all. It represents the need for cleansing physically and spiritually. It had to do with the removal of everything that defiled, from within the city, allowing the city to be kept clean and holy. It lead down to the valley of Hinnom, where fire was kept burning 24/7 as a reminder of the need for constant cleansing of our spiritual life. It is about the removal of all that would hinder us in our Jesus walk. Anything that comes between ourselves and God becomes a false God. All pagan items, idols, instruments, food dedicated to other Gods, and anything pertaining to false worship, were taken out through this gate. “The Dung Gate” symbolizes the work of cleansing God wants to do in our lives to restore us.
(This gate now has a busy street running through it, just as we should be busy in this area of our lives) For it is the gate of cleansing and holiness! John 1:8, 9 “If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves... If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Just as you must regularly clean your house, so likewise we must keep our lives clean and swept out, as the residence of the Lord of Lords.
Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation and may I have a willing spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You”. Create in me a clean heart, Oh God”.
Let’s stand together…. Today, we see that God would have us all clean our own houses of gossip, greed, unforgiveness, and every form of disobedience to Him, if we are to win the battle and see others released and set free….Let us humble ourselves before Him and know that a contrite spirit He will not ignore….
If we really want a revival that will bring down the strongholds… this is what it’s going to take…. Let’s all take a moment before Him and before we leave to go to our homes, to do some cleaning… we must begin to humble ourselves in the house of God for we are the living temples of God….