We are at war! Last week we began a new series on Spiritual Warfare. If you missed last week's blog, do go back and read it here: https://www.upstreamministries.com/post/who-says
We looked at how the war began and that there are two kingdoms at conflict. The kingdom of darkness that belongs to Satan. And God's Kingdom; the Kingdom of Light. And if you're born again, you are in the Kingdom of Light. When you repented and chose to put God on the throne of your life, you were taken out of the kingdom of darkness and brought into God's Kingdom. Congratulations, we win the war! But, we don't win every battle, and that's why we want to study this topic. Christians are far too often defeated. We fall short of all that God has for us. Why?
Luke 10:19 says; 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. God has given us power over the enemy. The Greek word for 'power' in the first hall of that verse, is Exuosia which would be more accurately translated as 'authority'. It means, the power or authority to occupy a position of superiority. However, the second word used for power is dynamis. That's the word we get 'dynamite' from. What we see here is that authority trumps brute force. Our position of superiority over the devil gives us all we need to defeat his 'power'.
It’s God’s will that we reign in life. You are called to be a king, in this life and the next! Romans 5:17 says; For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. God wants us to reign and rule. So why is it that we so often fall short of this promise? It seems so many believers are victims of the devil. Why is that? Why do we fall short of the promise? Let’s look at the Old Testament for this.
Joshua 1:1-5. Israel had drawn back and not taken the promised land like God had told them. So they spent 40 years in the wilderness. We too have the promises of God and yet we freak ourselves out by looking at a huge battle ahead, and listening to the 'bad report' just like the Israelites listened to the spies' bad report when they came back talking about giants in the land. (If you don't know the story, you can read it in the book of Numbers, chapters 13 and 14.)
It’s going to take a fight to lay hold of what God has for you. Eventually, Israel crossed over and faced Jericho. They won without even fighting. They then proceeded to take city after city. In Joshua 12 we find Joshua listing the kings they’ve defeated like a victory parade! Even after all of that, there was still a lot of land left to possess. That brings me to Joshua 18:2-3 which is what I want us to look at today.
Joshua 18:2-3: And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the Lord God of your fathers hath given you?
In other words, Joshua was rebuking them for being too passive. Even though victory is promised, the children of Israel didn't lay hold of it all. If we want to experience all God has for us and be the blessing to others that God has destined us to be, we are going to have to fight the fight. Israel fought and won from Joshua chapters 12-18, and these are the believing Israelites! And yet Joshua said to them “How long are you slack to go and possess the land?”
The reason we don’t reign in life like we want to is because we don’t fight the fight fully. Matthew 11:12 says; And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. This verse is talking about us laying hold of our inheritance. Why from the time of John the Baptist? He also preached the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh, didn't he? The same as Jesus. It was the beginning of the new era. John prepared it and Jesus finished it. They brought in a new era of Kingdom living. And this is telling us who gets to experience it: The Violent! The spiritually violent are the ones who are able to lay hold of that promise. The problem has never been on God’s side. The problem is folks, and let's be honest, we love comfort and routine too much. Something bad happens, the devil throws a bomb and we lie down and say ‘it must be God’s will’. Let's look at some other examples.
Matt. 6:48; And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. Jesus would’ve passed by them. Wow! But, they cried out to him.
Luke 24:28 The road to Emmaus. It says; And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. Again, Jesus would’ve gone further. Why did Jesus do that? To see if they were willing to fight. To see how passive they'd become. That experience would not have happened if these guys had been passive. But no, they 'constrained him to stay'.
God has done what He needs to do and it’s up to us to lay hold of those promises.
More examples of this can be found in Luke 8:43-48, Mark 10:46-52 and Mark 7:24-30. In all these examples, the person in need actively sought Jesus, literally pushing aside what was in the way and would not be deterred from reaching out and getting what they needed, despite great adversity in one way or another. The point is, if we think God will automatically bring to pass his blessings in our life we are wrong! We need to use the weapons of war at our disposal, use his word, stand on his promises, and actively engage the enemy.
I'm not talking about becoming 'devil focused'. That's not what I'm saying at all. Rather, focused on what weapons God has put in your armoury and use them to take the land that's been promised to you, whatever stands in your way!
Brothers and sisters, we must engage and use the weapons that are given to us. So, are you ready to rumble?! Are you ready to take what is rightfully yours, by force. Don't let the devil lie to you anymore. It's time to stand up and fight! Because it is up to us to get into the battle and fight the fight. War is hard. But you're in God’s Army. You are assured of victory but only if you fight. So how do we win? We will cover that in next week's blog! Don't miss it!
WATCH THE SNIPPET FROM RICHARD HARRIS' TEACHING SERIES: SPIRITUAL WARFARE
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