And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12.
This week's blog is taken from Part 7 in Pastor Richard's teaching series; Spiritual Warfare. Parts 1 to 6 are available on our blog page and are well worth reading if you've not done so already.
We the church, the Body of Christ, are the ones responsible for spreading and enforcing the Gospel and the Kingdom of God in this world. We are carriers of truth. We sow the Word of God and it’s the Word that establishes the Kingdom of God. The victory has already been won by Jesus and we are 'in Him'. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Emphasis mine)
However, in order to enforce the victory that is already ours, it is necessary to attack the enemy. We have to stay on the offense. Look at what happened when the Israelites arrived at Jericho. The looked up and saw The Walls. Jericho was said to be impregnable, indestructible. The walls were famously big. The people inside felt safe because of them. In the natural, to take the city looked totally impossible.
But, Israel had to attack it. What were they relying upon? Their own wisdom and natural strength? Would anyone in his right mind ever attack a city by walking around it 7 times then blowing a trumpet? No! They were dependant upon the Lord and trusted Him for the outcome.
Yet, how many Christians today are more focused on the mountain, the enemy, the problem rather than the solution? They'll say; 'Oh I'm having a bad day; the devil's all over me'. Or at best we will respond to a simple How are you? with 'not bad under the circumstances'. I'll say to anyone who says that to me; What are you doing under there? So much of this is about perspective. Remember David and Goliath in a previous blog? David's perspective was totally different to Saul and his army.
Let's take a look at the 12 spies again in Numbers 13. The spies have just come back to give their report on the Promised Land.
And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sent us, and surely it flows with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
The 10 spies looked at the natural circumstances and were defeated purely by their appearance. But Caleb had a different perspective. Numbers 13:30; And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
And what happened to the rest? Verse 31; But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
Because of their unbelief, their wrong perspective, they did not enter the land and it didn’t please the Lord. We need to have faith in God, believe in what Christ has done for us. Do not tolerate sin, bondage or defeat, or fear, or timidity. Be strong and bold in the Lord in the power of His might. Get God’s plan for your situation and move forward with wisdom, love, humility. Claim your victory, speak it, act it. No soldier or army ever won a war on the defensive or by believing that 'some day' they’d win! We have to get out of our spiritual foxhole and take the fight to the devil. A soldier has to attack the enemy if he wants to win the battle.
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the commitment to do what you need to do despite the fear. Are you dead yet? Say what?! I said; are you dead yet?
There’s a brilliant mini-series called Band of Brothers that many of you may have seen. (Look out for our Worship Pastor in the episode where they liberate the concentration camp, by the way!)
Have you ever heard of battle blindness? It comes over soldiers sometimes when fear takes hold. They literally go blind from fear. Well, in one episode of Band of Brothers, Private Blythe goes blind from fear. The medic says to him, there’s nothing physically wrong with you. Eventually, Blythe’s Lieutenant says to him a quote that has amazing spiritual resonance. He says; The problem is, you think you’re still alive. The sooner you realise you’re already dead, the sooner you’ll be able to function like a true soldier should.
This goes with the gospel so well. When we allow fear to overcome us, we can no longer see the promises of God. Jesus said, take up my cross and follow me and only those who lose their lives for the sake of the gospel will find it. When we surrender power and authority of our lives over to Jesus, we see results. When we set our affections on eternal salvation and reward in heaven, our perspective changes. When we realise we’re already dead because we’ve surrendered to Jesus, that He owns us and we belong to Him, it doesn’t matter what we go through, we will be good soldiers. Then, we’ll be able to go on the offence and attack the devil not worrying about how difficult it might be because God is on our side and whether or not we see the manifestation of it on this earth, we will be victorious one way or another. Our real life is in heaven and ultimately the victory is ours. Hallelujah!
See you next week for more powerful teaching from Upstream Ministries.
In the meantime, check out our previous blogs here.
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