The metaphor or image I have for my life right now is that of the US Navy at Pearl Harbor in 1941. I am in a fight for my life and that of my people. We just got bombed. It was meant to destroy us. We are not destroyed but we are deeply hurting. There are dead and dying people around me. There are delays and miscommunication and blaming. There is a real conflict going on and the casualties are real.
But I can’t quit. I have too much invested with those I love. Anyway, where would I go? So, where is God in all of this? How do I survive? How do I fight? How do I lead? HELP!
It is amazing how God sets us up with what we need when we most need it. In the middle of feeling like I was in the fight of my life I happened to listen to a message from Pastor Bill Johnson. It was exactly what I needed. I realized I had allowed the size of the problem to become bigger than God Himself. As a result, I had become passive and powerless. I needed to stand up again. What I heard and experienced in that message gave me the strength and direction to do just what was needed – to remember the promises and fight with what God has said. This is when we discover the true value of worship, daily scripture (especially the Psalms), praying in the Spirit, declaration and remembering what God has said. All of these daily Christian disciplines set our focus on God and keep us aware of how much bigger He is than anything else that would seek to say otherwise.
God only leads us through a conflict or challenge He knows we have the capacity to handle. Even more than that, God will strengthen us ahead of time and then set up opportunities to help us discover our authority – how much stronger we are than our enemy.
Israel also came into Egypt, And Jacob dwelt in the land of Ham.
He increased His people greatly, And made them stronger than their enemies.
He turned their heart to hate His people,
To deal craftily with His servants. …
He also brought them out with silver and gold,
And [there was] none feeble among His tribes.
Egypt was glad when they departed, For the fear of them had fallen upon them.Psalms 105: 23-25, 37-38
Throughout life God is training us and making us stronger. But training for battle is very different than battle itself. We have to have a fight in order to realize our authority. When God sees we are ready for the real thing, He goes over to the enemy and slaps them around and turns their hearts against us saying “It was their fault!” Next thing we find ourselves in a battle wondering what on earth happened and often questioning what we did wrong! But from God’s perspective, it’s already a foregone conclusion; it’s a conspiracy to prove we are everything God says we are. It is also necessary for us to realize the authority that we have and to step into the future that He has for us. And the greater the battle the greater the reward.
But we will certainly need to know how to fight. And fighting God’s battles is very different to earthly battles. First, we must remember that we are not fighting against people. People are not our enemy; the principalities and powers behind them are. The other big battle is in our mind – the head trash, mindsets and lies we believe that hold us back from stepping into all that God says about us.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this age,
against spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].Ephesians 6:12
So how do we fight? The kingdom advances in two seemingly contradictory ways. The first way is by receiving like a child (see Mark 10:15). We cannot enter the Kingdom unless we come like a child. This is all about identity. We are children of God and our victory is not about our performance, it is about His – what He paid for. We receive everything Jesus paid for in full and we stand and receive what He has already done for us. We receive freedom and healing and provision and safety… the list goes on.
The second way to fight is a violent expression of faith advancing (see Matthew 11:12). This is all about understanding our position of authority. All authority was given to Jesus – meaning the devil has none. Jesus then gave all authority to us. We truly learn our authority as we exercise it. Through faith we take hold of things that are under the control of demonic influences and we forcefully advance the kingdom of God. We advance in freedom and healing and provision and safety.
When we have a promise from God and we are not experiencing the Kingdom advancing around us, we need to first ask Holy Spirit which way He wants us to fight. Do we simply receive and rest in what He has done or do we need to exercise our authority and fight? For me in this instance, I had become passive and was not experiencing any advancement; I needed to fight!
So I did. I started intentionally worshipping and praying in the Spirit daily. I started declaring what God had said over the situation. I reviewed what He had promised and turned that into a declaration in the middle of being surrounded by the opposite:
I am faced with financial challenges and internal poverty thinking:
But God has said we have more than enough and more on the way!
But God has said we will have land in this land!
But God has said now is the time for every word to be fulfilled!
But God has said there is no more delay!
Our reaction to challenge must be a declaration of the promise: BUT GOD HAS SAID…!
Father, thank You for preparing me for every challenge I face.
Thank you for giving me opportunities to grow in authority.
Help me to remember that You are always with me.
Help me to stand up and fight in the way You are leading.
Help me to remember Your promises toward me.
Help me to remember the fight is spiritual not against people.
Let me feel Your strength and power as I stand in who You have called me to be.
- Ask God how much He has already prepared you strengthened for this fight. Ask Him how much authority He has given you over sickness and poverty. Ask Him how He has positioned you to win and what winning looks like?
- If you fully believed you are who God says you are and you have what it takes, how would that change your behavior in your current season? What would you do differently?
- What are the words and promises God has already spoken to you that you need to pick up and fight with now?
Go back over the promises that you have heard from God, even as you have been working through this book. Turn them into a declaration in language that is directly opposite to the challenges you are facing right now. Write out the declaration(s) and put them somewhere prominent like your bathroom mirror so that you will read them daily. Take some time to stand and declare BUT GOD HAS SAID….
This is one of THIRTY devotional style chapters in my new book Finding Hope in Crazy Times. It’s a series of stories and journal entries from my family navigating change of continents, health challenges, immigration, income deficits and great risk over the last ten years. If you want to get the entire book and the audiobook for free, grab your copy on Amazon.com.