April 22, 2010
The Church is now engaged in a fierce battle, a battle for dominion and rule between the forces of light and darkness, between, the Kingdom of God and that of Satan. It is because of this battle that many feel weary, tired and often discouraged. The reason for this drain and stain on our spiritual life, energy and vitality is most often due to the failure to understand and yield to the process God has ordained for His people. God actually uses these conflicts to perfect you, empower you and train you for warfare.
God’s process sometimes requires a pathway that is not always pleasant, easy, or the way that we would choose to follow. Where you are in life is either the pathway that you have chosen or the one that God has chosen for you. Either way, you are where God is working faithfully in your life to fulfill His purpose! Somewhere you responded to the call and prayed, “God, whatever it takes…..here I am. Take me Jesus just as I am for I am yours.” Congratulations – God is now answering your prayers.
The battle that now rages in you and around you is the Lord’s. When most people state this famous scripture, the battle is the Lord’s, they are basically saying, “I will leave it up to the Lord to take care of this problem or situation. It’s not mine but His, for the battle is the Lord’s.” I would suggest that the real battle is the call to yield to the process – the work that He is doing in you! “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
You are His workmanship! The Lord’s job is to perfect you and your job is to yield AND rejoice during the process with thanksgiving, “For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives (He. 12:6). Therefore, if you feel like you are in the midst of a fiery trial, praise God! It is your perfect opportunity to allow God to do a work in you that Christ may be revealed through you. We are more than victorious in Christ. It is from the place of victory in Christ that we have the victory through Christ. Jesus said it is finished at Calvary, but His work continues on earth through His people.
The Pathway to Glory
Christians do not die to the flesh very easily. There is life in death, but in order to live in the resurrection power of Christ, one has to die to self. Jesus gave us the pathway to His glory when He said, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny him himself, and take up His cross, and follow Me. (25) For whosoever will lose His life for My sake shall find it” (Mt. 1616:24-25).
The Lord is purging his bride of the tendency to control and dominate, dictate and manipulate. Even the most gifted can wrongfully use their ministry and oracle ability to promote themselves, rather than serving the household of faith. Our call is to love others with God’s love and serve the household of faith as His humble servants.
This is the hour to draw near to the Lord, abide in His presence and seek His face that we may find our life in Him and walk by faith. If we will yield our lives totally to Him and go through the process, the inner battle will cease. Instead of turmoil, fear and anxiety, we will have perfect peace. You are what the Lord is doing. He is building His future in you. When you know what the Lord is doing and you understand the process, no matter how hard the trial or the pain, you can rejoice in the Lord knowing that,
All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose (Ro, 8:28).
What is His purpose in your life? It’s simple, to reveal Christ to you that you may be confirmed into His image and likeness. The present fire is burning away our personal ambition, purpose and plans to fulfill His end time purpose. Then we shall become one – one in the Father and His Son for His will to be done one earth as it is in heaven. If we are truly dead in Christ, we will seek the things that are above, not beneath. A dead man cannot feel rejection, betrayed, unrighteous anger, envy, or jealousy. God does not have an offended heart, nor should we.
Once you know God’s purpose is to perfect you (not your pastor, spouse or neighbor) and you yield to the process, in the midst of the battle that surrounds you, you will find that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Our call is not to carry the yoke or the burden of others, but the heart of God as we walk in love. Jesus said, “Come unto Me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (29) Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest in your soul. (30) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Mt. 11:28-30).
The battle truly is the Lord’s. We are being called to a place where our hearts move into a place of total surrender. Like the calm eye of a raging hurricane, when our life is centered in Christ we will find our peace in Him. A surrendered heart is a heart of faith and faith must be present if we desire to please God. If is from this place of rest in God that He rules and reigns in our heart as Lord of Lord’s and King of Kings. When the battle is won in us the Lord will move in power and demonstration to win His battles through us. It was for this very reason that the apostle Paul did not seek to build a large church or ministry, but to labor to see Christ formed in His people knowing that it is ‘Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
What Rules Us?
The reason why Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years is because of unbelief – a lack of trust in God. Although God was with them as a cloud by day and a fire by night, it was their carnal nature that prevented them from entering into God’s rest. Because their vision was focused on earthly things, they reacted to what they perceived to be taking place in the natural rather than God’s possibilities. Their faith was in their substance, prosperity, sense of well being, comfort and safety, rather than in God’s love, sovereignty and faithfulness to provide for them.
As I mentioned in the article, “The present Spiritual Battle,” Satan feeds on the carnal nature and soul of men. When men take on the divine nature of Christ, Satan loses his control and his influence over them. When Christians reveal the divine nature of Christ and His love, they will walk in the dominion and rule of Christ where there is Kingdom power and authority. Christians that are not filled with His love and life will be ruled by their impulses, habits and fleshly desires. Others will be ruled by their soul – their emotions, feelings, intellect and understanding.
Sanctify the Gifts
Many Christians that are prophetically gifted will misinterpret prophetic revelation (prophecy, visions and dreams) by the same means in which they are ruled -by their soul or intellect. God may reveal something to them to fulfill His purpose but when filtered through their perception, it eclipses the true purpose and heart of God. This is especially true for wounded soldiers and those that need to be in control. People want to feel safe and comfortable and thus control is a means for providing this.
Spiritual gifts, especially prophetic revelation that proclaims, “Thus says the Lord” can be a way to direct the lives and course of others in such a way that it empowers them to be in charge. This protects them from being hurt, deceived or betrayed. It can also be a mask for those that are insecure that use spiritual gifts to validate their identity and ministry in order to fulfill an inner need to be valued, esteemed and appreciated.
Those who operate in the soul realm, unless their gifts are sanctified by God (under His Lordship and direction) will often misinterpret revelation in such as way that it nicely fits their situation, purpose and understanding. Some claim that they are being “led by the Spirit” referring to what God revealed to them that fits their agenda. God has not called us to be ruled by the soul ream or by our intellect and impulses, but by the Spirit. The gifts are not for our personal benefit, but to fulfill His purpose.
Simply because one is spiritually gifted or has received a prophetic revelation, does automatically mean that they have the proper interpretation and its application. Interpretations belong to the Lord! There is a process involved that we must navigate through. This is why Paul tells us to “Let the prophets speak two or by three, and let the other judge” (1 Cor. 14:29). It takes humility to let others judge and to properly evaluate that which we have received from the Lord. This is by God’s design to keep us dependant upon Him and one another “for we know in part, and we prophesy in part” (1 Cor. 13:9).
The Transformation Process
As we have discussed, two of the greatest forces in the Universe are trying to kill you – God and Satan. As Christians, we get to choose which one we prefer and which one we choose to serve. If we can learn to live to die and do so graciously, rejoicing in all things we will find the more abundant life that is ours in Christ Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:24).
What is God’s purpose for your life? It has pleased Him to call you by His grace to reveal His Son to you that Christ may be revealed through you. (Gal. 1:15-16). Before God returns to rule the earth, He is coming to be revealed through a glorious church without spot or wrinkle. A church that is pure and holy that demonstrates to the world His love and grace with Kingdom power and authority. Many Christians today are surviving rather than overcoming their obstacles and the challenges they face. We overcome by abiding – abiding in God’s love to walk in the nearness of His presence.
This is the process that the church is now undergoing, the process to rid His people of those things that separate them from Him, such as unbelief, the works of the flesh, carnality and sin. Like a caterpillar that has been crawling along the contours of the earth, she is now in the Chrysalis stage. It is here being confined to the womb of the cocoon that 90 percent of the caterpillar dies to its old nature.
Is it is the death of the old that nourishes the DNA of the remaining 10 percent of the caterpillar that enables it to be transformed into its true call and destiny. Prophecy always speaks to the will and purpose of Christ for your life. But what most people do not understand is the process that it takes to get there from here. The Lord wants to break our false concepts that Christianity is always a life of leisure, blessings and prosperity. That is the American dream that has infiltrated the Church and the faith theology. Because of this misnomer, our tendency is to gravitate towards that which is easy to obtain that provides us with comfort, prosperity and personal pleasure.
It would be nice if every time God gave me a prophetic promise it came to pass quickly. Some have but most prophecies came to pass as I navigated through the process. This has imparted to me wisdom that came from experience along with a greater understanding of God and His ways. In God’s great wisdom, He allows us to mature through our every day life enter counters. New wine takes time to mature. God is more interested in developing our character than when we arrive at our destination. I discovered that my rest came when I began to enjoy the process and the journey. Our goal is not just to arrive, but to abide in the one who will get us there!
We are created in the image and likeness of God, not just to enjoy the blessings of the Spirit, but to be transformed into God’s image and likeness. The Scriptures does not tell us that our call is to go from blessing to blessing, or manifestation to manifestation, but from glory to glory. This is a process of the Holy Spirit who seeks to forge the divine nature of Christ and the fruits of the Holy Spirit into our character. This work requires a death process. Like a caterpillar, it is this transformation of the Church that will enable her to emerge as a glorious butterfly with the freedom to soar above the earth. To declare as the apostle Paul did,
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith for the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
Some Biblical Examples
Consider the life of Joseph. As a young boy he was gifted with visions and dreams. Not understanding the true purpose of God, he promptly notified his family of the two dreams that foretold that they would bow down before him. Instead of seeing the complete purpose of God, in his arrogance and pride, Joseph placed the focus and emphasis upon himself believing that God had exalted him. God was not interested in promoting Joseph or His gifting, but the development of His character that would in time measure up to his gifting. Therefore, God took him through a process. The higher the call the longer the process and the greater the gifting the more that is required. Jesus said, “For whom much is given of him much is required…” (Luke 12:48.
First, God used the jealousy of Joseph’s brothers to betray him. Out of envy they sold him to the Ishmeelites for 20 pieces of silver. The Ishmeelites sold him as a slave to Potiphar in Egypt who was an officer in Pharaoh’s army. Because Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph, he promoted him to oversee over all his possessions.
Potiphar’s wife asked Joseph to lie with her. Because Joseph refused, he was falsely accused in court of attempted rape and sent to prison. Here in the deep dark dungeon of Egypt, Joseph had to wonder what happened to the prophetic promise that the Lord had given to him so many years earlier. With a lot of time to think Joseph must have wondered, “Where did I miss God? What did I do wrong?”
Rather than blaming his brothers, Potiphar’s wife and God, Joseph kept the faith. Joseph well understood betrayal, rejection, and misunderstandings. He knew what it was like to be hungry, cold and forsaken. It was his suffering that forged in his character the trait of humility. It was this process that broke the arrogance and pride of a spoiled teenager to become a young man that understood the suffering of men, the sovereignty of God and His mercy. Because He believed God, he was promoted from prisoner to the prince of Egypt when he interpreted Pharaohs dream.
In other words, the place where you are now may be ordained of God as part of the process to help you fulfill your destiny. Turn your prison into praise and in due time God will exalt you.
Your gifting will try you! So often a person will receive a prophecy, vision and dream, and based on a lack of understanding of God’s purpose and the process required, will try to get out of prison, or advance themselves before their time. Because of the prophecies of the coming outpouring here in New England, I have seen ministries attempt to fulfill something that has yet to take place. We don’t like to face rejection, the pain of betrayal and being misunderstood but yet it is often the very process that God uses to perfect His people to become carriers of a coming move of God that will transcend all that we have ever known.
When the apostle Paul was asked what qualified him to do the works of Christ, he didn’t refer to his theological training that he received from one of most respected teachers in Israel. Nor did he refer to the abundance of prophetic revelation that he received, his time in heaven, his gifting or healing ministry. Instead, he referred to his sufferings as the factors that qualified him stating,
Are they ministers of Christ? ( I speak as a fool) I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often. (24) Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one. (25) Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned; three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep. (26) In journeys I was in perils of robbers, by my own countrymen, the heathen, the perils of the wilderness, the sea and by false brethern. (27) In weariness and painfulness, in watching’s often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting, often in cold and nakedness ( 2 Cor. 11:23-25, 27).
How would you like to have that on your resume? In fact, Paul was so disfigured from the 195 lashes that ripped his flesh; that he told the Church that although he was not pleasant to look at, he ministered in power and demonstration of the Spirit. He declared that when he was weak, God was strong and therefore he rejoiced in his sufferings that God may be glorified! Is this how we respond to conflict, trials and difficulties? Every one of the Disciples of Christ was martyred but John. In order to live in Christ resurrection life and power, we too must not be afraid to die.
Do not expect to be promoted because of your gifting, ordination, or prophetic revelation, but by God who gives grace to the humble. It is the love of God and His compassion, mercy and understanding forged in you through manifold trials and testing that is precious to God. Obedience, faithfulness and discipline are the traits of a seasoned Christian soldier. God promotes those who love Him that are obedient to Him. He seeks those that will serve with His heart to reveal His love. God promotes His humble servants that are willing to die that others may live, as Christ modeled for us when He walked the earth and laid down His life at Calvary.
If you feel like you are in prison, or life seems difficult and not according to your liking or prophetic promise, rejoice and be glad, for you may well be in God’s perfect will – the process required to fulfill your destiny.
Some More Examples
Consider the life of David, who was a worshipper of God. Ordained by the prophet Saul to become King of Israel as a young shepherd boy, in his wisdom he returned to tend to his father’s sheep. When David worshipped the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. Because of his intimate relationship with God, he was empowered with supernatural strength to kill lions, bears, the giant Goliath and the enemies of Israel. David was a mighty man of war! God however was interested in His character.
Instead of being promoted to King, due to the jealousy of Saul, David ran for his life and hide in desert caves. As the number one fugitive on the nations wanted list, he was relentlessly pursued by Saul as a common criminal. And yet throughout all of these trials, David kept a right spirit before the Lord. Even when he had the chance to kill Saul and avenge himself he said, “I will not put forth my hand against my Lord: for he is the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 24:10:10).
And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways: and the Lord was with him (1 Samuel 18:14).
It was this attitude of David forged in his character that was after God’s own heart that promoted him in time to become King. It is important to understand that David was also recognized by the people who crowned him King of Judah. (2 Samuel 2:4) In other words, it is not until you are both recognized by God and the people who accept you as their leader that your time of promotion has come. If the people do not recognize you, it is not your time. A person is not truly a leader unless they have a following along with accountability and responsibility.
Again, gifting or a person’s potential is not the basis for promotion, but the character of Christ revealed in their everyday life. If we are not faithful in the things of this world, such as our finances, workplace and relationships, God will not trust us with the true riches of His Kingdom.
Consider Job who lost all that he had. Satan robbed him of his beloved wife, children, farm and prosperity. Who allowed Satan to do this? Yes, it was God! While sitting near the ashes of his fire suffering with boils that consumed his body, Job received a visit from some friends. They came to him with the message that because Job had sinned, that God was punishing him. Such is the perception of those that do not inquire of the Lord that perceive life through their own reasoning and understanding. It was the prayer of Job for his misguided friends that moved the heart of God to release Job from his captivity and to bless him with twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:42:10)
Am I saying that God delights in sin, disease and demonic oppression? No, of course not! Or that what you are going through is of Satan that the Lord is allowing? No, not that either! But what I am saying is that if you will rejoice thanking God for all things despite the situation that you are in, you will move the heart of God to work on your behalf. In everything we must learn the lesson if we want to inherit the blessing. God looks at the heart, not those around you! You are what He is doing!
How Do We Respond?
How do you respond when things do not go well? How do you respond to the slow traffic or the check that bounced or the bills that are not paid? How do you respond to those that say all manner of evil against you falsely? (Jesus said to rejoice) Do we see the purpose of God in these things and look in the mirror and ask “What is the Lord saying that will enable me to be a part of the solution?” Do we ask ourselves “What is the Lord doing in my life that needs to change and how can I make a difference?”
Every trial and tribulation, every circumstance and situation, is our golden opportunity to become more like Christ. In the midst of adversity, face into the wind and like an eagle use the adversity to lift you up higher in the Lord. Rather than blaming Satan, the government, our spouse, boss, or family members for our problems, rejoice in the Lord who rewards those who diligently seek Him. The battle that you are in will then be used to serve God’s purpose.
As Joseph said when his brothers discovered that he was the prince of Egypt, “what you meant for evil God meant for good. The very person that is opposing you is the one that God is using to perfect you. If you ask God to remove them, He will simply send someone else that may be even worse! Rather pray for them and bless them for the way that God is using them!
All that you experience in this life is training for reigning to bring you closer to Christ to the place where you are resting and abiding in Him! While our bodies are here on earth, our spirit was made to dwell in heavenly places with Christ. Mankind was created in the image and likeness of God to dwell in the light of His presence to reflect His light on earth that ministers the life of His presence to others.
Messengers of Fire
In his book called, “The Sword and the Torch,” Rick Joyner talks about the Torch that was given to him by the Lord. The torch is the light of God’s presence. The call of every believer is to be filled with the Spirit of God to burn with the brightness of His glory. There is a fire that God is igniting in the hearts of His people. This fire breathes the very breath of heaven itself. It is this fire of God’s presence that illuminates the pathway that leads to God and His ways. We will never be in the dark when we stay close to the Lord. He is the living truth in whom we live, move and have our being for “In them has He set a tabernacle for the Sun” (Psalms 19:4). So arise and shine for your light has come!
The fire of God’s presence is the same fire that Moses saw in the burning bush that now dwells in His people. God is not looking for a people that will talk or speak about Him, but to be a vessel for His voice to speak through. This is the fire that the Lord’s messengers will carry that will set His people free. In order for the light of God to burn brightly, we must learn to aide in His presence continually.
The light and power of God depends upon the life of a believer and how close they walk with God. If we drift away from God being too busy doing things for God or we are caught up in our own feelings, response and reasoning, our light will diminish, and so will our spiritual life and vitality.
We can quickly become so busy doing things for the Lord that we fail to draw close to Him. Ministry is not based on how much work we accomplish, but rather the overflow of a dynamic relationship with Him.
When we walk in the light of Christ, we will see things differently. In His presence it is no longer about ourselves or others, but the Lord Himself. As His face shines upon you, you will shine upon others with the light of God that rest upon you. When we find our life in Christ, like Stephen as recorded in the book of Acts, when he was being stoned for His faith in the midst of our trials we can see the Lord high and lifted up and our face will shine with His glory.
In summary, the battle truly is the Lord’s. Every trail and tribulation, every circumstance and situation is our golden opportunity to reveal the divine nature, love and power of Christ. God is doing a work in the lives of His people for we are His workmanship created in Christ unto good works. It is by His Spirit that we are transformed into His image and likeness that takes us from glory to glory. Our job is to yield to the process and with rejoicing, worship the Lord with thanksgiving and praise knowing that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose (Ro. 8:28).
Loving God is our primary call and mission in life – which is the basis for the 1st commandment. When we love God more than we do our personal pleasure, sin and the things of this world, our hearts will be filled to overflowing with His glorious love. This is what enables us to fulfill the 2nd commandment, which is to love others with His love. It is God’s purpose to reveal Christ and His love to you that His love, power and light may be revealed through you. I leave you with a blessing from Numbers 6:24-26,
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift upon His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
In His heart and love