Run from the enemy and miss out on the dramatic, victorious promise God has in store for you!
We are in a generation of runners. At the point of crisis, God’s children tend to run from the battle instead of defeating the very enemy that has them fleeing.
People run from church to church, hoping to leave their past behind them. That never works. Their undefeated enemy, whether it’s a spirit of rejection or anger or outright rebellion, shows up the very first day they visit their new church.
Someone visited Revival Church in Detroit a couple of years ago. One of the first things this child of God said to me was, “I’ve been kicked out of every church I’ve been in. I’m determined that this won’t happen here too!”
That was a great plan, but, unfortunately, she was unwilling to battle the demons of old. Sadly, she didn’t last more than several weeks with us.
We so crave freedom from whatever bondage we are experiencing that we often demand an immediate yet premature resolution to our captivity.
In Portland, Oregon, a man was scheduled for release from prison in less than a week after 272 days behind bars. He couldn’t wait. He escaped with six days left on his sentence!
He was caught just hours later.
Sometimes the quickest route to freedom is not the most direct, or the easiest, or the most obvious. In fact, sometimes it’s to back up and entice our enemy to pursue us!
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. Exodus 14:1-4 (ESV)
They were already on the borders of the desert, and a short march would have placed them beyond the reach of pursuit, as the chariots of Egypt could have made little progress over dry and yielding sand. ~Jamieson-Fausset-Brown
The Israelites could have continued in the direction they were heading, and they would have been out of the reach of Pharaoh should he decide to summon his armies and chariots to pursue them.
It surely seemed to be madness for Moses to direct the people to turn back!
Freedom was to be had! It was right in front of them! But, their mandate was to turn back and to face the enemy they fled from.
I propose we embrace leaders like Moses today—those who aren’t trying to lead us into the Land of Promise while avoiding the challenges, struggles and pursuing armies that God desires for us to defeat. We need leaders who lead into trouble for the sake of victory!
It is a valid question: Why would God cause freedom to be delayed? Why would he put people he loves in grave danger? Two simple reasons:
- God will get glory.
- They shall know God is the Lord.
God is interested in our freedom. He’s also interested in his glory.
6 “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. 8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Isaiah 42:6-8 (ESV)
This is such an important lesson for all of us. God’s primary motivation is not to make our lives easier, nor to give us immediate satisfaction as we pursue freedom. As it always has been, and always will be, God is focused on his name being known for the sake of the generations.
We must trust God’s wisdom, his truth, if we desire to experience freedom. His truth will very often violate our own wisdom or common sense:
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (ESV)
Note how 250 years later Gideon had an important point of reference as he dealt with his own issue of captivity:
And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:13 (ESV)
Gideon heard of the of Moses and the Hebrews. That story would not have been the same if God hadn’t caused them to turn back and face a fierce enemy.
13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14 (ESV)
Instead of taking matters into their own hands, devising plans and strategies and moving according to their own wisdom, God was instructing them to stay put and be silent. How hard this must have been for them! What a lesson in faith this was!
15 The LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” Exodus 14:15-18 (ESV)
Quit crying and follow my instructions! Now it was time to advance, in the direction God revealed—right into an impossible sea. What kind of God was leading them? It sure seemed he was a monster, bent on their sure demise. How could any God presume to love anybody if he is pushing people to the limits of their sanity by toying with them as pawns on a great, seemingly demented game board. No wonder they would end up demanding to return to Egypt!
What they needed to understand, and ultimately would, is that freedom isn’t found at the place of safety. It’s found in God’s presence. Where he is there is freedom, even if that means turning back to face the enemy:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)
19 Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, 20 coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night. Exodus 14:19-20 (ESV)
The cloud that was moving before them moved to the back. It wasn’t simply a cloud, however. It was a mighty angel of the Lord!
We must learn to trust God’s wisdom as he leads us into threatening, deadly situations. There are angels. There is a Holy Spirit. There is a pillar of cloud and of fire that will go before us and guard behind us.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, 25 clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.” Exodus 14:21-25 (ESV)
There it is!
The Egyptians acknowledged the Lord! That was one of God’s goals. It took a fearless heart on behalf of Moses and the Hebrews. It took radical obedience. It required a resistance to temptation to make a jailbreak prematurely. Faith was key. God’s name was made great among the Egyptians and the generations to come.
You and I will be much stronger, more free and God’s name will be glorified in our lives if we don’t run from the enemy. We must defeat the demons, the Goliath’s, the Egyptians, our fears, our rebellion, our rejection. Turn back and fight!
A young man named Gideon would pull on this amazing, ancient story at the foot of the Red Sea as God, again, encouraged someone to advance in obedience and in the power of God.
And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” Judges 6:14 (ESV)
Go in this might of yours and watch God receive the glory as you advance into supernatural freedom!
SPIRITUAL WARFARE THREE PART SERIES
When we understand our authority, and when we understand that the battle is in the invisible realm, we can have great impact. The enemy will bring the fight to us whether we want to go to war or not. Our only option is to know who we are in Christ, and who Christ is in us and then to enforce the victory of the cross! You will find yourself encouraged, equipped and joyful as you finally hit the enemy with a supernatural power that will send him fleeing!
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SPIRITUAL WARFARE THREE PART SERIES BY JOHN BURTON
When we understand our authority, and when we understand that the battle is in the invisible realm, we can have great impact.
The enemy will bring the fight to us whether we want to go to war or not. Our only option is to know who we are in Christ, and who Christ is in us and then to enforce the victory of the cross!
You will find yourself encouraged, equipped and joyful as you finally hit the enemy with a supernatural power that will send him fleeing!
Four Demon Accusations That Stop Spiritual Warriors
Wow! This article by Jonas Clark is right on…and timely! You can see the original article here: http://www.jonasclark.com/spiritual-warfare-prayer/demon-accusations-hindrances-spiritual-warriors.html
Demon powers know how to stop most Christians. You are not like most Christians. You can see what others don’t. How you see Jesus affects your life. Jesus was a spiritual warrior. After the anointing of the Holy Ghost came on Jesus He rebuked demons, faced Satan, healed the sick, and spoiled principalities and powers. He defeated death, hell and the grave. He is your redeemer and he is risen!
spiritual warfare is part of Christianity and the spiritual warfare is not over. Historically, the rise and fall of spiritual power within the Church of Christ has been related to the acknowledgement and opposition toward demonic principalities and powers. As leaders recognized the spiritual warfare caused by demon powers they equipped believers to use their delegated spiritual authority to fight back. When leaders ignored the dark rulers of this world believers and the Church suffered.
You are in a spiritual war whether you want to be or not. Jesus did not ignore demon powers and he didn’t teach his apostles to ignore them either (Matthew 10:1). The Apostle Paul taught the church in Ephesus how to battle saying,
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand (fight back) in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:10-13)
Warriors wear armor. Armor is for the fighting man. Paul likens spiritual opposition to warfare. He teaches five important truths.
- Christ’s followers should be strong in the Lord.
- Be full of spiritual power.
- Recognize devils have wiles or tactics.
- The battle is a spiritual battle not a natural one.
- Spiritual warriors wear God’s armor.
- The battle ready fight back.
The Apostle Paul knew much about the spiritual opposition against him. “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me and there are many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9). He continually uses warfare terms when teaching and training leaders:
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12)
A GOOD SOLDIER
“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Timothy 2:3)
NO MAN THAT WARRETH
“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4)
WAR A GOOD WARFARE
“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare.” (1 Timothy 1:18)
WAR NOT AFTER THE FLESH
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:” (2 Corinthians 10:3)
WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. “ (2 Corinthians 10:4)
Paul uses terms such as soldier, fight, weapons and armor. Warfare means “armed conflict against an enemy.” As Christians we understand there are many spiritual enemies of Christ including demons, principalities and powers. Included in that list of spiritual enemies but seldom discussed are the systems, structures, kingdoms, and organizations that demon inspired people build. This is something worth thinking about. Christians should not yoke themselves with systems the demon influenced build like fiat money printing and exotic financial instrument schemes such as junk bonds, abortion clinics and drugs, or thief by political deception. These are the results of demonic influence. Satan’s cohorts come only to steal, kill and destroy. This is one way to identify them.
spiritual warfare is a spiritual fight against a spiritual enemy. Paul identifies those enemies as:
- Rulers of the darkness of this world
- Spiritual wickedness in high places
Again, our battle is not against flesh and blood. Our warfare is a battle in the spirit that manifest in the natural. Win spiritually and things get better and better naturally. Lose spiritually and things get worse and worse naturally. This is where the Word of God and battling prayer become vital to the disciple of Christ. There are many different types of prayer. Not all prayer stops demon powers. Mature in the Word and learn how to pray.
INCREASING IN DISCERNMENT
Are you afraid to discern the presence of demon activities? Some are. Demons influence people and their activities must be discerned. You can’t stop them by ignoring then. Evil spirits, spirits of infirmity, seducing spirits, spirits of error, unclean spirits, anti-Christ spirits, Jezebel spirits and divination spirits have infiltrated the Church. They target the high places of authority and power. Sometimes these spirits work alone and at other times they network together.
Some have been victimized by evil spirits because they are afraid to judge demonic operations. Apostle John taught to try the spirits. He said, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). As already said spirits work through people. To “try the spirits” means to put them to the test. When you do this devils respond. Here are four things spirits use to stop your spiritual discernment:
- Don’t judge least you be judged.
- Let the one without sin throw the first stone.
- The measure you use to judge someone else will be measured back to you.
- Take the beam out of your own eye first.
The list goes on and on. Did you notice the devil will use the bible to stop bible believing people? Yes everyone should examine their own hearts “first” but spiritual discernment requires sound judgment. You must judge. To judge simply means to make a judgment. Making a judgment “is not” being judgmental. A judgmental person is a fault finder. That’s not what we are discussing.Christians should never be fault finders or false accusers. We are writing about spiritual discernment that affects lives. Remember, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, that’s people, but against demonic spirits.
You make judgments every day. You believe what you hear or you don’t. No you are not judging any ones salvation, that’s between them and God, but you are judging what spirit they are flowing in and the fruit of their lives and ministries. Good trees bear good fruit. Bad trees bear bad fruit. This is where shared values and world views come.
Listening to and being around people lets you know what they value. You make judgments during conversation and by watching people’s actions. What do they embrace? Value? Pursue? Talk about? Value based judgment happens every day. Scripture says, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). Shared values draw people together. Those core values govern your life. Values determine your relationships with others. Shared values empower folks to walk together. People fellowship with each other based on shared values.
- What you value you will pursue.
- What you value you will protect.
- What you value you will enjoy.
- What you value you will fight for.
- What you value you will keep.
- Decisions are based on what you value.
Churches are built on shared values, political groups are built on shared values, organizations are built on shared values and relationships are built on shared values. Values differ. You spend time with people that value what you do. That’s human nature. Scripture says we are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple” of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)
How would you know if you are unequally yoked if you don’t’ make a judgment? In this scripture the Apostle Paul was not being judgmental against unbelievers. He was pointing this out for your protection. It is guidance for the sons and daughters of God. Christ authorized you to make judgments about people. Yes he did. Christ said, “You shall know them.” In other words, you shall accurately know them.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-18)
WEAPONS OF MASS DEFLECTION
It is unscriptural for someone to tell you not to judge because the spiritual man judges all things. Scripture makes this clear, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things yet he himself is judged of no man” (1 Corinthians 2:15). Did you get that? The spiritual man judges all things. Are you a spiritual man? To judge, Greek anakrinō,means:
- To investigate, examine, enquire into, scrutinize, sift and question.
- As a judge would hold an investigation.
- To interrogate and examine the accused or witnesses.
- To judge, estimate, determine (the excellence or defects of any person or thing.
Christ never taught his followers to ignore demonic spirits. Don’t let demon spirits use their weapons of mass deflection to stop your spiritual discernment. As already stressed, you are not to unfairly judge people, be judgmental, mean spirited and hurtful, condemn people or judge their salvation. This article is about demons stopping a Christian’s spiritual discernment. You must make judgments as you seek to weigh what you hear and what you see against the written Word of God. It takes spiritual maturity to see things as they really are. Demon powers know how to stop most Christians. You are not like most Christians.