Sit, Walk, Stand – I love the progression of maturity in Ephesians. First we’re seated with Christ, second we learn to walk with Him, and finally we learn to stand in our inheritance. Normally we think of having to attain or accomplish something to achieve our inheritance. We do play an important role, but in the Kingdom that concept can be incomplete. Focusing on our efforts or worthiness leaves us in the position of wondering what we did wrong when things don’t go our way. It’s not always about us.
The Larger Battle – When we volunteer to be involved in the Kingdom, we sign up for a battle that goes beyond our personal lives and circumstances to the unseen realm of rulers, authorities, powers and principalities. For example, most of us have crossed paths with a person under the influence of a wrong spirit. You can provoke a wild reaction without doing anything wrong. Just being a follower of Jesus will touch it off. In the same way, your involvement in a Kingdom initiative will also draw a spiritual reaction at a level that goes far beyond your personal friends or influence. Delays, harassment, conflict, financial issues, problems… can all come as a consequence of simply trying to live in your destiny via the desires of your heart and God’s heart. Our response to problems isn’t necessarily a retreat or a counter attack. It’s to “stand” in the place God put us. We simply resist enemy schemes and he will eventually flee as powerful angelic forces prevail in expanding the Kingdom.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then… Eph 6:10-14 NIV
My Story – I have lived nearly all my life having going from 30 years of good paying jobs to investment income that was even better. For the last few months, though, we’ve experienced financial lack. The range of emotions has gone from praying through to a sense of victory, and specific ideas to implement as a solution, to garden variety discouragement and depression. It’s particularly troublesome that wealth creation is at the core of our message. After weeks of wrangling in my spirit, I sat down and asked the Lord, “What should I do?” His immediate response was “having done all, stand.” He was telling me that it wasn’t about my performance or solutions. It was about the warfare, and my job is to “stand on the ground He’s given me.”
Standing doesn’t mean I’m passive with regard to taking wise initiatives to solve my dilemma. It means I’m not getting discouraged and giving up on my destiny. God will make a way, and I am redoubling my efforts to seek Him and find the open doors. God is delighted with Kings being released. It’s His idea!
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing. Ps 37:23-26 NASU
Storms and the day of evil are seasons we all face. Here’s how you can stand when your turn comes.
1. Check your armor – Make sure your spiritual foundation is secure and that the enemy has no leverage to defeat you. Storms do come occasionally, and our house has to be on the rock (Jesus). Do this without falling into condemnation or blaming yourself for the existence of the warfare. It’s not about you – stay the course.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph 6:14-18 NIV
2. Pray, Proclaim and Prophecy – we can’t use business principles to defeat spiritual forces. Character, integrity, wisdom, and good friends hold us steady, and prayer in the Spirit keeps us vigilant in support of the warfare, and knowing when we need to make a move and what it is. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Heb 12:2) describes this prayer posture well. Fasting also helps our focus to be on the Lord.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Eph 6:18 NIV
3. Praise – After I finished with whining, depression, fear, sleepless nights, and introspection, I put my focus back on what God is doing in the Kingdom and what my role is. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Warfare doesn’t change God’s plan. It just rattles our cage a little… sometimes a lot.
4. I have a dream. I believe in angels – My daughter, Heidi, finished college in March so we celebrated by seeing a Broadway Show in Seattle entitled Mamma Mia. The very last song is I Have A dream. At the end of a three hour play, the Lord spoke to me again through this song. I do have a dream that is also on the heart of God, and I believe in angels that watch over us and win battles in heavenly places. Giving my life for that dream and that Lord is entirely reasonable.
God is not only going to restore our situation; what the enemy meant for evil, God is using to work something good in my heart. This season of lack is precious in that regard, and I’m thankful for it. I will restore others and Release Kings with new strength and new authority.
Note: This whole process gave birth to a Praise Road Map that we introduced last week for use in devotions. I’m giving my heart reasons to worship God for who He is. I’m expressing thanksgiving for all he’s done in the past. I’m praising him for what He and I are doing and will do in the future. It’s exciting. Releasing Kings is so important in the Kingdom that it draws a little warfare. I’m still standing and so are you.