Bumps in the road

– “Spiritual warfare” rings up images of angels and demons flying in formation through the heavens and engaging in World War 1 style dogfights. I certainly don’t discount unseen warfare; at times it does feel like we’re a little ignorant of devices. As entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of expanding the Kingdom, we should expect to be targeted and understand a little more about enemy tactics… without attributing more attention, power and stature to the enemy than we should. His main weapon is deception. It’s really tough to stay demon possessed these days; the number of spirit-filled Christians that understand their authority in Christian nations is wonderful. Some of the greatest strongholds yet to be broken are more akin to ideologies, philosophies and false religions.

…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. 2 Cor 2:11 NIV

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Col 2:8 NIV

Is spiritual warfare real? Yes, it certainly is and its much closer to home than you may realize. Here’s how and why.

1. The primary strategy

– Goal number one against you isn’t quite at dramatic as the movies suggest. It is simply to separate Christians from their dream. Your heart’s desire is the seed bed of faith and the vehicle for God’s will in your life. Proverbs calls your heart a wellspring of life. If the enemy can discourage you from “trying” it’s an obvious defeat and your “well of hope” will go dry.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Prov 4:23

2. Identity

– Another, related battle front is our personal identity. Many Christians retain a vague sense of unworthiness. They believe the lie that they are primarily sinners and that nothing good will come from them or to them. When something bad happens they simply accept it… no resistance, no appeals; defeats satisfy a hidden expectation that I somehow deserve it.

Kings carry themselves in higher esteem. They understand that obstacles to their personal actions are really affronts to the “King of Kings” and they won’t tolerate them. I was really blessed this week by an email of a friend who encountered resistance in a business deal that could cost him dearly. He met with the person threatening the extortion to try and reconcile the problem. Good so far? What was different is that he brought his lawyer and was fully prepared to serve the “problem” with formal legal action in the event he wouldn’t reconcile. Many would turn the other cheek to the devil and lose and try to find a Bible verse to justify it. Thank God for Christians with a backbone.

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Matt 11:12 KJV

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” John 2:15-16

Any biography of great accomplishments always carries a parallel story of great obstacles and great tenacity in warfare. We shouldn’t be surprised when we run into problems and we should always be prepared to get out the pots and pans and make lemonade out of lemons. Sue and I did a conference near Jackson Hole Wyoming earlier in January. We made reservations and planned an extra day to see the scenery and get acquainted with the people. We we’re leaving early Friday morning but the night before we left we found a message from Delta on our answering machine; a fog rolled in and flights out of our city were cancelled Thursday through Saturday. I tried other airlines, other cities; nothing worked. So we just checked the weather report, hopped in the car and drove 10 hours. Of course the weather was perfect and as the sun came up on our way over we saw the sky full of jet streams. The conference and the wonderful people we met were worth every minute and we actually enjoyed the drive.

3. Finances

– Since the ministry of Kings touches commerce so often, financial issues are a common battlefront. Too often we’ve been exposed to stories of checks showing up in the mail as miraculous provision. “Spiritual” is sometime poorly defined as putting yourself in a vulnerable position so that your faith can be exercised to draw on God’s miraculous provision – absent any planning of our own. We often expect God to bail us out of problems while God is expecting us to learn to be good stewards and multiply our talents. When business or personal finances get into trouble its nearly always a cash flow issue and cash flow problems nearly always trace back to having no credible financial plan or strategy. Business plans are spiritual! If I don’t have a financial plan or strategy, I’m “planning” to fail and the devil will provide the anointing and the opportunity.

4. There is also a theological ingredient

to financial failure scenarios. We often embrace a prophetic urging with a financial commitment – sometimes called “a leap.” If it doesn’t work out our choices are; blame God or blame ourselves. It’s a little embarrassing to blame the devil because then we have admit our lack of power.

The “mature” answer is to take the prompting of the Holy Spirit as an indication of what God does want to do (I find most people do have a good grasp of the general direction). However, it’s our responsibility to put a plan around that guidance and implement it in way that works… we anticipate things that could go wrong and set aside the finances and schedule to cover them. If we believe God has the future all predestined and we just have to get on board, then it’s logical to skip the planning; assuming God has it all under control. If the future is at least partially “open” then the plan has to be dynamic and our future is full of contingencies that God is expecting us to manage. If you can grasp this reality, it will save you a ton of frustration. It will also put you in a position that can be multiplied. God really is favoring Kings that are connected to their own hearts and His heart to build the Kingdom. Its fun! We’re much greater than any resistance the enemy can put before us.

7 The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. Deut 28:7 NIV

…the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. Dan 11:32 KJV

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 NIV

Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.