Despite the shocking title, this is one Blog which you need to read…
Any time you take a step forward whether in your family life, your job, your business or your church ministry - it’s as if the Enemy hits a Red Alert siren sounding in the bowels of hell and unleashes every trick in the book to unravel, undermine and topple you over. Has this happened to you lately? It has to me, with bells on. And in these seasons do you know what you need to do....?
Declare more boldly.
Pray more intensely.
And don’t you ever dare stop!
If you’re not doing anything to grow your own faith walk, or to advance the Kingdom of God, then you might just have the most peaceful life you ever imagined. Sure, bad days will happen, frustrations and challenges of everyday life will come and go, but hey, overall, life is nice.
Can we be real for a moment here? The purpose of life as a Christian woman is not just to have a sweet life with cute bumper stickers, a Bible highlighted in every colour, lovely Christian friendships, the latest worship album downloaded and a twice annual trip to a great women’s conference. This is a horrible, destructive, life-sapping, dream-killing lie. All of that stuff is great fun, but it’s not the point. It’s not the end-game. It can be part of the joy of this amazing Christian life - but it cannot become what you’re living for.
You’re being short-changed when you were meant to overflow with abundance.
You’ve sat down when you were supposed to rise up.
You’ve settled when you were called to take new ground.
If you’re really, brutally honest with yourself, you’ve let go of dreams and desires that God Himself planted in your heart because of the fear of criticism or failure - maybe even because of the fear of success. You’ve buried it so deep that you can barely hear it crying out to you any more as the years slip by.
It’s time to dig deep and retrieve it. It’s yours. It was always meant for you.
It’s time to get your hands a little dirty, break a few nails and pick up your Calling - dust it off and hold it high for the world to see.
“You are the light of the world! A city on a hill that cannot be hidden!” (Matthew 5v14)
You know it well in your soul. You did not come to Christ because you were satisfied. You came because you were hungry!
You didn’t acknowledge that He is the boss of your life because you felt like you already have all the answers. You gave Him the keys to your life because you were thirsty for more!
It’s time to get your hands a little dirty, break a few nails and pick up your calling - dust it off and hold it high for the world to see.
You know it, girl. You feel it deep in your bones. He has more for your life. He always has.
The goal is not to have a nice peaceful life. This is not real Peace, it’s just the absence of attack. It’s actually a sign that you’re not advancing because attack only comes when you have an Enemy. And you only have an Enemy if you’re advancing into territory that they do not want you to have. Oh the devil will be sure to leave you well alone if you’ll just sit quietly in the corner over there and not bother anyone.
So what exactly is it that the Enemy of God does not want us to have? What is this territory that he is so hell-bent on taking out from under you?
God’s best for you.
The devil can’t touch your salvation because your holy and intimate connection to God through Jesus Christ is forever, signed by God, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and delivered by Christ resurrected. He has no power to take you away from your Saviour. None. Jesus’ salvation work is complete and was finished the very second you accept Him as Lord and Saviour. The devil is thwarted and cast down forever. When Jesus rose from the death, he stripped the devil of any rights over you. Satan has no legal power over you any more. You have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness, to the Kingdom of God and no devil in hell can take that from you.
So don’t be spooked into thinking the devil is anything other than a yapping dog with gums and no teeth as far as your salvation is concerned. But what the devil can do is distract you, overwhelm you, undermine you, lie to you, confuse you, depress you and silence you. If you let him.
Can you feel it yet? Can you sense that holy storm in your belly rising up? The devil that we don’t like to talk about or sing about in church - he has been stealing from you all this time!
He has been stealing your voice, your confidence, your testimony of God moving and doing amazing things in your life. Are you angry yet? Have you had enough already?
Yes, salvation is sorted. Heaven is in the bag. You are a-okay with God Almighty and He loves you, oh how He loves you. But there must be a reason we live on, and are not swept up to Heaven the moment we are born-again.
So what now? What IS the purpose of your life?
Jesus is very clear about your ‘what now?’.
“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
The disciples asked the same question we should all be asking - what now, Lord?
Not a mention of creating a cosy church community. No references to glamorous worship conferences. Not an inkling about crafting a nice little Christian lifestyle for ourselves.
I didn't say it - Jesus said it. He made me do it. Take it up with Him.
There we have it. The Great Commission. Your Tailored Mission. Unmistakable. Definitive. Clear.
Tell them there is Good News.
Cast out demons.
Speak new languages.
Pick up snakes with confidence.
Drink poison without a care.
Lay your hands on the sick.
See miracles happen.
Dealing with demons, snakes and poison huh? Every single one of us can look at this heavenly To Do list and feel utterly inadequate, ill-equipped and even scared... but Jesus did not come to teach us '7 steps to a comfortable new lifestyle'. He came to show us how to push back darkness and bring in His Kingdom rule. That means you too!
You might read this and think ‘phew! I’m glad I don’t come across demons, snakes or poison because frankly, life is challenging enough just going to work, caring for the kids and paying the bills’. But let’s break it down a little bit and you might just see something you never saw before. Get ready to see these scriptures in a whole new light.
1. Demons = The Things That Distract and Upset You to Send You Off Your Course
Have you ever noticed how just as you’re about to take that step forward, things start happening. Weird things. Little echoes of your own doubts. Niggles about whether you really deserve this success. Comments, subtle as a whisper, from people you love and respect that make you suddenly hesitate, questioning everything. Nothing has actually happened, yet everything feels strangely unstable.
Sometimes, if your faith-step is really significant, the Enemy might even go as far as to play his full hand and out of nowhere, it’s like all-out war. It’s coming in at you from every angle. Plans go wrong, technical hitches pop up everywhere, people you trusted to have your back suddenly turn on you, you get sick, the redundancy notice arrives, the car breaks down, the keys are lost, the essay doesn’t save properly, the coffee gets spilled, the business partner betrays you, the interest rates go up.… on and on..
This isn’t just ‘a bad day’ - don’t be deceived. If you are advancing towards God’s best for your life - you are in a war. We are fighting for our lives, our families, our dreams and our callings.
This is why Jesus forewarned us to be ready. Be ready to face up to some stinking demonic activity.
Demons don’t ring the doorbell. They don’t wait to be invited and come on in, dressed in a red suit with fire and horns.
No, these disgraced, desperate angels come far more quietly. They can subtly sneak right into your home and heart whilst you’re barely even noticing.. the sudden strain in your marriage, the drifting attitude of your child, the inexplicable sense of tension or irritation between you and a close friend. We brush it off as ‘stress’ or ‘a season’ or ‘the weather’… but have you prayed? Have you told the devil to get his dirty hands off your life, in the Name of Jesus?
Paul warns us, just as he wrote to the church at Ephesus:
"Put on the things God gives you to fight with. Then you will not fall into the traps of the devil. Our fight is not with people. It is against the leaders and the powers and the spirits of darkness in this world. It is against the demon world that works in the heavens. Because of this, put on all the things God gives you to fight with. Then you will be able to stand in that sinful day. When it is all over, you will still be standing..." (Ephesians 6 v 11-17)
When you heard the Gospel, you did not hear an invitation to a picnic. You heard a battle cry to ‘pick a side’ - light or dark, right or wrong, in or out. The battle for your soul doesn’t end just because you are now a follower of Christ. Just because you signed up to the army doesn’t make you a solider. It’s once you’re out on the battlefield, shoulder to shoulder with your fellow-fighters, facing down the enemy who is coming for you, to rip up everything you value - that’s when you become a solider. That’s when the fight in you is needed. You don’t need supernatural favour, energy, stamina and determination if you’re tucked up nice and tight back at the barracks.
So if life is always suspiciously peaceful - ask yourself honestly if you’re still in the game at all. Or is the devil leaving you alone because you’re harmless to him? Do the demons pass you by because there’s no chance of you taking ground, bringing Good News, setting captives free. I know it’s a harsh question to ask. But we must be brave.
2. Snakes = Those Voices That Question God’s Promises Over Your Life
Think back to the story of Eve in Genesis. Remember how the devil came in the form of a snake and asked her the loaded question ‘Did God really say……’ (Genesis 3v1) See how a snake-like spirit causes us to stop and question what was really very clear and simple.
Suddenly we’re over-thinking, over-analysing and no longer sure of what we thought God meant. Did God really say to start that new business? Did God really say to join that church fellowship? Did God really say to move here? Will God really provide the finances you need? The list goes on…..
Are you dealing with a snake right now? Pick it up with confidence - declare Yes! God DID say to start this business! Yes! God did lead us here! Yes! God will provide for all our needs!
Now throw that snake of doubt as far away from you as you possible can. Refuse to listen. Refuse to join in with the debate. Refuse to entertain it any longer.
Start declaring Truth over your life.
“I am the head and not the tail”
“He will supply all my needs according to Christ’s riches in glory”
“He is my portion”
“God is the lifter of my head”
“I have been born for such a time as this - to do His will”
Drown out that pathetic, belly-crawler and its lies and confusion and suspicion that tries to cloud your path and cause you to back away from what God has already given you. Drown it out by filling your heart and ears with Truth, sound preaching and songs of praise and worship.
3. Poison = The Hurts We Sustain By Those We Trust The Most
Sometimes, most shocking of all - is the poison we consume that could floor us and take us out of the fight for good. This poison might be what we thought at first was the gift of a friend, a refreshing drink in the beginning that starts to infiltrate our system and cause slow damage, from the inside out.
You might have ended up in an abusive relationship that started out full of joy.
You might have been hurt, rejected or abandoned by your parents, or carers. The very people who were supposed to protect you - a double-dose of emotional poison.
You might have found yourself in a toxic church where normal levels of human frailty give way to systematic spiritual abuse and damage. Your defences were down. You took the sip. And now it hurts. It hurts like hell.
But scripture promises that even when we have trusted and are betrayed, even though the poison of someone’s bad intention has made it past our intuition and into our very innermost places - He saw it coming. He has given us immunity, the Holy Spirit in us is fighting it off, purging us as we allow Him to cleanse all bitterness. He frees us as we forgive them. You may be tender and bruised, dear girl, but you are healing.
The demons and snakes aren’t scared off by the four walls inside a church either. It’s a sad truth that some of the biggest dream-killers is so-called ‘friendly fire’ - wounds inflicted by those we're meant to be standing with - our family, our Brothers and Sisters, the Church, the Body of Christ; sometimes accidentally, often simply out of chaos, the bullets fly and you find yourself staring at a wound which you neither saw coming, nor deserved, from a fellow Christian. You find yourself bleeding out, shocked and feeling faint. Even in the midst of this, God’s promise is clear:
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and will not faint.” (Isaiah 40v31)
What more would the demons love than Christians up in arms against other Christians. What would give the devil more joy than to see you run from church and vow never to return? What would make his day more than to hear you put down, discouraged and blackened by a Brother or Sister in Christ? And what about those you have hurt? What about the people you have let down, gossiped about or judged?
The only anti-dote to poison is forgiveness. It’s Jesus’s prescription every time. (Colossians 3 v 12-13).
So, you may feel like the walking wounded, but just keep your eyes fixed on Him. Trust in His plan and strength will surely return.
Keep running your race.
Church life is a bit like a 3-legged race. You need to persevere , with oodles of grace and a dash of humour to get into a co-operative rhythm with others or you’ll both stumble and fall but the fact is, God’s calling on your life is utterly unique. He has gifted you with talents and skills and desires that no one else has. You are the only you that ever lived, or ever will live. Don’t deprive the world of what God has put in your heart to share.
Keep lifting others up. Keep cheering them on. Keep giving and sharing and loving and being generous with your heart, your words, your time.
Pretty soon you’ll look back and realise that yes, the devil did have a plan for your life........
But you chose a better way.
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