Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. Ephesians 6:12 (TPT)
Military strategy and tactics dictate not just taking enemy positions but overrunning them to ensure any possibility of an enemy counterattack is minimised. Satan is the enemy of God’s people. His tactics against God’s followers are to use deception, temptation, lies, conflict and anger, accusation, ridicule, intimidation, discouragement, fear, divisions, and personal attacks. In stark contrast, God’s faithful followers are called to act with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and the Fruit of the Spirit.
Old Testament prophets spoke God’s truth to power and called the people back to fulfil and maintain their covenant relationship with Yahweh. But Israel’s watchmen were seldom liked, often resisted, and frequently rejected, yet they faithfully persisted with boldness and courage. In the New Testament, Jesus and later the Apostles were confronted by the moral bankruptcy of a tired and legalistic Judaism which had crucified its prophets. Likewise, Roman rationality and justice were utterly discredited as they accepted the thief rather than the innocent.
Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Colossians 2:8 (Msg)
Over succeeding centuries earthly institutions and powers have favoured enmity, exploitation, aggression, power, legalism, and individualism. They have rejected or diluted reconciliation, justice, peace, servanthood, grace, and community.
It should come as no surprise that every Revival and awakening in history has faced opposition and vicious attacks. After all, every Revival takes enemy territory and he will do all he can to stop it! Satan will use anybody and anything to stop a move of God. The 1859 Ulster Revival was ridiculed as a “Year of Delusion” including by some within the church. The emotionalism and behaviours of the 1904 Welsh Revival and the 1905 Azusa Street Revival brought vociferous criticism. But then reflect on how the Jewish authorities, as documented in the Book of Acts, reacted to the events in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection. The supernatural moves of God cannot be rationalised with human understanding.
If we look at the world today, we can divide it in two. In one part (the West) the church is comfortable in the surrounding culture. Here the Gospel is privatised, even redacted, and rewritten. Evangelism is frowned upon. Here the church is ageing, shrinking, and dying. In sharp contrast in the other part of the world, the church is seen by the institutions and powers as a grave threat to national identity or party loyalty. Here the church is persecuted, oppressed, and pushed underground. Believers are discriminated against, betrayed, falsely accused, beaten, imprisoned. and martyred in ever-growing numbers. Yet it is in these hotspots, these furnaces, these spiritual warzones that revival is happening today – in countries such as Iran, China, India, Nigeria, North Korea and even Afghanistan!
Revival and awakening must inevitably involve believers, individually and collectively engaging in spiritual warfare because we are taking and holding for the Kingdom, from the enemy, all that is good, whole, true, and pure.
We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that this immeasurable power will be seen as God’s, not ours. Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10 (TPT)
God, You’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge!
You’re a proven help in time of trouble – more than enough and always available whenever I need You.
So we will never fear even if every structure of supportwere to crumble away.
We will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes, moving mountains and casting them into the sea.
For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves cannot erode our faith in You.
Lord, prepare us to stand strong through the storm as we seek Your revival and awakening for Ireland, North and South, and beyond. Amen.