“God Whispered So Softly I Almost…”
Did you ever have a “faint sense” that God was speaking to you but pushed it aside as just a passing thought? That was me over the last few weeks.
I received an email out of the blue from a group of young women in Australia that had just completed The Invisible War small group study on spiritual warfare. They thanked me and the team at Living on the Edge for the significant impact the study was having on their lives.
After reading the email, I smiled, thanked God and then went about my day. Two days later as I was praying, that email came to mind again. This happened repeatedly for about ten days or so as I juggled several major projects and sought to help some people close to me resolve a growing conflict.
What also happened during this time was waves of discouragement, opposition and interrupted sleep. I was awakened in the middle of several nights with heavy concerns on my heart and mind.
After teaching God’s Word for 35 years and even writing a book on spiritual warfare, I somehow never “made the connection.” I was oblivious to the orchestrated work of the enemy to discourage me, divide God’s people, and tempt me to “solve problems” in the energy of my flesh, rather than the power of His Spirit. The results were fatigue and discouragement.
The email that the Holy Spirit kept bringing to my mind was His reminder and instruction that:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (people and circumstances) but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NASB)
Once I finally realized what was going on, I began to fight differently.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)
All of our problems are certainly not a matter of spiritual warfare; but there are critical times when we can expect spiritual opposition.
I outline these critical times in this month’s Coffee Break recording along with the most common evidences: discouragement (or unexplained depression/oppression), distraction, division and disunity. I hope you will prayerfully listen and ask God to give you discernment and insight into your present situation.
As many of you are launching Living on the Edge Small Groups and taking significant steps of faith this fall, I want to remind you that spiritual opposition is normal when God’s people commit to grow.
In fact, for those unfamiliar with the topic of spiritual warfare, here are “The Basics” that are taught throughout Scripture.
- There is an invisible world that is just as real as the visible world. Ephesians 6:12
- We are involved in an invisible war. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
- Our foe is formidable. 1 Peter 5:8
- We must respect our foe, but not fear him. 2 Corinthians 2:11
- We do not fight “for” victory, we fight “from” victory. 1 John 4:4
It’s easy, even as mature believers, to forget we are in a spiritual battle. After all these years, that is exactly what I had done. But once I realized what was happening, I took up the “sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17) and experienced God’s promised deliverance. I was reminded that we don’t have to be afraid because:
“Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Revelation 12:11
Prayer is one of the spiritual weapons that Christ has given us. And so I ask you to please pray for me as I transition to 100% focus on Living on the Edge. The team and I desperately need your prayers as we seek to teach God’s Word and encourage and inspire pastors across America, China and the Middle East.
And thank you for your generous financial support. It is the fuel that allows us to create new resources, train pastors globally, and teach God’s Word on radio, television, satellite, and our app across America and around the world.
I pray that the Spiritual Warfare 201 booklet will help you or someone you love to take full advantage of the protection Christ has provided for us.
Grateful for His VICTORY and your PARTNERSHIP,
CEO and Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge