Friday, October 30, 2015

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional: Spiritual Warfare in 3D

Back in the 80's, Disneyland unveiled it's first 3D attraction "Captain EO."  Michael Jackson played Captain EO, who is on a mission to deliver a gift to a planet that is set for destruction. Captain EO brings the gift to the supreme leader. There is a struggle to get the leader of the planet to receive the gift, (the gift being love and acceptance) and eventually she does and it saves her planet.  We hardly paid attention to the plot of the movie because we were so into seeing the objects float in front of us. We would try to touch the 3D images. If we took our glasses off, we would laugh because all the people doing the same, looked like cats batting a piece of string.  They were just hitting air.

This made me think of what spiritual warfare looks like. The Lord gave me a great picture of spiritual warfare using the illustration of 3D. When looking at a 3D picture, you have to wear special glasses or else the picture is blurry. Well, to some degree that is true in the Spirit. God views us as 3D beings: body (flesh), soul (mind, will and emotion) and spirit (the place where He belongs).

In Ephesians, Paul writes to the people of Ephesus about an important battle that they must learn to fight.  To this very day, we followers of Christ, fight this very same battle, that if we aren't paying attention, will lead to our destruction. The 3D's in Ephesians 6 go something like this. 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. (Ephesians 6:12) We have to put on our "spiritual 3D" glasses when we pray because if we don't, we are just batting the air.

The first "D" is "Determine - Who and what the enemy is." Verse 12 says clearly that we are fighting against darkness and evil forces in the spiritual realm. Maybe we can't see them, but one of the clues that Ephesians 6:11 gives us is that we have to stand against the Devil's schemes.  We have to recognize the schemes of the enemy in order to expose his plan against us. One of his biggest schemes is stirring us up and causing offense against one another and therefore causing unforgiveness in our lives. God is pretty clear on His stance on forgiveness.

Speaking of stance. That's another issue. We often get so blind-sided by our circumstances. One night I was unable to sleep because we were in the midst of a "storm." As I was praying, the Lord told me to take the word "circumstance" and separate it. I looked up the words. "Circum" means "to go around" and the word "stance" means "a position while standing." What a revelation for me. My circumstances are inevitable. As soon as one has passes, another will be on its way. They just keep going around and around. But it is all dependant on how I "stand" it out. With my feet planted firmly on the Word of God. A great movie illustration is from the movie "Forces of Nature" where the couple is about to be married and everything that could go wrong does. Not to mention a hurricane shows up on their wedding day and their ceremony is outside!  While standing at the alter, looking at each other face to face in the eye, they tell each other that no matter what, they are going to be together. In the meantime, the winds are stirring around them and papers and furniture are swirling around them. People are screaming at them to get inside, but they don't care because they are so engaged with each other. I suppose in a sense if we are the bride of Christ, he is the groom telling us how much He loves us and not to worry about anything because he is committed to us.

T.D. Jakes said "Jesus said a kingdom divided can not stand. The one thing Satan has going for him is that his army is in unity - they are out to destroy the body of Christ." Boy is that ever true. It seems that the "Church" at large is always stirred up about something. We need to thwart that scheme by sticking together.

The second "D" is "Dress - In the Full Armor of God". Ephesians 6:13-17 says, "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, 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." I heard Joyce Meyer once say, "notice there isn't any armor for the back because we are to face our circumstances head on." Is that ever true.

We have to be so prepared at all times. On September 11, 2001, we were attacked by extreme Islamists who casually took over 4 airplanes and used our own aircraft to destroy not only land mark buildings, but killed innocent people and destroyed families. This is exactly the tactic of the enemy. He will sneak up out of no where just to bring you down. I realized one day, even when a stranger curses you, for example while driving (need I say more), that that is one of the darts the enemy throws at us. Those are word curses that are spoken over you. Right at that moment you need to break them by praying, "In the name of Jesus, I break those curses spoken over me right now!"

On the flip side, sometimes we curse people and don't ask for forgiveness. Jack Hayford said, "We pray the scripture 'no weapon formed against me shall prosper.' Do you know when you speak against a brother or sister in the Lord that you are being used as a weapon of the enemy?" Sometimes, without us even knowing it, we are the weapon the Devil uses. That's pretty sneaky if you ask me.

The third "D" is "Decode - Through prayer." Ephesians 6:18 says, "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." Praying in the Spirit is where the gift of tongues comes into play. Romans 8:26 & 27 says, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Praying in the Spirit brings so much clarity to how we should pray. Personally, there are days that there is so much to pray for that I don't know where to begin. When I pray in tongues, then the Holy Spirit brings to mind what is on the Father's heart. What is important at that moment. Sometimes He gives me pictures and sometimes situations and names. It's truly amazing. Praying in the spirit is like putting on 3D glasses. Pictures come to mind that normally wouldn't because the Holy Spirit is the filter through which I am praying.

To conclude this look at Ephesians in 3D I pray that you will become aware of the ways the enemy comes after you. Over this next week, look out for "schemes" he might use to trip you up. Ultimately God knows the plans that He has for each one of our lives and the enemy doesn't. But the Devil will do whatever it takes to prolong Jesus' return to his bride without spot or wrinkle. Like the plot in "Captain EO," where the planet is bound for destruction, but Captain EO saves it with a gift of love, Jesus was the gift to this planet to save us from destruction. He was the ultimate gift of love and through him, all we have to do is receive it and believe it, then we can change the world. The battle to save the world is REAL.