| Mortification is Defensive|
Many Christians have the misguided notion that they should be attacking the devils kingdom. They have been exhorted by preachers to raid the enemys camp to get back what was stolen, to invade neighborhoods and spoil demonic dominion, etc. Prayer vigils are conducted for this very purpose, along with prolonged fasts and all sorts of other campaigns activities that are nowhere to be found in New Testament scripture. The motives behind these activities are undoubtedly well-intended, but are they an accurate portrayal of spiritual warfare? Are they effective in the long-term? Do they aid in sin deliverance on the individual level?
No, they do not. The reason they do not work is because God has never called His children to invade Satans kingdom and take back objects, spiritual or otherwise. Christians are called simply to resist and rest. Satan's forces have already been defeated on Calvary, long before the world was created. It was a battle fought and won by Jesus Christ, our Captain and the Supreme Commander of the Army of the Lord. He single-handedly disarmed all the principalities and powers through His death on the cross, and in one decisive blow, took from Satan the keys of death and hell and set the captives free. The victory was conclusive, definitive, eternal.
The Christian today is called to live and walk in Christs conquest by faith. The child of God is not called to invade, but rather to resist Satan's advances, to withstand, to yield not. In this mortifying resistance, the child of God must know that he has the strategic advantage as he withstands Satanic fury from a safe place. The defeated forces, on the other hand, have the profound disadvantage of always attacking uphill, of raiding a locked castle. Our placement in this fight was won soley by Christ Jesus before we were born.
In the wilderness, Satan approached Jesus; the Lord did not provoke. This is extremely important to see. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent propositioned Eve; Eve did not initiate the conversation. Satan is always the provoker. The person who goes looking for a confrontation usually does so out of insecurity; he feels as though he must prove something, and, paradoxically, those who relentlessly wage war against Satans camp are usually defeated by some inner, secret sin. This inward defeat fuels their outward aggression and incites them to rally other Christians to attack the enemy by staging prayer-walks, long fasts, preaching marathons, etc. At the end of all the activities, however, they are still defeated by sin.
The Christian is a wrestling warrior in the strength of rest and resistance. The great secret of Christian victory is in silent immobility. The Christian is to be a stalwart light in a dark world. Lighthouses are immobile structures, built upon rock - they do not assail the storm; the storm assails them. The light which emanates from them is bright and penetrating and cuts through the encroaching fog to bring stability to those who drift. The waves of the sea may rage against the rocks, but a healthy lighthouse is able to withstand even the harshest elements and yet keep its light shining. This is a wonderful picture of the mortifying Christian.
Beloved, God has not called you to invade, but to project. Mortification is a defensive measure, it is protective. It is a shield to guard the heart from the lightening of Satans temptations, a helmet to keep the fog out of the mind, and a breastplate to maintain the pure bulb of Christs illuminating righteousness. This light comes from within us, from the holy abode of God's Spirit. Mortification keeps the glass through which it shines self-free and as transparent as possible in your life.
An unadulterated beam is imperative to your ministry, dear Christian! You must stand strong in all Christs righteousness and integrity if you are to prevail against the misty night of evil entrapments. God has spiritually inaugurated your lighthouse to be a beacon of purity and safety above the sin-ravaged maelstrom we know as the world. Sailors are lost, drowning, doomed in the maelstrom without this light. Will you mortify the elements to keep this light pure? Will you resist the storms? Are you amply fortified to withstand the typhoon of devilish allurements directed at your soul?
Move not then from the rock of your station. Know your impregnable foundation and everlasting soul-anchor in Christ. Let the storms rage, let your defeated foe hurl all the elements of earth and hell against the walls of your mind, only move not from where God has erected you. Remember: you hold within your bosom the Light of the World, the very Life of Jesus Christ. Protect it, project it!
- Brother Paul
Paul Frederick West
| 2012/2/15 0:25||Profile|
| Re: Mortification is Defensive|
There are wonderfully assuring reminders and insights in this article Paul.
I think it was Watchman Nee in "Normal Christian Life" who wrote, "Christians are not fighting for victory; they are fighting from victory." And as Jesus himself said, "It is finished..." (John 19:30)
There is a misunderstanding of grace that comes from an unconverted persepctive. The cynic fears that if people are given too much grace, they are free to leave the presence of God. Yet, for the heart who has known shame and now knows forgiveness, grace means we are free to stay in God's presence.
Grace is not a license to wander, but to stay. What a priceless victory Christ has won for us indeed.
| 2012/2/15 12:08||Profile|
| Re: Mortification is Defensive|
"Many Christians have the misguided notion that they should be attacking the devils kingdom. They have been exhorted by preachers to raid the enemys camp to get back what was stolen, to invade neighborhoods and spoil demonic dominion, etc. Prayer vigils are conducted for this very purpose, along with prolonged fasts and all sorts of other campaigns activities that are nowhere to be found in New Testament scripture."
That is so true much of the spiritual warfare in today's Christianity is misguided. True spiritual warfare is indeed resisting and resting ,putting on the whole armor of God
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you
| 2012/2/15 13:16||Profile|
| Re: |
Hi brother Paul, I always find your posts to be so encouraging and much needed "meat" for the people of God to digest and assimilate into their daily lives. I have your website saved to my favorites and hope to be able to read all of your past postings that I have missed on SI.
I find it very interesting that you posted on this topic because I feel as though the Lord has been speaking to me quite a bit lately on this topic of warfare. I actually got to share a Word on this with some brothers this past weekend, but I felt as though the Lord had me looking at it a bit differently. For the record I completely agree with the thrust of the message you are bringing, but would also like to note a few key scriptures that can keep us poised and prepared in this battle that we are in.
Paul referred to his walk in Christ many times as a fight. I have "fought the good fight". "I fight thus, not as one who beats the air". I find it interesting that he passed this mentality on to Timothy in seveal places exhorting him to "fight the good fight of faith". He also told Timothy not just to endure or resist the impending warfare, but to actually "wage the good warfare". I think that therein lies the key.
To me, most Christians who speak on the subject of warfare almost always speak only of the attack of Satan's kingdom upon them, and it is always viewed in that light. If someone is "engaged in warfare" they merely are speaking of being attacked. I don't believe that this is the only testimony that the Christian should have. Yes we are called to stand in the evil day, and be strong in the power of the lord's might having been equipped with His whole armor, but sometimes I think we allow the weapons that we have been given to be sheathed more than wielded.
I like looking at the encounter of Joshua when he met the commander of the Lord's army. His sword was drawn for battle, and Joshua took off his sandals and worshipped, which is th true victory place. Victory in Christ's work and leading. Victory in surrender and worship.
However, it seems to me that strongholds and footholds persist within our lives, churches and Christians circles simply because we permit them to. Jesus said that whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth will be loosed in heaven. The house cannot be plundered unless the strong man is first bound. Trust me, I am not one of those fanatical types going around proclaiming this verse. I think about when Jesus proclaimed that the "gates of hades would not prevail over the church" and I have always viewed the church as the one being attacked, and the poor christians inside are just barring the doors and hoping that the enemy doesn't break through. But the more time I spend in prayer and meditation over some of these scriptures I think it's the Kindom of Light that is on the offense. Light excels darkness and that is the testimony from Genesis to Revelation. It seems to me that Jesus was saying that the gates of Hades will resist His kingdom of Light, but the darkness will not prevail over that Light...the Light will prevail. Do gates attack?
When Jesus sent the 70 out to preach the gospel, heal the sick and even cast out unclean spirits Jesus told them "I saw satan fall like lightning from heaven." Undoubtedly it was the power of God working in and through them, but they went out proclaiming the kingdom of Christ. In my mind, the best picture is Jonathan and Saul in 1 Samuel. We have the weapons of prayer and the Word of God to use offensively in the battle that we are in. The Philistines had a monopoly on the weapons, and "every man had to go down to Philistine territory to sharpen his pruning hook". Only weapons were found in the hands of Saul and Jonathan. Saul chose to "sit at ease in Zion" and he rested under the shade of the tree. This to me is a false type of rest. It's just unbelief and presumption. The enemy knows that if he can keep the weapons out of the hands of the people of God that he will be able to maintain his garrison amongst us. Well Jonathan wouldn't have it. He decided to rest in the power of God and step out in faith with his armorbearer. This to me is the true picture of Biblical rest. It's not passive, but active. Going up the hill on their hands and knees (prayer for the Christian) they were mightily used to pull down strongholds of the enemy and send a quake into the enemy's camp. The weapons of their warfare were not carnal, but mighty in God.
I see this perfectly illustrated in Al Whittinghill's recent work in Athen's, TX. His newsletter in December brought great reports of how he and another pastor there went throughout the city praying in Jesus' Name to pull down the strongholds of the enemy and loose the clutches that he has on that town. Athens is a very dark town. He reported of how God began to unite churhes and pastors together in that city who would have never before gotten together. A stronghold of division was broken, IN JESUS' NAME. I say hallelujah to that.
The Lord led His people from Egypt to the promised land, which was known to be a land of rest, however it was also a land of warfare. It was to be both a land of rest and a land of war. Resting in the Lord, yet advancing His kingdom and "possessing our possessions" as the Commander leads. The enemies were not coming to them, but they were to be progressively, systematically advancing in order to put the sole of their feet upon the soil that the Lord's feet had already tread upon. All the land was given to them, but they truly had to take residence and appropriate it through victory in Christ alone.
May we walk in balance of resisting darkness in the Lord and wielding His weapons that are mighty for the pulling down of the enemies strongholds.
I hope you see these few words not in contrast but in compliment to your post, for I am most grateful to be sharpened in these truths. Many blessings upon you and your future writings dear brother.
Thank you once again.
| 2012/2/15 17:31||Profile|
| Re: |
Amen Kevin. I see your post as a compliment indeed. The point you make is very well taken. It's hard to explain it succintly. I see the wielding of the weapons of God by virtue of our resistance to the attack. By submitting to God and not succumbing to evil in our own lives, we whet the sword of the Spirit to inflict the damage we so seek to cause. Let me try to word it another way.
Our resistance is, in fact, offensive to Satan's account. When we steadfastly resist through our submissive power in God, he flees. It's a dynamic that makes no sense according to military science! A simple man with a pure heart is tremendous weapon in the arsenal of God. Think of Jesus in the Jewish synagogues. People with demonic strongholds would suddenly begin convulsing as He taught the parables. The awesome purity of God which was in Him, the blinding fire of His perfect righteousness drove these manifestations of evil to the surface without Him even lifting a finger or raising His voice. This is what I mean, I guess. The assaulting power of purity in the life of a believer which comes through submission unto God and the subsequent resistance of Satan through the Spirit.
Thank you so much for your blessed post and your gracious comments. We are tracking dear brother. SermonIndex is an awesome place because of brethren like you.
Paul Frederick West
| 2012/2/15 23:10||Profile|
| Re: Mortification is Defensive|
I see this perfectly illustrated in AlWhittinghill's recent work in Athen's, TX. His newsletter in December brought great reports of how he and another pastor there went throughout the city praying in Jesus' Name to pull down the strongholds of the enemy and loose the clutches that he has on that town...
I am from a 'pentecostal background', with the statement above, do you mean the act of 'remotely binding and rebuking' those unseen spirits that supposedly rule the persons, cities, provinces, or countries, verbally, as we pray or intercede for example, evangelistic campaigns.
I have been to this, however, I am influenced for some years now by a very well-known 'charismatic preacher' who
in my understanding had already abandoned such practice.
It is the actual preaching and accepting of the gospel that will make an individual or a nation free rather than such acts of verbally attacking or declaration of binding and rebuking._ And that any christian living in the right relationship with God, will have an effective mantle of authority and protection to do those 'works'.
That is not to mean however, to say against intercessory or pre-campaign prayers and fasting, _nor to the practice of rebuking evil spirit that haunts a particular person, although the deliverance maybe temporal only without that individual surrender himself to the Lord through the gospel.
| 2012/2/15 23:15||Profile|
| Re: |
Amen brother Paul, yes we are indeed tracking together. May the lord makes us to be those kind of men who are filled with His Spirit and are able to diffuse the knowledge of Him in every place, that the glorious light of Christ may shine forth from our lives as a true beacon of truth and lighthouse in these dark and evil days.
| 2012/2/16 10:51||Profile|
| Re: |
Thank you for your post...I can see your concern regarding these things, and I think there can definitely be an unhealthy obsession with the devil and his schemes, however I also believe that there is a level of prayer the Lord would have us to engage in that is beyond our normal sphere of prayer. Paul specifically tells us that prayer is a weapon to pull down the enemy's strongholds. I think that he spent much of his prayer life in this place, having fought the good fight. The battle belongs to the Lord, and there is of course no substitution for preaching the gospel...it is the power of God unto salvation. yet, let us not excuse ourselves from something that the Lord may call us to. How I wish men like David Brainerd, E.M. Bounds and John Hyde were alive to communicate these things in a much better way...please bear with me in my folly!
Forgive me for not clearly explaining what was meant by my post. I think it's best to let our dear brother Al's comments speak for themselves. Al is a precious brother in the Lord who has been given a great ministry of teaching and preaching across the country through Ambassadors for Christ. He heart is for revival, and especially in prayer. I would recommend listening to all of his messages on this site, truly invaluable for growing in my prayer life - I am a debtor to him for that.
I will paste from his newsletter the circumstances leading up to what led him to believe in God in such a way to pray in Athens, TX for Athens TX. I trust you will see the heart of our Lord in this.
"This past March I was in Athens, Texas with Richard Owen Roberts preaching for a week in a church
there. God blessed His Word and the pastor and I sensed it was right for me to return for more ministry in
that same church for October 8-12 (about three weeks ago). During this recent time together the Lord did
some wonderful things in lives, and we were blessed. But the breakthrough we were praying for in the
community just seemed to be blocked. It just seemed to me that there was a big hindrance hanging
over the whole atmosphere of the town. This was a heaviness that seemed almost like intelligent
opposition...hard to describe. That prompted me to ask the pastor if there was any satanic activity or
known occultism in their town, because the heaviness seemed evil and oppressive. He suggested that I
go to the internet and look up satanic activity in Athens, Texas. When I did that I was amazed to find
that Athens was rated as the third most active spot for satanic activity in America, and it was actually
famous among occultists for paranormal activity! For over a hundred years people have come to this
small area to visit haunted pieces of land and certain sites with legendary occultic associations. There
is a lot of mystery and hiding shrouding the history of certain places throughout this little town....and fear
hangs heavy as well. Looking at old maps one can see the truth of the report that the town itself was
originally laid out in the shape of a pentagram, or goats head. Lots of urban legends. The people and
law enforcement are constantly finding in various places the aftermath of the ceremonies of those who
worship the enemy.....mutilated animal bodies that have been sacrificedat certain of the remote sites,
burned candles, and satanic markings and symbols in many parts of the town. This is the area of Texas
where several years ago the national news reported dozens of dead, mysteriously mutilated cattle being
found in the fields, but with no sign of blood! Then about three years ago there was a rash of arsons burnings of churches. Ten churches were burned to the ground in just this one area! Space will not permit
me to write more of the severity of the spiritual warfare the churches of this area are facing, but suffice it to
say that this county in Texas has the highest statistics of crime in all of Texas in all the areas that the devil
loves (drugs, abuse, pedophilia, violence, etc.). Once I found this out I said to the pastor I wonder how
long it has been since some believing Christians have actually dared to believe God in prayer to shut all this
down? God will honor simple faith from believing hearts that dare to take a stand in prayer in the authority
and power of HIS Name, though the precious blood of Christ. So the pastor and I went for an excursion to
some of these famous places throughout the town....and we had wonderful, glorious times of prayer just
claiming the Lordship of Christ and the victory of Calvary over ALL the power of the enemy. We prayed for
the Word of God to come in power and shut down all the works of the devil, and that God would set
captives free. By faith we took back ground the enemy had long possessed...like Jericho. I wondered if it
might be the FIRST time that this had ever really been done...the effectual, fervent praying from agreeing
hearts of blood washed believers who simply are trusting Jesus Christ to enforce the victory that is HIS!
God is just waiting for the church to take the Spiritual weapons that are mighty through Him, and put on the
whole armor of God. Until we fight on this level we may be just shadow boxing. As we prayed in each
place I had this marvelous sense that our precious Lord was doing glorious things in the heavenly realm,
and that He was changing things that would make a long term difference. He loves to show Himself strong
in situations like this when His people pray!! I also prayed that hundreds of the Christians in that area and
beyond would get a vision for the real battle and start praying together for God to take back the community
from the powers of darkness. Why am I telling you this?? Here is why! God is sending me back to
Athens, November 12-18 to preach in another church there. Lake Athens Baptist Church was one of
the ten churches that was burned down several years ago. But they
have rebuilt and just moved into the new building in late September! This
will be the first series of meetings that they have had in the new church
since the arson. The pastor is a dear man of God who has a vision for
revival. We are believing God to do a great work there in these Sunday
through Thursday meetings. The other pastor that I prayed with is going
to be praying with us for these meetings, and a group of his men as well.
I am asking that you stand with us in prayer, and that we could dare
to actually enter into that place of victorious taking the spoils of Calvary
kind of praying!! I am calling out the big guns for this because it seems to me that the Lord wants to
demonstrate something wonderful about prayer and breaking down strongholds with His Word and warfare
praying. It would be WONDERFUL if some of you wanted to actually come out and stay there during the
meetings and man a post on the wall in the watchtower of prayer. Yes...I know it is an unusual request,
but I want to call in the cavalry of Calvary. I am stirred when I think of taking back this ground from the
enemy. That pastor with whom I prayed on the prayer excursion told me on the phone that the next
Sunday after we prayed there was a fresh sense of Gods presence in his church and that two people had
trusted Christ in the meeting. I believe these may be the first fruits of a new harvest made fruitful by the
authoritative praying of the church. Pray about coming to Texas to take a stand in prayer with us!!
What is it like in your city? Just think of the difference that united, fervent prayer by the church could
make! I believe that the Lord is wanting His church to experience the power of united heart petition! We
have not because we ask not! Lord teach us to pray."
Trusting in the power of His Great Name,
| 2012/2/16 11:08||Profile|
| Re: |
Thank you for the reply kevin.
This is not intended to promote complacency nor sow a seed of doubt in our prayers. Personally, I do not discount the possibility of having a direct confrontation with evil spirits. My personal experience, in my recollection, will not allow that.
I have been in situations where the demonic presence is simply foreboding or openly manifest._And what if you are in a mission work in such moments, or just simply an ordinary traveller that will spend a night is such a creepy place, where the door open and bang by itself and things move on their own.
Well, I guess a more mature christian will sleep soundly without much trouble. He will carry his mission work without being maimed by a cloud of fear. Like Paul, he will calmly shook the serpent out of his way (Acts 28:5). I will not however, venture to judge a young christian who will fail to act accordingly.
Standing steadfast in our trust in God, keeping a clear conscience, diligent study, charity, endurance amidst temptations, to persevere in tribulations, and having feet that bring the Gospel. I am thinking, these constitute the main parcel of our spiritual warfare.
| 2012/2/17 0:49||Profile|