In a recent private prayer session, the Spirit of God directed us to Scriptures on evil spirits and prayer and fasting.
The root of man's rebellion against God is that people cannot see, for they have been blinded by the enemy. For example, no one in their right mind would drive a car at 100 mph off a cliff to a certain destruction and death. And yet, in reality, that is what most of mankind is doing when they refuse to surrender to Christ. Prayer and fasting can break through that state of mind.
In the midst of this great moral crisis we are experiencing in America right now, the people of God, especially ministers, must keenly discern that we are not wrestling with flesh and blood but against principalities and powers.
"For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:10).
We must direct our passion and energy for politics and all that is happening in the political realm of our nation into prayer and fasting and even praying for God's enemies. Undoubtedly, the uncompromisingly righteous despise the hatred, evil and division that has been unleashed in our nation, but we must not hate the actual people the enemy is using.
Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, had the revelation that even the greatest persecutors of the church must be prayed for. In the hour of his death He forgave Saul and the ones who stoned him (Acts 7:59-60). I'm convinced that it was this great intercessor's heart and his prayer of forgiveness that resulted in Saul's subsequent conversion. The greatest persecutor of the church turned into the greatest apostle. Glory to God!
Stephen's great love released great power. It's the same today. The greater the demonstration of true love of God, the greater the power to save and deliver will be. Prayer and intercession is one of the highest demonstrations of the love of God and a far greater source of power than all the bantering and political rhetoric that we engage in. We've all been guilty of it.
When I speak of love, I don't mean this false concept of love as a sentiment of total acceptance, free of the ability to hate anything, which by the way, is one of the most popular rationales for which many believers are abandoning the truth and authority of the Scriptures in this hour. When I speak of of love, I am speaking of the true love that lays down its life even for its accusers and enemies as Stephen did. This is where the power to convert sinners is found.
What much of the church today has done to make up for the lack of power that results in true conversions is adopt a seeker-friendly philosophy, which is based on the sentiment of total acceptance and avoiding the stronger aspects of the gospel while emphasizing the temporal benefits of becoming a Christian as their chief selling point.
What an insult to the Father when men try to establish a work, a church, a ministry in order to fulfill the Great Commission without the order, equipment and character of heaven.
The truth is this: The seeker-friendly philosophy is a much easier route on the flesh than to enter into prayer, fasting and a love that breaks the enemy's back.
The pattern was established long ago by Jesus and the apostles. They would not leave prayer with fasting and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4, 13:1-3). Why? Because they wanted to stay out of the natural realm and live in the Spirit. Jesus and the apostles' purpose was to stay full of faith and power, wisdom and understanding so they could build correctly according to heaven's order and establish the church on a sure foundation.
After witnessing the true power and character attached to these early apostolic ministries, the people willingly came and joined themselves to their works and served them. We must return to the order of heaven, which can only be established by true apostolic men who live in the Spirit and who see and understand this higher way. We must have ministry gifts that know how to root out and tear down the works of the flesh and plant, establish and build up according to heaven's wisdom and order.
We must have the wisdom to discern how to love our enemies, for there are too many peacekeepers and not enough peacemakers. Peacekeepers will compromise truth to keep peace, but peacemakers will confront sin and speak unpopular truth at the expense of losing man's approval and friendships.
In our conflict with the world, we are to seek peace, but not at the expense of sacrificing holiness.
"Pursue peace with all men, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14).
"And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives" (Jude 22-23 - NLT).
May the Lord give us understanding.
An increase of power and souls is coming to those who have learned the Spirit's ways and refuse to compromise these timeless essentials that Jesus and the early apostles patterned.
Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, has authored several books with an emphasis on helping to restore the true spirit of Christianity in the Church today, including his latest book, Passing on The Move of God to The Next Generation. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook and @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.
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