Thursday, August 04, 2005


We are engaged in warfare. The first objective in this war is to take our own souls and make them subject to Christ. We do this through the renewing of our minds and by working out our own salvation in fear and trembling before God. Then, from our new position of renewed strength, we join with other renewed friends who share similar vision and complementary gifts and wage war together in the world of ideas, first to win other souls and then to win nations and kingdoms for God. Governments, institutions, educational structures, business and the arts are all designed by God to be under His rule and authority. Each of these areas represent ideological territory or land to be inhabited with the truth and, as with Moses’ burning bush, the sanctifying presence of God. This is the ultimate mission of the Church (Matt. 28:19), to disciple the nations.

I fondly remember the years I engaged in a protracted war for the ground of my own soul. I cannot share specifics. But I can share that I fought an intense spiritual battle for many years.

In the early seventies, God graced me with teachers who laid out principles of spiritual engagement. I read books written by Christian fathers who provided instruction in working out salvation in fear and trembling. A vision captured me. I began to see that my own soul was born a prisoner needing freedom from its master, a deadly, deceptive darkness—the same deadly darkness which holds every human soul under its power.

But inside me a faint light flickered—my own human spirit, rekindled by the new birth and quickened by the Holy Ghost. My soul suddenly became ground to conquer. And so, in the privacy of my own home I began to spend endless hours—hours which grew into years of prayer, praise and worship. I learned how to make the sacrifice of thanksgiving. I graduated to the sacrifice of praise. I entered in and enjoyed worship in the presence of God. I studied His word. And I discovered the power of quietly waiting on my King.

I even had a special chair which I called my “waiting on God” chair. I sat waiting for the presence of God, meditating upon scripture, anticipating a word from Him. Slowly, my disquieted soul began to quiet.

Over the course of several years, my spirit grew in magnitude and influence in my life. I can recall a specific moment when God’s presence was no longer elusive to me but something I could tap into almost at will. My soul slowly succumbed, my mind giving sway to the truths of scripture, my emotions now under the management of the spiritual knowledge of God’s sovereignty and Lordship.

My war had been intense hand to hand combat fought against demons both real and imagined. But in the end I had gained the ground of my own soul!

Have you seen the film Braveheart? In a powerful scene on the battlefield the forces of King Edward I approach a rag-tag army led by William Wallace. Before the armies rush to the field of battle, the king’s archers release their arrows. They spring from their bows and sail on a trajectory for Wallace’s army. His men duck beneath their shields. Finally, after several volleys, hand to hand combat begins.

In the film Gettysburg, Southern General James Longstreet prepares his assault on Meade’s forces across the mile wide field between Cemetery Hill and Seminary Ridge. Before the Confederate foot soldiers commence their advance, Longstreet orders cannon fire. Batteries blast the Northern positions preparatory to the Confederate charge. Finally, on Longstreet’s reluctant command, Southern soldiers break into a run across the field of battle and engage in bloody hand to hand combat.

In the most recent major engagement of US forces in Desert Storm, we Americans sat glued to our television sets each night as the air strikes over Sadaam’s Iraqi army pummeled Baghdad. Two days of actual hand to hand fighting ensued and the war ended. The air strikes had won the war!

In spiritual warfare for the land, prayer must go before the hand to hand battles. We are currently in a day of a great intercessory work. God is raising up visionaries to teach and instruct in the intricacies of intercession to equip armies of intercessors. But the day will come when the ground forces will have to enter the fray and take the land back for God house by house.

Yes, we are called to win souls. But we must also win back education, business, governments and other institutions. In the end we must win nations, kingdoms and cultures for the glory of God.

Our battlefield is the realm of ideas. Our weapon is the word of God. We must prepare ourselves. We cannot rely solely upon the air force to win the battle. If we fail in our preparation we will be struck down on the battlefield. We must outfit ourselves with a clear-headed view of God. We must understand the complexities and subtleties of His created order. We must familiarize ourselves with His nature, His character, His attributes, His ways, His plans and His purpose. We must possess a broad knowledge of God. We must arm ourselves with biblical principles that have been proven in our own lives.

We must possess a rounded knowledge. What are the issues? What is at stake? What is our mission? What are our handicaps? What are our strengths? What are our weapons? How do they work? Who are the players in this war? What are our short term objectives? What are our long term objectives? What personal role are we to fill in God’s army?

It is also imperative that we understand where the enemy’s strongholds are located, what his weapons and methods are and where his points of weakness lie.

And above all, we must resolve issues of authority, sovereignty and Lordship. God’s army cannot endure the curse of too many renegades. In the ideological struggle for God’s territory, desertion in the face of fire and poor judgment in battle will weaken our attack and cause our fellow soldiers to suffer.

In short, we must ourselves become true disciples before we can expect to disciple the nations.


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