by Gina Lynnes
Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.'” (Joel 3:9-10)
As I write you today one phrase resounds in my heart. Wake up the mighty men!
Maybe you don’t feel mighty at this moment. But you are, whether you feel like it or not. We all are if we’ve made Jesus the Lord of our lives and the time has come for us to rise up and start acting like it.
Why? Because the devil is taking territory he has no right to occupy. He is hindering the work of God, harming saints and holding entire nations hostage because too few believers are using the divine authority they’ve been given to actively, aggressively resist him.
Some months ago in prayer, I had a vision that has come to mean a great deal to me. I saw the hand of the Lord reaching out to place a scepter in the uplifted hand of a man. Initially, the man received it and, with tears of gratitude and love, thanked the Master for giving it to him. Then, in a spirit of deference and respect, the man put the scepter right back into the Lord’s hand.
It seemed to me the Lord should be pleased with such a submitted heart. The unspoken attitude of the man seemed to be, “Thank you, Lord, for Your gift. But I’m giving it back to You because all I want is for Your will to be done.”
The Lord did not respond with delight, however. On the contrary, in a voice that resounded with displeasure He said, “I CANNOT GIVE THIS TO YOU IF YOU WILL NOT TAKE IT!”
Not Just Children But Full-Grown Sons
In the months that have passed since then, the Lord has been speaking more to me about the authority of the believer. He has challenged me to more fully use that authority in my own life. And He has revealed to me how much not doing so has cost not only me but those I’ve been called to watch over and pray for.
Most important, God has reminded me that if I do not take dominion over my own flesh and my own circumstances by actively standing on His Word, they will take dominion over me. If I do not fulfill my responsibility to resist the devil—in my own life, the life of my family, my church, my city or my nation—He will not fulfill that responsibility for me. So, unless some other praying saint intercedes for me, the job will not get done.
In that case, the devil will have his way…and he has no mercy.
“But Gina,” you might say, “you don’t usually talk like that. You always make us feel warm and fuzzy. You always tell us how much Jesus loves us and how wonderful life is with Him.”
Jesus does love us. More than we can possibly imagine. In fact, He loves us too much to be forever satisfied just hugging us and trotting us on His knees like beloved, spiritual toddlers. He has a life planned for us that is more wonderful than anything we could ever plan ourselves.
However, we must grow up before we can fully live it.
God’s great design is to raise us up and train us to rule with Jesus forever. He has destined us to be not just children of God—but full-grown sons capable of reigning with Him. We were redeemed not just so we could be blessed and enjoy the fellowship of God but so that we, as the Church, could become the overcoming, Co-Regent Bride of Christ who “receives authority and power over the nations…[to] rule them with a scepter” just as Jesus Himself does (Rev. 2:26-27).
How, where and when will we learn how to rule like that?
We will learn it by overcoming the devil and enforcing the will and the Word of God now in our own spheres of influence right here on the earth. If we don’t learn it now, we’ll never learn it. The better we learn it and the more we overcome here, the higher our rank and reward will be in the next dispensation.
Develop Some Spiritual Muscle
That’s not only scriptural, it just makes sense. Think about it. How could God set a believer in authority over a nation in the age to come when he never even took authority over his own flesh in this age? How could God entrust multitudes to the care of someone who never even learned to pray for and keep the devil off his own little family?
He couldn’t! That person would not have developed the spiritual skills necessary to reign and keep evil forces in check.
Some people think, Well, if I don’t learn to reign here…I’ll just learn when I get to heaven. But that logic doesn’t hold up. How could we possibly learn to resist and exert dominion over evil forces in heaven? There aren’t any evil forces there! It takes resistance to develop spiritual muscle, just like it takes resistance to develop physical muscle. And there is no devil, no fallen flesh, nothing negative to resist in heaven.
That is the primary reason for this dispensation. That’s the reason Jesus didn’t throw the devil into the lake of fire and put an end to his works right after the resurrection. He left him here so the Church could use him to do spiritual benchpresses.
God left the devil on earth just like He left the giants in the promised land so He could teach us to exercise the dominion He has given us in Christ. He wants us to grow up into our divinely appointed role as rulers by learning to enforce the will and Word of God in the face of natural and demonic opposition. He wants us to learn how to possess the land.
That’s why, despite God’s great and tender love for us, once we have the time and opportunity to mature in Jesus, He will not deal with the devil for us. Even to spare us natural pain and suffering, He will not jump in and do our job.
He will not say, “Yes, Sweetheart, I know I gave you authority and told you to watch, pray and resist the devil. I know I told you to be strong, put on your spiritual armor and use My Word as the sword of the spirit. But you’ve been real busy lately and if I don’t do something, the devil is really going to tear up your life. I guess I’ll just overturn My plan to train the Church to reign so I can jump in and fix things for you.”
Be a Lover and a Fighter
That is just not going to happen. Jesus has already said to the Church, “…I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
He did not say, “I’ll give you the keys. But if you don’t want to go to the trouble to learn how to use them…or if you just get occupied with other things and don’t want to mess with it, I’ll do it and just see to it Myself that the Father’s will gets done.”
Honestly, I’ve known this truth and resisted it to some degree for years. I’ve thought (and sometimes said) “When it comes to the things of God, I’m a lover, not a fighter.” But in actuality, mature believers don’t get to choose between the two. We have to be both lovers and fighters or we will not fulfill God’s will.
We also have to be those things in that order. Lover first. Fighter second.
That’s the scriptural way. Jesus said the first and most important commandment is to love God with all our soul, mind and strength—and, of course, to love our neighbor as we do ourselves (Matt. 22:37-39). First Corinthians 13 tells us that if we aren’t operating in love, all other spiritual activity is worthless.
Other New Testament writers reveal the same scriptural order. James says, “…submit to God. [Then] resist the devil.” Peter says essentially the same thing.
For years, I shrank from becoming a whole-hearted spiritual fighter because of the demeanor of some dear believers who tried to operate in divine authority without developing a deep, loving fellowship with the Lord. They learned the scriptural principles of authority and became fighters without being lovers. They were quick to demand and declare in prayer but spent little time in tender communion with the Lord. Instead of being filled with the joy of the Lord, they often lived under a cloud of oppression as they discerned demonic forces at work.
I didn’t want to be like that. So I began to shy away from the authority side of faith. I did still use it in prayer when I had to but avoided it as much as possible.
A Lot of Empty Noise
What I realize now is that those well-meaning believers were not truly operating in authority at all. They were just going through the motions, trying to do things with mere mental understanding that can only be done with real, heart-revelation.
The fact is, only God can truly give us real revelation of the authority we have in Jesus. He is the only One who can enlighten the eyes of our heart and reveal to us the hope of our calling, our glorious inheritance, and the power that is at work in and through us who believe. Only He can make real to us the fact that were are already spiritually seated with Jesus at God’s right hand—far above principalities, powers, dominions, authorities and every name that can be named both in this age and in the age to come (Eph. 1:17-23; 2:6).
We can read about it in books. We can hear it preached. But it is not until God grants us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in that area that we can actually comprehend the authority we’ve been given and operate authentically in it.
And He will only grant that revelation to us in proportion to the degree of loving fellowship we have with Him and with each other. (That’s why Ephesians 1:15 comes before verses 17-23.) So clearly, our first spiritual priority is to develop in love. That is the basis and foundation for operating in true authority.
We must also cultivate the genuine humility that comes from a constant remembrance of the fact that it is only the blood of Jesus that gives us our standing in God. Jesus is the One who paid the price for our sin. Jesus is the One who conquered the devil and brought him to naught. Jesus is the One who rose again to administrate and oversee that victory.
He is the One with the authority and the only reason we have it is because we are in Him.
If we mix that revelation with one ounce of pride or one touch of arrogance and begin to think or act in any way as if we deserve this heavenly position we’ve been given—we immediately fall flat on our faces. The devil himself doesn’t even have to oppose us at that point. God Himself will do it. He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
Remember this: the person who operates in the greatest degree of real, spiritual authority in Jesus’ name, will be the humblest, meekest, most joyful person you will ever meet. We will be as tender and kind toward the Lord and His people as we are tough on the devil.
This Might Rattle Your Theological Cage
Now, with that said, I’m going to say something shocking. It may rattle your theological cage a little but I’m going to say it anyway because I believe it’s true.
In the final analysis, the devil doesn’t really care how loving you are. He doesn’t care how humble you become. You can be as loving and humble as you like and it won’t bother him. You won’t cramp his style a bit unless you rise up in that love and humility, begin to operate in the authority of Jesus and start overturning the works of darkness.
The devil doesn’t give a rip if we want to go around holding the hands of fellow believers and crying with them after he ransacks their lives. (Although, if we let the devil get away with that kind of junk, we owe it to our fellow saints at least to comfort them and share their pain.) The devil doesn’t mind if we want to get on our knees and weep about the violence and corruption in our cities and our nations. It really doesn’t even bother him for us to pray, as long as our prayers are of the begging…wishing…hoping-God-will-do something-before it’s-too-late kind.
But when we stand up and start declaring the Word of God in faith, we become a serious problem for the devil. We terrify him when we get strong enough in the Lord to take the sword of the spirit and like Eleazar, the mighty warrior of David’s day, fight not just for ourselves but for others with such holy vengeance that our hand cleaves to the sword! (See 2 Samuel 23:9-10.)
A few weeks ago, I was driving down the highway minding my own business and thinking about how to get more people involved in prayer. With all that’s going on in the world, there needs to be more prayer right now, I thought.
Suddenly the Lord Himself interrupted and spoke to my heart in a voice that resounded through my whole being. “I don’t need more prayer in the Church right now,” He declared. “I need more BELIEVING prayer!”
We may not need much revelation of our authority in Christ to pray believing prayers for ourselves. We can often receive what we personally need just by simple petitions prayed by faith in God’s promises. But for us to step out in faith as we pray for fellow believers, for the Church as a whole, for our cities and the nations—we must start to comprehend and operate in our authority in Jesus. We must begin to pray, proclaim and declare His will from our heavenly position in Him.
Grateful to the Lord/Aggravated with Myself
I will tell you this, however. We’ve been far too passive even when it comes to praying over our own lives. I know because I’ve been that way myself. Some time ago I was praying, asking God to reveal His will to me in a certain area. “Oh, Lord,” I cried desperately, “I need some clarity on this. I want to do what You want me to do here…”
My prayer was so heartfelt and sincere, I figured it had to be right. But the Lord, once again, interrupted me. (As you can tell, He has to do that for me a lot.) “How many times have you asked Me to reveal My will to you in this area?” He asked.
“Again and again, Lord. But I keep asking because still don’t know.”
“Do you think that’s My fault?” He said. “Do you think I violated My Word and refused to give you My wisdom when you asked? Or might the problem lie somewhere else?”
I’m at least smart enough to know the answer to that question. “I’m sure You aren’t the problem, Lord.”
“Then stop asking Me to reveal My will and start thanking Me for having already done it in answer to your previous requests. Take authority, bind the confusion that’s been coming against your mind and start declaring, ‘I have the wisdom of God in this area.’”
Sure enough, within 24 hours I was literally flooded with the revelation I needed. I was grateful to the Lord for it and aggravated at myself for being so passive and letting low-level devils of confusion and my own unbelief rob me of it for so long. Since then, the Lord has begun to reveal to me one area after another where I thought I was waiting on the Lord to do something about a situation when, in reality, He was waiting on me take spiritual responsibility and do what He’s given me authority to do.
Tremendous Answers to Prayer
I wish I had time and space to write here all the tremendous answers to prayer I have seen as I’ve begun to act on these revelations in the past few months. In one particular case, I saw a breakthrough in a person I’ve prayed over for years. What did I do differently? At the direction of the Lord, I stopped making requests for that person and began, instead, to believe and declare that the devil’s power over him was broken and that everything I had prayed over the years was now coming to pass.
Practically overnight, that person stepped into a freedom in the Lord they have rarely ever experienced. His heart was literally flooded with revelation from the Lord. Spiritual strength welled up within him and he began to walk in a new and higher place.
As far as I know, nobody ever said a word to him in the natural. His breakthrough was exclusively the work of the Spirit of God.
I’m seeing the power of God loosed as we step into our authority in Jesus corporately, too. A few months ago, the group that attends prayer school here in Syracuse was moved by the Holy Spirit to pray over our city because of the rampant violence here. The murder rate had sky-rocketed this past year and when one of the recent victims turned out to be the son of a new member of our church, we decided enough was enough.
Love Himself moved us to pick up the sword of the spirit and command the violence in our city to stop in the name of Jesus. God revealed to us scripture after scripture we could use to bind up and hinder the plans of the devil, loose peace on our streets, supernatural help for our law enforcement officials, and protection over the children of the saints.
Since then, the drop in crime—especially murder—has been so significant that the media here has reported on it several times.
Does that make us, as prayers, proud? No, a thousand times no.
It makes us fall on our faces at the feet of our Lord Jesus and worship Him. It makes us weep with gratitude for His precious blood that saved us when we had no right to be saved…for His strength that operates through our weakness…and for giving us His name so that we can stand in His authority and enforce His wonderful will in the earth. A Supernatural Surge of Revelation
If you are hungering as I am to gain greater revelation of your spiritual authority, I urge you to pray the prayer in Ephesians 1:17-23. Pray it every day, believing for a supernatural surge of spiritual revelation that will propel you forward as never before in the will and power of God. Release your faith and begin to declare, “I believe am receiving more revelation from God than I’ve ever received in my life!”
Too many believers I talk to these days seem to be treading water, waiting for the plan of God to unfold in their lives. Too many dear Christians who love the Lord with all their heart seem to be stalled spiritually, stuck in the same-old patterns of frustration they’ve been caught in for years. If you’re one of them, it’s time for you to break free…and it will take divine revelation to do it.
If you’re not in that place, praise the Lord! But, no doubt, you know many others who are. The more fully you grasp your authority in Jesus, the more you’ll be able to help them through your believing prayers. The more we wake up and begin operate like the mighty men God has called us to be, the more we’ll overturn the works of darkness our families, our churches, our cities, our nation and our world.
Whether we realize it or not, the war is on. The only way we can lose is if we fail to fight. Let’s beat our plowshares into swords and enforce the victory of Jesus NOW!