I’ve seen way too often the tragic results of people who play around with spiritual power. I know that sounds kind of bizarre but stay with me here.
When I went to the church I pastored I met first thing in our home with the leadership committee. I discussed my plans to revitalize the church, grow it and see people’s lives changed.
That evening as we sat in a circle in our living room I said, “When we do this we’ll be declaring war on the evil one and entering into battle. So if you don’t want to take that seriously and keep yourself spiritually strong everyday then resign now. I don’t want responsibility for what may happen to you.”
From the beginning the church rapidly grew. We saw real miracles. Lives were transformed.
And a few of those leaders who I talked with that night and some other leaders who followed them imploded.
They wanted the leadership role. They wanted the excitement. But they didn’t take the warning seriously with devastating results.
Sadly, I’ve also watched this happen to pastors who had life changing ministries and eventually blew up.
Jesus warned of this. He spoke about driving the evil out yet it returns and, “Finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.” So it reoccupies the vacant house and, “The final condition of that man is worse than the first.”*
Frankly I find that thought terrifying and sobering. It’s a stark reminder to anyone who wants to be involved in life changing ministry that truly sees God’s miracles.
So what can we do?
Pretty much what I told those leaders.
First, make sure of your relationship to God. All of this flows out of that. This isn’t about magic tricks or ego trips. This is God’s power working in and through you.
Second, realize when you enter into this kind of life and ministry you’re entering into a very real war, a spiritual war. So when you choose this kind of miraculous life and ministry you’re signing up for the front lines.
Third, Paul in Ephesians talks about putting on God’s armor every day. It’s no different than a front line soldier. If he doesn’t wear his body armor and take his weapon he won’t last long. God’s armor is all we need but we do need to put it on.
Fourth, let me be frank. If you’re not willing to do the first three don’t head down this path. Be a contented bystander. Be satisfied just going to church. But don’t head off into this battle.
So why would anyone want this kind of life?
Honestly, sometimes I ask myself that question.
Yet, I guess for me it’s worth it.
To truly see and experience the miracles of God.
To live a life that makes a difference.
To see lives changed because of ministry I’m involved in.
To experience a life of power and peace.
So for me, on most days, the miraculous victory is worth the battle.
What has been your experience?
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*Matthew 12: 43-45 (NIV)
Photo credit: Defence Images (Creative Commons)