In 2007, while going through a tough time, I met with a guy named Argus several times. Argus was in his mid-70’s; he was a tough spiritual warrior, strong in faith, and bold. When Argus prayed it was with a power and authority I hadn’t seen before; he had complete buy-in to all of who he was in Christ. Argus went alone into jails and prisons to minister; he told me stories of the inmates who were in desperate straits he worked with, some who were under severe oppression. When Argus talked about his prayer times alone with the Lord, he once described it as “going deeper with God so I can grow stronger in authority and spiritual power.” I wanted what Argus had but didn’t know how to get there.
For years after, I pondered what “growing stronger in authority and spiritual power” might be about. I could wrap my arms around more spiritual power but had a blind spot when it came to understanding what increasing spiritual authority meant. That sounded out of my league.
Over time, God has shown me what Argus was referring to. Having less of self, sin, and distractions of this world open the soul for more of God’s spiritual power; increased authority comes with it. I tripped over the authority part because I saw it through human lens, like someone who gets off in lording it over others. But true spiritual authority is about strength, boldness, tough faith; complete buy-in from the core of all we’ve been given as believers, including His authority. True spiritual authority and power come with a servant’s heart that desires to shepherd and lead others into a deeper relationship with God. And when attacked spiritually, those who know their authority in Christ stand up, fight, and do what it takes to overcome.
Scripture tells us we’re blessed with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places, (Eph 1:3), in spite of all our sins we have peace with God (Romans 5:1), there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1), the love of God has been poured out in our hearts (Romans 5:5), we are conquerors (Romans 8:37), overcomers (Rev. 3:21), sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:14), and given a spirit of power, love and sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). We are given the armor of God in Ephesians 6 and thus are meant to be spiritual fighters. We’re seated with Christ and given His authority (Eph. 2:6).
Do you believe all these gifts are yours? Have you received them? No preachy Sunday school answers, quoting verses, or head talk here. From your heart, are you all-in on being a bold warrior with every spiritual blessing? A conqueror? Overcomer? Precious son or daughter of God? Or do questions and doubts arise? A sense of unworthiness? That this is all impossible for you, or out of reach?
I can barely get my head around “every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places.” Then I read I’m given a Spirit of “POWER, love and sound mind.” Not knowledge or doctrine, but mentally solid, love-infused spiritual power. Most days we trudge through life, hoping such blessings are real, or for us. Many make a home in the mud; defeated, desperate, numb.
Bondage to any kind of sin is a major block. So are pride, fear, bitterness, rebellion, or a lukewarm spirit, among others. Many church-goers are faking it; it usually isn’t hard to tell. These are often the verse-quoting preachy ones who always have the right answer, or the oh-so-humble looking faithful servants whose focus is on being good to look good or be approved. Ask them how they’re really doing or what they’re struggling with, and the wall goes up, they spiritualize it away (I’m a new creation in Christ, no problem here!), or their booby trap pops and they get angry or defensive. They’re skilled at the art of using smoke screens and mirrors to keep others from seeing who they really are.
For those who want it and want to do more than watch the show, there is a way through to stepping into our destiny as beloved sons and daughters of God and accepting His mantle as warriors and overcomers.
Take time to heal.
Every person who comes to us for help is wounded emotionally and spiritually. Most have life-long pain that took root in their early years. A web of lies is wrapped around their heart, which Satan uses to keep them from healing. Many went to the church for help and got a second serving of pain along with spiritual abuse. It’s like trying to fight with a broken leg; it won’t be long before you’re taken out. Take the time and action steps you need to heal. Some spend decades running from their heart; if that’s you, stop and cooperate with God’s healing process.
Do what it takes to break free from bondage to sin.
Bondage to sin is a spiritual ball and chain. The ball weighs 100 pounds and you’re not going any further than you can drag it. Tragically, we see many Christians, usually the men, who play with sin or won’t take the action steps necessary to break free. Go all out, today.
Self and the flesh must be scourged every day.
We comfort-driven Americans aren’t used to saying no to self. What self wants, demands, and pines for, it gets. A little comfort-porn, a PG-13 or R-rated movie or two (with just a little sex), a bag of oreos, or binge-watching TV (even Christian entertainment) for hours won’t hurt anyone. Those who want more spiritual power and authority will need to say no to self often. This isn’t about giving things up to please God (or call attention to self for being a pious person), but setting self aside to keep Him on the throne of the soul.
Extended time alone in prayer, often.
Jesus was crazy busy and constantly surrounded with people, yet he often went away alone for hours of prayer. We must be prepared to spend hours in prayer.
This includes going away for several days at a time for focused prayer and seeking His face.
Go All Out.
We’re celebrating the resurrection of Christ this Sunday. Jesus gave everything for us when He allowed Himself to be butchered on the cross. How many of us give Him more than our leftovers? Church on Sunday should be a small piece of a life lived well from Heaven’s perspective. If church comprises most or all of your connection with God during the week, you’re not devoted to Him. That’s just playing church and He’s not a priority in your life. Every once in a while we’ll sing “I surrender all” in church; I can barely get the words out. Who can stand before God and honestly say they’ve given Him all? Going all out involves clearing away the chaff of our life and the unnecessary distractions while going hard after Him and being determined to pour out our lives until the end.
You must be a part of the tribe.
I say this often because most believers are isolated. The Christian life doesn’t work without accountability and the support of others.
Receive what you’ve been given.
You are a blood-bought son/daughter of the Living God, a warrior, fighter, and overcomer, anointed with His Spirit of power, love, and sound mind, cleansed and forgiven of all your sins, and created for a battle to fight. Your identity has nothing to do with your sin or the sins of others. You’re not a failure, though you have failed. Jesus didn’t die for you so you could wallow in your sin or self-condemnation. Receiving and living in all of who you are and what you’ve been given is a life-long process, because the enemy will oppose it every step of the way. You must be prepared to fight for what is yours.
Step into your destiny with confidence and boldness.
Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). He didn’t submit to a brutal death to create comfortable, milquetoast, entertainment-enchanted people who live for self and pleasure. We’re here to advance His kingdom! Today we have many teachers, but few equippers who show God’s people the way to healing, equipping, and challenge them to be prayer-fired spiritual warriors.
My legal name is Michael. In the Bible, Michael is a warrior-angel. I’ve been called to be a fighter. When I write, speak, or counsel, I’m fighting for those who are in bondage to sins that most churches won’t touch. Equipping and challenging God’s people to take their walk with Him to a higher level and encouraging them to spend what little time they have on earth in ways that have eternal significance burns in my soul. Many of the church services I’ve been to put me (and my family) to sleep. I want more, and I know many of you do too.
There is far more to the Christian life than going to church and being nice.
You have unique gifts and a destiny to step into. You will have to fight many battles along the way, but as you heal, grow and conquer, spiritual power and authority will increase. Then God may send you further into battle to fight for the souls of those who desperately need Him… and someone like you who will be Jesus with skin on for hurting and broken people.