Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Battle hands and war fingers - the force and finesse of setting people free pt. 1

When Jesus commissioned the 12, he gave them authority to preach the Gospel, to drive out demons. The authority of the believer is either much maligned or ignored these days, and yet it's intrinsic to process of disciples-making-disciples. "All authority in heaven and in earth has been given to Me, therefore go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey.."

While we have some understanding of authority to preach the Gospel, and authority to teach people to obey God, many of us do a wide berth around authority to drive out demons? Does that even apply today? In Africa certainly, I have encountered the demonic, but here in the West the demons seem, well, better camouflaged. And yet people are no less oppressed. In many ways more so. But in a culture generally skeptical about the demonic, spiritual warfare requires a comb ination of force and finesse. "It is God who trains my arms for battle and my fingers for war." Ps 114

The understanding of Tim Keller on idol worship in the West, has been enormously helpful to me in this regard. Here it is not so much a carved or welded image of a god,(although there is that) but often a good thing that has become an ultimate thing. Satan is as happy to keep a person bound in worship of a car or career as he is in worship of a Buddha. Martin Luther said, 'The heart is an idol factory. That which our heart treasures and confides in, that is an idol."

Much spiritual warfare is in the area of the mind, and must be addressed with authoritative writing and preaching. When Paul talked about, "the weapons of our warfare being mighty for the pulling down of strongholds,"(2 Cor 10:4) he was not talking about a prayer meeting. He was talking about his letters and his preaching. 'He demolished every argument that raised itself up against the knowledge of Christ to make it obedient to Christ." (10:5) Setting people free then, should include the exposing of the idols of the heart and mind, and the authoritative calling to treasure and confide in Jesus, the Ultimate One.


  1. Alan,

    What exactly does it look like to expose Western idols... matters of the heart? Should we be as vocal as we are about idols in the East or because they are matters of the heart should we be more sensitive?

  2. Hi Christina,
    I think we need to discern and speak directly to the prevailing idols in each sub-culture - Paul did that in Ephesus, in Thesallonica and in Athens.
    what are they on our city?

  3. Alan,

    Thoughts on idols in our city:

    ~ Social justice, the desire to do good without implementing a focus on the gospel
    ~ Community without Christ-centered relationships and a lack of mission
    ~ a performance-based mentality that lacks a kingdom minded purpose and vision
    ~ Gifting/calling, focus on self with a sense of entitlement
    ~ Traditional Sunday church, holding it at a higher level and expectation and not allowing God to move everyday in our lives
    ~ Valleys... some embrace the valleys as if they are the ultimate way to connect with God... worshiping the suffering rather than the one who suffered.


  4. great insights, Christina.
    thanks so much