Spiritual Warfare?

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV).

Here is my definition of Spiritual Warfare: Things happening in the PHYSICAL world because of the actions of beings in the SPIRITUAL realm. (And make no mistake: PRAYER affects those unseen beings.)

Raised in a Christian environment in a very conservative home in Texas, I look back now and realize that I didn't think of God as “The Great I AM,” but the "I Used To Could."

The apostles are dead, the church is now established, miracles have ceased, and God is watching to see what happens.

Now I realize that nothing could be further from the truth (Psalm 139).

God made a series of events occur that rocked my world and helped me to see Him as the light of the world, the giver of dreams, the worker of miracles — that's why we still pray! — and the great I AM. "I am" is the continuing action form of the verb "to be": our God is and always will be the great "I AM!" My whole life has changed with this understanding.

Rock My World:

I had been writing my third book, My Search for Prayers Satan Hates, when I got the call from an old friend.

"Steve," he began, "I've got a life-long friend who is not a Christian. I've been trying to lead him to Christ for 25 years. He's been mad at God for a long time. I know you're writing on spiritual warfare right now, and he has a spiritual warfare problem. Would you be willing to talk to him?"

"Sure." So the meeting was scheduled.

"What's wrong?" I asked the man.

"I have demons on my property."

Oh. Wow. I'm not the one to call. You've got the wrong guy. That can't happen today. It doesn't work like that anymore. I need to go now. All these thoughts were running through my head as he fearfully explained how he knew there were demons on his property.

At this point, I didn't know if they were real demons or imagined ones. But, I knew that they were real to the man. This understanding was revealed in his next statement:

"I'm this close to suicide, and I just wanted to talk to you first." He was holding his thumb and index finger just a little bit apart.

Oh. My. Goodness!

I'm thinking, "What can I say?"

Then I began to pray even though he was still speaking, "Lord, he's not a Christian and he's talking about suicide. Tell me what to say to help him..."

As soon as I prayed, the following Scripture came to mind:

You must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

"Don't do it; don't kill yourself," I interrupted. "The Bible is full of bizarre stories like talking snakes and walking on water. Let's try something bizarre. Let's put Bible verses on tent stakes and stake out your place and see what God does."

"Ok," he replied.

We did.

And everything changed. Everything.

This suicidal man became a believer and was baptized the next week.

The Great I AM!

I can't make this stuff up. And I'm the last guy you should be hearing miracle stories from.

But I've learned one important thing: God is NOT the great "I Used To Could"; He's the great "I AM."

God is NOT the great "I Used To Could"; He's the great "I AM."
Others tried this same idea about praying, placing God's name on stakes, dedicating themselves and their space to the Lord, and things sort of exploded... in a good way, a "God way!" I was talked into selling stakes along with my books explaining how to use them in faith and with commitment. I now sell way more stakes than books. Paul made tents to support his ongoing ministry. I have stakes that go with his tents.

We call them "Spiritual Warfare Stakes."

But don't get me wrong: this is not about me, and it's not about money, and it's not about my stakes. Make your own stakes. There is no "magic" in the stakes. None at all. This is about our faith and commitment to honor God as our great I AM!

Two things are at work here:

  1. God's Word is still powerful:
    He SPOKE the world into existence and His words STILL have great power. As children of God, our words have power, too. That's why what we bind on earth is bound in heaven, and what we loose on earth is loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19).
  2. Acts of faith are still important:
    It's still a FAITH issue. Jesus couldn’t do many miracles where there was no faith (Mark 6:1-6). If you say, "I'll pray about that problem, but it probably won't help!" then don't waste your time praying. It WON'T help. This movement of staking property and space is all about faith. The woman with the issue of blood for 12 years was healed in spite of her disobedience (She was supposed to be yelling, "Unclean!" and not going out in public!). She was healed because she ACTED on her faith after she decided she should touch the hem of Jesus' robe. It's all about YOUR faith and commitment to place God first in all things and all places!

This woman's faith isn't the first time we see this in Scripture. Baptism is an act of faith, taking the Lord’s Supper is an act of faith, confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior is an act of faith. Actions release faith in God as the great I AM behind the promises, the Creator and Sustainer and Lord of all we see.

I look around me and see that Satan has taken the land. He's put his best guys in Washington D.C. and in Hollywood — in politics and media. That's been a very effective strategy. It's got us all angry at each other and fearful about our future. Let's turn off the television and love our neighbors. I say we mark off the land, dedicate our hearts spaces to God, and take it back in Jesus' name, one house at a time! Are you with me?

How's YOUR faith? Do you have God at the center and surrounding your life and your place by faith?

Follow Through:

In the city where I live, the local Clergy Coalition and the Area Ministerial Interfaith Alliance heard about what I was doing and invited me to attend one of their board meetings. They were so excited about what God was doing with these ideas that they formed a Spiritual Warfare Committee to plan an area wide event. I was involved as an advisor.

The committee invited 22 key Pastors and ministers to attend one of three informational sessions where I explained how God was using the stakes as an act of faith. We gave each attendee a free book and set of stakes. We unveiled a city-wide plan to offer some spiritual warfare training over three evening sessions. Audio files of the training are also being made available for those who cannot attend the training.

These plans culminate in a Saturday event the following month to stake out our city for God, inviting the Holy Spirit and Jesus to be at work redeeming our town. We will all meet for location assignments and group prayer. Stakes will be handed out to be placed near the city limit sign of every road coming into town. Each group will be placing the stakes in their assigned location at the exact same time, followed by prayer and an invitation for the Lord to have control of our hearts and our city. Every participant will be encouraged to be dedicated to prayer for our city.