The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of Power
For the past few years through Leavethe99, I have been traveling to remote locations in Ethiopia and South Sudan with LeadOn and Petros Network. During those trips, we have helped train and support hundreds of pastors who are sent to unreached areas. Every visit, I have the honor of meeting, praying for, and hearing the stories of brave men and women who boldly go to areas that most couldn’t even imagine.
One common theme has been intertwined in the stories they share – the Kingdom of God coming in Power. Living in the western culture, sharing our faith often becomes a debate on religion and knowledge. People often hold two things dear to their hearts – one, that faith is personal and shouldn’t affect others, and the other is that truth is relative (i.e., what is true for me is or may not be true for you). A lot of this thinking comes from the fact that we are in a culture that sees faith as knowledge and we can pick what we want. We share our faith through our thoughts, feelings, and words, and sometimes through actual facts.
As I think of the men and women who risk their lives for Christ in these remote places, and the opposition they encounter, I can’t help but ponder how useless a western “debate” about what “we” believe would be. It would quickly get squashed by the demonic forces that rule the local villages. They encounter witch doctors that perform “miracles” asserting their dominance. These sorcerers bring sickness and death to those who oppose them. The missionary pastors also face leaders of traditional religion who come in and burn the fields they just planted, throw stones at them, try to stab and kill them with knives, torture their families when they are at the villages ministering, and prevent them from basic needs like food and water. In this environment, simply “talking” about faith isn’t helpful at all.
The truth is that, while many in the west believe that religion is about knowledge and personal fulfillment, it really isn’t. It’s about two kingdoms at war – the kingdom of darkness against the kingdom of light! And wars are not won with talk, but with power. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12)
When Jesus walked among us, he came to destroy the works of the enemy (1 John 3:8). In Luke 4:18 it states, “The Spirit of the Lord was on him. He was anointed to preach good news to the poor. He was sent to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” This same Spirit abides in those missionary pastors that are sent out – and also for those who have answered the call of our King who beacons, “Come Follow Me.”
As these pastors go to each village, they face demonic forces which have tormented and controlled many for years. Yet, through the Holy Spirit they see God reveal His power – just as God did with Moses before Pharaoh – healing the sick, freeing those held captive with demons, and even raising many from the dead. As God reveals His power, the demonic forces have no choice but to surrender to the power of God’s kingdom – allowing those once bound freedom to serve the one true God.
I think we in the west can learn from the missionary pastors’ encounters in remote areas. Rather than standing back, rationalizing, explaining away, ignoring, and choosing to live with bondages we face on a regular basis as “part of life,” we too can combat the forces of darkness with God’s mighty power. Our culture cries for “freedom” in many areas of life, looking to knowledge or worldly governments to bring this, yet the only true chance for freedom from bondage comes not from laws or ideals, but from the power of the Kingdom of God. In other words – we can debate theology, but we can’t debate God’s power.
I have personally seen God move in my life powerfully as I have sought Him. I’ve witnessed many miracles, such as the sick healed, rain stopped, and the dead raised. You, too, can experience God’s power in your life. First, do you know Him as your Lord and Savior? If not, surrender your life to him now – ask Him to be Lord of your life, then follow Him. As you follow God, the Holy Spirit will teach you in all things and give you the ability to overcome the forces of darkness. If you already know the Lord, then jump into the battle.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)