When we were growing up, we didn’t have animated cartoons on television as we have these days. Rather, we watched the puppets. As a child, I always wondered how those puppets moved and talked. Then one day, I saw tiny strings that dangled as the puppets moved. It then occurred to me that the puppets didn’t just move, rather, someone was controlling the movement of the puppets. There was a Puppet Master who was working behind the scenes to direct what we watched.
Often, we hear people say: “life just happens!” But really, does life just happen? Facts of life seem to prove otherwise. The truth is that in most situations in life, if we do nothing, then nothing happens. The Universal Law of Cause and Effect implies that for every effect there is a definite cause and vice versa. So, nothing just happens!
SPIRITUAL AND NATURAL REALMS
There is the spiritual (invisible) realm and there is also the natural (visible) realm. What happens in the spiritual realm often determines what happens in the natural realm. That’s why life does not just happen. It will be naïve for a Christian to live with a mindset that life just happens. The truth is that there are forces that try to determine what happens here on earth. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12).
When Daniel discovered by books that Israel’s captivity was to last for 70 years, he began to seek the face of God for the actualization of the prophecy (Daniel 9:1-3). In Daniel Chapter Ten we read an interesting story. Daniel had been seeking the Lord by fasting for three weeks. On the twenty first day he received a message from the angel. “And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. 12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty- one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:11-13).
Note that the angel was dispatched with the answer from the first day that Daniel began to seek the Lord but the answer couldn’t get to Daniel until almost three weeks after. Apparently, the angel with Daniel’s answer had been trapped between heaven and earth. There was interference by the demonic prince that ruled over the kingdom of Persia. This evil power hindered the answer from getting to Daniel. You can imagine what could have been going through Daniel’s mind in those three weeks. This was a typical example of activities in the heavens affecting happenings on earth.
Shortly after Israel left Egypt, they were confronted by the Amalekites in the wilderness. This happened to be their first battle in their journey into the Promised Land (Exodus 17:8-16). Joshua led the army to the battlefield but Moses, Aaron and Hur went up to the mountain with the Rod of God. As long as Moses’ hand was lifted up, Israel had victory, but when his hand was down, the Amalekites had the upper hand. Aaron and Hur had to support Moses’ hand until victory was won. Here again we find what happened on the mountain determining the outcome of the battle.
You are either enjoying the result of your own prayers or the result of someone’s prayer on your behalf. By praying, we are simply cooperating with God to bring to pass His will on the earth. So, you’re either cooperating with God or with the enemy by your action or inaction. No doubt, if we realized the potential of our prayers we would pray more. Someone has said that “Prayer is the hand that moves the hand that moves the world.”
LIFE IS A BATTLE
We need to understand that life is a battle. God hasn’t called us to live a quiet and easy life but to battle. There is an enemy out there who is doing everything he can to stop us from having and enjoying God’s best. If then we are not coming against the enemy in battle then we might be unwittingly cooperating with him to further his evil schemes against us and the purpose of God.
It’s a new year and some people are already facing intense battles. Sometimes, it’s an indication that something great is in the offing and as always, the devil has sensed it and would do anything to stop you from stepping into the blessing of God.
Many of the issues we are struggling with are not just everyday life’s coincidences, but the result of unseen spiritual forces attempting to keep us from enjoying God’s provision for our lives. There are people dealing with personal, family and business issues and don’t understand why there is not a change or breakthrough.
Nobody suddenly succeeds and nobody suddenly fails. For instance, that someone went home for Christmas, had a great time in the village then came back to discover that his business has suddenly gone haywire; that a boss in whose sight you had found favour suddenly becomes hostile to you; that your peaceful family has suddenly become a house of bickering and disagreement etc. It just didn’t happen. There may be subterranean forces behind what is happening.
A major denomination had a church plant in an African country. The pastor of the church felt discouraged when he couldn’t see growth in membership or progress in the lives of the members after many years. He therefore began to spend time to pray inside the church. One day, as he continued to pray, a huge snake suddenly emerged from the baptistery. He was able to kill the snake. Subsequently, everything changed in his church. Suddenly he began to see growth both in membership and in the lives of the members. Nothing just happens!
I’LL FIGHT YOU FOR THIS!
There must be situations that we tell the enemy, “I’ll fight you for this!” There are things we must set boundaries on and let the enemy know “if you touch this, I’ll fight you.” When Nehemiah returned from Persia to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, he faced opposition from Sanballat, Tobiah and other detractors. When they mocked him, he took it; when they tried to blackmail him, he also took it; but when they threatened to attack and stop the work he was doing, he said, for this one I’ll fight you. “Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (Nehemiah 4:13-14). When the adversaries saw that Nehemiah was ready to fight them, they abandoned their mission.
Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria, sent a message to Ahab, king of Israel, “Then he sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, and said to him, “Thus says Ben- Hadad:3 ‘Your silver and your gold are mine; your loveliest wives and children are mine. ‘” What was Ahab’s reply? And the king of Israel answered and said, “My lord, O king, just as you say, I and all that I have are yours.” (1 Kings 20:2-4). As if that was not enough, Ben-Hadad sent another message: “Then the messengers came back and said, “Thus speaks Ben- Hadad, saying, “Indeed I have sent to you, saying, ‘You shall deliver to me your silver and your gold, your wives and your children”; 6 but I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house and the houses of your servants. And it shall be, that whatever is pleasant in your eyes, they will put it in their hands and take it. ‘” (1 Kings 20:5-6). That’s just like the devil, give him an inch, he’ll take a mile! You must draw the line, set the boundaries, and know when to say: enough is enough!
Ahab’s response was: “Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben- Hadad, “Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you sent for to your servant the first time I will do, but this thing I cannot do. ‘” And the messengers departed and brought back word to him.”” (1 Kings 20:9). At this point, Ahab was saying to the Syrian king, “For this one, I’ll fight you!” The problem with many Christians is that we concede too much, we give too much latitude to the enemy.
In Acts Chapter Twelve we read: “Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.” The Early Church seemed to have acquiesced the killing of James and all the harassment from Herod. But when he proceeded to seize Peter also, intending to kill him, the church arose to say, “We shall fight you for this!” “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.” (Acts 12:5). If the church had done nothing, Peter would probably have gone the way of James and the church would have accepted it as the “will of God.” But because they said, we won’t take this, we won’t let this happen, God intervened and not only was Peter delivered, Herod also was taken out. As a result, the church had peace Acts 12:20-24).
In our lives and in our nation, we must define perimeters where we say to the enemy, “if you cross this line, I’ll fight you.” We just can’t continue to sit back and sing: “Que sera, sera,” and hope that something will happen by our doing nothing. The truth is that nothing just happens. If you just keep doing what you’re doing now, then nothing will change.