October 25, 2016
Take Back the Territory You've Given to the Enemy
Post by Brittany Tedesco
"Ben don't care what you think."
"Ben don't care how you feel."
"You might be wrong, but Ben is always right."
These lines came from a sermon preached by Dr. Tony Evans on the topic of truth. Ben refers to Big Ben, the clock in London famous for its reliability.
People in London set their watches to Big Ben. They trust that "he" is the reality when it comes to the correct time, not their own watches (however much they might love or cherish their own watches).
Do you ever feel as though we, as a society, are beginning to lose touch with reality?
In his sermon, Dr. Evans gave us the definition of truth: "An objective standard on which reality is based."
Abandoning truth is no benign operation. There are always consequences. Sometimes big, sometimes small, sometimes now, and sometimes later.
Why? Because deceit is the devil's domain. Deceit is the water in which he swims. If we swim in the same waters he does, there's a high likelihood we'll be attacked.
A visiting pastor at my church used the water-shark analogy in his sermon last Sunday. He said that if a shark was in our parking lot, he would keep a safe distance from it, but he wouldn't be afraid of it like he would if he were in the ocean with it.
We choose whether we will enter the water or stay on dry ground.
Operating in deceit invites the forces of darkness into our lives. We give territory to the Enemy.
When this happens, only the truth can set us free (John 8:32).
I just read a report from a ministry in Kenya that sent missionaries to an unreached village where people were operating in untruth. They were practicing witchcraft, worshiping and sacrificing to idols. Truth was the only thing that could set them free from the blindness—the darkness—that they had invited into their lives. The gospel workers spent a week among this group, holding crusades and showing the Jesus film. Realizing that they had entered territory the Enemy had claimed as his own, they spent hours interceding for the tribal people.
Truth broke through when 26 tribal members gave their lives to Christ. The ministry has sent a pastor to the village to disciple this fledgling group, who've taken their first steps onto the soil of reality...while the rest of their group continues to be tossed about in shark-infested waters.
I read another report from a ministry in Peru that is reaching the Ashaninka people. They recently held an evangelistic dinner for a group of Ashaninka, most of whom had never before heard God's Word.
The gospel workers read from Galatians 5:16-26, which compares the deeds of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. The light went on for many of the tribal people. Wrote the ministry leader, "Some said, 'We are idolaters because we put our trust in many things of our tribal culture,' and they mentioned many of their beliefs."
As obvious as it may sound, the truth must first be known and practiced before it can set anyone free.
In 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, we read about King Josiah, who became ruler of Judah after the reign of several wicked kings, who had ignored God's laws and precepts.
During Josiah's rule, Hilkiah, the high priest, accidentally found the "book of the law" (probably the book of Deuteronomy) in the temple of the Lord.
The book had been missing for over a generation, while the people—ignorant of God's laws—drifted into the darkness of deceit. When King Josiah heard the words of the book, he was deeply grieved. He realized how far the people had strayed from the truth. They'd made so many altars to various gods and goddesses. They'd been living in the Enemy's domain. Josiah removed those altars and purged the land of its mediums and spiritists.
What I find most fascinating about this passage is that the book of the law wasn't found in some random person's house; it was found in the very house of the Lord...abandoned, collecting dust in some corner.
If you and I, as temples of the Lord, are to walk in truth, we must study it.
A report from another ministry in Kenya stated, "Cults are using money to confuse people who don't know the truth about the Bible. They decide to become their followers to be given money. Even believers who are in churches abandon truth to follow them. Also, some of our church members have fallen victim to false prophets who claim to prophesy about the cause of what a person might be going through, especially sickness."
Sound familiar? This deception happens everywhere. And it can certainly happen in our own hearts. "The heart is deceitful about all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV).
If we cling to God's Word—yes, open and read it—we'll be much less likely to be self-deceived.
Like King David, we'll ask the Lord: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts" (Psalm 139:23).
A ministry leader who shares the gospel with Muslims in a closed country has become known as "the man with the mirror."
Those Muslims, who are reading the Bible for the first time, recognize how much God's Word is like a mirror. In it, we see ourselves for who we really are—how grounded we are in the reality of truth...or how far we've drifted into the waters of deceit.
In these days when people are making up their own definitions of truth and living in false realities, let us be those who worship the Father in spirit and truth (John 4:23). Let us take back any territory we've surrendered to the Enemy. Let us be vigilant.