Over the last 9 years, Co-Labor Ministry’s core mission has been helping individuals experience freedom in Jesus and in partnership with the Holy Spirit to actually do “On Earth As It Is In Heaven” wherever they are. The purpose is to transform everything – yourself, relationships, families, businesses, and cities to come into alignment with the purposes of God. It takes transformed people to transform cities. When your target is transformation you end up spending time with a lot of people and circumstances where change needs to happen. We have consistently seen too much credit given to the enemy and the “spiritual attack” causing bad circumstances or just circumstances that do not line up with how you think or believe things should be. Somewhere along the line spiritual attack has become the dominant reason things are bad and it immobilizes believers, putting us in a defensive position rather than moving forward with the creator of the universe to transform the circumstances that need to change. Look around you and you may just be under “a tack” and it is time to move.
Here are three practical ways to invite Jesus into the transformation needed around you and get out from underneath the tack.
- The Fight Is Won – Game Over – In Colossians 2:15, Paul is summing up an exhortation of the Colossians not to fall captive to empty deception, tradition of men according the principles of the world, but rather do things according to Christ. “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” So not only did Jesus triumph or beat the enemy, but He made a spectacle of him and his team. The categorization of spiritual attack may in many circumstances be just a tradition of man falling under the principles of this world rather than doing things according to Christ. Labeling so many things as “spiritual attack” puts the enemy in an authority position where we are essentially saying, his attack is more powerful than Jesus and my partnership with God! This sounds so simple, but how do you practically do this? How do you shift your thinking and approach from an “under spiritual attack” mode to transformation according to Him? Just ask Jesus. Ask Him to show you what you are believing that is incorrect. Ask Him to show you where you are carrying offense, resentment, and disappointment and who you need to forgive. Position yourself for the future change. Disappointment robs people of their future. Yesterday cannot remove you from the love of God but it can shut down your awareness of the love of God for you, your circumstances and your destiny. What if it is really true that we have already won and there is no need to engage the enemy and we just need to move out from underneath the “tack”.
Being a former basketball player, I think of so many spiritual things in the context of athletic competition. After you win the game, the crowd is all excited and they are cheering for you. Your teammates are excited and congratulating you and each other for the victory. People are watching and pulling for you in your victory and you are part of a team and community. You are not alone! Immediately following the exuberance of the victory, you go shake the hands of the opponent and their leader (the coach) and they admit you beat them and they recognize your defeat of their team. You then go into the locker room where you celebrate some more, reflect on what happened and then memorialize the win and performances of the team and team members (tell testimony). It is in this context, where there is a knock on the locker room door and your opponent pretends they didn’t lose and they want to play more of the same game they just lost. The score board made a spectacle of their loss. The newspaper reporters captured the statistics and story to display your victory in the newspaper the next day. There has been full documentation of the loss, but the opponent will not relent, and the game still needs to be played even though you already won. This sounds absolutely ridiculous but is not all that far away from what the enemy tries to do with us spiritually. It is finished. Game over. Period.
Takeaway #1 – Release freedom into the past by breaking lies and forgiving. Ask Jesus for His truth that He wants to replace the lies with. Recognize your team and your fans and that you are not alone. Participate with your team and fans inviting them to play with you and come to your games (do life with you). Act like you won, because you did! What are the decisions you are not making because you are playing a false game? It is time to decide and move on fearlessly because you won!
- Fire Yourself as the Manager – Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” I can’t be the boss, I am dead…. If you have areas in your life where you feel like you are not good enough, have anxiety and fear, have pressure to perform to meet unrealistic standards, and/or feel unworthy due to lack of performance, odds are you are managing an area of your life you were never intended to. There is a distinct difference between living in freedom with Jesus and managing your performance to please Jesus and/or others. The feelings I described above are a key indicator of the pressure created by self-management without Jesus and you have a dead man operating as the manager.
I like to explain it this way, we were saved by grace, period. We were invited to participate in the greatest trade-in program of all time. When we said yes to Jesus, He came and changed everything, He took our sin and gave us righteousness. He took all the things the enemy meant to destroy us with and gave us victory and peace. He took eternal separation and gave us the ability to be with Him forever. Somewhere along the line in Christian culture we stopped believing that to be true in areas of our lives and we took on responsibility that doesn’t belong to us and started managing ourselves forsaking the greatest trade-in program of all time and what He instituted at the beginning of our relationship together – SALVATION. I went back to find anywhere in scripture where it says that salvation stops, and that I have to take on full responsibility without Him, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Salvation is not just the initial salvation experience but is the process of being made whole. Being saved, healing on the inside, healing on the outside (physical healing), deliverance from demonic torment – the whole package.
Takeaway #2 – Prayer: Jesus show me the places where I am managing things without you and where I have kept you separate. Jesus, I fire me in the areas of myself and my life where I have attempted to run things without you. I relinquish the responsibilities I have taken that belong to you and give them to you and hire you to come run these areas of my life. I step aside and recognize that you are now in charge. Thank you for taking over. Will you show me what it looks like for us to do life together without me running these parts of my life and with you being in charge?
- The Invitation – If I have friends and I just show up to their house at dinner time and expect to eat with them, it is awkward. We don’t connect because even though they are my friends, they weren’t ready for me to be there and have a different agenda than being with me. However, if I am invited the awkwardness goes away and intimacy increases because the purpose is now for us to be together. It is interesting that on the surface, the two sets of circumstances look the same: We are together at dinner time, I expect to eat with them, I am at their house with their family, I have access to their house, I will be eating their food, but without the invitation, the fullness of relationship is not accessible. The same thing holds true with our relationship with Jesus. He lives inside of me and if I intellectually know he loves me and is there, but do not invite him into everything, I keep myself in a position where my leadership of myself supersedes Jesus. Meaning, I am not ready for him to lead certain aspects of my life and I am the one who makes it awkward, disconnected, and powerless.
So, what does this look like practically? How about dealing with anxiety and fear in your thoughts. I have read 2 Corinthians 2:15 a zillion times, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” I would wrestle with speculations and lofty things at 3:30 am night after night taking thoughts captive without inviting Jesus at all and doing this for hours and hours with no relief in the middle of the night fighting on my own in Jesus name. Now, if I have an anxious thought, I take it captive and give it to Jesus. I pray, “Jesus I invite you into this thought and fear right now and ask you to take over. I do not want to think these thoughts any longer and I invite you to take over these thoughts and to give me something better to think about. You can have these dumb thoughts.” Then I roll over and go to sleep and start dreaming with Him.
Takeaway #3 – Start extending an invitation to Jesus to come take over the places within yourself and your thoughts where you do not feel peace. Ask Him to come inhabit those places and to than give you something He would like you to experience rather than what you were trying to do on your own without Him. Invitation is the key to increasing intimacy!
These three things are very simple keys to experience your circumstances differently with increased freedom and peace. Sometimes it takes moving ourselves out from underneath the “tack” to walk in the open heaven we are under and do “On Earth As It Is In Heaven” with Papa, Jesus and Holy Spirit.
Blake Schellenberg – Co-Labor Ministries