The Battleground of the Mind
You will remember that the location where Jesus was crucified was called Golgotha, which means “place of the skull.” If we will be effective in spiritual warfare, the first field of conflict where we must learn warfare is the battleground of the mind; i.e., the “place of the skull.” For the territory of the uncrucified thought life is the frontier of satanic assault in our lives. To defeat the enemy, we must be crucified in the place of the skull. We must be renewed in the spirit of our minds!
Once we become blessed – consumed – by a vision from God, we enter a realm of battle with Satan and his miserable demons that we’ve never encountered before. But if we are truly serious about wanting to honour Jesus for what he’s done for us and see His Kingdom come and His will be done, then we’ll get a vision of what God wants to do with and through us. Vision is something that grows, evolves, increases – as does the opposition from the enemy! Our ‘problem’ is that WITHOUT vision, Proverbs 29:18 says that ‘Without vision the people perish’ – not just the world, who we fail if we don’t live in vision for the Kingdom and revival, but US, too. There are so many ‘churchians’ or ‘Christianised’ people populating our churches who think being a Christian is JUST Sunday morning’s meeting. Or in these ‘Coronavirus’ days, the YouTube/Zoom/Skype ‘meeting’. Without a vision, people are doomed to wander aimlessly.
I grew up in a very quiet (shy) Christian home – my dad and mum were saved at a Billy Graham crusade meeting at Haringey, North London – and went to a Baptist Church in Walthamstow, close to where we lived. Because I was born very sick, doctors recommended that my parents moved out of London to the coast, where we went to another very evangelical church in Eastbourne for many years. I had no concept that God had a plan for my life, and truth be told, I was a ‘pretend’ Christian until I was confronted – in a different church (that my friend Andy & I had gone to because that church had young ladies which an Eastbourne Baptist church didn’t in the late 60’s/early 70’s. didn’t have! It’s amazing how the Lord ‘leads’ you, huh??!! ) by an evangelist, Clive Calver, who saw straight through me and my fake faith.
It wasn’t long before I gave my life to Jesus, by which time I realised just how boring and unsatisfying my Christian life had been. Then vision started to arrive from God – though I argued with God about it as it meant quitting my (then quite successful) career in a bank – so reasonable salary, subsidised mortgage, good pension (though I hated the job!). The argument lasted 5 years before God won, and in 1979 I went full-time with Youth for Christ. (No salary, massive mortgage, no pension!). I knew God would win the argument, but I was persistent! What developed rapidly was that my life went from boring with no vision to challenging, enjoyable, and with a vision that began to grow and grow.
Of course plenty of people told me I was mad to walk away from a good career. But the ‘career’ I’ve had for the past 41 years has been phenomenal, taking me all over the world (literally) – 110 countries (much the paranoia of my mum while she was alive, she was convinced I’d get some dreadful disease or die from something I ate!
Would I have seen tens of thousands healed in England if I’d stayed as a bank clerk? I doubt you need me to answer that one. Would I have seen limbs grow from nothing, cancers disappear, leprosy go, AIDS removed from a large number of people, and four people raised from the dead? I doubt it very much.
So much of vision-less Christian life is down to fear. I remember when I got my first invitation to travel – to Ghana – I was terrified. Even after travelling to some very (in my mind, and in reality) risky countries, and been unharmed and not been ill, when I was invited to Colombia in 1996 I was more terrified than ever. But I went – and it’s now my second ‘home’ (maybe even in my mind, my first home) and I love it with a passion.
I remember many years ago asking a ‘strong’ pastor to go with me to an African nation. No fear was his response, I won’t like the food. And the creepy crawlies. So I asked him to go to Colombia. No fear, I might get kidnapped, shot, the food, and creepy crawlies…. Where would you go then? Australia was his reply. Where they happen to have the 10 most dangerous snakes and 10 most dangerous variety of spiders! Fear stopping vision.
Yes, sure, there’s danger. Sure we’re not going to fall in love with all the food (cat, dog, snake, cow’s lips, cow’s intestines, and one or two (or more!) things in India wouldn’t make the gourmet list in London restaurants.
Vision might NOT take to China to eat cat and risk arrest, or India and risk Delhi-belly. It might take you to your town centre to approach people and ask them if they need prayer, or become a preacher (which is pretty daunting when THAT call comes!).
What I can almost certainly guarantee is that you appear in the cross-hairs of Satan’s binoculars, and you will come under attack. I think it was A W Tozer who said,
“if you haven’t met the devil today, chances are you and he are walking in the same direction”. Of course, Jesus said it, too. “In this world you WILL have trouble, but don’t be afraid, I’ve overcome the world”/
And with vision you attract the devil’s attention. But the Bible is a book for visionaries – No human being can exist long without purpose; neither can a people group. Vision is almost as essential to human existence as oxygen. Without a vision—people are doomed to wander aimlessly.
Pastors can be more focused on people showing up in church sitting in every service, than being focused building them, encouraging them and sending and releasing them into society to change the culture around them. We are moving from church to kingdom. Jesus Christ, our Apostle, was SENT to earth to change and transform all things through Him laying down His own life, and to reproduce Himself through sons and daughters becoming apostolic in their mindset.
God wants a people whose lives are dedicated to bringing the Kingdom to earth – ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, ON EARTH as it is in heaven’. And who want to see revival come through the persecution that follows
“Never underestimate the power and anointing that grows in a man or woman who is wholeheartedly pursuing the Lord.”