Stories of Great Breakthrough
On Monday of this week I began a mini-series of posts on the subject of operating in the spiritual realm (or “heavenly places,” as King James translates the Greek word). The more we learn to function in the invisible spiritual realm, recognizing and applying its governing principles, the more we can partner with God, positively impact our world, avoid the snares and influence of the evil one, and enjoy the blessings of our salvation. To be ignorant of this realm is to be ineffective as Christ’s ekklesia and be taken advantage of by satan.
In Monday’s post I quoted five verses from the book of Ephesians (1:3, 1:20, 2:6, 3:10, 6:12) that mention our spiritual position in Christ, activities we are called to, and the authority we’ve been given - all in relation to this invisible realm. Today I want to mention another important passage which speaks of our assignment and calling in this spiritual realm. Matthew 16:18-19 tells us:
“...upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (NASB)
This, of course, is the passage that first mentions the church or ekklesia, Christ’s governing body on earth. In the passage, He speaks of giving us His Kingdom authority (“keys”) to bind and loose (forbid and allow), and overcome Hell’s strategies. All of this activity occurs first in the spiritual realm. Isn’t it tragic that the church tries to operate just the opposite of the way Jesus described? We think our natural, physical activities - programs, methods, meetings, and more - create breakthroughs in the spiritual realm, resulting in a harvest of souls and other types of spiritual fruit.
The opposite is actually the correct pattern. As the ekklesia, we must exercise our spiritual weapons and authority first, dealing with spiritual forces and strongholds, which will then cause our natural, earthly efforts to succeed. One would think the body of Christ would look more carefully at the pattern Christ gave us the first time He mentioned the church.
Consider the following two stories of spiritual breakthrough, resulting in physical, natural realm fruit:
In 1976 I traveled with a team to a remote village in Guatemala far from any modern city. There was no electrical power, no plumbing, no phones. Our purpose in being there was to build shelters for the villagers whose adobe homes had been destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1976. It had killed 30,000 people and left 1,000,000 homeless. We had trucked in materials and were building small, one-room huts for them during the daylight hours. In the evenings we would hold services in the center of the village, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, explaining that His love was motivating us to spend our time, money and energies helping them. The entire village would turn out.
We had been working and ministering for a week with only one or two people coming to Christ. They were listening, but not responding.
I was scheduled to preach on the final night of our trip. Just as the service was about to begin, a team member told me about a situation he and others had found on the far side of the village - a little girl, six or seven years old, tied to a tree.
Shocked by what they were seeing, they asked the family that lived there, “Why is this small girl tied to that tree?” It was obvious she lived there, much like a dog, in the backyard - filthy, helpless and alone.
“She is crazy,” the parents replied. “We can’t control her. She hurts herself and others and runs away if we turn her loose. There is nothing else we can do for her, so we just have to tie her up.”
My heart broke as the member shared what he had seen. It was on my mind as we began the service. A few minutes into my message, standing on a folding table under the stars, Holy Spirit spoke to me:
“Tell them you are going to pray for the little insane girl across the village tied to the tree. Tell them you are going to do it in the name of Jesus, the One you’ve been preaching about. Tell them that through Him you are going to break the evil powers controlling her - then, when she is free and normal, they can know what you are saying is true - the Jesus you are preaching about is who you say He is.”
Faith began to rise.
I began informing the people about what I was planning to do. They nodded in recognition as I mentioned the girl. Expressions of intrigue turned to astonishment as they listened to my plans.
Then I prayed in Christ’s name, breaking the demonic powers controlling her. (I realize all mental disorders are not caused by demonic control. This one, however, was.) Jesus set the little girl free. The village turned to Christ.
On a moonlit night in a tiny, remote village of Guatemala with a handful of people as my audience, my life changed forever.
Jesus came out of hiding. He became alive: relevant...sufficient...available! A “hidden” Jesus emerged from the cobwebs of theology. A yesterday Jesus became a today-and-forever Jesus. A Galilee Jesus became a Guatemala Jesus.
No amount of medical attention could have helped this young child. Only spiritual authority could free her. The following situation required the same spiritual solution:
Several years ago in Guatemala, a mentor of mine, Hap Brooks, pointed out a vibrant, healthy young woman and told me the following story. When he first saw her just a few months prior to this time, she was paralyzed from the neck down. She could move her head slightly, but could not speak. “The young lady has been this way for two years,” Hap was informed by her pastor. “And the puzzling thing is that the doctors can find nothing physically wrong with her to create such a problem.”
Hap, who was visiting the church as a guest speaker, discerned that the cause was demonic. Not knowing the church’s position about such matters, he discreetly approached this wheelchair-bound young lady during the worship, knelt next to her and whispered in her ear, “satan, I break your hold over this girl. Let her go.”
No manifestation or immediate change occurred. A week later, however, she was able to move her arms a little. The following week she was moving her arms normally and her legs slightly. The recovery continued and a month later she was totally free and well!
She then told my friend the following details about the cause of her condition and why the doctors could find no reasonable explanation. “A teacher in my school, who was also a witch doctor, made a sexual advance toward me, which I refused. He grew angry and told me that if I didn’t sleep with him, he would place a curse on me.”
She knew nothing about such things and didn’t think much about it. A short time later, however, this condition of paralysis came upon her. Her inability to speak prevented her from communicating with anyone about what had taken place.
Obviously, not all sickness and disease is caused directly by demonic spirits. Some are, however. And whether we’re dealing with infirmity, strife in a home, addictions, or strongholds over a nation, the root cause must be discerned. Often, the cause will have spiritual elements - sin, unforgiveness, demons, etc. When this is the case, only a release of spiritual authority will bring freedom.
Pray with me:
Father, there are many hurting people who need the authority of Christ applied to their situation. We do not want to over-simplify or trivialize complex physical problems, addictions or emotional issues; at the same time, however, we don’t want to experience failure and loss by trying to deal with spiritual problems through physical solutions. We are asking you for greater discernment in this regard.
You told us to walk in the spirit, to be led by the Spirit. You gave us Holy Spirit to help us, to guide us and to be our Teacher. We ask for an awakening to this incredible gift - Your very Spirit abiding in us. Teach us to listen, train us in how to flow with Him, and take Your church to another level of functioning with Holy Spirit’s anointing and authority. Make us more spiritually aware!
And now, Father, bring an outpouring of your Spirit that will result in great deliverances, healings, and freedom from oppression and bondage. Our society has given itself to incredible demonic control. Let a very strong spirit of faith arise in Your people to begin freeing those bound by this spiritual control. We ask this in Christ's name! Amen.
We declare that Jesus came to set the captives free and we will become His instrument to effectuate this breakthrough. Freedom, come!
Click below to watch the prayer.