I recall a dream from December 2001 where Pastor Cameron Walcott and I were ministering at a 2-day seminar in a remote district in Orissa, India. Here’s the dream: I was in a large area of ground which I perceived to be the district of Phulbani where we were conducting the seminar. We were free to minister the Gospel provided we stayed within the boundaries of the district. In approaching the outer edge of the district, everything changed. There were very large dark principalities that descended to intimidate and challenge our going further. In the dream, I retreated and as I did, they again ascended and allowed us to carry on in ministry as before. What’s the message?
There’s a developing “comfort-zone” mentality gripping the modern-day Church. It can be characterised by fruitful ministry which may in fact prove to be a hindrance in going forward. There’s the additional danger of a status quo mindset that helps ensure the Church stays boxed within limited parameters.
Are you familiar with the account of the Shulamite woman and the king in Song of Songs? It reflects a progressive love relationship between them which serves as a picture of the Bridegroom (Christ) and the Bride (Church). There’s a defining moment in this relationship which has meaning for us. Here’s the key verse:
SOS 5:6 “I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.”
Up to this point the king would visit within the comfortable boundaries of the Shulamite. This was her comfort zone; it was a place of intimacy and developing love. Now she’s faced with a crisis as to what to do. Does she stay within the confines of her home in hope of maintaining the relationship as before or does she step out into the unknown to seek after the one she loves? Breaking this barrier is not easy due to the changes and adjustments this would entail. The Shulamite did not hesitate; she broke through the barrier of her comfort zone and sought after her king. She saw him as worthy of whatever risk might come her way. This woman is a picture of the 6th kingdom parable of the man who sought after the Pearl of Great Price (Matt 13:45-46). What about us?
A contented status quo level of Christianity will not produce overcomers. If the day-to-day issues of life prove overwhelming, how then will we be able to stand against the giants when called to battle (Jer 12:5)? One of the primary keys to being an overcomer is the reading and meditating over God’s Word (Rev 12:11). What distinguished Caleb and Joshua from the others when all of Israel heard the instruction from God to press into their inheritance? It was the aligning of their confession with what God was speaking (Num 13:30). They heard, confessed and responded to what God was saying. This is one of the reasons why Cornerstone puts such a high premium on the reading of God’s Word.
The Book of Revelation features seven different churches that are presented with both warnings and precious promises. The spoken promises are given to those who overcome as they hear and respond to what the Spirit of God is saying (Rev 2, 3). Make no mistake; the Spirit of God has been speaking to us. Is it any wonder that there have been many challenges via the enemy as the church presses towards new boundaries in the Spirit?
The giants can be likened to those descending principalities referred to in the above dream. Now is not the time for retreating into our comfortable sphere of functioning. We can only move forward as the Spirit of God prompts and provokes us onward. This is achieved in the reading and hearing of the Word of God. Are we hearing what the Spirit of God is saying? Let the following Charismatic chorus serve as an anthem in this defining moment of overcoming.
“We are able to go up and take the mountain, to possess the land from Jordan to the sea; though the giants may be there our way to hinder, God will surely give the victory!”