We see angels of light presenting themselves as the servants of the Lord when they are, in fact, messengers of satan. We see many false visions, many false words, many false teachers and teachings. Alas! What can we do about it all?
From our point of view, these things seem like huge issues. It takes a considerable amount of effort to stand against these things. At times it seems we are sinking under the weight of so many burdens and things coming against us. We wonder if perhaps we will be completely swallowed up and overwhelmed by it all. When we look at the facts of the situation it does appear that we are hopelessly outnumbered and surrounded.
How Shall We Overcome?
There is a secret to overcoming, and the secret is seeing. If we can only see, then we will overcome. Living follows seeing. We cannot live as overcomers until we see it. But once we see it, living it becomes natural. Doing follows being.
The problem is not “out there”. The issue is not the great host which has surrounded us. We would like to make that the issue, but the size of the army is irrelevant. I do not have to know what the enemy is doing in your life, because it does not matter. I only have to know what you see. When you look out from where you are, what do you see? If you see correctly, then nothing can defeat you. If you do not see correctly, the tiniest thing will quickly subdue you. The difference between victory and defeat is not in what the devil is doing or the direction this world is going, but in what we see when we look.
Most people look out and see themselves surrounded by an enemy. That is why they live their lives in desperation and fear of what may happen next. They see the devil everywhere they look. They are full of stories about what the devil is doing to them (or what he might be doing). But the overcomers look around them and see something different. They do not see as other people see. That is why they overcome.
To be an overcomer does not mean that we deny the existence of the enemy. We are not going to overcome by pretending we are not really surrounded. Denying the existence of the adversary will not make him disappear. We acknowledge and admit that there is a real enemy, a real spirit of Antichrist, that is out to destroy the Remnant and hinder the Testimony of Jesus. We also acknowledge and admit that more often than not, this spirit of Antichrist seems to get the advantage over us.
Even so, the issue is not the enemy. We may look at the enemy, study him, and build an entire movement around different ways to fight him. We can write books and hold seminars on “spiritual warfare”. But when we look out from the mountain, what do we really see? Here is the difference between those who overcome and those who are defeated: it is not in their ability to fight, but in their ability to SEE, and this seeing is not of themselves, but is of God.
Overcomers Have Had Their Eyes Opened
Now Elisha’s servant looks out, sees a great host about to attack them, and cries out, “Alas! How shall we do?” Elisha looks out, sees a great host about to attack them, and says, “Fear not.” What a study of contrasts. Everywhere it seems people are crying, “Alas, alas, what shall we do, where shall we go, what’s to become of us”, etc. etc. Where are the ones who can say, “Fear not”?
I hope you will understand that the problem OUT THERE did not change. Both men faced the same army, both men faced the same circumstance, but one man said, “Alas!” and one man said, “Fear not.”
How is it that two people, looking at the exact same situation, can reach two completely different conclusions? The difference is in what they saw when they looked.
Some people become upset with me because they think I make it sound so “easy”. “But you don’t understand what I’m going through…” Brothers and sisters, maybe no one can understand what you are going through, and you may never understand what I am going through, but that does not matter. What matters is whether or not our eyes are opened. We should not spend time studying the problem when the Solution is right in front of us.
I can offer you nothing more than what Elisha offered, and that is, clarity of vision. “Lord, open his eyes that he may see.” Now the difference is just here: some people have had their eyes opened to see, and some people have not. It is quite easy to tell the difference. The first group is saying, “Alas!” while the second group is saying, “Fear not.” Now that is not a condemnation or a criticism, just a statement of fact. All of us are blind until someone prays, “Lord, open their eyes”. One day we will ALL see, and we look forward to that day when everything is made clear.
What must we do? How long does it take? It is not a question of spiritual growth, maturity, wisdom, or gifting. Elisha’s servant did not gradually begin to see more clearly. He did not study the situation for many months and finally hit upon the truth. No, one moment his eyes were closed, and the next moment they were opened. Either your eyes have been opened or they have not. If they are open then you can pray for the Lord to open the eyes of others. If they are closed, you can pray to have your own eyes opened.
People sometimes ask me what they have to do to obtain this great revelation of Christ. They think it is God’s way of rewarding us for a lot of hard work. Nothing could be further from the truth. To have one’s eyes opened is simply an act of grace, and God alone can do it, and will do it, if we will only ask Him. At the risk of making it sound “too easy”, I dare not make it any more difficult than that!
When the servant’s eyes were opened, he saw what Elisha saw. When Elisha said, “The ones with us are greater than the ones with them” it must have sounded like lunacy. It cannot be understood with words alone: the eyes must be opened. If words were enough then Elisha would not have prayed for the eyes to be opened. We should spend less time trying to understand “words” and more time praying for God to open our eyes. When our eyes are opened, then the words will make sense. Until then, words are like hieroglyphics – we know there is something significant there, but we cannot understand what it means.
Thirty seconds of seeing is worth thirty years of studying and listening to teachers. Five words of revelation are worth more than ten thousand words gathered from flesh-and-blood.
Someone asked me if I know “everything”. The answer is no, but I have seen enough to know what I am talking about. Testimony follows revelation, and the testimony consists of what we have seen and heard, not what we “think” we know, but what we KNOW we know.
It is the illumination of the heart that brings forth the knowing. It’s when we finally “get it” and we can say, “Oh, NOW I see it!” We do not mean, of course, that we actually had a vision, but we mean that what was previously hidden from us has now been made known to us. This is not reserved for apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The Holy Spirit leads every disciple into “all truth” (John 16:13,14).
Elisha did not argue with his servant, or try to convince him at all. He just prayed for God to open his eyes. What a relief it is to know that it is not my duty to “defend the faith” or convince everyone of what I know to be true. I can just pray for their eyes to be opened, and God will reveal. It is so much better that way!
The Weapons of Our Warfare
I want us to see that in this particular instance Elisha did not pray for protection. He did not pray for victory. He did not ask God to supply him with an arsenal of weapons. Why not? Because he saw that he was already surrounded by the chariots of fire and the hosts of heaven. When the victory is ours already we do not have to pray for victory. That would be like trying to enter into a room in which we are already sitting. No, if victory is mine then all I need is to have my eyes opened to it. If I have already OBTAINED it, I do not have to ATTAIN it.
How would our lives and our individual testimonies be different if we really saw into the heavenlies? Do you think it would change our words? Do you think it would change our actions? Do you think it would change our thoughts? Do you think it would have an effect on our surroundings?
Do you see yourself seated with Christ in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6)? Paul saw it, and prayed the Ephesians would see it. When the Lord showed me that I was raised together with Christ and was made to sit (past tense) in the heavenly places with Christ, do you think it changed the way I saw the world? Absolutely! No more was I looking at things from “ground level”, but from the heavenly realm. Things look decidedly different when viewed from above.
Elijah saw differently, and so he thought, spoke, and behaved differently. So often we try to adopt a certain way of thinking, speaking, and acting in hopes of becoming victorious. If this is your intention then you are already defeated. If victory lies in something you must do then you will never be able to do enough. “Acting spiritual” does not produce victory, for victory is not what I do or do not do: Victory is Christ.
“Greater Is He That is Within You”
We who are the Lord’s Body are told, “Greater is He that is within you, than he that is in the world.” This is practically the same thing Elisha said to his servant: “The ones that be with us are greater than the ones that be with them.”
The situation is the same. The apostle John says a great deal about Antichrist, false doctrines, and false teachers. He sees the Church is surrounded by a great host of wolves who want to gain access to the flock and tear them to pieces. But he also sees what Elisha sees, that is, the One within us is greater than the one in the world.
John declares that no matter what comes against us, the One within us is Greater. It does not matter what you feel like, what you see, what you hear, what people say, or what the devil does. It does not matter if Lazarus is dead for four days and is beginning to stink. It does not matter if the girl dies before Jesus can get there. It does not matter if the waves are about to capsize the boat. It does not matter if Paul is stoned and left for dead. Lazarus will be raised, the girl will be brought back to life, and the storm will be silenced, and Paul will preach again.
The Greater is always Greater, and the Lesser is always Lesser. We only have a problem when see everything else as “greater” and see Christ as “lesser”. Remember, the difference between “Alas!” and “Fear not!” is in having our eyes opened. When you look, what do you see? May the Lord open our eyes to see Him as He is!