Friday, November 22, 2013

FACING PERSECUTION

Kriston Couchey

“Are you able to take of the cup which I am about to take?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “Truly, you will take of my cup…” 

THE KINGDOM BY FORCE

I am convinced that we have crossed a threshold into the age where the kingdom of God is being fully established on earth even as it is in heaven. The Spirit of God has been speaking that in this particular time we must be prepared to face persecution beyond what we in the western world have known before. This persecution is not increasing because the enemy is getting stronger, but because the Kingdom of God is coming forth more forcefully.

The advancement and establishing of the Kingdom of God poses a threat to the systems and seats of power from which principalities exert their will in the lives of men and women. The proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom judges the enemy and his works; dismantling strongholds and dethroning spiritual forces. When the powerbases of these demonic forces become threatened, the enemy uses these systems and seats of power he controls to bring suffering and persecution in an attempt to stop the threat. It is a spiritual battle we are engaging in. Because of this, all of God’s children are and will be affected by persecution to some degree.

We see this dynamic throughout scripture, and clearly in the life of Jesus. His preaching and demonstrating the kingdom threatened the system of power in Israel and led to his death on a cross. I have experienced this in the church, and know what it is like to be persecuted by brothers and sisters in the Lord.

PERSECUTION BY BROTHERS
Years ago as worship leader in an institutional church, I was given a specific word to share with the congregation that greatly upset an individual who wielded an inordinate amount of power over church decisions. I was pressured by this women and her husband to recant, but the Spirit of God would not allow me to recant. It was then I had a night vision in which the Spirit of God revealed to me a spirit of antichrist controlling the church that He was having me confront. Because I was threatening its power base through the prophetic word it was attacking me through the woman and her husband.

Things began to get tumultuous as my refusal to recant upset them so much they used their influence over the elders to force me give answer to the elder board. Before I was to meet with the elders the Spirit of God spoke to me and said, “Son, I want you address the elders with the truth that this couple is controlling and usurping the spiritual authority in this church.” I followed Father’s instructions and shared this with the elders. I was immediately dismissed as the worship leader and over the next months there was a power struggle on the board. One day at work in the midst of this turmoil I was feeling down about everything and suddenly I was filled with joy; joy so great I wanted to literally jump for joy. Shocked at this I asked Father what was happening. Immediately this verse came to my mind:

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

I continued to worship with saints of this congregation while great changes took place as to how spiritual authority was exercised in the church. As a result of the changes I was eventually restored as worship leader. The pastor later confessed to me after all the trouble, “You were right Kris.”

YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

It is the testimony of Jesus and the apostles that doing the will of God and following Him comes with persecution. I testify to you that God is speaking to His people right now that we must be prepared to face persecution of every kind in the coming days. For many today, the persecution they face is people simply opposing and reviling their doctrines and practices. The enemy tries to take us captive by causing us to take offense by this opposition. We are called to respond in love to the persecutors, but remain resolved concerning the truth.

It is important to know that we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but principalities and the powers they wield. These are powers that men and women look to for safety and security apart from Christ and His kingdom. The Spirit has shown me that the powerbases by which principalities rule over and take men captive fall into any of four categories as follows:

POLITICAL POWER – Power that influences the formation and administration of institutions by various interest groups and their agendas. This is achieved through legitimate or illegitimate authority and leadership within the institution.

RELIGIOUS POWER
– Theologies, practices, regulations, ideologies, doctrines or worldviews that unite, motivate, and empower people.

ECONOMIC POWER - Money and/or its representative physical resources or possessions and the power and influence it wields.

MILITARY POWER (WORKS OF THE FLESH) – Exerting influence over others through intimidation, dominance, control, coercion, and extortion, military might, threats, and bullying, etc.

I have found that many of the messages I am given for the body of Christ confront or expose principalities and the powers they use to oppress and keep people captive. I have also seen that these threatened bases of power can be the very means by which persecution comes.

It is important to see beyond the people who are being used as pawns and recognize the authority we have been given to overcome all the power of the enemy. The enemy can only wield power, but the sons of the kingdom walk in authority. Christ in me is greater than any offense or attack the enemy may bring against me.

Jesus is our greatest example of the uncompromising determination to do God’s will in the face of the persecution of the devil. He is also an example of our attitude toward those who are used to persecute. But more than that, we are one with Him and have all we need is inside of us to face and overcome it with joy.

Jesus said of the people used to kill Him, “Father forgive them for the do not know that they are doing”. Then He went on to defeat the evil one by this same instrument used to kill Him. It was love that ultimately won the day and it is love that causes us to execute the victory Christ has won over all the power of the enemy and set captives free.

In His Love
Kriston Couchey

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