The Fourth Stream: Spiritual Warfare

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV

“This, the fourth stream, may be the most neglected of all. And frankly, it may be the most critical. To live in ignorance of spiritual warfare is the most naive and dangerous thing a person can do. (Eldredge, waking the dead)

“Every story has a villain because yours does. You were born into a world at war. When Satan lost the battle against Michael and his angels, “he was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Rev. 12:9). That means that right now, on this earth, there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of fallen angels, foul spirits, bent on our destruction.” (Eldredge, waking the dead)

“The bottom line is, you are going to have to fight for your heart. Remember John 10:10—the thief is trying to steal the life God wants to give.”

For some reason, not surprisingly, this topic has been hard for me to organize my thoughts around. I shouldn’t be surprised. Over the years, when I have spent time with men, discipling them, this topic of spiritual warfare comes up, and for most, its completely foreign to them.

There is this movie clip from the retreats we have held, and it shows this intense scene. The scene isn’t set up, and as you watch, you are wondering, what is going on here? So, in the scene, this guy has his head in his fridge, it looks hot in his house. All the while, this other guy is decked out in military garb, and is closing in on him with a gun drawn. It’s a weird clip and comes out of no where, and then the speaker says, “Sometimes we live our lives like we showed up to a movie 25 minutes late, and we have no idea what’s going on around us!”

What a profound statement. And so true for many of us.

Why do we live our lives so unoriented to the battle waging around us? I think it could be because, much like the topic of the heart, I just don’t hear the topic of battle and spiritual warfare preached on much from the pulpit. Or let alone, hear messages on the best ways to train against the warfare or the glory of our lives and hearts.

Which we can conclude means, it must be pretty important.

With that said, what do I believe about the battle waging for our hearts? I believe it’s real. How else do you explain how hard life can be sometimes. Some days my life seems so easy. I’m full of life and engaged and firing on all cylinders. While other days, I’m a mess. I’m worried about what others think about me, or I’m stuck seeking validation from the wrong people and I forget it’s God who is the one I’m to get my validation from.

For me, the warfare starts if I’m not intentionally living my life in and through the Holy Spirit, or if I’m not abiding in the vine. John 15. Or, if I’m not living my life from and through these four streams flowing from Eden.

So, fighting for your heart or for the life that God wants to give us, What does this mean? For me it’s believing that I have what it takes deep down in my soul, and allowing God to fill me with His love and forgiveness every day of my life, so I can live in the story God had in mind for me, and I can play the role he designed me to play while on earth.

Let’s be honest. We all blow it sometimes and the result is we feel condemned or not worthy of forgiveness.

Remember the first verse in Romans 8 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation, for those who believe.” Which means we are forgiven. Christ’s finished work on the cross paid the penalty of my sin. It’s done.

However, in the moment, when we blow it, no matter how big or small the sin, there is this overwhelming sense of doom, or unworthiness that creeps in. And we begin to believe or sense, there is no way I can be who God wants me to be. We begin to lose heart.

That nagging habitual sin we struggle with, or bad attitude at work, or the occasional pessimistic attitude we carry. All these heart issues weigh our hearts down, and if we don’t consistently take our heart aches and struggles to Jesus, they fester and sometimes grow and we turn into Scrooge before he was visited by the three ghosts of Christmas! Humbug!

I have this image of how I want to live my life. You remember the movie “A Christmas Carol” and Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning realizing it’s not too late! He’s as giddy as a school boy! He is fired up that his fate is not going to be realized! He has a second chance!

I love that! The three ghosts helped change Scrooges’ perspective on life. And they helped him learn how to fight for his heart and for the life that he was really meant to live!

Scrooge’s heart was hardened by all the brutal things that life dealt him. When all he had to do was surrender his life to Christ and change his outlook on life.

He fought! And I hope you will too.

So, if for some reason while reading my blogs you decide to study “the heart,” you will discover, that God had something in mind as He created you. A life meant just for you. A story for you to live in. And a role for you to play. It’s why “desire” wells up in your heart as you awaken to the things of God and wade into the four streams. Some might call this “a calling” on your life that encompasses this story.

And as we walk with God, and become more oriented, more of what God had planned for us is unveiled. The eyes of our heart begin to open! However, the enemy wants nothing more than to see us get off that beaten path God paved for us. He wants us wallowing in our sin, dead to this life that is really life.

So, we are going to have to fight for it.

And this, this is the stream of warfare. Fighting for that story, and living in that story that God wants for us. You will need your heart strengthened in Christ to wage this war.

So take your sword, the Bible, and fight on, as God strengthens your heart!