As Christians one of the great revelations that we are faced with is that there is more to this universe than we can see with our natural eyes. Beyond the veil of our physical universe lurks another parallel world, one which is able to interact and influence the world we see around us. It is here in this invisible and supernatural realm that forces of God and the forces of the Devil contend for control of the realm of mankind. With all of this spiritual activity going on around us the natural question is then, how can Christians participate in this unseen world?
Before we can talk about how to participate in this struggle we must look at why we can be an influence in this trans-dimensional battle.
Jesus The Invader From Another Universe (Presented In Technicolor)
In the gospels, we see numerous examples of Jesus using His divine authority to cast out demons and bring about physical healings for the people. Jesus was operating in a power and influence which reached beyond the world around Him. Jesus (through the power of the Holy Spirit) was able to bring about the reality of the supernatural realm into the natural and override the problems He was witnessing among the people.
Jesus often spoke about another world, being born of the spirit (John 3:5-8), a place called Heaven, and about beings from another realm called angels and demons. Jesus in John 8:23 spoke about how He came from above and wasn’t of this world as opposed to those confronting Him who were from “beneath” (or below in other translations). Jesus demonstrated a clear divide between the world He was physically walking around in and the world that He originated from.
One world was broken, rebellious, decaying and consumed with the failings of humans, while the other realm was one of power, peace, holiness and is overwhelmed by the glory of God. It is no wonder that wherever Jesus went the world and people around Him were changed for the better. Thieving tax collectors became disciples, the sick were made well, the lost had found a loving shepherd, and those seeking God came face to face with Him.
Universes Collide (In 3-D)
It is one thing for Jesus to move in this power and to have an awareness of a realm beyond what the people could see, that is easy to believe. What becomes difficult to accept or comprehend came about during the middle of Jesus’ ministry. In an unexpected step Jesus took the power and authority He had as the Son of God and extended that same authority to the twelve disciples in Matthew 10:1. From then on we hear of the disciples going out and moving in the same power demonstrated by Jesus as they preached about Him (Luke 9:6). Now because of what Jesus did (even before the cross) those who followed Him in this world were able to do the same things Jesus did.
Not only did Jesus transfer that authority to the twelve but He also extended it to seventy other followers as well in Luke 10:17-19. It is these extensions of authority that give Christians today the right to engage with spiritual forces in the same manner and to the same degree that is recorded in the Gospels and in the book of Acts. Not only were a select few permitted to replicate this authority but all who believe in Christ. We see this in John 14:12-14 and in the account of someone outside of Jesus’ followers casting out demons in His name (Luke 9:49-50). It is through our Christ given authority and our relationship with Him which gives us the right to engage in the same acts of power and demonstrations of the Kingdom that Jesus operated in.
In A World Under Siege Only One Thing Can Save It: Prayer
Once we understand the authority we have in terms of the unseen realm we must now look at our primary weapon, prayer. Not only is prayer our primary weapon it is also the lynch-pin in our living relationship with God. Our prayers can be compared to artillery shells begin fired off in the field of battle, they are launched from a great distance and can cause a great deal of destruction. However, we cannot just blindly fire off these artillery rounds of prayer without coordinates or a proper target, that is where our fellowship with God comes into play in our battle against unseen forces.
We now see that prayer is a mighty weapon and it is the vehicle through which we exercise our authority. To continue the metaphor the artillery gun is our authority the projectile is our prayer, the gun powder is our relationship with God and the explosion is the working of the Holy Spirit. Now that prayer has been identified as a powerful weapon our target must come into sight. It is not flesh but the spiritual forces which influence the natural world. Paul sums this up in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 as he speaks of the unseen battlefront moving against the Kingdom.
Understanding that our battle is against spiritual forces is only the first step in this conflict. We must develop our personal relationship with God, through that relationship we receive not just authority but the “coordinates” we need to effectively pray for God’s will to come into a situation. If at any point you think you’re unaware what God’s will is, you can always fall back on John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (NKJV)
Let’s All Go Through The Lobby To The Deadliest Battlefield In The Universe
The final key in our ability to have an influence on the unseen realm is in our lifestyle and day to day actions. The fiercest battlefront we each face is the one for our own minds. It is the battle within ourselves which will determine if we either engage in the global spiritual battle or if we will retreat and go AWOL from our spiritual responsibilities to pray the Kingdom of God into this world.
This is why Paul spoke so candidly about our lifestyles in Romans 12:1-3 and taught about us not being conformed to this world and resisting how our flesh wants us to operate. There is a reason why Paul began his discourse on the Christian Armor with the call to first stand. If we cannot rise up or are under the oppression of the enemy we will never be able to properly fight in the great spiritual battle. Most people don’t realize it but our actions matter, our sins or lack thereof matter, our everyday conduct matters, our thought life matters! It’s these everyday decisions that will attempt to either usher in the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of the enemy. If we are broken, in sin and without faith we will not be able to pray with power, or at times even at all.
Far too often we give unnecessary attention to Satan and his forces when what we are dealing with are heart and sin issues. Not every frustration, conflict, dark emotion or problem comes from demons or the like. It is concerning that we try to shift all of our responsibility to live according to Jesus’ teachings off of our shoulders and instead go off and chase the shadows of supposed demons because it is easier to blame them than it is to renew our minds and change ourselves.
I’m not discounting the harassing nature of demons or downplaying their desire to cripple and mute believers. Rather I am advocating that there are times when the only force that is working against us is really just ourselves, our desires, our stubbornness and our own wants.
This grand battle requires real work on our part, as we are to be both defensive and offensive against the enemy. James 4:7-8 makes this internal battle abundantly clear and highlights what is available for those who endure: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Once our hearts are right then our minds can become ready for the battle and then and only then can we engage in a prolonged effort to expand the Kingdom of God through prayer and actions.
Coming Soon To A Kingdom Near You
The initial question of how can a Christian participate in the unseen world should be answered with another question in light of what has been shown to be available to the believer. The question we should be asking ourselves now is, “how much will I participate in influencing the unseen universe?” Throughout this battle we must realize that Christians are already members of the victorious army of Christ, we must have a personal revelation that the war is won but the skirmishes continue. Satan and his minions still have power and an agenda to cause death and chaos but they are already defeated. They are a retreating army trying to set as many fires as they can while they run from their previously held territory.
We are to be aware of the spiritual universe and its impact on our own but we are not to fear it or what dwells within it. Now the words of Paul once again ring true from Philippians 2:9-11 because the name and authority of Jesus calls on all those not just on the earth but those above and below it to bow down before Him.
By the authority Christ has given us, through the power of prayer, combined with the ability to live holy lives we must no longer think of if we can, but yes we can. Yes, we can have relationship with the Father, yes we can live holy lives here on earth, yes we can heal the sick, and yes we can see the forces of evil defeated and chased away. We must see ourselves as children of two universes We were physically born into a natural universe of matter and decay, but we have also been adopted into a spiritual universe of power and unending life. It is our job now to pray for God’s will and His Kingdom to spread throughout our world so the physical realm looks more like the Heavenly universe each day.
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Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian Beliefs
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Praying Into Another Universe Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.