Follow Us

Stop praying against the enemy

This morning I fly to Colorado – it seems I’m always leaving somewhere. And in a way, that’s not bad. In an earlier blog I wrote about God taking us out to bring us in.  God took Karen and I and our kids out of Florida to bring us to Georgia. If we stayed in Florida, God couldn’t do in us …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
This morning I fly to Colorado – it seems I’m always leaving somewhere. And in a way, that’s not bad. In an earlier blog I wrote about God taking us out to bring us in.  God took Karen and I and our kids out of Florida to bring us to Georgia. If we stayed in Florida, God couldn’t do in us and through us what he wanted to do. He said leave and we did. It was difficult, as leaving usually is. But along the way we understood where the hard stuff came from – it came from God, not the devil.
Pharaoh didn’t send the Israelites out into the desert, God did.  The devil didn’t flood the earth and wipe out Noah’s community and friends, God did.  And David wasn’t out of God’s will when he was fleeing Saul.  The point is, God uses pain to get our attention, discipline us, and deliver us.

At times in the past I’ve struggled against a difficult boss who I was sure was the tool of the enemy; and in doing so, I missed God’s point, sometimes for years at a time. 
Is there a point of pain in your life? Is there a person who rubs you the wrong way? Is there an impossible situation? My advice is: Stop praying against the enemy. It’s probably not the enemy; it’s God. Pain is his tool for leading us out so that he can later lead us in. It’s often our equipping for future ministry.  If we didn’t feel pain we would stay in our current comfort zone.

You may ask, “But why do we have go out? Why go through the pain of leaving?  Isn’t there an easier way?” 
Here are three reasons why God sends us out before he takes us in.

Why we have to go out:
1. Principle of entropy: Things fall apart, so you have to move on.  You can’t stay in a place of entropy. When things are deteriorating and on their way to death, you have to leave or die with them.
2. Principle of dependence: Leaving destabilizes us and places us in a posture of dependence. We depend on God much more when we’ve been sent out (for more on why that’s good, go here and here).
3. Principle of new paradigms: To grow, we have to abandon the old mindsets and need to stand outside our current reality to do so. Often that requires stepping outside of our sense of normal by physically leaving a place.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It’s not in his goals, but in his transitions that man is great.”  We need the transition of leaving to go to the next level.

So when you’re being led out into a new place, realize it is not a trick of Satan; it is God who leads you out.  If you lost your job or are having to move to a new place, stop cursing the enemy.  Recognize that this transition of yours is a precursor to a promotion and a paradigm shift.  You can’t lead others to a new place until you’ve been there first.  You have to experience birthing to be a midwife. You have to live the incarnation to see Jesus in others.

Leaving is a necessary part of life.  To grow you have to change, you have to leave and it helps if you recognize who is sending you.

Comments (10)

  • Very eye-opening, Seth. I have been obviously mistaken in thinking that all ‘bumps in the road’ are Satan trying to keep me off-course. When all-along, it may have been God showing me a different path. Thanks for te insight.

  • Great point, Seth. Looking back across my life, I can see so very many instances of this – places where He led me out under great duress. In every instance, I can clearly see why He did so, and what I’d have been mired in, had I stayed. The place of dependence is so good that it’s sort of wrecked me for the things that make most people feel content/secure/fulfilled.

    And praising God as a default position…how can that ever be wrong? Right?

    Thanks for starting my day right.

  • I think the devil gets a lot of blame for stuff he never did! In my experience, nine times out of ten it is God that you are unwittingly fighting when you resist what’s happening in your life. In our instant age, we always want to stop pain because we think it is unnatural, we want to get ourselves and other people out of pain as fast as we can. But God isn’t a “just add hot water and stir” kind of God. He knows we need time and He uses it, sometimes at great length. Rescuing people too soon or allowing ourselves to be rescued is not often a good plan. Pain hurts but without it you don’t really grow. I hate that, but it would seem to be true.

    I suppose the trick is to keep running back to God, asking Him to soften your heart and teach you whatever it is He is wanting you to learn in the middle of it all. I used to think that would make it all feel a lot better if I did, but it doesn’t! I don’t know why He chooses the routes He does sometimes, but I know retrospect will enlighten me. In the meantime, I scream a lot!!!

  • Thank you Seth for helping me look at things in a different light. Thanks for sharing yesterday too. Your posts always bless me.

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    Such a timely word of encouragement for us! Debbie & I have just resigned from our teaching positions at a local Christian school. My own resignation was very abrupt and hurt many people. Debbie just resigned, but it took six weeks for her to realize we must leave. There are many angry people at us – all around. Debbie and i are “Die-Hards” we just have extreme difficulty giving up. So, it takes the Lord something big to get us on the move. I think it partially is our Roman Catholic background of serving; anyways…we are now looking to get to the “Promised Land” trying not to freak out about the possibility of the wilderness. However, he gives streams in the desert and a way in the wilderness, because we hold to his hand.

  • Dear Dadi Seth,
    Thanks for your wonderful teaching and sharing with us.I always learn new things from your mails.
    God bless You.
    Emmanuel Sadiq

  • Thank you for reminding me to stop giving the enemy credit where credit is not due! God is the Author of all…
    “The word of the Lord holds true, and everything he does is worthy of our trust…the Lord shatters the plans of the nations and thwarts all of their schemes. But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.” (from Psalm 33)
    That’s the God we serve!! Hallelujah!!

  • This is a very powerful message, Seth. There is no faking in life. Taking on new, positive challenges is so important. It is the best way to grow. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | RSS Feed | Sitemap