Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Strongholds in the Church: Prayerlessness, Greed

The Holy Spirit must lay bare the strongholds in our churches. There are false ideas, false thought patterns, habitual sin patterns, deception or other things behind the corporate sins we see in the Body of believers (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). We are not talking about personality flaws or differences of opinion. We are talking about destructive forces that seek to derail a church’s mission and direction. 

We sometimes pray for those who experience bombings or other physical attacks of persecution on local churches in other places, but lust for power, control and manipulation, jealousy, and legalism from within has done more damage using “Jesus’ Name” than any bombing of a church.

When God reveals strongholds in our church, what do we do? We follow the pattern of Ezra 9, Nehemiah 9, and Daniel 9. We publicly identify with and confess the corporate sins. When Daniel, Nehemiah, and Ezra offered humility, brokenness, and repentance, God affirmed His mercy and love. 

God hasn’t changed. Repentance is a key to spiritual warfare.

1. Prayerlessness. The depth and intensity of our corporate prayer life as a church is the measure of how dependent we are on God. A proud, independent, self-sufficient spirit in a church is the root of prayerlessness (1 Samuel 12:23). 

When we are talented, capable, smart, well-staffed, well-funded, and organized, we usually operate in the power of what we can do – that is called the FLESH – we don’t need God. We don't know how bad off we really are (Revelation 3:17).Listen to what a church prays about or doesn’t pray about tougher to see what it thinks is really important. Prayerlessness equals powerlessness (Ezekiel 22:30; 13:5).

 2. Greed. Call it what you want: ambition to succeed, desire for a position, materialism, love of money, Mammon, or greed. God calls it idolatry when His church bows to these gods of the world (Colossians 3:5-6). Symptoms of greed are jealousy, envy, selfishness, competition, and territorial protection (James 3:14-16).