What You Don't Confront Won't Change
The past week of meetings has been remarkable! It started Thursday night in Milan, Italy. Leaders and young people had traveled from across the country to attend a conference. There was a strong authority to minister, and pastors reported their lives and ministries would never be the same. The hunger of the people was staggering. I was refreshed by their passion.
On Saturday morning I traveled to Bratislava, Slovakia. The environment was completely different than in Italy, but what happened in those meetings sets up the truth I want to share with you today.
The first meeting of this conference was held on Saturday afternoon in the National Tennis Center. Tennis is popular in this part of the world, so the complex was large and beautiful.
Although the people were hungry for God and had traveled long distances to be in the services—coming from all over Slovakia, as well as bordering nations such as Serbia, Croatia, Austria, Bosnia, and the Czech Republic—they were sullen and heavy. The atmosphere was oppressive.
Suddenly, a strong prophetic anointing arose to confront the heaviness in the room. The following is what God laid on my heart that day.
Often the dark spirits ruling a region will shape culture. What’s been formed in the spiritual atmosphere can easily dominate even the lives of believers. In this case, longtime Communist rule and resulting economic hardships have left a lingering oppression in Eastern Europe. But the church is to be heaven on earth. As Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 KJV).
Even if society is oppressed, churches should be electric and alive. The same is true for our homes and personal lives. In fact, the climate in a church service often represents what prevails in the lives of those in attendance.
The kingdom of God is within us (see Luke 17:21), and it’s definitely not heavy in heaven! Therefore we have the authority to change atmospheres. But if we tolerate oppression, we will be held by it.
God’s Word states:
“In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression…” (Isaiah 54:14 NKJV, emphasis added)
Oppression should be so far from our lives, families, and services that you can’t detect it!
So how do we alter our reality to align with God’s Word? To oppose oppression, we do what we don’t feel like doing: praise! God declares He gives us “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3 NKJV).
We open the door to oppression when our focus is on our problems. Praise gets the focus off us and onto God’s greatness. It opens the door to His presence and gives us the strength to war off heaviness.
Years ago Lisa and I were going through difficult times. The atmosphere of our home was getting heavy. One day, while alone at the house, I’d had it. I put on some praise music and started singing and dancing. It felt like moving through liquid lead, but I continued.
When the song set ended, I heard, “Play it again.” I started the music over, but this time I turned the volume up so loud it shook the walls. Again, I danced. Within moments I got a glimpse in my heart of Jesus on His throne.
Suddenly I had exuberant joy and energy surging through me. I started running through the house, jumping and shouting. It took no effort for me to do this—even though just minutes before it had taken all my effort to dance, and it was pathetic.
When Lisa came home, she remarked, “Something has changed in here. It seems lighter. There’s joy in the atmosphere.” I told her what I had done, and we were much more productive in the days that followed.
After sharing this in Bratislava, I gave a call to submit to the lordship of Jesus—rather than to our feelings and concerns. About eight hundred people responded. It was glorious! The rest of the meetings were light, joyful, and fruitful. It was an amazing turnaround.
Now I invite you to do the same. Friends, our lives, homes, and churches should reflect the atmosphere of heaven. If they don’t, we can confront the heaviness. We can change the environment through praise and strong prayer. What we don’t confront will not change, so I urge you—make a decision to start today!
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