A dark night of the soul! That is an expression I am often hearing as I travel throughout the U.S. and abroad. Seemingly, many believers are going through a process that is difficult and painful. Nevertheless it is for a fruitful cause.
The following revelatory encounter that I had several years ago has helped me through this process. I believe it has specific application to leaders but also the body-at-large.
Many leaders have experienced some measure of success in ministry who have suddenly discovered themselves in the midst of “the dealings of God.” The good news is that the end result will be a much more intimate fellowship with the Lord and greater spiritual authority.
In the vision, the army of light was aligned in an open field standing in battle formation about to engage the army of darkness. Throughout the ranks, soldiers of light could be admired clothed in ancient battle armor each having a sword in his hand.
When the battle ensued it was intensely aggressive in what we perceived was the great “end-time battle”. With each blow of our swords we were seemingly driving the enemy back to what appeared to be a sure victory for us.
Although the fighting was forceful and even brutal, persistent progress was being made as we continued to press the enemy and steadily take ground. Because of our ability to push the enemy back, we perceived that we were winning the “end-time” confrontation and were suitably equipped for this great battle.
Withstood by The Holy Spirit
Suddenly, the Holy Spirit arrested us and would not allow us to advance any further. There was a feeling of shock and dismay as we were halted in our battle progress, not by the enemy, but by the Holy Spirit. As I was standing directly before our enemy only a few yards away, I was seemingly paralyzed and unable to advance. Confused and dismayed, I asked the Lord why He was withstanding us. With that question, the Lord caused the clouds above to part and our eyes were opened to the great and massive “guns” of the enemy that were hidden and leveled in our direction.
In reality, we were not driving the enemy back because of our great strength. Rather, we were allowed by the enemy to push them back as a deception to imply we were equipped for the battle. In the condition we remained on the battlefield, we possessed a measure of strength and virtue imparted to us through our walk with
the Lord, however, we did not embody the full dimension of His provision essential for this long foretold conflict.
One of the things most adamantly opposed by the enemy is the complete release of His Spirit upon the Church. Our adversary knows that when God’s people are anointed with the prophetic mandate to be clothed with the fullness His revelation and power, we will return to the Lord and He will heal us. That healing will not merely consist of physical and emotional restoration, but also fully mending the breach that has existed between God and man since the Garden of Eden.
Once accomplished, the reality of “CHRIST IN US-THE HOPE OF GLORY” becomes apparent and we walk in the prophetic destiny foretold in the Scriptures. That explains why there has been so much opposition to the emerging prophetic generation.
The enemy recognizes his only chance for victory is to entice us into battle prematurely. Once the bride of Christ obtains the revelation of the whole measure of Christ available and enters that place of habitation, the enemy will have no chance for victory.
In that place we can stand alone as a raid against all the forces of hell, not because of our own strength, but because we are drawing on the unseen resources of Heaven and His ultimate overcoming victory. It was the mercy and grace of God we were not allowed to advance any further. It would have been to our demise. The Father’s love is so great, He will not allow us to enter this conflict without first having the opportunity to be fully clothed with Christ and the armor of His provision. If we had advanced any further, the massive weapons of the enemy released for the great end-time battle would have easily destroyed us.
The Operating Room
With this discovery, we were transported to what symbolically appeared to be a Heavenly operating room and training facility. Uniquely, in this extraordinary room, I was both lying on the operating table and also standing behind the angels who surrounded the table. I watched as they prepared to do “surgery”.
There were perhaps six to eight angels standing approximately seven feet tall encircling the table. Each worker was intently focused on the task at hand. Namely, to perform the spiritual “surgery” essential for us to be prepared for our eminent battle. The attendants in the room immediately began to “strip” layer after layer of flesh, removing the issues of carnality and worldly conformity. I watched as my own identities, agendas, ambitions and desires were extracted and discarded. I was permitted to understand that there is no place for mixture in the coming battle. We cannot allow the leaven of our own thoughts and ideas to be injected into the purity of His truth. It must be untouched by the hands of man.
This process continued until I finally pulled myself over the shoulder of one of the angels and asked the question, “Where am I, for I no longer see myself?” A voice spoke, pointing to a small yet vibrant seed of life that remained on the table. All that was allowed to exist after their deliberate work was the impartation of life given to me from God.
This stripping process had in essence carried us back to the very origin of life, removing all fleshly attributes born in the Garden of Eden with the fall of man. This was done to enable us to “put on Christ” and become spiritually qualified to stand victorious in battle with the armies of darkness.
Flesh of His Flesh
The attendants began the assignment of putting us back together, now using divinely powerful attributes mighty in God and adequate for the awesome battle. The angels undertook the reconstruction procedure with the same vigor and determination as the stripping process. Except, now the materials were “bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.” Any other preparation, than the one here described, would result in certain defeat.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil —Ephesians 6:10-11
When the restoration process was complete, we were returned to the battlefield. Now, in lieu of having a sword in our hands, we WERE the sword or weapon in the Lord’s hand. Instead of having a “promise,” we BECAME the promise. The sword in Scripture is indicative of the Word of promise. Presently, we are attempting to battle the enemy with our promises. It is the Lord’s intent to MAKE us the promise. We are to become the Living Word.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts -Romans 13:14
Christ In Us
One of the greatest mysteries that will be fully realized is the wonder of – Christ in us, the hope of Glory. We recite the words but very few experientially discover the absolute and complete reality. However, the Scriptures have promised, an entire company of believers will soon emerge anointed with this certainty. They will walk in the fullness of truth with great power and authority and, more importantly, radiate the nature and character of Christ through His manifested Glory.
For many being enlisted in the Lord’s army, this transformation process is presently taking place. The new divinely powerful make-up represents the increased dimension of the Spirit of Revelation and Power enabling us to call upon Him that He would answer us and show us great and mighty things which we presently do not know. This will provide the Heavenly strategy and blueprint for ultimate victory.
There are a number of saints who are being given spiritual experiences featuring themselves stripped and re-clothed with brighter and more glorious garments as we enter this new day in the Spirit and progress from Glory to Glory.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit —2 Corinthians 3:18
The Audible Voice
An audible voice then spoke in the vision declaring, “the weapons set against you are much more powerful than you ever imagined! … The divinely powerful weapons provided for you are also far more powerful than you ever imagined.”
One of the foremost strategies of the enemy in this hour is to deceive the Church into thinking we are properly equipped for the coming battle. The enemy knows his only opportunity for victory can result by keeping us from the absolute realization of God’s provision. This birthright can only be released when we allow the Holy Spirit to purge the carnal nature and align with Christ as One Spirit becoming a recipient of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
When this occurs, the Lord finds His abode in us, living out His life through us in perfect union. The cost is great, death to self, yet the reward is exceedingly greater than our human minds can comprehend.