With physical wounds, pain and danger are not equivalent. I have heard that on a pain scale of 1 to 10, kidney stones rank about a 15. Most of the time, they are not deadly.
On the other hand, bleeding from an internal or external damaged artery is not overly painful, yet it can become a terminal wound.
The cascade of consequences from a physical issue is more significant in determining its seriousness than the felt pain.
In spiritual warfare, we use a little bit different piece of logic to determine how to weigh the seriousness of a painful blow from the enemy.
The question that matters the most to us is whether the enemy is hitting from a position of primary strength, or secondary.
Let me illustrate it with two scenarios. Both are real life stories, mildly sanitized and disguised.
Team A was dealing with a demonic stronghold that specialized in mind control. During the initial phase of the battle, the team was getting hit with a wide variety of mental issues. These ranged from nightmares, to demons being assigned to the brain, to defiling thoughts for hours at a time.
This was no surprise. We knew the nature of the stronghold going in. After some time, the battle shifted. The brain was no longer under attack but health was. The team experienced a wide assault of highly unusual physical problems that seemed to have no legitimate organic source.
Let’s do spiritual triage. The pain was high. In fact, in some ways, the “pain” of physical problems was higher than the pain of widespread mental defeat. However, the shift in strategy was hugely significant.
It appeared that we had taken away the enemy’s prime tool – invading the mind – and he was having to play with a less potent tool – damaging the body.
That phase passed and his next assault was on relationships. He did succeed in some low grade aggravation, but his power to hurt in this area was pretty basic – not at all like the big gun he started out with.
Team B is still in the throes of the battle.
The stronghold is a poverty spirit in terms of relationships. There is a deep fear throughout the community about taking an ideological stand. If you do, someone might get mad and you might lose your relationship.
This results in a paralysis of action and opinion where people live in community but in a very superficial way.
Team B engaged in a Kingdom project in the community while watching over their shoulders since they were well aware of the presence of a strongman.
In time, two members of the team had a robust, vibrant, poly-variegated fight over an ideological point. They were each deeply committed to their own view of what was “right” and they were both highly articulate in defense of their position and were each bruised by the battle.
From their point of view, they had lost spiritual authority. I disagreed strongly.
A day or two after the fight, they revisited the issue, still disagreed and decided that they could put it aside until after their Kingdom project was over, then revisit it and see if they could resolve it. No denial here. No ongoing sniping. They disagreed. They spoke it out vigorously. They put their shoulders to the load and kept on working on the Kingdom project.
From my point of view by having the big fight, they neutralized the power of the enemy in the area of his big weapon. You see, they were not afraid to fight. They were sure their relationship would survive. They were sure their ideas were right, and they were sure the Kingdom project could be done, even though they had a big disagreement.
This is coming in the opposite spirit (albeit accidentally and inadvertently) to the strongman over the city. The fear of losing a relationship causes most leaders in the city to endure deep disagreements silently. The paralysis because of the fear of losing relationship is crippling the church in the city.
In support of my opinion that the fight was good is the fact that there are no more ideological/relational problems on the team. They have taken the big gun out of the hands of the enemy.
He then went to his second best, which was an attack on the spirit of one of them. That backfired horribly as a “sleeper cell” was identified and destroyed, and the person is now more free than they have ever been.
With weapons #1 and #2 neutralized by the team, the strongman attacked the bodies of the two, but he is playing so far down in his authority structure that all he could do was cause a cold. No broken bones or terminal diseases.
He is still in the game, but not doing very much damage.
Knowing the area, I predicted that the sequence of his remaining tools would be attacking mechanical things next – a dead battery in the car, computer that chokes, coffee pot that doesn’t work on the big day.
After those irritants, he might mess with the weather and cause a brief sprinkle at an inopportune time.
And failing to stop the Kingdom project at all, his final feeble whimper will be to meddle with time and keep people distracted with good things so they don’t ever get around to implementing the things they intended to.
This sequence is going to vary from territory to territory. Each strongman has a different arsenal. My point is simply that we can at times measure our progress in a battle by the degree to which the enemy is forced to use secondary or tertiary weapons.
AND, a problem has to be framed in the context of the moment to determine whether it was a good move or not.
Take Jonathan starting a battle with the Philistines when it was not his job. Was that simply rebellion and something that is wrong in an absolute sense? Or was he coming in the opposite spirit to the paralysis of the rest of the army – including his father, the king?
I don’t know, but those are the kinds of questions we ask.
Normally, big old fights among the leadership team are not looked upon with favor. But in this case, the fact that the two people were so sure of the strength of the team that they were willing to RISK the relationship by engaging in a vehement ideological debate turns out to be THE critical point in the Kingdom project they were pursuing.
From that point on, the enemy had to settle for less lethal weapons. They robbed him of his big gun in one glorious ruckus.
Going forward, we can often do recon and determine the enemy’s big gun then go after it overtly before seeking to take some territory.
I am moving toward a situation where the enemy’s go-to strategy is to confuse enthusiasm with transformation. In this context there is very little traction. Bold words are spoken. Great dreams are dreamed. Enthusiasm flows like a river. And the same old same old greets you every morning when the sun comes up again.
So, when I go, the enemy will have loaded his cannon with a double barreled dose of enthusiasm. I expect people to think my ideas are the greatest things since powdered wigs.
But in the first engagement, I will overtly dampen the enthusiasm and talk about metrics and the first three steps for each person to take. I will focus on building, not celebrating, and will make the building steps small and very public. And they will be date-stamped so everyone knows when the assignments are due.
His second line of defense will be tradition. People like ideas that they understand and are comfortable with. I will announce early on that I have a bucket of new ideas and that I don’t expect anyone to be comfortable with them. New ideas are usually awkward during the breaking in period.
I don’t know this area enough to know what round three will be, but I will do my best to block him at the point of his two strongest tools, then walk nimbly while he seeks to use low impact weapons against us.
From the Hub