Borrowed from military operations, the word ‘breakthrough’ is about that moment when an obstacle is finally overcome, when a scientific advance opens a whole new field of knowledge, when a level of achievement lifts a person to another level. It was first used of that moment when an army penetrated the lines of the enemy, breaking through defenses creating the moment for final victory. Have you ever experienced a ‘breakthrough,’ a moment when you pushed through a struggle to find resolution or to discover new opportunities?
Spiritually, Christians need to know that breakthrough moments do come, but not without great opposition. When a military force concentrates on ‘breaking the line’ the enemy responds by shifting defenses to that point and the battle becomes fiercely intense. If we sense God’s leading and choose to follow Him into the mission of establishing His kingdom – be it over some part of our life where we have been defeated by sin, in our community as we seek to build a church (not a building, but a body of people), in our world as we join some ministry initiative – we should not be surprised by a response of the enemy of God. We will likely find ourselves in a major fight; as the enemy works to throw back the offensive.
My personal experience recently has borne this out. A few weeks ago, the Spirit stirred an increasing hunger in me. I intensely desire to see Christ’s Church come alive in new ways, to see God’s people made holy (not superficial piety, but deep commitment), to experience a profound kind of worship that touches people at the core of their being, not merely in their emotions. In times of prayer, my heart cries out to Him to lead us on, to make us strategic, to give us resources for the work.
Not strangely, as this desire grew in me, so did opposition. Doubts arrived uninvited. Anxiety made a bid to own my mind. Depression came knocking with its darkness. Mental confusion stalked my reading of the Word. Critics planted seeds that caused me to question my fitness for service. Should I be surprised by any of these things? Not if I understand the principles of breakthrough. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has called for an offensive and the enemy has responded with a counter offensive.
Paul reminds us to listen carefully to the Spirit so that “so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11, NLT) He reminds us that we cannot mount the attack on our own, but only as we are armored by the Spirit. Do you take this passage seriously, as a call to arms? “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” (Ephesians 6:10-13, NLT)
And there is the promise of breakthrough – “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (Romans 16:20, NLT) But, none of this can happen to lazy, self-satisfied, compromised, or pleasure-minded people. Personal breakthroughs as well as those within the Church demand that we enter battle. Paul called Timothy (and us) to understand the rigor of battle. “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4, NIV)
Are you in need of a breakthrough, a defeat of Self, Sin, and/or Satan in your life, your home, your church?
Listen for orders prayerfully.
Armor up with the Truth of the Spirit.
Prepare for action.
And, remember this word from the Word. It is a critical part of the truth that we cannot forget. Peter says that victory demands suffering. Oh, you did not want to hear that, did you? Nor do I! Jesus gained victory at great cost to Himself, surrendering His desire to know comfort for the path of obedience. So must we. “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2, NIV)
Almighty God, lead me on.
Sound the call to battle and fill me with holy courage to respond.
Help me, as a warrior of love, to be ready to die to Self,
To engage in the struggle without complaint,
And to follow You in the fight fearlessly,
Confident in Your promises that assure me that
No enemy can steal my eternal life.
Build Your kingdom in me, I pray.
In the holy Name of Jesus Christ, the Savior. Amen.