We are in a war. There has never been a time in my life where the spiritual warfare has been more intense than in the last two years. In 2 Corinthians it says, “We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist that it bow in obedience to the Anointed One” (10:5 TPT). Our effectiveness in spiritual warfare is no greater than our ability to control our thoughts.
Imagine being in a natural war against the most dangerous terrorist on the planet. Now, imagine that you’ve taken that enemy captive as a prisoner of war. But what would happen if you could turn that captive into a soldier, fighting for your cause? That’s what it means to capture our renegade thoughts to the obedience of Christ—that which was warring against me is now fighting for me.
When we align our thoughts with heaven, we can face any storm with the assurance of the victory of Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah cried out, “God, if only you would tear open the heavenly realm and come down!”(Isaiah 64:1 TPT). These words prophesied what would take place when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. When He came up out of the water, whatever spiritual darkness that had kept the world in bondage to deception was destroyed as the Father ripped open the heavens and released the Holy Spirit upon His Son. That reality has not changed. The Holy Spirit has never been taken back; He has been here for 2000 years. The heavens remain open.
The problem, though, is that we can so easily drift into becoming more aware of the storm—the very real and current problems we face—than we are of the presence of God in our midst. When this happens, we begin to live in reaction to the works of the enemy.
There are many Christians who would almost pride themselves on living in reaction to the devil because it feels industrious and responsible. But Jesus didn’t live by reacting to evil; He lived in response to the Father. There was a manifestation of the nature, heart, and presence of the Father through the life of Jesus. And from that place, He stripped the devil of all authority.
In the book of Luke, Jesus rebuked the storm that threatened His journey with the disciples. The very fact that He rebuked the wind and the waves, instead of merely commanding them, implies that there was a spiritual power behind that storm. Not all storms have natural causes. We don’t want to go around looking for demons behind every bush, but to live like Jesus, we must be able to distinguish the Kingdom of Heaven from the kingdom of earth. We must know that a greater reality surrounds us.
In Genesis, Jacob was traveling on his father’s instruction and spent the night along the way. While he slept, he dreamt that he saw a ladder into heaven that angels were using to descend and ascend. The Lord spoke to Jacob, blessing him and his descendants. And, when Jacob woke up, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it…How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” (Genesis 28:16-17 NKJV).
The house of God is described as a gate—an access point by design, a structure built on the edge between two worlds.
Jesus says to Nathanael, “From now on, you all will see an open heaven and gaze upon the Son of Man like a stairway reaching into the sky with the messengers of God climbing up and down upon him!” (John 1:51 TPT). Jesus was our prototype; the eternal Son of God, living within the limitations of humanity. Jesus was the dwelling place of God upon man and, after His death and resurrection, He empowered His Church to be the same. We are to inhabit the boundary of two worlds—the natural and the spiritual.
We were designed to live in an open heaven. To expect anything less is to not only sell our purpose short, but also to sell short God’s purpose and plan for His Body. He is building in us an awareness of the unseen realities of God.
Circumstances may be swirling around us, but His Word tells us that the unseen world is actually more real than what is visible. Paul said, “What is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 TPT). The spiritual world is not a shadow of our natural world; that which we can see is a shadow of a greater spiritual reality. We have the privilege of standing on the edge of two worlds, deciding which reality we are going to partner with when the storms of life come.
Even global insanity has an opponent that it cannot defeat: the people of God, coming together to give creative expression of who the Father made them to be. The natural world would tell us to divide and protect ourselves. The enemy is working hard to scatter and separate us, but we get to partner with God’s Kingdom to choose, instead, to band together. Freedom in Christ gives us the opportunity to live unencumbered by sin, of course, but also the liberty to live in an open heaven, training our thought life in accordance with the will of God, and living according to our true design—from heaven to earth.
Bethel Church, Redding, CA
Author of Peace in Every Storm and Open Heavens
Peace is the inheritance of every believer, but we often face challenging circumstances that threaten to bring chaos and conflict. Peace in Every Storm: 52 Declarations & Meditations for Difficult Times by Bill and Beni Johnson reveals how to strengthen your faith, lean into the goodness of God, banish fear, and trust the Lord in the midst of any crisis.