Light Coming into the Darkened
...touching more on the Importance of Intercession
DIANOIA is a word from the Greek New Testament sometimes translated mind, sometimes understanding. It’s one of several words used there to describe the workings of the mind. In particular, it describes it as it draws conclusions about right and wrong, and as it makes distinctions and forms opinions. It is the mind as it is designed to have insight and comprehension. It is from an enlightened dianoia that a person can say, "Oh, now I understand! Now I see!"
In the natural man the dianoia is darkened. This hinders the grasping of truth and a right perception of life. In the darkness there often hang out spiritual attitudes that sulk like animals—if we could so describe something spiritual. Often the persons in whom these attitudes work can’t even tell why resentment, discouragement, fear, rage or depression start rising within them. They’re spit forth from something within the darkness of their inner man. They are ready to snarl and hiss whenever anything threatening approaches them. In their sulking, these dark feelings hinder the functioning of the dianoia. They also grieve the Holy Spirit and make His work burdensome.
The ways of thinking and responding that hide in the darkened understanding of our souls will make it exceedingly difficult to stand under the pressure of the last days. In His mercy, God is dealing with this area of our beings. He is making us ready for the time of trouble—Daniel 12:4—and ready for His Kingdom.
Similar in meaning to dianoia is the word banah in the Hebrew text of Daniel. From the use of banah we learn what is the most subtle strategy of the anti-God forces in the closing days. They will attempt to take psychic control of the people of God. Seducing spirits will reach for any darkness left in our understanding with the object of using it to draw us away from the Kingdom of God.
In this Maschil Special Edition, we'll take a look at Ephesians, where it describes the extent of the trouble facing us from within—but we will also see the hope that is ours because of Christ’s resurrection.
SOMETIMES I THINK it will never stop happening—this opening of our souls to reveal yet other areas of darkness. But it keeps happening. Recently the opening was painful. I tell about it because so many others I know are having their souls opened painfully. We all need some answers.
Briefly, here is what happened to us. A close relation let us know, in no uncertain terms, what miserable failures we had been in her eyes. The most painful thing was her slur against our "religion."
You better believe that hurt. Glenda and I had borrowed money to buy tickets to go see this dear one—only to receive that!
For days we hurt, and fumed, and thought, and tried to pray. We said, "Why did this have to happen, Lord? We thought our relationship with this person was sweet and happy. It’s really been one thing after the other from so many quarters. Will this sort of thing never end? Why did You allow the devil to do this to us?"
These were questions of our shocked souls. We couldn’t think straight. It became difficult to pray. But once more we found solace in the kind of praying David spoke of in Psalm 34:6. This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The word cried in this verse means to yell for help. That was all we could do. Oh, but we’ve found time and again the Lord hears this kind of praying. It’s probably because he hears the heart more than the well formed words we’re sometimes able to put together in prayer.
Shortly after the above incident, Glenda and I had to be separated for a week. After we prayed together and parted, a little fear entered into me. The shock of what had happened had thrown my brain out of kilter. It was as though some of the "wires" in it got crossed. For a while I couldn’t distinguish between what had happened and what I thought might have happened. I asked myself, "Is this affecting my mind seriously?"
My inner man had been pierced.
But now, as I think back over the past few days as to what happened, I’m greatly encouraged—even though there remains some pain. I’m finding that the trauma of painful things does not have to be taken from my emotions and conscious mind and crammed down into my spirit in order for me to get on with life. Instead, I’m finding, if I allow it, the blow can serve me well—just like a hammer serves a nail well by driving it into the place for which it was designed.
The restoring of my mind and emotions started gently--and it started from within. The answer began coming softly with a brief vision. It was such a still small thing that at first I didn’t even know it was coming from God’s Spirit. He let me see my soul. I saw it ripped open. Inside was a dark curtain draped over part of my inner man. Right away I knew, if allowed to remain, the part of my inner man hidden in the darkness would have caused trouble in the day of trouble.
I had enough perception to know that what I was seeing had been inside me all along. The Holy Spirit wasn’t showing me something that had just come. The hurtful incident had only revealed it. Now He wanted to work there.
Very slowly—oh, so slowly—light began coming. We can’t rush the work of God any more than we can rush the light of dawn. The pain had been so great at first that I didn’t feel any good could come out of what had happened. I had a little conflict with the Holy Spirit over this. But, I knew better than to argue with Him too much. He is so thorough and powerful, yet so gentle.
As soon as I stopped resisting Him, a small positive thing began taking place. I’ve found the Holy Spirit is happy to start with little things. He shot a thought into my mind like a spark of light. He said, "The one who attacked you is hurting too."
This little thought from God’s Spirit pierced my darkness. I couldn’t entertain it very long; I was hurting myself. And, I was busy building the case for my defense. But at least the thought did come, and it registered. I began seeing what she said and did was out of her own hurt.
Long ago we learned that expressions of anger and resentment coming from one person to another frequently come out of old hurts brought on by old relationships—some of them from early childhood, some forgotten by the conscious mind. Very often they are out of relationships with persons not now involved. (I know that once there was a woman who didn’t like me because I looked like her uncle whom she didn’t like.)
Then the Holy Spirit whispered something else to me. "Do you care?"
Gradually I began hearing more. It was coming from the heart of my heavenly Father. "I’ve loved you enough to allow this to happen. Now give up your case. Stop building your defense. Let My Spirit work a deliverance in you and bring to life the Word that you already know."
The Holy Spirit was prompting me to take a very small step out of the circle of my hurt into the circle of the other person’s hurt. When I did this, He stepped into mine.
Later as I was thinking about what was taking place inside me, the Lord spoke something more to me. He said, "The trouble has been in your dianoia. I’ve allowed it to be split open again so you may see the veil there and receive healing. And—so you can become a greater instrument of healing to others."
THE LORD KNEW I was acquainted with the dianoia. Over twenty years ago I took note of it and began the study of it. I’ve even written on the dianoia. But I always knew there was a quickening yet to come with regard to it.
There are two passages in Ephesians where Paul mentions the dianoia in its darkened estate—Ephesians 2:1-3 and 4:17-19. From these Scriptures we learn how a darkened understanding hinders our inner man, set there with a whole malignant team to oppose God’s Kingdom from within us. There is another passage, Ephesians 1:15-19, where Paul speaks of the dianoia in a positive way. He tells how he prays for those under his care that their dianoia might be flooded with light. This is a simple insight as to the opening of this part of one’s inner man. But how powerful an insight it is! Praying for another person is like using a switch to turn on a light in that darkened part of their soul. Paul prayed something like this: "Dear Lord, bring light to their understanding— through the power released in Christ’s resurrection."
This works. Just recently when that blow came to Glenda and me and darkness came over my mind, another relative prayed for me. She wasn’t with me. I didn’t even know she prayed. I just know that all of a sudden a light came on. I could think, and understand—and pray. Later I found out about the one praying.
I saw anew the importance of the discipline of intercession. We must not give up on it!
The dianoia of every person is different; each one sees and understands life from a different perspective. Just as the fingerprint of each of the over six billion persons living on the earth is distinctly his own, so the way each one understands and thinks is distinct. Everyone is a person with such a vast array of special features it challenges our imagination. However, there are some ways in which the dianoia of every person is the same. Everyone was designed by God to have an understanding of the Kingdom, and the understanding of everyone has been darkened. And—we believe, the Holy Spirit will touch the dianoia of any soul for whom some intercessor cares enough to pray.
BEING IN CHRIST brings the possibility of light. Paul made mention of this in Ephesians 1:18 when he spoke of interceding for those under his care. He said, in effect, "I’m praying for the eyes of your dianoia to be enlightened."
Some may ask, "Doesn’t light come to our inner man when we’re born again?" Yes. The new birth brings the entrance of light and opens a new realm of possibility for the whole man. But, the veil keeping much of the inner man in darkness remains on in many people after they are born again.
For years I’ve loved and claimed II Corinthians 5:17— Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. But there’s something I’m seeing in this now that I didn’t see at first. When I first knew the verse, I said, "Wonderful! Everything is new! All the old is gone!" It wasn’t long, however, before I saw there was still some of the old hanging on in me.
I thought, "Well, I’ll just confess the verse and everything will be new." More of the old began cropping up.
Now I’ve looked at II Corinthians 5:17 in the Greek, as I’m prone to do, and I see it’s speaking more of possibility than actual condition. For one thing, he is is not in the original Greek. And the word creature is better understood "creation." The verse could as well be translated, "If any one be in Christ, there is a new creation." A whole new realm of being is available, something that has never been possible before. The old things of religious form and law that could never penetrate the inner man have passed away to make way for all things to become new. What possibility!
In Ephesians 2:1-3, one of the passages speaking of the darkened dianoia, we find it is only part of a whole team of evil that will, if allowed, control our inner man. From the passage we discover there are Seven Control Points of evil operating in every person outside of Christ. These same points seek to maintain their hold in believers. That’s the reason Paul prayed. Later in the article, we’ll look at his prayer and learn from it. But we need to see the points of this passage first. They show us where the battles rage and give us direction toward how we should move in prayer and intercession. It’s little wonder we’re hearing so much about "prayer warfare."
1 And you hath He made alive who were (1) dead in trespasses and sins;
2 wherein in time past you (2) walked according to the course of this world, (3) according to the prince of the power of the air, (4) that spirit which is now at work in the children of disobedience;
3 among whom we all conducted our lives in times past in the lusts of our flesh, (5) fulfilling the desires of the flesh (6) and of the DIANOIA; and (7) were by nature children of wrath, even as others.
As we lay out the points we gain from this, we make reference to "the natural man." By this we mean the way a person is by his or her human nature without Christ. Since much of what we see remains in the lives of many believers, we regard the points carefully.
1. The natural man is dead spiritually and is driven to commit trespasses and sins.
· Ephesians 2:1—And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.
Trespass, from paraptoma, means the passing over of a boundary set by God. Sin, from hamartia, means missing what God wants. One means doing wrong things; the other not doing right things. Many believers are bound at these points. Only the light of the Holy Spirit and of the Word of God can reveal the extent of this bondage in any of us.
Do Christians sin? In the light of worldwide news concerning the sins of prominent ministers of the Gospel, we hardly need to argue this point.
We must ask for light to come with regard to what is trespass and what is sin in our lives, and in others. When this happens, conviction comes. This recognition of sinfulness is the first step for anyone to take toward becoming free.
2. The natural man lives according to the course of this world.
· Ephesians 2:2a—…wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world.
The Greek word used here for world is aion. It means an age, or a dispensation, clearly defined and marked out with its own character and trends. Living according to the course of this age means allowing the current trends of society to guide our lives. This is a great bondage and causes spiritual blindness.
By watching the trends of the age and coming under its allurement, we get off track and lose direction. Our values become confused and desire-for the things of God’s Kingdom diminishes. Jesus taught this when He said that the care of this world chokes the Word of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:22). Care is from a word meaning "anxious interest or ambitious thoughts." For those we hold in prayer, we ask God for light to come regarding what the trends of the age are doing in their lives. We also ask this for ourselves. This frees us to gain new perspective and to grow in the directions set for us by God.
3. The natural man is energized by the Prince of power of the air.
· Ephesians 2:2b—…you walked...according to the prince of the power of the air...
The prince of the power of the air is that ruling force working from the heavens to control nations, states, cities, villages, clubs, movements, families and individuals. Under Satan, he dispatches unclean and seducing spirits to work in those outside of Christ to motivate them away from the Kingdom of God. This realm of influence in a person is the most subtle and difficult to discover, for the seducing spirits always work toward being undetected.
These spirits dispatched from the prince set their most ardent desires upon us who are believers. They want control of our minds so they can place in us thoughts and ideas contrary to the ways of God and make us ineffective for His purposes in the closing days.
Intercessors are learning to go after these spirits and bind their work. More and more ministries are opening to see that this evil spiritual influence has continued in many believers. And they’re also seeing that deliverance can come once the spirits are discovered.
Intercessors, knowing their authority in Christ, can bind the energy of Satan released in others. This sets those for whom intercession is made free to receive the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Those of us who know our authority in Christ must also sometimes deal with spirits in our own lives.
4. The natural man walks in disobedience.
· Ephesians 2:2c —…you walked according to...the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.
The natural man is a child of disobedience, born in it, with a natural inclination toward it. He has never had to be taught to be disobedient. David said, The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born... —Psalm 58:3. Disobedience is the natural way of life. It is obedience that must be learned.
Disobedience is the same as unbelief. In fact, the New Testament Greek word apeitheia, translated disobedience in this Ephesian passage, is translated unbelief in Hebrews 4:6. They…entered not in because of unbelief.
Even after we commit our lives to the Lord, disobedience and unbelief try desperately to maintain their hold in us. Just like the Holy Spirit releases faith, the spirits coming from the prince of the power of the air release unbelief.
We learn to pray that the Holy Spirit will do His gentle and powerful work and warm souls with a desire for the truth of God’s Kingdom. The entrance of God’s Word gives light and produces faith for obedience. When light comes and truth enters, disobedience loses its power.
5. The natural man is committed to following the lusts of the flesh.
· Ephesians 2:3a—...among whom we all conducted our lives in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh
By the flesh Paul means the strong desires both of the soul and the body. The flesh, under the influence of the spirits ruling the world, sends its signals to the will. In this way, it tries to dictate how one lives.
We’re asking God to enable souls to put away unlawful desires and to begin wanting what He wants. This sets the person free to walk in faith and obedience—and joyful fulfillment.
We are learning to hold our own wills before the searching light of God’s Spirit so the stubborn desires of our flesh can come under the authority of His Kingdom.
6. The natural man orders his life according to the desires of his dianoia.
· Ephesians 2:3b—We all conducted our lives in times past...fulfilling the desires...of the dianoia.
Even though the dianoia of a person outside of Christ is darkened, it exercises strong influence over what he or she desires in life. It teams its dark desires with the lusts of the flesh and persuades the soul to go after those desires. This provides a wicked stronghold against God’s Kingdom and provides a broad base for the enemy to work.
We are learning to ask for light to come into the dianoia, both for our own and for those we hold before the Throne. When this light comes, the uncleanness, unwholesomeness, and undesirability of darkened ideas and desires become manifest. This opens the way for the control they have held in lives to be broken and releases the souls for repentance. The pain this brings initially cannot be compared with the joy that follows.
7. The natural man is placed in line to receive wrath.
· Ephesians 2:3c—…we all...were by nature children of wrath, even as others.
Wrath may come from God, from other persons, or from natural causes. Often, we bring it upon ourselves by our actions and reactions.
But there is a wrath that comes upon many simply by their birth into situations where sin and disorder rule— like the baby born to a drug addicted mother, or a child born in a war zone, etc. These become children of wrath in the strictest sense. The wrath of natural circumstance in some lives is so hard and prolonged that many have no hope of deliverance—outside the power of God’s Kingdom. Because of their darkened understanding, many have settled into living as children of wrath.
Prayer helps greatly at this point, especially that of an intercessor who persists in holding some child of wrath before the Throne of God’s grace until faith is born in that one.
We pray, "Dear Lord, open these eyes to see Your mercy in the midst of an angry life."
EPHESIANS 4:17-19 lays out nine trouble points hedging in a person outside of Christ. One of the points is a darkened dianoia which is our main concern in this article. This darkened part of the inner man gathers strength from all the other points of trouble and makes demands upon the will. Sadly, many believers fall here because they never break with these points of trouble.
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that from now on you walk not as the nations walk, in the (1) vanity of their minds,
18 (2) Having the understanding (dianoia) darkened, being (3) alienated from the life of God through the (4) ignorance that is in them, because of the (5) blindness of their hearts,
19 Who being (6) past feeling have given themselves over unto (7) unbridled lust, to work all (8) uncleanness with (9) greediness.
The corporate conscience of society has worked in many places to restrain some of these points. All religions work on at least some of them. However, since they operate from within the soul of man, religion or society can never put them down to the point that mankind becomes free of them. They crop up with every generation and will run rampant exercising untold influence in the last days.
Many persons, particularly those of a religious nature, live their lives attempting to conceal the extent to which these nine points have controlled them. Look at them carefully. They show the pit from which we all were digged and they help us understand the areas of trouble that, if they remain in our lives, will make survival difficult in the last days. These trouble points need not remain in lives. It is possible for any one to find freedom from them and to build a life of peace and purpose befitting the Kingdom of Christ. This possibility often begins with an intercessor caring enough about someone else to pray.
1. A vain mind.
· Ephesians 4:17—Walk not as the nations walk, in the vanity of their minds...
The Greek word for mind in this verse is nous. It is similar to the dianoia, but is a more general word in that it embraces all the functions of the mind and provides a broad foundation for the coming of the Kingdom into a life. Jesus used a word kin to this when He said, Repent—change your way of thinking—open your minds and give them over to something entirely new; the Kingdom of heaven is at hand--Matthew 4:17. The first turn one makes toward the Kingdom is in this changing of the mind. It is here conversion begins.
Vanity means that which produces nothing of value. The mental functions of those outside of Christ tend toward what is worthless and profane—that is as far as the Kingdom of God is concerned. But we are coming to the time when nothing else can hold its value, for we must all bow to that Kingdom. Even thoughts of lofty ideals, if they recognize not the authority of Christ, come to nothing before the moving in of the Kingdom.
As we hold ourselves before God in prayer, and as we hold others, He helps us see the empty and vain ideas we entertain. We then become free to renounce the vanity.
In intercession, we pray, "God, cause Your Spirit to work in the minds of those for whom we pray so they can begin thinking in line with Your Kingdom. We loose them from the vain ideas that oppose what you want. Also, show us within ourselves whatever is empty and hopeless so we can renounce that vanity."
2. A darkened dianoia.
· Ephesians 4:18—…having the understanding darkened...
The darkened dianoia makes thinking, perceiving, understanding, knowing, acknowledging, forming an opinion, and remembering difficult. This will be a great hindrance in the time of trouble when every thing that can be shaken will be shaken. Confusion and irregularity will come on every hand. For this reason the light coming from God into our dianoia will be necessary. Then, with darkness all around, we can find the way.
This directs us to an important key to intercession. It was here God’s Spirit recently touched me as someone prayed for me. Since darkness in the understanding hinders the ability of any soul to receive the truth of God’s Kingdom, it is necessary that it be dispelled. And here is an amazing thing: it takes very little light to dispel darkness. Even a flickering torch provides the way for some movement outward. This is what happened in me. The light that came into my understanding was small, but it enabled me to see a door I could open to greater light. It was the door of caring for someone else. This happened when someone prayed.
It is our work as intercessors to release light. As we hold others before the Lord requesting that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened, something happens that sets them free to begin seeing the Kingdom.
We must remember this however: their wills remain sovereign. The Holy Spirit does not violate this. But, He will bring light so that the soul can at least see the way out and make a decision.
3. A life separated from God.
· Ephesians 4:18 —…being alienated from the life of God
Man, because of a fallen nature, is alienated from the life of God. This makes everyone outside of Christ a stranger to the abundant life about which Jesus spoke in John 10:10.
Many live on such a low plain they have no conception of the life available to them in Christ. Therefore, we hold them in God’s presence so desire for the life of His Kingdom can be born in them.
We pray, "Dear God, cause these we hold before You to become dissatisfied with the quality of life they are experiencing. Reveal to them there is a higher kind of life. Draw them toward what you have to offer.
"We turn our own spirits to You to receive the continuing flow of Your life."
4. Spiritual ignorance.
· Ephesians 4:18—... through the ignorance that is in them...
The natural man walks in ignorance. This is not the ignorance of natural things, but of things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. This is the greatest ignorance anyone can have for it keeps a soul separated from God. Ignorance of this sort can be dispelled only by the Holy Spirit as He brings truth into the inward parts—Psalm 51:6.
The most powerful kind of truth there is comes from the word of God as it is made alive by the Holy Spirit. There are some who have spiritual concepts and hold ideas gained from the Bible, but with not one bit of life from God. Therefore, truth within them is dead. They remain in spiritual ignorance.
We pray, "Dear Lord, replace the ignorance in these dear souls with desire for Your Kingdom. Bring within them a hunger for your truth and enlighten it by Your Spirit.
"As well, we turn my own souls toward You for fresh enlightenment."
5. A blinded heart.
· Ephesians 4: 18—... because of the blindness of their hearts...
The heart is the inner part of a person that feels and knows what is right. The natural man suffers from blindness and insensitivity here.
Some ancient Greek texts have here another word in the place of blindness, meaning "hardness." Whether it be hardness or blindness, either speaks of a condition in the inner parts of a person that hinders that one from having proper feelings toward God or toward others.
Often the hardness and insensitivity of a heart comes from hurts, rejections and failures. So we pray, "God, heal the past hurts and wounds caused by rejection. Cause Your Spirit to brood over the hearts of these we hold before You and give them the courage to feel again."
And we pray, "Oh, God, bring light to my heart so the part of me that feels and knows can respond to others in their difficulty, and to the dark hours of my own life, in a way that is right before You and Your Kingdom."
6. An inability to feel.
· Ephesians 4:19 —…who being past feeling...
Being past feeling is from a word in the Greek meaning "having laid aside hope." This is a very dark place to which one may come. When the inner part of the natural man comes to this place, it means he is calloused and hard in his feelings toward God, as well as toward others.
Something is damaged inside many persons, in some worse than in others, that continually pulls them toward hopelessness. In some, it is because life itself has taken its toll. In others, it is because of natural inheritance as the iniquity of the fathers is visited upon the children.
The need for healing in some persons is often so deep that only the Holy Spirit can search it out. Here is where the intercessor who has insight can work.
So we pray, "Restore, oh Lord, restore in him, or her, the feelings that have been damaged through painful encounters. We break, in the Name of Jesus, the power of the darkened areas inherited from family lines."
And we pray, "Reveal in our own souls, Dear Lord, the hardness and neglect that sometimes arises toward You, Your Kingdom, and toward others. Heal in us the ability to feel."
7. Unbridled lust.
· Ephesians 4:19 —... have given themselves over unto lasciviousness...
Lasciviousness means living with no restraint upon one’s lustful desires. Some persons given over to following their natural man walk in uncontrolled lust with no moral restraint upon them to keep them from doing what they feel like doing.
God has given to every person the ability to have desires. But He also has placed in each one the ability to have self-control. In some, it is the ability to have desire that is damaged. More often, it is the ability to control desire that is damaged.
The intercessor prays, "Dear Lord, place Your restraint in these I hold before You. Cause your Spirit to so work in them so that right desires can be born."
And—"I hold my own soul before You, Dear Lord, so Your Spirit can bring under control the unbridled lusts and unlawful desires that sometimes arise within me."
· Ephesians 4:19—...to work all uncleanness ...
The natural man becomes a doer of uncleanness. This may be physical uncleanness, but it will more likely be moral uncleanness, emotional uncleanness, mental uncleanness or spiritual uncleanness.
The inner parts of some person who live outside of a relationship with Christ are frequently so unclean that only the love of God is willing to take on the task of cleaning them up. His love can be expressed through an intercessor who will hold that person before the Throne of Grace until it is able to respond to the cleansing of the Holy Spirit. We must remember that some have in their inner man so much uncleanness that the cleanness of the Holy Spirit frightens them.
We pray something like this: "Cleanse him, O Lord. Let your Spirit soak up the dirt in his soul, and lead him to desire Your holiness." And we pray, Create in me a clean heart, 0 Lord; renew a right spirit within me—Psalm 51:10
· Ephesians 4:19 —…with greediness....
Greed is the crowning mark of the life separated from God. This means one never finds lasting satisfaction in anything. Greediness is from a Greek word meaning "I will have more." It gives testimony to the fact that the life outside of Christ is always reaching for something. There is never a satisfaction. It always says, "I want more."
The intercessor, seeing this inability for contentment, knows the soul was designed by God for something only He can give. Those who are always ill content are so because they never have opened to what He has for them.
The intercessor sees the deep search of persons bound by greed, understands their lack and prays: "Lord, cause these to see the emptiness of their endless pursuits and draw them to find their satisfaction in You."
THE DIANOIA is the breaking open point for God’s Kingdom to enter our lives. It is the part that has been darkened, but it is also the part that can receive light.
So, we’re learning to open up to the light that will come to our understanding, our perception, our comprehension, our insight into life, This is the same as opening up to a release of divine energy that will enable our souls to receive, and absorb, the Word of the Kingdom.
Paul expected three things to come as the result of the light entering. These become spiritual foundations for the Kingdom within us. They’re the building blocks for triumph, the substance for overcoming in the face of tribulation.
Briefly, we can speak of these foundations with three words: HOPE, VALUE and POWER. When they are set loose within us, the strongholds and trouble points with which we’ve struggled becomes points of overcoming. When the enemy of God’s purposes meets them, he is driven back. When we take them into prayer for others, our intercession, which sometimes becomes spiritual warfare. takes on new strength as we release ground for the Holy Spirit to work.
In the following Scripture Paul lays out the three foundations for overcoming . We note particularly the three "what’s" of Verses 18 and 19.
15 …since I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love unto all saints,
16 1 never cease giving thanks for you, continually making mention of you in my prayers,
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, might give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the acknowledgment of Him,
18 the eyes of your dianoia being enlightened that you might know WHAT is the hope of His calling, WHAT is the wealth of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and WHAT is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.
The driving back of the darkness clears the way for us to know: one, WHAT is the certainty of God’s calling upon our lives; two, WHAT is the value He places upon us as His inheritance; and three, WHAT is the greatness of the power available to us through the resurrection of Christ. These are what we call the foundations for overcoming.
1. The foundation of HOPE.
· Ephesians 1:18—...the eyes of your dianoia being enlightened that you might know WHAT is the hope of His calling...
Hope is the first things made possible by light. Groping, stumbling, pains of failure, disappointments— they all begin their departure when hope comes.
The New Testament word for hope is stronger than the word we use in our everyday English. When we use it in conversation, we generally speak with an element of uncertainty. We say, "I hope it won’t rain," or, "I hope you won’t have an accident." What we mean is, "It may rain, but I would like for it not to." Or, "I don’t want you to have an accident, but I’m afraid you might."
But in the New Testament there is no uncertainty in hope. It is a very sure thing. We could as well speak of it as "certainty."
Paul was praying for those dear people he loved that they might know the hope of His calling. He might have said, "Let them know the certainty of Your calling, O Lord!" He was always taken up with being called. The first thing he wrote about himself was that he was a called Apostle, Romans 1:1. That settled so much for him. He could be tested and still know he was called. The certainty of God’s calling upon him brought him a stability that was never shaken.
How does a person receive a call from God? We can’t answer this. It comes from God and He gives it according to His pleasure. No one can ever tell another person how to receive a call. But we know this: it begins with light coming into the understanding. So we pray for that light.
As intercessors we can set others free to receive God’s calling. But we do not impose a way of thinking or a way of living upon the ones for whom we pray. Instead, we release them to find the way themselves with the Light coming from God.
When God called me, I was out in a field working alone, not even occupied with praying. Very simply, He spoke to me and told me he wanted me to preach. It was a simple call and so was my response. I said, "All right, Lord, I’ll preach." He gave me no further details at that time, but from that moment, the course of my life changed and I began to move with the certainty that God’s hand was on my life.
Some days later, I told my mother what had taken place. She said, "I have been praying for you."
Mother was not a very vocal or outgoing in her relationship with the Lord, but she was faithful. Her relationship with Him was simple and she seldom prayed out loud. I’m certain she never heard of the dianoia and didn’t know about proper wording in her prayers, but God heard what came from her spirit. When she prayed for me, light came into my soul that helped me hear God calling.
Sometimes very quiet people play very important parts in the Kingdom. Perhaps the most important are those who pray for others. Through them, light comes and hope is born.
Just remember, we’re not speaking of praying for persons to be called to preach. We’re praying for light to come that will enable them to hear God’s call, whatever it is. Nothing will settle a life so much as knowing what God wants and submitting to it.
2. The foundation of VALUE.
· Ephesians 1:18—... the eyes of your dianoia being enlightened that you might know…WHAT is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints...
Paul said he was praying concerning the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. These words are too lofty for some of us to grasp. But it’s really a quite simple thing for which he is praying. He wanted the people under his care to know how valuable they were to God.
So, we call this the foundation of VALUE. It refers to the valve God places upon our lives. As we grow, we come to know the riches of the glory of His inheritance in us. Without doubt, this will continue unfolding throughout eternity.
When our understanding is darkened, we can never see the value system of God’s Kingdom. This being so, we can never see what value He finds in us.
Most believers regard themselves as not very important to God. They think little of what He wants to do in them, for them, or through them. This is the reason some even turn aside from following the Lord. They think, "I’m not important to the Lord," or "He has no place for me in His Kingdom."
This opens the way for insecurity and brings on thinking like this: "If I am not valuable to God, then He will not take care of me." This becomes a seed bed for things to grow like a slight regard for life, a fear of failure, worry, a lack of self-confidence, doubt, anger. These are doors to failure when trouble comes.
Not knowing God’s value of their lives causes many to lightly regard their chastity and give themselves to many sexual partners. It has caused others to turn to drugs and alcohol.
Not knowing how valuable one is to God is the cause of a poor self image. It is often the underlying reason behind relationship problems in marriages and families. Sometimes trouble comes in a family because one child considers himself not as valuable to his parents as his brothers or sisters.
Things like this are often established in lives when people are young. They continue as part of their makeup—until the light of God comes. Then they learn how valuable they are to Him. Many problems of life are solved right at this point.
When light comes, there comes with it a deep regard for our own self as God’s precious possession. We can then say, "God values ME. He has redeemed me for a purpose and I want that purpose to be fulfilled in my life. If he values me, He has a will for me and He will protect me as I walk in that will."
This spiritual foundation holds our security, our faith, our confidence, our continuing awareness of God’s love and presence. We can have this in our lives, and we can hold others before God’s Throne so they can receive it.
3. The foundation of POWER.
· Ephesians 1:19—…the eyes of your dianoia being enlightened that you might know... WHAT is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.
Of all the points in this article, this is the most important and assuring one. It is because of the power of God released through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we have faith for our own lives and for those we hold in prayer.
The power about which Paul leads us to pray is the power of the resurrection. The Greek word for this kind of power is dunamis. The English words "dynamite" and "dynamic" come from it. It is the power that entered the tomb of Jesus. It is explosive power and the power that works in creation.
Dunamis is the kind of power Jesus promised when He said, You shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you—Acts 1:8.
Dunamis is translated miracles in I Corinthians 12:10 where Paul tells of the operations of His Spirit God has given to the church. Dunamis is the kind of power that works when there is no human hope. It is the power that brings forth something out of nothing.
We pray for the enlightenment of the dianoia so this power can be known. Just like it reached into the tomb of Jesus, it can reach inside a person. It can bring release from spiritual death, emotional death, mental death, and a death in the will. It takes the sting out of physical death. Resurrection power delights in finding the most impossible soul there is and releasing life inside that soul.
Now here is a wonderful thing: the power of the resurrection is even more than a dynamic force that releases new life. In fact, it is so much more that Paul used every word the Greek language afforded him in speaking of that power. That is the reason he prayed for light to come to the dianoia. In no other way could a soul grasp an understanding of so great a power ready to work in us.
Following is the power passage. In it are at least nineteen words describing power as it related to the resurrection of Christ in some way. All this power relates now to the Kingdom of God. These words either describe a kind of power or they tell how power works, or what it will do. The wonder is that the power of which these words speak can be known, or dealt with, in the lives of believers. Some of the words are powers opposing believers—but over which Christ has taken dominion.
These verses are the continuation of Paul’s praying. They help us in praying. We underline the words of Power.
18 …The eyes of your understanding (your dianoia) being enlightened that you might know…
19 …what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of the might of His power.
20 Which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenlies,
21 Exceedingly far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come:
22 and has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things in behalf of the church,
23 Which is His Body, the full formation of Him who is filling all in all.
There are four general dimensions to power: creative force, energetic force, governmental might, and muscle strength. Space doesn’t allow us to look at all the power words in the above passage, but we can see the four distinct words relating to each of these dimensions. They occur precisely in Verse 19.
1. The power of creation.
· Ephesians 4:19—...that you may know what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe...
Power is from the Greek dunamis. This is the most inclusive word of all. It is dynamic power, creative power, explosive power. When speaking of a person, it can mean strength or ability. When speaking of an army, it can mean military might. It is used often in the New Testament to speak of mighty works and miracles.
Some verses in Acts tell of its working in the early believers: Acts 2:22; 4:33; 6:8; 8:13 and 19:11.
Insight as to how it works can be seen in Mark 5:30 where the word is translated virtue (in the King James Version). It went forth from Jesus to heal the woman as she touched His clothes. Through His resurrection, this power has been released to work in the lives of believers.
2. The power of energetic force.
· Ephesians 4:19—…according to the working…
Working is from energeo. This means "the release of energy that puts something into operation." It is the dunamis kind of power put into action. It is the operation of the dynamo. The energy of which this word speaks was released in the resurrection of Christ. Now it is available for believers.
These passages in the New Testament using the word are revelations of how the power of God can work. See Ephesians 1:11; 1:20; 3:20; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29; I Thessalonians 2:13.
One more amazing verse is James 5:16 where the word is translated effectual. Very clearly, the verse says, "Much strong praying of a righteous man becomes an energizing force." Prayer is the putting into operation of the dynamic power of God.
3. The power of government.
· Ephesians 4:19—…of the might…
Might is from kratos. This also means "strength," but it is the strength that enables one to subdue another or to have dominion. It is the strength of government. It is prominent in the formation of our English word democracy, meaning governmental strength in the hands of the common people. It can also be found in theocracy, governmental strength in the hands of God. In relation to the Kingdom, it is the strength of God’s government as it is released in the lives of believers.
Jesus spoke of this kind of strength in John 20:23 when He said, Whosoever sins you retain they are retained. Here He was saying that Spirit filled believers may take dominion over the strongholds of sin in the lives of others.
4. The power of muscle strength.
· Ephesians 4:19—... of His power…
This time power is from ischuos. It is the power of muscle strength, the power of a strong man.
Jesus spoke of this kind of power in Matthew 12:29 when He told of entering the house of the strong man and spoiling his goods. It’s the word strong. Satan had a certain power, a "muscle strength" that he liked to show around Jesus. But Jesus had more. Now, the muscle strength of the resurrection is released for our lives. We need have no fear of Satan’s oppression.
On and on we could go. It is not possible to ever finish speaking of the power of God, or how it will work in His kingdom. But there is something we can speak with finality: His power is available, and it is available to work in our lives.
It is especially available to work in response to the prayers of an intercessor.
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