The enemy of Life is always constructing a false wall just next to the real one. His tactic is to get people working on the wrong wall! This can be very close to the true or real wall–look like it, and even use some of the stones from the actual wall. But we must discern which is which and be building the true wall, and we need to be working on the part of that wall which is ours to mend.
I use the symbol of wall, referring to the wall that was being restored around Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah. This wall represented the protection of unity around a rebuilt Jerusalem. The wall to me represents unity. So the enemy will build false unity, and false ordering or links, and false ideas about unity, which may look and sound very similar to real spiritual unity. In Nehemiah’s time, you see that particular families and tribes were assigned to specific parts of the wall which was being rebuilt. This was in the time of restoration of Jerusalem. It was important to know exactly which part of the wall each family was meant to be working on, because God was symbolizing His own order of restoration.
These times we live in now are also about restoration. What happens when the enemy gets us working on the wrong wall entirely, or the wrong part of the wall, is confusion for us, and, ultimately a misrepresentation of God. Another problem is those working on true unity, get separated from those who are deceived by the false wall. Unfortunately, those working on true unity, or God’s wall of unity and restoration, often then are missing the needed support from those who are building the false wall.
The enemy counterfeits the real things of God, and gets us to focus on the counterfeit instead of God. These can be counterfeit conversations or discussions, very close to the one’s God is actually having. I think for example, God is thinking about the environment and stewardship of the earth right now. It is one of His global conversations. But the enemy has created a similar but slightly skewed conversation about the same subject, and has got people debating within his categories.This is the enemy as an angel of light–where everything looks similar, but something is fishy about it–something doesn’t smell right.
I feel this happening in several conversations the church is currently having. If the enemy can get us speaking in his categories, we will miss the true conversation God is having, which is usually just behind or very near that counterfeit conversation.
Another example, I think that in our time, God is asking the question: what is My Church. It is a deep question that He wants us to embody an answer to in our hearts. But the enemy has got us talking about surfaces and forms–institutional verses tribal etc. The real question is not answered in these categories, and can’t really be talked about within them. The question is ultimately a metaphysical one and requires us to go deeper into the bosom of the Father in order to know. We must come to see His Church through His Eyes, and His categories of perception, and then we will know what or rather who she is! And we will also love her through His Heart.
The problem is once we start thinking in the enemy’s categories, we are blocked from the very Reality God is inviting us into! This happens over and over, and is one of the ways of the enemy.
For these reasons it is essential to know what God is actually forming in your life, and which season you are in spiritually. What developmental stage are you in, or what part of His Story? This story is of course also connected to the story of His Church.
To switch metaphores into the time of Joshua (which I believe is the story of our times), it is essential to know where you are in that story. Are you still crossing the Jordan? Are you already in the lands of inheritance and possessing and cultivating them. Are you helping people get over? For this is also the larger story of where the church is at.
Specifically, i think the global church is now at that place in the story of circumcision–cutting off the carnal nature as a preparation for going in and possessing its promised lands. It is a good sign that this circumcision is taking place-even hopeful; it means she is very near entering the lands she is meant to be cultivating! Some in the larger Body are still preparing to cross over the Jordan, some like the Levites, have started to go in and possess the land. Knowing where each of us is in this story, is essential, so that God can represent Himself accurately. We are His signs, His Symbols of what He is up to for the larger world. Just as the Jews were a symbol of what God was up to in heaven in the times of Moses and Joshua.
Contextualizing your own journey within the story of the global church is often very helpful to give you a clearer map of your location, and which parts He is forming within your own life. It keeps you working on what is your seasonal mission. What He has you doing right now. What lands is God wanting to take and cultivate in your own life, and what lands is asking you to go and possess and cultivate in your sphere of influence or domain. It is more efficient when you know exactly the contours of your current land, and which parts He is asking you to cultivate.
I think the global church’s current refinement is indeed in the area of carnality. But if you examine the Joshua story, you see that this is exactly when circumcision took place. It was a preparation to go in a possess the new lands. In this way, it is a good sign that the Church is being refined right now. It is not random, but part of God’s narrative. That carnal nature is being cut off, so that the people will be ready to possess their inheritance. We are coming into a time of possessing and cultivating new lands in our personal and collective lives. This means that more of His Kingdom is pressing into these areas where people have said yes, and having crossed their personal Jordan River, are going in and making the lands fruitful, within the specific shapes and contours of their particular plot of land.
Lastly, since in this book of Joshua, the people are given a mandate to cross over and possess the land, they could not be focusing on one another’s faults. They needed to be focused on God and moving further towards their inheritance.
Another way of the enemy is to get us focused either on our own sinful nature, or on other’s, so that we loose focus on God, and so that we stop moving forward towards our inheritance–which is ultimately His!
These people were also commanded to go and claim the “pleasant lines” of their inheritance. Not just to war and grumble with one another, but to actually find those PLEASANT lines. To be a gate for His Kingdom to come, and particularly to come into the specific and pleasant domains each of us is uniquely given to occupy, is God’s great desire for each of us! We should enjoy finding these pleasant contours of the lands God is giving us seasonally to bear fruit on! Now that is a pleasant mandate!
I pray in this season we do not fall prey to the enemy’s counterfeits, and that we find instead our specific lands, our unique part of the wall of His city, which was prepared beforehand for us to partner with Him in restoring, and the particularly pleasant lines of our wonderful inheritances in God! I also pray that we are able to locate ourselves on His map of our lives!