Years ago I sensed the Lord tell me, “Steve, your prayers and your beliefs are opposed to each other. You believe for great kingdom advancement in the prayer meeting, but believe the devil will advance his purposes on earth more than God is advancing His. You are positive during the time of prayer, but pessimistic after prayer. You actually expect things to get worse on earth. Why is this?”
“Lord, that is a good question. Let me think about this.”
After pondering this through the years, I have come to the conclusion these are the reasons why I expected things to get worse on earth as time moved forward:
- Not Understanding the Fruits of Kingdom Advancement – Jesus instructed us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Our assignment is to believe for heaven’s benefits to invade earth, lessening the curses being experienced on earth! As the kingdom advances, these things will decrease: poverty, sickness, disasters, mental disease, divorce, infant mortality, racism, addictions, accidents, etc. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 gives us great insight on what to expect as we see the kingdom advance.
- Believing Things Are Supposed to Get Worse on Earth in the End Times – If we believe this, we will be neutralized to pray “on earth as it is in heaven” prayers of faith. Most Christians in my generation have been negatively impacted by an “escape from earth” eschatology concerning the end times. This has worked against us understanding kingdom perspectives in significant ways. If you want to establish yourself in a more hopeful end-time theology, I suggest you start with the book Kingdom Horizon by Robert Fraser.
- Overemphasizing the Power of the Devil – Many Christians have beliefs that actually attract unnecessary spiritual warfare. “If I am not under attack, I must not be a threat to the devil,” “Higher levels, higher devils.” Remember, kingdom advancement will bring greater peace and safety (I Timothy 2:1-4). Certainly martyrs, who are at the beginning point of kingdom advancement experience the ultimate persecution, but it will get less and less from that point on. We are to believe for increased protection as our spiritual journey continues. If, however, we are believing for demonic attack, we will experience it at levels never intended for us.
- Not Believing Things Are Actually Getting Better on Earth – Only those who take a very short term view of history would actually believe things have been getting worse. During the last few hundred years, the major indicators for kingdom advancement have been improving. In our next blog, we will share some of these.
Should we expect things to get worse on earth? No! If we do, we will actually be part of the problem by unwittingly prophesying problems that kingdom advancers will have to work against.
Expect more on this topic in coming weeks.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.