Spiritual Warfare requires a spiritual supply. It is important that we understand where our spiritual supply comes from so we can remain well equipped and strong for the fight.
One of the first tactics we see used in natural warfare is the disruption and destruction of enemy supply chains. If we can keep the enemy from being supplied with weapons, ammunition, food, and medical supplies, they soon become weak and incapable of continuing the fight. Satan uses the same tactics.
We know that God is our source of supply (Philippians 4:19), but what method (supply chain) does the Lord primarily use to keep us equipped and battle ready? Ephesians 4 gives us clear understanding about how and where our supply comes from.
Ephesians 4:16 from whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
I think most of us understand that God uses the human body as an example of how the body of Christ works. With that in mind, consider what a joint is. It is not a body part, but the connection between the parts. It is the joining of one or more parts together. The “joint” that Ephesians is talking about is the relationship between the parts. We are “joined and knit together” by what every relationship (joint) supplies.
Oh, how we have been guilty of taking for granted the relationships in our lives. The supply from the Spirit of God comes primarily through the relationships we have with others, believers and non-believers alike. This is why we must guard and value ALL relationships.
The supply of the “joint” will cause growth and edification to the body according to the effective working of every part doing its share. If we have a healthy relationship with the Lord and we are pursuing His kingdom with all our being, we become a source of light and supply to our entire circle of influence.
So, what if we, the parts, are not “effectively working?” What if we are hurt, confused, misunderstood, or deceived? What if we are angry, bitter, and jealous toward the other parts? What if we are simply the wrong part in the wrong place?
If we are ignorant of how this works and don’t put enough emphasis on the importance of relationships, we will make it all about how each part is functioning or not functioning at the expense of straining, or even breaking relationships. What if we make it all about our part, our function, our purpose, and our calling, exaggerating the importance of our part to the body and despise the other parts, not allowing them to function, develop and bring their supply?
What if we simply hate the part that God designed us to be, not understanding the beauty of our own identity in Christ? It is easy to see how the enemy has deceived us in these areas.
1 Corinthians gives us some insight into how all this works.
1 Corinthians 12: 12-26 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
In our physical bodies, when there is pain and injury to any joint, it affects all the surrounding parts. It limits mobility, reduces overall strength, and severely limits the function of all the surrounding parts. It is the same with the Body of Christ.
Some of the most important relationships (joints) we have are with “the five fold ministry gifts.” Every ministry gift has a different expression, a different function, and a different assignment, but they all have the same purpose; Equipping the saints for the work of ministry. When we do not have healthy relationships with the ministry gifts of Christ we are hindered from being properly equipped for ministry.
One of the reasons we don’t see the level of signs and wonders in the Church that we see in the Bible is because we have moved away from God’s ordained structure of government. When God’s government is out of order and we don’t have much exposure to apostles, prophets and evangelists, we become well equipped to teach and pastor, but ill equipped to function in kingdom authority with demonstration and power. Without relationship with ALL these five gifts we will never be fully equipped to represent the kingdom of God with demonstration and power.
Ephesians 4:11-16 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
For those of us that are hungry for God, we know in our hearts there is so much more available to us than we experiencing. The Church’s witness has been shaded and powerless and we all know it! Could this be from not understanding the function and importance of our relationships? Could this be a result of not understanding God’s government and not holding to His original design? It is important for us to be exposed to all five of the ministry gifts because they all equip in different ways. We need better understanding in these things.
It is no accident that the ministry of the apostle and prophet is no longer recognized by many denominations. Apostles and prophets help equip the church with power and prepare her for what is coming. The last thing the enemy wants is for his plans to be exposed in advance and the Church be equipped to smash those plans and destroy his works.
Satan deceives the Church with things like denominational preferences, racial divisions, political differences, and doctrinal disagreements to keep us weak, ill equipped, and ineffective. He attacks the body of Christ to damage the joints, straining and breaking relationships to cut off our supply of the Spirit. The unity of the faith is what the devil is trying to prevent. (Ephesians 4:13)
All relationships are important, even the ones that challenge us. Every relationship is a gift, an opportunity, and a garden to sow and reap from.
Remember this; the garden we sow into may not be the garden we reap from. We are so interconnected as a body of believers that our prayers can effect the body of Christ on the other side of the planet. We are more connected than water, more than the molecules that make up water. It is important to nurture and protect every relationship, retaining our influence and connectivity by preferring the other parts and protecting the joints.
When we yield to the love of God and seek the betterment of the other parts, it strengthens relationships and enables the Holy Spirit to come alongside, making us exceedingly more than the sum of all the parts. It allows God to move in us and through us freely, producing an expression of Christ that the world cannot deny or ignore.
Think about the human arm. There are 17 joints connecting over 30 parts from the shoulder to the fingers. If elbow joint become compromised it effects the strength and function of the entire arm and hand. What about a knee joint? If the joint is healthy it helps the entire body walk, run, carry heavy loads, etc. But if that joint is hurt or strained, it hinders mobility, progress, and overall strength and function of the rest of the body. Relationships are the very same way.
Here is another passage that confirms this truth.
Colossians 2:18-19 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
Notice again that it is joints and ligaments that bring nourishment, unity and growth as long as we hold fast to Christ. Ligaments are only found in joints. They help keep the joint strong and hold the parts together. I believe that the ligaments represent the fruits of the Spirit. When the fruits of the Spirit abound in our relationships it brings life and health to the joints and brings strength and health to the surrounding parts.
The most important joint we must protect is the one that connects us to the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ.
The level of supply, nourishment and unity experienced through our relationships with others is a reflection of our relationship with the Head. If we don’t have a healthy, intimate relationship with our Father, we won’t have healthy relationships with others. It is imperative we spend time with our Father, beholding Him so we can be more like Him. When we give every fiber of our being to nurturing and developing this relationship, all other relationships easily fall into proper place. The perfecting of all relationships begins with our personal devotion to the Head.
Imagine all the body parts sharing their strengths and abilities with all the adjoining parts, bringing their supply in love and humility. There is something in that exchange that honors God, something supernatural, inviting Holy Spirit to provide what is needed for growth and edification.
We must have the mindset of peace makers. Lets all join in God’s work to be a blessing to everyone we are in relationship with, the saved and unsaved alike.
Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
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