Advance. We were meant for more than stalemate.
Often times we live in a state of defeatism. Maybe it is as insignificant as the looming grey of: laundry that is never finished, a sink of dishes that fills up three times a day, paperwork that stacks up, bills that always need paid, vacations that never come, diapers that always need changed or cars that always need fixed. Or maybe it is more complicated issues that seem to drain us of our will to move forward: lost jobs, serious illness, homelessness, estranged family, mental illness, learning disorders, or even death. Sometimes we just feel like any motion forward is a step back and we find ourselves in a suspended stall pattern or at stalemate with the enemy of our joy.
First it is important that we get our enemy rightly named. God is not our enemy nor does he create situations to harm or hurt his children. Many times I see people struggling with the idea that, “if God is love, than why?” The truth is that God is good and there is no evil in him. Our enemy is the one that says anything in opposition to that one beautiful truth that “God is good!” It was the first lie in the garden, it was an accusation of God’s goodness and it was a trick to steal our birthright.
A story in the bible that I have never really examined much is the story of Jacob and Esau. In this story the son with the birthright, to the entire inheritance of his father was tricked into trading his birthright for a bowl of soup to his less favored brother. I never really understood why even a famished person would be so foolish as to give up his entire wealth for something so small. If his brother refused to feed him, why didn’t he just go to his loving father for food? But I can see that this story is more about the foolish nature of men than anything else.
First we are tempted, by the sight, the smell, the touch of that which is, in the moment, so very desirable. Second we are unaware of the worth of our birthright. And third we are unaware of the advantage and the importance of the authority we have.
Our father has given us something of great value beyond any other treasure. It was taken from us in the garden and restored to us on the cross, and yet we still have so little understanding of its immeasurable value and power. Although the enemy has no legal claim on our inheritance it does not mean that he will not try to trick us out of it, steal it or try to convince us to lay it down in surrender. But we must not allow our inheritance and authority to be so easily taken from us. If it took a crucifixion to once and for all reclaim our birthright than we must never treat God’s sacrifice with such contempt as to devalue the prize of our crucified and resurrected Savior!
God says that the same power that rose Christ from the grave, is living in us! Whether it is the grey cloud of a monotonous task or the overwhelming disease that has no cure, we have been given all authority under heaven to conquer in Jesus name. I believe and I will stand on this truth that I am more than a conquer in Jesus. But unfortunately most of us are living a defeated life of less than a conqueror.
How do we claim our rights as sons and daughters of a King who wants us to be restored to our inheritance and authority? First we recognize our failures to be enough on our own and ask forgiveness. Second we ask Him to be the very thing we need in our lives; our Savior and our God. And third we accept the authority given to us by Him and walk in the power of a surrendered life to His covenants, promises, and plans. As the scripture says: If God is for us, then who can be against us. No weapon formed against us shall stand.
Are you in stalemate? Stale mate is chess terminology meaning there is no move to make where you can win. Do you feel like life, or the enemy of your life, has you backed into a corner? How can we be better aware of the strategy that gets us not only free, but winning the way God intended.
In worship the other day God showed me a visual of the earth as a chess board and the pieces were advancing in patterns that were making a difference in this world. I saw the worshipers of God on the front lines and they were laying down their lives in surrender to God’s plan knowing that Christ was at one time a servant to all and as he advanced in total surrender to God’s plans even unto death he went through that Valley to emerge not a servant but a king! In chess when a pawn makes it to the other side of the board he is what they call promoted. At this time he can be upgraded to the most powerful piece on the chessboard. He becomes royal and can move in power over the whole board. He had the enemy at check mate on the cross and we have the advantage of our birthright in Him. We must advance, because there are so many who don’t even know that they have a BIRTHRIGHT. No more stalemate! We need to know the calling’s, gifting’s and talents he has given to us in order to advance.
I feel as though God said we are all pawns at some level and that we are called to worship and serve the King but that there are some very special pieces on the board. These people, I believe are the ones who have been awakened to the fight and are ready to answer the call.
Pawns are unusual because they move and capture in different ways: they move forward, but capture diagonally. Pawns can only move forward one square at a time, except for their very first move where they can move forward two squares. Pawns can only capture one square diagonally in front of them. They can never move or capture backwards. If there is another piece directly in front of a pawn he cannot move past or capture that piece.
I believe that Worshipers are the pawns, throughout the Old Testament when God wanted to win a battle for His people, He often called in the worshipers! They would go out in worship and spiritually a battle would ensue that could accomplish more than a physical battle, and be won for the glory of God. The people who lead us in worship are on the front lines and are often attacked by the enemy because of the stance that they take to lead the rest of God’s people into the fight. As close as they get to confronting the enemy, I find it a thing of beauty that they are not able to be taken head on and can only be captured from a blind spot. This is also a great opportunity for the other pieces like the Bishops (intercessors) to guard those blind spots. It is also important to note that these pieces are not created to move backwards, they are the titans of advancing and will feel frustrated if they feel as though they are being pushed back.
The Rook (The Castle)
The rook may move as far as it wants, but only forward, backward, and to the sides. The rooks are particularly powerful pieces when they are protecting each other and working together!
The castle is a strong fortress and was always my favorite piece, I believe these pieces are very intimidating to the enemy and he can see them coming from a long ways away. They are not hidden and I feel as though this describes the leadership roles of the church, the teachers, the preachers, the evangelists. These pieces are not just intimidation for the enemy but security for all the other pieces on the board, they can see the strong towers and pillars of faith and the other pieces can in confidence follow and flow in the callings they were designed to be because at any moment they can look around and see that they are not alone. Accountability is also a vital thing to recognize for these pieces, they are more powerful when working in pairs to watch each others back.
The bishop may move as far as it wants, but only diagonally. Each bishop starts on one color (light or dark) and must always stay on that color. Bishops work well together because they cover up each other’s weaknesses.
I feel as though I am learning to be a Bishop. Bishops are the prophetically gifted and the Intercessors of the church. I say this because they can see things in blind spots and they move diagonally. Often times the enemy hits in our blind spot but God has gifted some of us to see the attack before it happens. A word of encouragement, a prayer for protection, a healing touch, an anointed move that in turn prevents damage and restores the stolen advantage.
Knights move in a very different way from the other pieces – going two squares in one direction, and then one more move at a 90 degree angle, just like the shape of an “L”. Knights are also the only pieces that can move over other pieces
These are the Service Gifting’s. Hospitality, Encouragement, Exhortation, Giving, Helps, Mercy and so on. These pieces are the hands and feet of the Lord’s work, the movers and shakers and are able to just get in there and spread the love of Jesus no matter where they are or who they are. They are the only piece that can move around both the obstacles of the enemy and the congestion of the rest of the body of Christ. They can move in and out of places that others cannot and they are effective in rescuing the lost in unconventional ways. The knight doesn’t move like any of the rest of the pieces and cannot be expected to but without them the productivity of love is hindered.
One thing that I love about this analogy is that each piece is not only an offensive player but a defensive player, protecting the other pieces on the board. If our Rook is in danger our Bishop can advance in prayer to provide coverage. We are all a part of the kingdom of God and although we have different strengths and weaknesses, together we are strong. And together we can bring glory to the king and destroy the works of the enemy, uncovering the eyes of those who do not see the inheritance before them, and waking up the ancient purposes of God that have remained dormant in the hearts of men too long! We are to advance! Not shutter in fear of destruction, but to be the destroyer of the enemies’ plans and purposes, bringing freedom to the captives!
It is possible that if we feel as though we are not moving forward it is because we are not the piece that we thought we were. God might have created you to be a Rook or Bishop or Knight, or maybe a Pawn. But if we try to move in a calling that is not our own we will not be effective. Not only do we need to be active in the proper gifting’s but we need to be in the proper space on the board. The importance of knowing our gift is just as vital as the location of our hearts in that gift. It is our hearts that are often miss located more than our feet. I struggled with several callings that weren’t mine all while rejecting callings that were.
A calling can be a prison or a palace depending on the location of your heart’s desire in that thing. If we surrender our hearts to God’s calling and unlike the brother who sold his calling for a bowl of soup, we see the value in it. We can then be blessed instead of cursed in that area. I am mom of four and my home can often feel more like an insane asylum than a place of growth and nurturing. But there is so much wealth and authority when you let God open your eyes to the value of what He has given you. It starts with Thanksgiving, and repentance for disvaluing what he has called important. It then turns into Praise and appreciation for allowing us to be chosen. And then it turns into victory!
We are all given a place in God’s Kingdom, some of us are living it in fullness, some of us are struggling with our role or space, and some of us are in the corner hoping that we never have to move. But we are not called into stalemate, we are called into the authority and royalty of God’s kingdom. The moment we surrender it all to Him is the moment we live a fulfilling and satisfying life, free from fear, full of love and guided by his voice and intimate presence.