Morris E. Ruddick of Global Initiatives Foundation has a powerful and much-needed exhortation for new recruits in the widely expanding realm of intercessory prayer. Even seasoned warriors find themselves today worn out, as the prophet Daniel said , admittedly overwhelmed by the endless missiles that the enemy tirelessly hurls. If we don’t know how to navigate through the mine field, we can become distracted, exhausted, and frustrated–or be sidelined completely. The original article, entitled “Spiritual Entanglements” offers sound advice and exhortation regarding the snares that threaten us as individuals, as well as whole teams of intercessors who are answering Messiah’s end-time call. I found Ruddick’s’ thoughtful admonitions, though originally post in 2012, highly useful and timely. If we are to rise to the authority in which the Messiah desires us to walk, to trample on serpents and scorpions, perhaps we should consider the golden handcuffs, fleshly zeal, hidden agendas, and other not-so-easy-to-identify tactics of the enemy designed to sidetrack the saints. Part of our training is to learn to be “as shrewd as snakes” to avoid costly and time-wasting pitfalls.
Thanks for stopping by today!
Morris E. Ruddick May 6, 2012
“Look, I’m sending you out as sheep among wolves; so be wary and wise as serpents, but as innocent as doves, harmless and without pretense. Be wary of men who will betray you; but know, this will yield opportunity, so do not be anxious, for what you say will be given to you by the Holy Spirit.” Matt 10:16-20 NLT
One of the enemy’s most crafty and deadly strategies is that of entanglements. Entanglements are subtle, deceptive; swift in their efforts to infiltrate and calculated to release destruction.
Entanglements are designed to confuse, distract and divert the Body. They keep the Body spinning its wheels on minor issues; diverted from the strategic and the essentials; and preoccupied with crises programmed in the pit of hell. Entanglements are part of the enemy’s game plan to keep the Body on the defensive, while progressively probing and penetrating vulnerabilities to undermine the work of the Kingdom.
In his quest for power, the enemy gives focus to embedding his minions in seats of power in government, business and religious institutions. Yet, hell recoils when Spirit-led believers who operate in God’s authority penetrate “seats of power.” The enemy’s aim is to deceive believers into diverting, re-directing or even bequeathing God-given power and anointing to his efforts.
The Release of Mighty Warriors
Nevertheless, a shift is underway. We have passed the time marked by the pioneers penetrating territory the enemy once considered to be his own. A growing swath from the Body is being tasked from on high with unusual, strategic-level Kingdom assignments. These are the mighty warriors who operate in power to infiltrate enemy-held territory and take dominion. These mighty warriors are highly committed and prepared elements of the Body to whom the Lord is pouring out greater revelation and power. They represent segments of the Body the enemy seeks to identify and target with his entanglement strategies.
With the release of these mighty warriors will come greater clarity and strategic vision tied to the spiritual realities of this season. The Lord is bringing His Light into areas of darkness and exposing deceit, duplicity and intrigue. He is uncovering that which is hidden. Indeed, “Lift up the standard on the bare hill; raise your voice to them … enter the doors of the nobles; for the Lord has commanded His consecrated ones, He has even called His mighty warriors. The Lord is mustering His army for battle.” Isaiah 13: 3-4
Yet, as the enemy’s lairs are being penetrated, the Body needs to be alerted and begin anticipating, circumventing, unraveling and confronting the enemy’s entanglement strategies; strategies and snares the enemy has been employing to entice, enshroud and entrap those strategically advancing the Kingdom of God.
The Dynamics of Entanglement Strategies
Understanding the dynamics of entanglement strategies begins with insights drawn from the root word “tangle” from the American Heritage dictionary.
tan-gle (týng”g…l) v. tan-gled, tan-gling, tan-gles. –tr. 1. To mix together or intertwine in a confused mass; snarl. 2. To involve in hampering or awkward complications; entangle. 3. To catch and hold in or as if in a net; entrap. See Synonyms at catch. –intr. 1. To be or become entangled. 2. Informal. To enter into argument, dispute, or conflict: tangled with the law. –tan-gle n. 1. A confused, intertwined mass. 2. A jumbled or confused state or condition. 3. A state of bewilderment.
en-tan-gle (æn-týng”g…l) tr.v. en-tan-gled, en-tan-gling, en-tan-gles. 1. To twist together or entwine into a confusing mass; snarl. 2. To complicate; confuse. 3. To involve in or as if in a tangle.
Unholy Alliances. Entanglements may involve unholy alliances: alliances that appear on the surface as being of benefit to the Body, but which in reality reflect infiltrators or compromisers who are undermining the Lord’s initiatives. The alliance between King Xerxes (during the time of Queen Esther) and his Prime Minister Haman is an illustration. Likewise, the impact that the sons of Eli had on Israel (the sons of Eli were vile because they despised the offerings and worship of the Lord), resulted in the Lord’s purposes in that day being hindered; and Eli being severely judged by the Lord.
The Appearance of Good. Entanglements can too often carry an enticement because they are entwined with the appearance of good. Yet, their impact will serve to undermine agendas pertinent to the purposes of God. By drawing attention to a tactical flaw, they obscure and create damage to key strategic purposes. The Word of God speaks of not calling evil good or good evil. Entanglements make mountains out of mole hills and are marked by perverse, deceptive masks that are designed to undermine strategies that truly advance the Kingdom. The appearance of good can often reflect uneven playing fields; situations in which the decks are stacked and reality distorted. They reek with perverted perceptions of reality and release confusion. They reflect “hidden agendas” in need of being uncovered or brought to light.
Misguided Zeal. Passions that fail to be tempered by the presence and wisdom of God hold the potential of inadvertently being used by the evil one. Zeal without knowledge results in a pattern of subtle compromise. Misguided zeal typically is strongly lacking in honor. Misguided zeal is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. A zealous believer on the right track who demonstrates an overt pattern of compromise is not worthy of the anointing. Pursuing a good thing for unrighteous gain can give entrance to all the unrighteous zeal tied to blatant alliances with mammon. Misguided tongues that speak of what they don’t know or that promulgate deceit and lies become a quicksand of entanglements and other destructive venues.
Spiritual Hyperextensions. Hyperextensions go beyond what the design calls for. Rather than a keen focus on the unique gift and calling of the individual, far too many are seduced to outside the spheres of their callings by the aura of success. The result creates activities that creep farther and farther from the purpose of the unique anointing and calling from God and a digression into arenas that are snares and entrapments. In a word, spiritual hyperextensions simultaneously dilute the purpose of the calling, while creating unnecessary damage.
Dependency on Inadequate or Outdated Models. Like spiritual hyperextensions, success becomes as a snare, when the modus operandi replaces the process of seeking and hearing God. In the economy of God, the model is the gateway rather than being an end unto itself. It is the gateway into the interactive process with God whereby we discern God’s heart, purposes and revelation for the situation. Moses never stopped seeking God when difficult situations arose. Even when David made bad calls on decisions, he knew enough to return, repent and inquire of the Lord.
In a word, entanglements typically are not what they appear to be. They are implanted threads of deceit that are “innocently” activated with links that spread their impact to other situations and unsuspecting victims.
Where entanglement strategies have become embedded in the operations of ministry pursuits, high levels of seduction and manipulation will be in evidence. Those advancing entanglement strategies digress into being masters of deceit. Seduction tends to attract others of a kindred spirit, for both the purpose of unholy alliances, as well as to extend the steps in the seductive process. Entanglements will typically be both enshrouded and enmeshed with religious spirits; spirits designed to create smokescreens or masks to divert attention from the genuine issues at work; and the underlying, hidden schemes of a much more pervasive principality.
Spiritual Solutions to Entanglements
More of the same harder is no longer enough. There was a time when determination, a genuine talent, coupled with the zeal of a “wing and a prayer” would eventually achieve the results that overcame devilish obstacles. The bar has been raised.
The model that allowed entrance for a new thing in the 70’s now involves a standard requiring much more to accomplish the purposes of God; much, much more. The model is not a new one. It’s one that Jesus spoke about again and again during His earthly ministry. It is the Kingdom model. It pivots on the premise of Jesus’ words: “The Son can do nothing by Himself, He can do only what He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does also.” “Yet to your amazement, I will show you greater things than these. I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father.” John 5:19,20; John 15:5,7
Being one who advances the Kingdom in these perilous days begins with the cloak of humility that recognizes that our human effort falls short. Spiritual pride is a trap that will distort and even undermine the best of intentions. Rather than the after-thought of the wing and prayer, the core to our modus operandi has to pivot on entering His presence and maintaining steps reflective of His rest and His flow.
When entanglements are identified, caution needs to be heeded in not reacting to cursory evaluations, especially those of “pat answers” and superficial renderings. Entanglement strategies DEMAND a spiritual solution. Being right is not enough. Without a spiritual solution, efforts to disengage from the entanglement snares, like the struggle to escape from a web, will only compound things and make them worse.
Responding to Multi-Layered Entanglements. When entanglements come, great discernment, wisdom and Spirit-led self-control is needed. Not unlike the computer Love Virus in year 2000, over-reactions to these spiritual entanglements can prove very damaging. The enemy’s multi-layered entanglement strategies parallel the subtle, dormant viruses which are activated after the “mainstream” virus has been identified and eliminated. When entanglements are identified, it is a time to pause and press into the Lord. It is a time to ask for His Light to not only shine on the situation; but to penetrate into the “layers of the enemy’s schemes.” Identifying the surface level of a particular entanglement may only be a preliminary step or even a trap.
One of the most effectual means of responding to the confusion and illusiveness of entanglements is outlined in the story of Job. Scripture indicates that the Lord considered Job as a righteous man. Yet, in a series of sudden mishaps, Job lost his wealth, his health and his family. As Job was experiencing an all-time low in his life and was grasping for meaning to it all, a group of friends paid him a visit. His friends were of the ilk that sought to identify the flaws in Job in order to explain his circumstance.
Yet, over and over in scripture, the Lord saves judgment as the last resort; and responds with judgment only when there is unbending reprobation. Jesus Himself said that He came not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved. He also said, “I desire mercy over sacrifice, for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matt 9:13) Premature judgment is not God’s foundational creative nature. The glib pontifications of Job’s friends took a horrible situation and made it worse. Yet, because Job was a righteous man, he received a fresh revelation of His knowledge of God. The Lord then spoke a very clear word to Job, with the key to the multiplied restoration of all he had lost: “Pray for your friends.”
Reckless judgment is very displeasing to the Lord. Fortunately for Job’s friends, Job was not a man with a hard heart; and he did pray FOR his friends. So it may be for many. Untenable situations designed by Satan for our destruction are being compounded and extended by pontificators whose spiritual maturity is likened to that of Job’s friends. Many among the righteous have become bound by entanglements set in motion by finger-pointers — and the gateway for release is by praying FOR those who have spoken against them — which is not an exercise an unregenerate spirit is particularly inclined to do.
Yet, the Kingdom is based on paradoxes, as outlined by Jesus. We live by dying. We advance by yielding. We bless those who curse us and pray for our enemies. The pathway into holiness is discerning God’s voice in applying these paradoxes and sometimes taking the course that appears as walking into the fire. Holiness is not a Christian self-improvement program, but the connection we have with the Lord that enables entrance into His rest and abiding presence. It was this mode, by which Job transcended his reversals and moved into an entirely new dimension in His knowledge of God and the role God had for the latter days of his life.
Waiting on God’s Revelation and Timing. In discerning the voice of the Lord, we need to be willing to wait before the Lord for His “full revelation” — which may include multiple layers as well, and then — His release, and then — His strategies before moving against the enemy’s schemes. The temptation is to move too quickly after receiving only a “preliminary layer” to the revelation we need; to move prematurely before getting the Lord’s strategy for the situation; or simply to be blind to his timing and release to move.
Waiting on the precision of God’s timing to move will bring awesome results. We have entered a time in which the execution of God’s strategies — especially the dismantling of deep-seated enemy emplacements — will have a suddenness to it. It will be a suddenness, precision and power that are preceded by the Terror of the Lord; a suddenness and precision and power that the enemy cannot gainsay nor resist. However, that “suddenness” will always follow a high-level type of preparation and waiting on the Lord. Presumption and a near-magic forcing of solutions can never take the place of the supernatural power and authority that operates when God is fully embraced and the solution comes as the result of His clear guidance.
Maintaining the Sphere of the Calling. The Lord has prepared and continues to prepare segments of the Body in different spheres as those who will bypass the enemy’s entrapments and entanglements and begin taking dominion. However, stepping outside that sphere can be unnecessarily costly. The key is to understand and operate within the sphere and authority of the calling, as well as the strategies needed to avoid the enemy’s snares. Those who avoid presumption and maintain the position of their sphere can count on the power and presence of the Lord being with them as they advance past enemy-held gates to take dominion, just as the Angel of the Lord preceded Joshua into the Promised Land.
Discerning Strategic Alliances versus Unholy Alliances. Entanglements have been designed to undermine genuine strategic alliances. Especially targeted are alliances associated with the transfer of the world’s wealth destined to undergird the Lord’s initiatives in the restoration of Israel; in His compassion to touch the oppressed, hungry and afflicted; and as the Lord sovereignly brings forth a mighty spiritual awakening across the earth. Many powerful, strategic Kingdom initiatives are being released in this day; with the enemy defensively attempting to implant entanglements. Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day illustrates this. As Nehemiah mobilized God’s people and the work began, scripture tells us that Sanballat and his cohorts were extremely angry and began plotting with compromise, deceit and treachery.
So it was and now is that deceit and treachery not only will be in evidence in the enemy’s schemes against genuine agendas from the Lord, but will be a pattern manifested in the counterfeits to the God-ordained alliances of our day. These counterfeit alliances; or unholy alliances will be found embedded with infiltrators within ministry circles. Unholy alliances initially appear good on the surface, but bring devastating results.
The alliance between Jehoshaphat and Ahab is just such an example. The initial result of this alliance reflected the appearance of benefit to both kingdoms. Years of conflict between Judah and Israel had come to an end and both kingdoms were strengthened. However, the alliance involved a marriage between Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram and Ahab’s daughter Athaliah. Athaliah’s influence in Judah proved to be horrific. Entanglements are the enemy’s strategies to create smokescreens that mask and diffuse God-ordained purposes, with the enemy’s long range plans implanted for devastation against God’s people.
There is often a delicacy in discerning between unholy alliances and genuine strategic alliances. Again and again, the Lord has ordained strategic alliances to accomplish His redemptive purposes. Clear examples throughout scripture illustrate how the Lord has used the Pharaohs and King Cyruses in pivotal, redemptive strategic alliances to harness resources and open gateways for His people. Yet, far too many well intentioned believers tend to misinterpret alliances with modern-day Cyruses and Pharaohs as being the result of being unequally yoked with non-believers. Joseph’s role with Pharaoh was certainly completely unorthodox according to the religious tradition of his day. The key is in penetrating worldly settings with righteous power.
Unveiling Kingdom Strategies and the Power of God. In the days before us, standalone responses will fall short. Alliances and coalitions will emerge among those with clearly defined spheres. Collaborations between ministries, between businesses and ministries, as well as between education, governmental entities and business-ministries will mark the advance of the Kingdom. While these efforts will not go unopposed, they will result in confrontations that hold the potential of unseating and defrocking those opposing the advance of His Kingdom.
“Then Saul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at the sorcerer and said: ‘You who are full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing for a time.’” Acts 13:6
On Paul’s first missionary journey in Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas were called to minister to a high-level official open to the truth. However, a man in an equally high position with this proconsul opposed their efforts. He was described as both a false prophet and a sorcerer; indicating his reception by the innocent as a powerful religious man. Not unlike the enemy’s gatekeepers of today, Elymas the sorcerer’s devious work was deeply embedded in this seat of power.
Paul’s response to Elymas’ attempt to impede the work of the Lord was to unmask him for what he was and was doing: as a son of the devil, perverting the straight ways of the Lord through fraud and deceit. Paul then immobilized him through the demonstration of the power of God. It was a confrontation not unlike the encounter Elijah had with the prophets of Baal and Asherah. It was the strategic encounter that was the precursor that set the stage to Paul’s high calling to the Gentiles.
As the Lord did with the Israelites of old with His presence, so He will precede those moving past the enemy gatekeepers to advance the Kingdom and possess the land. For those called to penetrate these lairs of darkness, He is sending “His terror before them, and throwing into confusion all those they encounter, and making all their foes to turn from them in flight.” (Exodus 23.27) These encounters will require discernment and preparation, but will yield opportunity; as the Lord soars on the wings of the wind and paves the way to set in motion the enemy’s defeat as when the wind of His Spirit was heard in the treetops in 2 Samuel 15. “As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, move quickly, because that will mean the LORD has gone out in front of you to strike the enemy.”
The Prayer: Releasing God’s Power
Let’s pray. Father, in the mighty and incomparable Name of Jesus, we bring before You the mighty warriors of Your Body for this time. Father, we thank You for equipping them with every good thing to do Your will, working in them that which is pleasing in Your sight. Lord, grant today’s mighty warriors the eye of the eagle. Provide them with a discernment and spiritual alertness that transcends their human abilities.
Lord, thank You for releasing unto them a much deeper awareness of the mantle of authority you’ve placed upon them — and with that awareness, may there be a wisdom and boldness and a knowing of what to do. Father, we know that those who are moving past enemy-held gates are reclaiming that which is rightfully Yours. May there be restoration and fullness as You touch and set free the multitudes bound by the enemy’s schemes. Lord, grant these mighty warriors the Power and the strategies to break down the gates of iron; to cause the walls of the enemy’s fortresses to come down; and to plunder his camps. And Lord, we lay an axe to the root of the entanglements the enemy has used to entrap and enshroud members of Your Body. Lord, let Your light shine on these situations and unravel and disentangle the bondages that have resulted. Reveal the roots to these entanglements and may yokes be broken. Lord, thank You for preceding us with Your presence; preceding us with the Terror of the Lord. May the enemy be thrown into confusion.
God Almighty, Your Word says that although the wicked may draw their swords and bend their bows to bring down and slay those whose ways are upright, that their bows will be broken and their swords will pierce their own hearts. Lord, Your power and Your strategies are awesome. As we move forward, we praise You Lord, that You will foil the signs of false prophets and make fools of diviners; You will confirm the word of your servants and perform the counsel of your messengers. Lord God, give each of us called as mighty warriors the grace to speak truth in our own hearts as we proceed under Your direction. Give us clarity of vision and strategic insight at each juncture. Enable us to see through and stay above the smokescreens and diversions — and operate with Your wisdom as we keep our eyes on You and discern the revelation, then the illumination and then direction, release and strategies within our appointed spheres.
Precious Lord, grant us a level playing field as the anointing breaks the yokes. Expose the surreptitious, behind-the-scenes manipulations designed not only to entice and divert us, but to undermine our genuine callings. Let strongholds and networks of strongholds be exposed and torn down. Father God, may there be an uncovering of the hidden agendas. Grant us unusual spiritual vision into the situations we are facing. Lord, may You uncover what needs to be uncovered and may unadulterated truth overshadow the lies and assumptions sent to undermine Your agendas. Lord as Your Light and Truth is brought to bear in these entanglements, may the wicked see it and be vexed, turning from their wicked schemes and slinking away with their hopes being thwarted.
Lord, we thank You for closing the mouths of lions; those speaking and fostering intrigue, deceit and lies. Father, we thank You for ridding Yourself of this constant grumbling and scheming against us. Father, silence the misguided, loose tongues, we pray. And Father, we thank You for unraveling unholy alliances. Expose them Lord. Rout out the infiltrators, imposters, compromisers and the deceived. Bring cleansing to Your Body and sensitize, strengthen and give wisdom to the gatekeepers.
Father, the battle is Yours and we will be strong and courageous. Thank You O God, for what You are releasing in terms of our equipping and your initiatives. Thank You Lord, that Your purposes will be accomplished; fully and without delay. Adonai, You are awesome and we love You!! Thank You Lord, that the victory is Yours and You are with us as our Banner and Victory.
Author profile and contact information:
MORRIS E. RUDDICK is a business executive, consultant, entrepreneur, intercessor, conference speaker, board member, and writer. He is at the forefront of mobilizing a unique group of anointed marketplace leaders, referred to as modern-day Josephs and Daniels. As head of a market planning consulting firm serving an array of clients from Fortune 500 firms to respected ministries, his expertise includes business planning, forecasting emerging markets, developing business strategies, funding initiatives, modeling entrepreneurial bypass strategies, and applying principles of biblically based businesses. He was chief architect in two successful corporate turnarounds. His ministry activities target strengthening the brethren in locales ranging from Afghanistan to Israel. But the foundation of both his business and ministry activities is his role in leading a global intercession ministry known as SIGN (Strategic Intercession Global Network), which has as its purpose targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis.
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