By Andy Zoppelt
Matt 11:12-13, "And from the days of John the
Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent
men take it (heaven) by force." NAS
The kingdom is forced, is stormed, like a rushing
wind and is taken by men of violent determination. It speaks of those
who make every effort to enter the kingdom regardless of the violent
opposition; nothing can stop their determination. No crowd, no
opposition, no situation, no emotion, no person and certainly no
Devil. They are driven by a hunger to have God's blessing.
Consider the woman who had the issue of blood, she
pressed through the crowds to touch the hem of Jesus' garment. Think
of the men who carried their sick friend on his bed and tore open the
roof to get him to Jesus.
Paul exhorted his disciple Timothy: "But you, O man
of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness,
faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of
faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called
and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many
witnesses." 1 Tim 6:11-13, NKJV)
"Pursue," "fight" and "lay hold," are strong words,
but they describes the kind of action that it will take to overcome in
this life. Don't sit back and let the devil have your life, get up and
stand for who you are in Christ. That is what Paul was saying to
Timothy and God is saying it to us in the middle of our trials….Fight!
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished
my course, I have kept the faith:" (2 Timothy 4:7).
Paul was a fighter and every demon knew his name.
When the seven sons of Sceva tried to cast out the demons, they
replied. "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?" (Acts
Paul was not a loser, though he undergone the
severest of trials.
The writer of Hebrews list the men of determination
and faith, Heb 11:33-38, "who through faith conquered kingdoms,
administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the
mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge
of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became
powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back
their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to
be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced
jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.
They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by
the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute,
persecuted and mistreated- the world was not worthy of them. They
wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the
Where is your faith? Are you standing against the
situations in your life or are you complaining.
Think of the children of Israel, they complained
and complained and never learned the meaning and purpose of the
testing of the Lord.
Do you find yourself confused, frustrated,
overwhelmed, discouraged and fearful? Do you find one trial coming
after another? Does you life seem hopeless… praise God this is your
step into the kingdom. Fight! Don't lie down and complain, God is
We need to fight like we never did before, the
kingdom is at stake.
Hosea the prophet warned the cowardly Jews of their
spineless condition, he points them to Jacob, from whom they derived
their name. Jacob was an example of a man determined to be blessed of
Hos 12:1-5, "Ephraim feeds on wind, And pursues the
east wind continually (vain in their hope); He multiplies lies and
violence (trust in deception). Moreover, he makes a covenant with
Assyria, And oil is carried to Egypt (trust in man). The LORD also has
a dispute with Judah, And will punish Jacob according to his ways; He
will repay him according to his deeds. (he now points them Jacob) In
the womb he (Jacob) took his brother by the heel, And in his maturity
he contended with God. Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed;
He wept and sought His favor. He found Him at Bethel And there He
spoke with us, ("us," it is a word for all of us… the house of
It is a word for us today to "snap out of it."
Jacob performed four things that they and we need to see.
He took his brother by the heel.
He contended with God.
He wept and sought His (God's) favor.
He found Him at Bethel.
1. He took his brother by the heel
From the very womb he wrestled and fought for the
blessing. Though his methods might have been wrong, his heart was
right. If the kingdom isn't worth the fight for you, you aren't worth
the kingdom. We are to "strive" to enter the narrow gate. Jacob was a
hungry determined man of God and was willing to fight for it…. from
the cradle to the grave. He was determined to have everything that God
had for him."
Esau represents those that sell out to pleasure and
the needs of this world. Though they have the right to the promise at
birth through Christ's death on the cross, they do not have the right
in life without a fight.
When something is of great value to you, you will
fight for it. The offer of the kingdom has been so lowered today, that
men of appetite think they can posses that which is only for the
Hosea was rebuking Israel for claiming something
they did not posses. They possessed the spirit of Esau and not their
father Jacob. They were uncaring, lazy and rich.
Let that be a warning for "us."
It is for this reason that so many are bound by
besetting sins. Habits they cannot kick and situations they cannot
break through, they are bound in the slavery to their carnal nature.
They are too lazy and too undisciplined to fight. We got to fast our
way out, pray our way out, read our way out and commit our way out.
Lazy, careless people go nowhere.
2. He contended with God. Yes, he wrestled with the
angel and prevailed. The final conflict
Jacob was not a quitter; he rolled up his sleeves
to fight. Though Laban took advantage of him, he kept on going. When
God spoke to him and told him to leave, he didn't hang around…. He
left. He was concerned about his family and obedient to God. He was a
compassionate, caring and obedient man.
Later when Jacob heard of Esau and his 400 riders,
he knew what to do…. cross the Jabbok and have it out with God. He was
not willing to go any further until he had it out with God and God
We have to be tested if we are going to go on with
God. We can't keep hiding behind our comfort and laziness. We got to
jump out of the boat and walk on our problems. We got to get our
problems under our heels and not over our heads. If we don't
understand and enjoy the test, we will never endure it. So you better
get up and fight if you expect to beat this trial your in.
We have to show up for the war if we are going to
win the battle. Sleeping in a foxhole is dangerous.
3. Jacob wept and sought His (God's) favor.
Jacob was not wallowing in self-pity, but was
weeping for God's favor.
Ps 126:6, "He who goes out weeping, carrying seed
to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." NIV
David cried out, "My tears have been my meat." (Ps
Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet, let us
hear his cry. "Oh, that my head were waters, And my eyes a fountain of
tears, That I might weep day and night For the slain of the daughter
of my people!….. But if you will not hear it, My soul will weep in
secret for your pride; My eyes will weep bitterly and run down with
tears, Because the LORD's flock has been taken captive."
(Jer 9:1, Jer 13:17, NKJV)
Luke 7:44-45, "Do you see this woman? I entered
your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My
feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave
Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the
time I came in." NKJV
Weeping and brokenness is the key to finding God's
favor. You must press in with your tears.
4. He found Him at Bethel.
Bethel means the "house of God." Twice Jacob
visited Bethel each time he encountered God. I believe this represents
the two ways in which we can encounter God: First, in our closets in
prayer and second, in the church with the brothers and sisters. Jacob
first encountered God at Bethel alone after fleeing Esau. The second
time was after his two sons Simeon and Levi were angry with Shechem
the Hivite who had raped their sister Dinah. They killed and slew the
entire town! The Lord then said to Jacob, "Go up to Bethel and settle
there.." (Gen 35:1, NIV)
It is the prayer closet that we directly fellowship
It is also in church and among believers we
fellowship with Him.
1 John 1:7, "But if we walk in the light
(with God), as he is in the light, we have fellowship with
one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all
Our relationship must be expressed in intimacy with
God and a love for one another. If we don't have that, it is doubtful
that we are really pursuing Him or know Him. We are commanded to "Not
forsaking the assembling of ourselves together." Heb 10:25
We are in a covenant relationship with God; there
is no place for indifference and laziness. Covenant demands intimacy.
We are to be one, not two! Let's work at it and weep over it and seek
God over it! Let's work through the conflicts until we love God and
love one another. Whenever we fail in love, we fail the house of
There must be a place where that love is expressed…
in the closet and in the gathering of the saints is the place for the
When God finds a believer with a hunger and a
burning desire for His blessing, He lays upon him some of the most
trying of situations.
God is shaking and the Devil is working intensely
in this last hour of warfare. The Lord is looking for vessels trained
in warfare, vessels that have prevailed over all the powers of Satan.
We are in a preparation process where God will bring the war to us and
to see if we have the fight in us. We may not normally been disposed
to warfare - wake up; it's at your doorstep.
Ps 144:1, "Blessed be the LORD my strength, which
teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight"
We are living in a time when everything will be
turned upside down. The first shall be last and the last shall be
first. The more these saints suffer, the more intense the trials and
the greater the work the Lord has prepared for them.
Many Christians are expecting God to do great
things without any cost on their part, which is a grave mistake. They
choose to buy the "pearl" at a discounted price. Many live their life
as though this is all there is, but we must pray, fast, obey and seek
God's hand like we never have before. We are going to pay a price in
this war, and you will not hear that in the cheap grace gospel of
If we straighten up our walk with God now,
everything else we are dealing with will fall into place.
Who among us is so consumed with pleasing God, that
he would fight until he has defeated every enemy in his life?
God will defend all that we surrender in obedience
to Him. Let not the man that harbors secret sin thinks that God will
defend him. He must fight!
God is calling us fight; we need to get your eyes
off our circumstances. You may feel disjointed, distant, discouraged,
disillusioned and disappointed. You may be wondering where your life
is going. Your prayers may seem like they are bouncing off the
ceiling. You may be wearied from judgement and chastisement. Silence
is gripping your empty soul like cancer, eating away any sense of
God's presence. You are facing closed doors, unforeseen bills,
obstacles and hindrances to your blessings, while others seem to be
flowing in blessing and success. You perceived the word filled with
false hope and judgment. You wrestled with your reasoning until you
were flooded with criticism and doubt. The road back to God only seems
to be an exercise in religious futility.
Brother and sister, it is time to fight!
Stop judging your present condition by your
reasoning. Don't let your emotions take control; God is waiting for
you to in this battle!
He will send you revelation and draw you close to
Himself. He will protect you from being defeated and establish His
power in you.
Just accept this trial as training for the bigger
trials that are coming. Many will fall by the wayside as the trials
intensify, they will not have the "oil" and grace to endure. They have
spent there time of frivolous things.
Dump all attitudes of defeat and stand up and
fight! He has given you His Son and you have the victory … use it.
Brothers and sisters, we are not fighting for the victory, we
are fighting from the victory. You just haven't used it!
You are not going to hear God's voice until you are
shut in with Him alone and down on your face before Him, weeping,
crying out, "Lord, I'm not letting go until I hear Your voice!"
Right now God is saying, "Come on, fight!" He wants
you lay hold of all that He has for you. Get up in faith and fight!
You have been moaning long enough, God loves you and He is big enough
to take care of you… Trust Him! It makes no difference how big the
situation, He is bigger. Fight!
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