Most intercessors are familiar with the Matthew 16:18 passage, indicating that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. However, did you know that through their actions, Christians can establish in their lives the very gates of hell that they should be prevailing against, and these gates give Satan a legal entrance? Let me give an example.
On my first trip to Argentina many years ago, a new friend requested that I pray and pronounce a blessing on his grown daughters and their husbands. As I was about to pray for the second couple, I was sure I heard the Spirit of God tell me I was not permitted to pronounce a blessing on them.
God instantly showed me a picture of the husband. He was standing in front of a barn, guarding it with his arms crossed. However, the back door of the barn was wide open, and all of his livestock were being stolen. In the same instant, the Lord spoke to me, “You can’t pronounce a blessing on this couple because they haven’t been faithful in their stewardship. They’re not tithing, and Satan has a right to be stealing from them!”
As gently as possible, I shared with the couple what the Lord has shown me. It was really quiet for a few moments, and then the young man hung his head in shame. “What the Lord has shown you is true. We haven’t been faithful in our giving. You probably don’t know this, but I’m a dairy farmer and people have been stealing our cattle and horses.”
This couple had established a gate of hell in their lives, which was hung on two supporting beams—robbing God (Mal. 3:8,9) and trusting in riches (Matt. 10:24). It’s amazing how many Christians today have unknowingly established this particular gate in their lives.
Although it’s true that this couple was robbing God, the root of their problem revolved around the second supporting beam—having a worldly mentality that places trust or confidence in riches. In my view, it’s unfortunate that the Greek word chrema was translated “riches” in Matthew 10:24. The word really means simply “what one uses or needs,” according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. This is opposed to ploutos, the Greek word for riches which is more in line with our visions of tremendous wealth and abundance.
We know from Luke 12:29-31 that fulfillment of the basic needs of what you eat, drink or wear is a by-product of seeking God’s kingdom, but a worldly mentality makes fulfilling these needs a focus. It’s not wrong to have the chrema—what you use or need, but if your trust or confidence is in these “riches” rather than in God, you may be establishing a gate of hell that will allow Satan to rob you from your kingdom blessing. What’s worse—you don’t even have to have riches to trust in them!
Since this couple had been unfaithful in the small things, God couldn’t prosper them with more, even though that was His desire. When they saw their error and repented for their lack of stewardship, the Lord gave me a further word for them. I shared that God was going to make this young man very wealthy. Not just comfortable, but wealthy. Further, this had always been God’s plan for him, but Satan thwarted God’s plan by enslaving him in a fear-based withholding of what rightfully belonged to God. That day, their repentance and commitment to obey freed them from that slavery. Needless to say, I was greatly relieved that the Lord then let me pray and pronounce a blessing over the couple!
That’s not the end of the story. A year later, I returned to their country, and the couple sought me out. They said, “Mike, when you prayed for us last year and said we would be wealthy, we thought you were crazy! The economy of our nation was in horrible shape. We personally were twenty thousand dollars in debt. We had no milking equipment for our small dairy. We needed a tractor. We couldn’t afford seed to plant feed for the cattle, nor hired help to work the fields, and here you were, speaking tremendous prosperity over us!
“Well, you wouldn’t believe what God has done for us during the last year—mostly within the last few months. We have totally paid off the twenty thousand dollars in debt. We purchased milking equipment. We have a new tractor. We were able to get the seed we needed for planting and can now afford hired help.
“Not only that, but our church decided to start their own dairy to help the poor, and each family in the church purchased a dairy cow. Since none of them have any dairy experience, guess who they asked to manage it? Us! Now we are working two dairies, and the church dairy is able to have a significant impact in helping the poor.”
So what had this couple learned? They learned to trust in God rather than in their riches. Even more exciting, since their obedience destroyed a gate of hell in their lives, they began to experience firsthand the promise of Malachi 3:10—that God wants to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that we don’t even have room enough to receive.
Sometimes the spiritual warfare we feel taking place in our lives is the result of an area of disobedience. Tithing is only one example, but any area where we are unwilling to fully submit to God is a potential point of vulnerability for the enemy to cause chaos.
Take some time to ask God to show you if have given the enemy access to your life in any way. Then repent, shut those gates of hell, and open your heart to receive from the windows of heaven!
Want to learn more about spiritual warfare?
Enroll in Cindy Jacobs' foundational teaching on spiritual warfare. Nations all over the world have seen change by understanding and applying these principles. This online-video course will equip you to walk victoriously, activate your faith, and activate you as an agent of transformation.