Facing Down Grizzlies - by Lester Zimmerman

Recently two friends and I went overnight backpacking into the wild wilderness of Montana to do some fly fishing. We were deep in grizzly territory when I came face to face with a grizzly, about 30 feet away. I was a bit shaken to say the least, but I survived the encounter. Here is what I learned about facing down a grizzly  that has some correlation to the other kinds of grizzlies we face, such as nasty people who act like they want to eat us for lunch. We all have encounters or situations that make us want to quit fishing and run at times. God wants us to face down the grizzlies and Goliaths that want to kill, steal, and destroy God’s blessing from us. Ministry, by its very nature, is bear territory.  You may have encountered some grizzlies yourself.

The first thing we did as we set out for grizzly territory was to arm ourselves with bear spray. We also practiced how to use it so we would be ready if needed. To me this is like arming myself with God’s word and knowing how to use it effectively.  It’s not enough to just carry it in a nice leather bound case with a pretty cross emblem on the cover. You must know how to use it. Like Jesus did when he faced old grizzly Lucifer on the mountain.  The best defense against our enemy and fear is God’s word. They told me bear spray is a better deterrent then even a gun when a grizzly is charging you. I don’t know if that is true, but it sure felt good to have a can of bear spray on my belt in easy reach when the grizzly was sizing me up. Bear spray also provided peace and comfort to me throughout the day and night. Just like God’s word does for each believer.

The second thing I did was to hold my ground.  My partner yelled for me to stand still and not move. Running in fear only emboldens a grizzly and triggers his instinct to catch you and see what you taste like.  So, for what seemed like a long time, but probably only 30 seconds, I held my ground.  I am reminded what Paul says in Ephesians that after putting on our armor we are to stand strong in the face of opposition. Sometimes, we want to shoot both barrels of our gun, defend ourselves against the false accusations, or give up and run.  But leadership requires some real guts. We need to learn to not be intimidated by the grizzlies that are growling and throwing stones at us. We need to remember our warfare is not against flesh and blood but principalities and powers operating behind the scenes. We don’t use the bear spray of God’s word like a weapon against people but against the grizzly behind them. In prayer declare God’s word, “No weapon formed against me will prosper! Get out of here bear.” If you use it as a weapon on people, they turn into little grizzlies. So, it’s best to use it in prayer.

The third thing my partner did was begin yelling at the bear. “Get out of here bear”!  I was between him and the bear, but he was experienced and knew that the grizzly was probably just curious at the moment. So, he tried to intimidate the bear and it worked, the bear turned around and went looking for a tastier meal. When we know who we are in Christ and the authority we have in Jesus’ Name, we can command the enemy to back off.  It’s not a time to whimper and complain. It is time to stand your ground and rebuke the enemy, so he flees from you.  Numerous times our elder team discerned the enemy was trying to bring confusion and disunity into our camp. So, in prayer we took authority over the situation and commanded the grizzly to leave our people alone.  There is tremendous authority and power in the unified prayer of an elder team over a church.  In fact, God has given every believer authority over all the power of the enemy. Start commanding your grizzlies to get out of your territory.  You have authority over old slew foot when he comes against your children, marriage, or ministry.

That night we slept in hammocks under the stars. Swinging in that hammock I kind of felt like a hot dog in a bun in bear territory.  But I put that out of mind the best I could and with his praises in my mouth and bear spray in my hand I went to sleep.  Well, at least I tried sleeping.

By Lester Zimmerman
Hopewell Network
Apostolic Leader

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