The enemy functions with a “anything but that” method of distraction and substitution.
At a very simple level, we can recognize the methods of hell in the preeminent problem of idolatry. If we see idolatry as substitution, then we see the “anything but that” method at play in the fundamentals of false religion.
To accomplish substitution, the adversary uses distraction. If he plants enough seeds of distraction, he will eventually grow a crop of substitution, some form of “anything but that” in a person, ministry, region, or nation. In this way, he frustrates, limits, or eliminates the production of “the what-God-wants” in those arenas of spirit and history.
If hell can get you distracted, hell can move you away from your purpose, frustrate your preparation enough to offer you a substitute destiny or some aspect of that destiny, and bring you into a dead-end detour. This process may take a moment, month, or lifetime, but when you awaken or “come to yourself,” you realize that you have invested in something other than what God had in mind.
Personal Distraction and Substitution
Personally, this plays out through our vulnerabilities: hell doesn’t play fair. The enemy always takes advantage of our vulnerabilities, using our weakness to distract us from our strengths, and move our investments into a substitute for our destinies. Remember, hell is happy for your strengths to get stronger as long as your weaknesses get weaker.
Pride is the great deception that displaces the renewed mind with input from the environment in order to mold us by this world instead of through transformational experiences. Only through transformational experience do we discover and prove by producing the what-God-wants. Pride is deception, and pride compensates for perceived weaknesses by substitution, opening our lives to deeper distractions.
When a kingdom leader or citizen begins to copy someone else, hoping to become more than they are by rejecting who they are, either in the sense of “I want to be greater than I am so I’m going to attempt to be someone else” or a spirit of wannabe takes over their minds, pride is the root issue. Beware the cancer of discontent that eats away at your vitals: “I want respect, honor, dignity, acceptance, love, success, or any other component part of purpose except to prove what God wants!
Listening to someone minister and dialogue, I hear myself asking myself inside, “Where’s the real person?” because the person in front of me is attempting to be someone they are not. This is radical distraction becoming substitution: God will not give you grace to become someone else. The anointing available to produce a different purpose from your true purpose diminishes. The frustration drives you to assume that everyone else should start doing a better job of recognizing your brilliance, beauty, and bravery when, in fact, you aren’t even pursuing our purpose at all.
Giving up on your true assignment to pursue the development of a substitute may be the most obvious work of pride and delusion. And, this may be the very limitation that keeps people from completing their assignments.
The kingdom is diminished by this method on every hand, and nothing but radical reset will fix this problem. The person who accepts the substitute shuts off discussion of their authenticity.
Ministries Can Be Distracted
A ministry can also move away from its assignment in pursuit of distraction to the point of substituting something else for its original mission. Attend enough conference and symposiums, because you have become dissatisfied with your condition, and the leaders of a ministry may begin to invest their energies in becoming something other than who they really are.
Many ministries, even mini-movements, have strayed from very reason for their existence because they wished “to be like,” or they began to seek approval from different sources than the One who called them. They wish to become like others in order to win approval, success, or honor. They begin to substitute, moving away from their grace flows, then substituting fleshly energies for spiritual anointings.
Regions and Nations
When Israel desired to be “anything but that” and demanded a king “like the other nations,” they received Saul for a leader, to their own hurt. God made it clear to Samuel, “They have reject Me as their King, not you as their prophet.” This is gross substitution!
The nations all suffer from this terrible curse of limitation! To set them free, we must discern their God-given purposes and apply kingdom redemption and restoration.
God isn’t destroying nations, He is redeeming cultures. When nation reach the point of no return and destruction comes, even to the point of wiping out those nations, the purposes they failed to fulfill remain. Nothing can destroy God’s purposes. He will find a way to reset and restore them!