"Triangle Offense" Challenge
- Matthew 17:19 “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
- 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
- 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
My favorite basketball coach of all time was Phil Jackson who popularized the “Triangle Offense.” With this offense and with star players like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant, coach Phil Jackson won 11 championships (including 2 as a Knicks player) becoming the only coach to win multiple championships on multiple teams (Bulls and Lakers), the most championships of any coach, and the highest winning percentage and post-season wins of any NBA coach. To basketball fans, his “Triangle Offense” is legendary.
You may be aware that gates around kingdoms were set up for defensive purposes. So, when Mt. 16:18 promises that hell’s gates cannot prevail against Christ’s church, we can be assured that believers are to be on the offensive, and that an advancing church will overcome “the gates of hell”. Churches should never be in retreat. Christ promised victory. We must be on the offensive. In fact, in our text Christ gave to believers a “Triangle Offense” specifically geared towards taking down demonic giants.
In Mt. 17:19, Jesus’ disciples want to know why they failed against the demons possessing a boy. Jesus tells them 3 things were lacking: 1 thing is always needed against the devil, and 2 things are especially required for certain kinds of demons. This trifecta goes hand in hand with the “Triangle Offense” I have preached for years about grace and Spirit-fullness: faith, prayer, and submission. At this crucial junction in history, dear brethren, please take up the “Triangle Offense” challenge, and pass it on to others.
- – Faith is always needed against the devil, and it doesn’t even take much. With just the tiniest “grain of mustard seed”, all believers can move mountains even, as in the case of Jesus’ disciples, demonic mountains.
- a. Do you still believe victory is possible? Since faith is Satan’s weakness, he strives to remove it from Christians. Faith is the victory. (I Jn. 5:4)
- b. Will you be faithful? Some I know personally are falling right into Satan’s trap of unbelief by quitting their ministry, their pastoring, their missionary service, their church. Christ asked in Lk. 18:8 if He would still “find faith” when He returns. That has always been a challenge to me to never give up. I still believe. Do you?
- c. Where does faith come from, dear reader? From Jesus the written Word (Rom. 10:17) and from Jesus the Incarnate Word living in believers (Gal. 2:20). Faith comes from the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) and from the Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). Are you filled with the Spirit, and are you filled with the Word? Satan is overcome by the Sword of the Spirit quoted (Mt. 4:4, 7, 10), and by “the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 12:11).
- d. Faith is our shield that stops every attack of Satan from piercing our armor. (Eph. 6:16)
- – Prayer is one of the irreplaceables when it comes to “this kind” of demonic oppression or possession. Certain types in the demonic realm can never be overcome except by two things. Prayer is one of them. Now we all know that most believers at least pray some, but most have never practiced fiery prayer that availeth much (Jms. 5:16). Kind of like how the disciples would regularly pray with Jesus, but they would also fall asleep when prayer time became serious and prolonged (Lk. 9:32; Mt. 26:40). Right now around the globe, we have proof that Christ’s church is not praying as it ought: #1 because “this kind” is having a field day with us and #2 because believers will only “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” when we are praying properly “for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority.” (I Tim. 2:1-2)
- – Fasting is the other crucible when it comes to “this kind” of demonic oppression or possession. For a couple of decades, I have faithfully, regularly practiced fasting. Even in my present, persistent illness, I regularly fast. I also have the pleasure of having a pastor and being friends with other preachers who habitually fast. But we need more believers, more churches as a whole, and more preachers leading in this area of regular fasting. For those with health issues, you have your reasons for not fasting, but so do I. However, even the seriously sick are required to “fast” before certain medical exams. Should God get less? No. In fact, we cannot afford less. Our time has run out. The only way to overcome “this kind” of wicked one is by fasting. Find a meal or meals that work best for you to skip. Fasting, as I said, is extremely difficult for me, but I found skipping breakfast could work for me since I already had medicines/treatments taking up that time. I simply made sure to put my fasting quiet time with the Lord in with those treatments. And please, do not get distracted by thinking you will lose weight or you will heap blessings of God upon your life. You do not fast to overcome fat and to lose weight. We fast to overcome “this kind” of devil and to win against the spiritual weights in our life.
Please, please note two powerful, concluding thoughts:
- – From Luke 9:37, we learn that the demon-possessed boy and his father were waiting “on the next day” for Jesus and His disciples at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration. The disciples could not cast out the demons. Peter, James, and John, at least, had a chance to be fasting and to pray while Jesus was being gloriously transfigured at the top of the mountain the day before. However, as referenced before, they were sleeping (Lk. 9:32).
- – That Jesus cast the demons out of the boy reveals that Jesus was already practicing faith, regular fasting, and regular prayer. Jesus did not have time to tell the boy’s father to wait weeks or months until Jesus fasted and prayed. No. Jesus was ready right then and there for “this kind”.
Friends, you must be ready always for “this kind.” You must always be in the habit of faith, regular fasting, and regular prayer. Take up my “Triangle Offense” challenge before it is too late, and please pass this on to other believers.