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Affluent Christian Investor | October 22, 2017

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A Spiritual Hammer


Many years ago, I showed up at a church for a Saturday work and cleanup day. Somehow, I ended up spending the morning taking the plaster off the basement ceiling so it could be repaired and re-plastered. The supervisor had me stand on a scaffold, where I held a hammer and hit the ceiling with the side of the hammer. I did this again and again, and it was not bad work because I could see the results of my labor as I watched the entire ceiling come down blow by hammer blow.

The scaffolding did not have to be moved so I just walked across the length and width of the basement, smashing away. The plaster fell all over the place, and I had a mask on because the dust was thick. When I finished, I tried to put down the hammer, but I could not. I had swung the hammer so many times that my hand was frozen to the shape of the hammer handle! What’s more, when I did pry the hammer out of my hand, my hand remained in the same shape just as if the hammer was still there!

That experience helped me understand a passage that described one of King David’s mighty men named Eleazar:

Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty warriors, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim for battle. Then the Israelites retreated, but Eleazar stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead (2 Samuel 23:9-10).


Why am I telling you this story? I tell you because we often underestimate the level of commitment that is required when we have to engage in spiritual warfare. God has given promises for healing, provision, meaningful work, healthy relationships, and fruitfulness. We can easily think those things will appear because we say, “In the name of Jesus!” The truth is that they will not.

There are times when we will have to cling to our spiritual hammers and strike blow after blow after blow against the forces that stand between us and the fulfillment of God’s promise. Yes, there are times when our spiritual hands will actually freeze around the promise of God that we must use as a weapon to bring down the plaster-like resistance encrusted around God’s provision and protection.

Have you given up on God’s promise for you because you misunderstood the nature and intensity of what you would have to do to obtain it? Has you spiritual hand frozen to your prayer, praise, and faith life? If the answer to those questions is “yes,” then be encouraged. Victory may be just a few more swings away! Don’t give up and don’t give in.

God is not playing hard-to-get as He requires you to struggle for what He has already provided. He wants you to appreciate even more what you receive, because you value what you pay a high price to obtain. This week, I encourage you to pick up your spiritual hammer once more and begin to swing away at the promise of God for you life. As you do, I know each swing will bring you closer to the fulfillment of God’s blessing on your life. If I can encourage you as you swing your hammer, please let me know!


Originally published on The Monday Memo from John Stanko

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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