Welcome to part 1 of a seven part series in discussing Spiritual warfare. Over the coming weeks I will be looking at common issues regarding the nature of Spiritual warfare, and where in this Pastor’s humble opinion things get confusing for believers if not down right scary.
We live in a time where we are surrounded by Spiritual imagery, from movies through to the simple religious items and icons we might pass on our streets. These things are part of who we are as a culture, and as believers have very real meaning and significance. So good, some not so good and others we may simply hold of little consequence.
I want to share a little about the subtleties of the Spiritual. About where myth and misdirection have become common place, often distracting us from the reality of the true nature of the ongoing Spiritual battle around us.
Ignorance is something that we exercise often because its easy. It’s easy to think of demons and angels fighting it out in the heavens- at a distance, not so easy to consider that that fight may be taking place right by our side. Its easy to conjure images of powers beyond our knowledge manifestly fighting for the well-being of man kind. Not so easy to accept that the Father may well have angels fighting for us personally on many different fronts to keep us from emotional harm, help us through a bad day, make sure those creditors are in check, or ensure our children don’t fall over and break themselves.
The fact is the majority of spiritual confrontation takes place beyond our sight. Happening on an ethereal plane that we in our human condition are often not able to view or experience. This by all accounts I imagine is a good thing. We have enough problems trying to understand the deeper musings of God for the most part without witnessing it with our own eyes or hearing it with our own ears.
What we know is limited to what we can draw from Scripture, early Church fathers, widely accepted apocryphal and pseudepigraphal text. The rest is largely subject to personal interpretation and what is revealed by the Holy Spirit. Due to movies and books we have come to expect the evidence of the demonic to be full Exorcist twists accompanied by shaking, screeching and all manner of the unexplained.
‘Let he who has never lost his temper with the coffee machine first thing in the morning cast the first stone.’
Whilst this may have some basis in truth in rare cases of bona fide possession, the ongoing battle with the demonic is far more subtle. In reality to lead even the most devout Christian astray the Devil doesn’t need to work that hard. Let he who has never lost his temper with the coffee machine first thing in the morning cast the first stone.
It is a bitter pill to swallow that we are not as bullet proof Spiritually as we would generally consider ourselves. Whilst we are under God’s protection we still live in a fallen world where things do and will go wrong on a daily basis. The question is how will we choose to deal with it when it comes.
Reality checking is one of those things that I believe we don’t do enough. As broken human beings we are very good at catastrophising. To tempt us or even to make us fall Satan need only que up a number of little things to get a big BANG at the end of it. A sleepless night and a broken cup here, a stubbed toe there and before we know it we are in a well of despair and self pity if not rage.
Sometimes as those formed from dust it is easy to be sucked up in the vacuum. Such is the nature of demons, dust and deception.
On the other side of the coin we can tend to focus too much on these little devils treating us as marionettes prone to madness. We can start to jump at shadows and get trapped into a war of feeling ‘under attack’ or that the devil made me do it.
‘marionettes prone to madness’
Theologically speaking if we trace it right back to Eden, the Devil didn’t make us do anything- We chose. And since then we have been choosing for ourselves moving forward. Whilst the unseen may tempt us to Sin, it is our choice to follow through. Our biggest problem is that it is often all too easy, extremely subtle and difficult to catch, regulate and address. That’s where prayer comes in.
Its a phrase we here a lot around the place with some merit. We often hear sayings analogous with war, but the reality is that we are in battle every day with the spiritual. Our weapons and defense the armour of God.
‘Pray hard daily, for strength, protection and all manner of things’
Ephesians outlines these tools in chapter 6:11ff not the least of which is a shield of Faith, sword of the Spirit – the Word of God and prayer.
Bottom line is that Prayer in an offensive weapon, not just defensive. In procurring a good defense then we need to go on the offensive to keep pesky spiritual critters at bay.
Pray hard daily, for strength, protection and all manner of things as Scripture teaches. Be bold in your walk and your faith as He has always got our back.
Remember that some of the hardest things to fight are the things we don’t see coming. It pays then to know your weak spots so you can address them in prayer and present a good offensive front. Get to know yourself and allow God to show you where the chinks are.
Finally know your Bible. This is one of your primary weapons and how well you use depends on how well you know it. Its no accident that when we see exorcisms in the movies that they have a bible in one hand and recite scripture and scriptural concepts. Life often does immitate art and there is a long tradition of fighting darkness using the Word.
The same is true in everyday life. These are your weapons and by owning your identity as a Christian you are on the front line and need to know how to use them.
Demons, dust (us) and deception are a part of our everyday lives. But our power and authority rests in Jesus Christ.
© Andrew Jewell- wedgetailministries.com