The Bible warns in I Peter 5:8:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour
Do you believe this? Do you think that Satan longs to destroy Christians, your family, your marriage, and all good things that God values? I do believe that Satan hates Christians. I know we have the ultimate victory – but I also believe the devil would like to reek as much havoc on us as he can while we live on this old earth. I additionally believe Satan is the root of the divisions among us – among our churches and in our families … he is our enemy – along with the world and the flesh. (I John 2:16)
Typically, in the past, I haven’t heard a lot of preaching on spiritual warfare … some preachers acknowledge it, some won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole – and some, well, for me personally, they take it a little too far in their own power to combat the devil on their own.
In college, I had a short fascination with Frank Peretti. His book This Present Darkness had just come out in 1986, followed by Piercing the Darkness in 1989. His fictional stories of what he imagined spiritual warfare was like – with scenes of demons plotting against people and angels valiantly defending Christians, was stuff that for my conservative Baptist upbringing seemed daring!! BUT it made me think more about what was going on around me– and for a while, I studied the verses that talk about spiritual battles in high and heavenly places. That was a long time ago though …
I’ve also been told stories by a missionary friend of ours – who we know to be credible – who is Togolese and returned to minister to his people in the West African country of Togo. Voodoo is REAL in those villages – and he fights spiritual battles quite often in his attempts to introduce his countrymen to Jesus. I believe the stories – and I believe God equipped our friend to handle the situations he finds himself in victoriously.
Currently, I attend a church that acknowledges spiritual warfare far more than any I have been in previously. They aren’t obsessed with it – but sometimes someone will mention in a prayer group or from the pulpit that they believe the church or a particular family is under attack by Satan. I don’t doubt them. For example, there is a transition going on in our church leadership, and I am sure Satan does not want this church to survive.
Even tonight – although we’ve missed some event because we are not really in the “insider” crowd – it was alluded to that Satan is fighting against progress in our church: discord was recently sown among the brethren, and some people are leaving. I’m sure there is more to it (frankly, after what we went through at our last church, I really don’t want to know!). Someone very close to our pastor shared in my prayer group tonight how she was praying for our pastor’s recent heartache and also for her own son, who suffers from debilitating seizures, but God wasn’t answering through giving peace or healing. She was led to look up the word supplication (as in prayer and SUPPLICATION … with thanksgiving … make your requests known to God – Philippians 4:6) and found it to mean “humble inquiry”. Once she felt like she was truly ready to be completely humble, she got onto the floor and on her knees before God to make her requests for the pastor’s hurting heart and her son’s constant seizures, and God seemed to immediately answer. She said it felt like “the demons left the house” … not that they could possess her son nor the pastor, but they just seemed to have been “hovering” around. Her son hasn’t had a seizure all day today!
The whole story kind of gave me chills. But I tend to believe this lady … I have known her a while, and she was very humble and tentative to even share this very personal praise report. Later, in the sermon, the pastor too mentioned how God has somehow quieted his heart remarkably as of this morning – and he felt at peace for the first time since the above mentioned hurtful incidents had happened.
While I don’t want to give too much credence to Satan’s hold on us or over circumstances, I do want to be aware of God’s will in our lives to combat the world, the flesh, and the devil. I hate to assign too much power to Satan or deem him as a boogeyman who makes bad things happen to good people … but then again, I return to thinking of all our family went through in the last few years. Were we under attack or was it self-inflicted or just “what was supposed to happen” or maybe simply God’s will?! I will not dwell on it for long, but I just want to throw the thought out there.
We saw some AMAZING answers to prayers in the last few years – provision from sources we still don’t know, for example – and we look back and see God’s Hand in our upheaval. But there was a lot of emotions involved – discouragement, doubt, even anger and seeds of bitterness among it all. And while I can wonder if it was Satan trying to destroy our family bond, perhaps, or a test of our faith in that we’d had a somewhat harsh experience with “ministry” – I don’t want to give the devil too much credit. I guess we’ll know when we get to heaven the WHY’s and HOW’s of it all. I just wonder if there were days when angels were fighting over us or Satan was rejoicing in our defeated attitudes?! Perhaps. But what I take from it all is GOD had the victory … and He continues to be stronger than any situation we face here on this planet.
Lately, I’ve been often confronted with my own hypocrisy and judgmental attitude, but as social media allows others to share what they are learning, I am often finding the theme of UNITY among true believers to become more and more prevalent than the haughty judgment of each other!! Or perhaps the blogs that I like what they are saying are linking me to other blogs that I like what they are saying, too?! Or perhaps I have a lot of like-minded friends who share like-minded articles? I don’t know … but I’m going to take it as God kind of assuring me that I’m on to something – at least for my own life.
On that note, here’s yet another interesting article I read today that ties in to my myriad of thoughts these days: Dear Church, Let’s Talk about What Really Matters. Here is a quote from this article by Heidi St. John (“The Busy Mom”):
I speak a lot about spiritual warfare when I travel. Why? Because the real battle is a spiritual one. It’s got very little to do with the stuff that ends up tearing us apart most of the time. The devil doesn’t care how he sidetracks us. He’ll veer our little car off into a ditch on one side of the freeway or the other—and he doesn’t care which side so long as we end up in a ditch.
Recently, I’ve been writing out a lot of thoughts that I’ve deleted or felt like were too personal to share after all (hence some disappearing posts!) … sorry about that! But I do want to retain some integrity in my writing – making my blog edifying and useful. This blog post should remain … even though it is yet another of my questioning/groping-for-answers type posts. I really do intend to keep things “light” around here … but the introversion gets the best of me some days!