I’m reading through the Gospels with my sisters right now and am struck by how often the religious people of Jesus’ day followed him around, trying to stop him in his mission, nit-picking every little perfect thing He did. They didn’t understand Jesus; they didn’t like that He was healing people or preaching salvation apart from their set of traditions. They had studied Scriptures their whole life and yet completely missed The Word made flesh standing in front of them. They saw him as a threat–competition even–and missed out on the blessing of walking alongside Jesus and his Commission. So they ridiculed him for picking grain to eat on the Sabbath, healing people on the Sabbath, and forgiving people of sins. Some say that the words Jesus spoke over the Pharisees were harsh, but as I’ve said before, love void of truth is not loving. They thought they had everything presentable and purposeful and yet they were white-washed tombs and children of hell (Matt.23:15). Satan was using them as pawns to take down the One they should have been following.
Many Christians sit on a see-saw of experiences, either falling down into the pit that Satan is behind every tree, keeping his darts pointed at them, or they swing up the sky, pretending that spiritual enemies like demons don’t really exist.
Regardless of denominational influence or personal experience, the Bible remains our source of truth on the spirit realm.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (I Peter 5:8-9).
But we don’t have to run in fear! Surrender to the Righteous One brings victory over the Evil One. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). “God has no problems, only plans…When I try, I fail. When I trust, He succeeds.” Corrie ten Boom
Spiritual attacks may look like a car that refuses to start on Sunday morning, or lost job or an ill child, but more often than not, spiritual warfare is deceptive and cunning, alluring us to pick up weapons and fight the wrong enemy. Sometimes the person you are pointing the sword at is on your side, but you can’t see through the veil of frustration and anger to understand that the real Enemy is trying to pull you apart, tear you from fellowship with your comrades. He is tearing us apart from within.
If you find yourself in a place of angst, try to step outside your emotions for a period of time, and pray and seek the Lord and ask Him what you are supposed to be learning. Maybe it’s not about them (that other person) or even about your relationship. Maybe it’s about giving them space to grow (keep praying for that end–His Spirit is the Only One who can change them anyway) and allowing God to show you what areas you need to be stretched and grown as well (instead of asking, how can I make them do x,y,z, ask God what He wants you to do regardless of the understanding or acceptance of others).
And remember that He who placed you in the battle has given you all the weaponry needed to fight the enemy (truth, peace, salvation, faithfulness, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, etc.).
- Ephesians 6:10-11 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
- 2 Thessalonians 3:3 “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”