Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Everyday Spiritual Warfare

By Allen White

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:11-12

Now, before you start bracing yourself thinking that I’m going to get all Frank Peretti on you today, I’m not (obscure reference to This Present Darkness [LINK], a novel about the power of prayer). Well, at least I’m not going to get any spookier than the Bible does.

When it comes to spiritual warfare, two camps emerge among believers. One group is mostly in denial of the whole angels and demons thing. The other group blames the devil for everything. (I’m choosing to avoid an overused Flip Wilson quote here). So, let’s get a few things straight.

The devil and his minions can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. He can lie and deceive. He can tempt and prey on your weakness, but he can’t force your hand. In the garden of Eden, the devil lied through his teeth, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4), but he didn’t touch the forbidden fruit. He didn’t force them to take a bite. He just lied his way to their defeat.

Before you think you or your spouse or your boss is demon-possessed, think again. As much as you think an exorcism might solve things, it’s usually not the case.

Probably the most powerful force working against you is the flesh (Romans 7:5) and your own woundedness. This problem is not unique to you. In fact, “you” is better stated as “all y’all.”

Wounded people take objective statements and turn them into value judgments. “Your car is kind of crowding the line of the parking space” is taken to mean “I don’t think you’re a very good driver. In fact, I think that I’m a better driver than you. You are so inferior that you can’t even park straight. People like you shouldn’t even be allowed to drive a car. And, believe me brother, parking is just the tip of the iceberg of your problems. Don’t get me started on listing your faults, because we could be here all day.” Get the picture?

This is why human relationships require a huge amount of grace. When your brokenness plays into my brokenness, then we have a huge mess. Then, the enemy can take our vulnerabilities and play us against each other.

Most will never experience outright, satanic attack. Cultists won’t be making sacrifices in your yard. Bodies won’t levitate off of beds, and objects won’t fly around the room. Mostly you will be the victim of the enemy’s sneaky plots to undermine relationships and to cause whatever footholds to occur that he possibly can (Ephesians 4:26-27).

The good news is that God is far more powerful than any evil force. If the devil is the power of a candle, then God is the power of the sun. When we access God’s power through prayer, the enemy flees. Wounds are healed. Sins are forgiven. Relationships are restored.

As you put your focus on submitting to God rather than coming up with your next witty retort, you will discover that God can accomplish more than you can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Where do you feel attacked today? Who is this coming from? Stop right now and ask God to intervene. Ask God what to do. But, most of all, get out of God’s way and let Him work. Invite Him into your circumstance and watch what happens.

“Trust in the Lord will all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

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