Do you believe in spiritual warfare? Do you realize that right now, a battle rages all around us with the Angel Armies of the Lord battling the Fallen Forces of the Angel of Light? It seems surreal to say the least, doesn’t it? You may even be tempted to discount it as myth or a little bit old fashioned. But I assure you; there are battles all around you.
Two of my favorite books I have read are This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti. In them, Peretti takes a look at one mans struggle with his life and elements therein, but he portrays with dazzling clarity the spiritual realm as well. He describes the angels—mighty warriors all—as guardians and protectors of believers. As a side note, these angels aren’t the little guardian angel types the world is enamored by; these angels are Navy Seals and Delta Force all rolled into one. And they have to be, because on the other side is the opposition. The demons that taunt and torment us are as vile and nasty and disgusting as you could possibly imagine. Beady eyes, leathery skin, sulfurous breath and any other fear you could imagine. I like this book because in it we see a Christian’s life as it really is—a battle for your soul.
So why do we get so surprised when life is a struggle? Furthermore, why do we look to everything else but the spiritual realm as the reason for the way we feel? I am not saying that every down moment you have is because of the Devil, but isn’t it possible that some of them are?
Peter says in the Bible, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Paul says, “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 6:12)
I know what it feels like to wrestle or struggle with these things. Just recently I have struggled against Doubt, Uncertainty, Fear, Anxiety, just to name a few. Why are these things capitalized? Because I believe that although each one of these is an emotion it can also be a specific demon that tries to torment us. If you have ever felt hounded by these feelings or others then you know what I mean. It is like a mosquito buzzing around your ear. Little nagging voices in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough or you won’t succeed or reminding you of all the bills you can’t pay or appointments to keep or any other concern that weighs you down. All of these things are ways the enemy seeks to devour you. Think about it, when you are so burdened with worry or doubt or fear, you aren’t much use to yourself let alone anyone else. The devil has effectively taken you out of commission for the Kingdom.
I mention all this, because I was under attack this weekend and have been all week. Like a fly buzzing around me, these same struggles keep coming back to me. Sometimes it’s just a fuzziness that keeps me from feeling effective at anything other times it is outright attacks. In every case, there is only one way to combat this—the name of Jesus Christ.
Look through the Gospels at all the times Jesus encountered demons or even Satan. All it took was the voice of Jesus and the demons would flee. Now of course we don’t have a recording of Jesus voice to play, but can wield the name of Jesus like a sword. This is what the Apostles did when Jesus wasn’t there. When we belong to Him, the forces of evil have no claim on us. But sometimes they have to be reminded of that. For me, I had to remind the demon named Uncertainty that he had no place in my life and my future is secure. I had to send Fear away as well. Doubt and Anxiety were reminded that I am a child of God’s. Therefore, they have no stake on me. I am not talking about being possessed or anything like that, merely an attack on me personally.
Now I realize that this isn’t how many people talk, and it sounds a little crazy, but it shouldn’t if you read the New Testament. This world is a spiritual place and therefore there are spiritual beings in it. C.S. Lewis, in the preface to The Screwtape Letters made the following statement, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.” My point is this: we shouldn’t look to every bad thing that happens to us as an attack by a demon, nor should be blindly assume that the cause of everything we deal with is rooted to something here on earth. The truth is somewhere in the middle and if we recognize that once we enter into the Christian faith we enter into a battle.
No matter how long you have been a Christian you will struggle with these forces and you will be attacked. The question is, will you know how to deal with and defeat the attacks and arise victoriously?