Friday, September 21, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: Spiritual Warfare

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. {We are} destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and {we are} taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. {2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NAS}
After being informed of the banishment of a distant relative: I mounted an impassioned defense. For aside from it being a part of my calling: the matter was also rather personal unto me. For I have been where they are; and I would not wish that for anyone.

Were there grounds? It all depends upon which side of the stained-glass you are on. For on one side: the outcast really was egregiously disruptive unto some; but on the other there is: Love is patient, love is kind {and} is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,} does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things{1}.

In the end: the motion was denied; and I took that even more personally. For that is the way I naturally am{2}.

Thankfully: I enjoyed a brief respite when ELO’s “Hold On Tight (To Your Dream)” started playing in my head. For a broad range of emotions were reeking havoc with my peace-of-mind.

I would have had it last for at least another song. For it was not long before a huge wave of despair rolled over me; and for the next four hours: all I wanted was for it to end—without any regard unto in what manner.

Oh how I wish that account was nothing more than merely another fictitious tale being told to serve as an example of what a true spiritual attack can be like. For it felt like all hope for me was gone{3}; but if it contributes unto the cause in some way: has it not been worth it{4}???

Alas, if only I could be so noble while I am under attack. For I would feel so much better about myself in the aftermath; but in doing so: would I be any better off{5}???

Welcome to the frontline. For the battles that are waged in spiritual warfare really are that insidious{6}.

Missing the point? Be assured that you are not the only one. For it is quite natural of us to want to feel good about ourselves{7}.

Furthermore: we are strongly encouraged to do so by scientific research. For study after study appears to make it irrefutable that it is unhealthy (both: mentally and physically) to not think well of ourselves{8}.

Hence: one of Satan’s cleverly concealed traps{9}. For if the absolute truth of the matter truly is that there is nothing good about us apart from our Heavenly Father: what is there about ourselves to actually feel good about{10}???

No, this is not to say that there is absolutely nothing good about any of us. For we are all the work of our Heavenly Father’s hands{11}.

Hence: the devil’s counterattack. For if he can get us to believe that we are absolutely worthless: we are much more likely to have serious doubts about just how precious we truly are unto the One who constitutes what is truly good about us all{12}.

No, none of this is meant to deny that there really are such things as demonic possession. For there are; but they are rarely as obvious as this: They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!" Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many." And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them." He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.{13}

Take the plight of Judas Iscariot for example. For it truly is as it is written: Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.{14}

Are you starting to understand just how insidious true spiritual warfare is? For very few in the Christian community have any idea that Satan had anything to directly do with Judas Iscariot’s betrayal; and yet: there is the proof in plain sight.

Not one to take only one Scriptural account for reference? Well, John 13:1-30—especially the 2nd and 27th verses, should be most helpful.

Tragically: very little of what I have been given to say about this will be of any help unto the vast majority of the current residents of the Christian community. For it has been widely taught the devil cannot touch any of our Heavenly Father’s children by faith; and others have been led to believe that all who are truly in Christ are given power over the forces of darkness.

Are not both woefully misguided{15}? For if it is indeed true that the devil cannot touch any of our Heavenly Father’s children by faith: why are they encouraged to put on the whole armor of God{16}; and even though it is true that power is given over Satan and his horde of rogue angels{17}: is it not under the same circumstances as all of our Heavenly Father’s spiritual gifts{18}???

The moral of the story? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”{19}

Therefore: let us humble ourselves before our Heavenly Father. For it is only in Him that we have hope{20}.

[{1}1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NAS; {2}Jeremiah 20:7-9; {3}Job 3:1-26; {4}2 Corinthians 4:5-15; {5}Jeremiah 9:23-24; {6}Jeremiah 17:5; {7}Jeremiah 17:9; {8}Proverbs 14:12; {9}Ephesians 6:11; {10}Psalm 16:2; {11}Isaiah 64:8; {12}James 1:5-8; {13}Mark 5:1-13 NIV; {14}Luke 22:1-6 KJV; {15}1 Timothy 4:1; {16}Ephesians 6:10-12; {17}Mark 16:17-18; {18}1 Corinthians 12:4-11; {19}Mark 14:38 NIV; {20}1 Corinthians 10:12-13]

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