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 Spiritual Victims - 4/20/11

ďFinally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.Ē  (Ephesians 6:10-12)

It is always important to keep the whole armor donned, but in recent weeks, God has been clearly showing me in His word and through my life experiences that it is especially important for all of us today as we live the abundant life that He promised usÖ a life that is truly spirit filled.  The above passage from Ephesians (and its close counterpart in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5) really brings the message home that He has been showing me with the following key point. 

- The reality of the spiritual war that is raging all around us everyday must be seriously recognized by us all if we are to be anything but victims and slaves of the rulers of darkness and sin.  When Jesus was here in body, He not only recognized this conflict, but actively engaged and overcame it and we must do the same everyday or the demonic influences will overcome us.

Even though these demonic powers and their weapons operate in a realm that is unseen, they are in fact no less real than the physical objects that we interact with everyday (i.e. tables, chairs, etc).  Indeed we who are saved believe in the existence of an invisible God and that everything that we see was made by Him who we can not see.  Just as surely as we believe that, we must also believe that the principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness also equally exist and are determined in their efforts to defeat us.

During this time, God has been showing me in my life how there have been people interacting with me who have said and done things to forsake or to hurt me deeply.  When these things happened, there immediately welled up inside of me indignation and a desire to lash out in retaliation at them.  But at the same time, the Holy Spirit convicted and reminded me of Godís command to love people, especially people who despitefully use and abuse us.  It was quite a struggle to not hear and obey what my flesh was screaming at me but instead to obey that still small voice that God was whispering to me.  But as I heard Him, this is what He illuminated for me and what I offer to you as this word for today.

When the enemy comes against us, in many cases he will use situations and actions of other people to come against us, to get into our heads and to make us modify our behavior to be like him.  His army of demons are very good at using his tactics to get people around us (particularly people who are spiritually unarmed or who donít take him seriously) to say or do things to throw us off guard and to get us out of Godís will and plan for us.  These people can often hurt us deeply and make us want to take retribution.

As we, the saints of God go deeper in our walks with Him (and especially as new believers are saved and forsake the enemyís kingdom), the level of these tactics and spiritual attacks will (not might) most certainly intensify and the fiery darts from the enemy will barrage us.  When we have on the full armor of God and keep our focus on Him, we will be able stand fast and not be affected by the intense psychological warfare that is targeted at us.  The armor allows us to see with the eyes of God and recognize that it is not this person who is troubling us, but indeed a demonic spirit (or spirits) who is literally using this person to trouble us.  And just as the word of God says in Ephesians 6, we must recognize who the real enemy is with whom we are contending (spirit, not flesh) and then USE THE WEAPONS AND RESOURCES THAT GOD HAS PROVISIONED US to overcome that enemy.  When we do this, victory is assured and God says that we are more than conquerors.  When we donít do this, we do not stand a chance and will fall victim every time to the influences of the demonic powers.

One of the key ways that we fail to be victors in this spiritual war by not taking it seriously (the enemy loves when we do this).  Another way is when we fail to use any of the authority and weapons that God has given usÖ when we leave them on the table untouched (the enemy loves when we do this as well).

Pray for the people who trouble us
During this time, God showed me something very eye-opening about the people who are used by the enemy to do and speak evil against us.  He showed me that we as His children should actually well up with compassion for them personally instead of indignation and a desire to hurt them back.  He showed me that He is indeed a zealous God and a protective Father for His children.  When He commands us to not take revenge for evil because He will repay it, He is very, very serious.  He showed me that He will indeed pour out His furious wrath for each and every act of evil and sin that anyone commits, especially against His children.

With all of this in mind and the full understanding of whose children we are, our instant reaction to the people who trouble us must be to have compassion and to pray for them like Jesus prayed.  When He was being beaten, tortured, spat upon, and denigrated in the worst way imaginable during His crucifixion, He had compassion for the people and prayed that the Father would forgive them because they didnít know what they were doing.  Much like we have discussed above, they were being used by the enemy and they didnít really comprehend whose Son Jesus was.  When Stephen was martyred in Acts 7:60, he also prayed that God would lay not this sin to the charge of those who were stoning him.  We must be like-minded when people abuse us.

Now, remember above where I just said that God promises that He will with no doubt punish all sin?  When people allow themselves to be used to trouble us, our prayer should be that they will come to repentance so that the Father will forgive them of their sins and let Jesus pay for them on the cross.  That those sins would ultimately be laid to the charge of Jesusí perfect work and that this person will ultimately not have to pay for what they are doing to a child of the King.

So ultimately, I encourage each of you to recognize the reality and seriousness of the spiritual war that is raging around us and ensure you have your full armor donned everyday.  Also do not try to engage in this battle alone but seek help and support from other brothers and sisters who are strong in the LORDís might.  And finally, remember that we are not fighting against flesh (other people) and that Christ died so that those same people could be forgiven and saved.

 Gerald
Watchman on the Wall

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© 2010 Gerald L. Prater

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