Wednesday, January 6, 2010

the things we wrestle against.

Yesterday I finished reading the book "Adam" by Ted Dekker. The book is about spiritual warfare - the main character is a man who is possessed and kills people - till the end when he is confronted and evil is battled with truth. Everyone warned me it would be scary, and it was. I had to read it in the daylight to keep it from affecting my sleep. But, as Dekker wrote in his comments at the end, it's only frightening because we know spiritual warfare is real. The book was gripping - Dekker never disappoints me with his writing. But what really captivated me was an interview that Ted Dekker and John Eldredge (Author of Wild At Heart...etc...) enclosed at the end. I re-read it four times to let the words sink in. Powerful, powerful truths. Get ready...this is going to be a pretty heavy, and lengthy blog post.

Dekker began by pointing out that as Christians we tend to ignore the spiritual warfare that exists around us, and we do not accept our responsibility to be active in resisting Satan's tactics. He says that we - " longer believe evil is anything more than a generic force that is set against all humanity. Evil: the bad things that we do, temptation." We can be held captive by the evil we ignore. He goes on to say that there is so much more to spiritual warfare than just being tempted. And that the ultimate goal of temptation is really to lead us to "believe terrible things about God and very, very mistaken things about life..."

So what are the ways we can see spiritual warfare in our daily lives? He writes, "This is such a simple test. You just look at the fruit of some event, or some sabotage of a relationship, you look at the fruit of some thought you're believing, some emotion that you're feeling, and should ask, 'Well what's the fruit of that?' If it looks like something is being stolen, or killed, or destroyed--guess who's involved?"

What he wrote next really hit me hard. "There are people that you encounter, and you just want to dismiss them or use them or get mad at them, right? Well, what likely happened is that you just walked into the spiritual battle over their life. The enemy is trying to get you to do to them what he's doing to them - accuse them, dismiss them, ridicule them."

Wow...that is so convicting. Look at how this is circular. I know that out of my hurt, the lies I believe that feed my insecurities - I have treated people in my life horribly. I am guilty of accusing, dismissing, ridiculing...on so many levels. I hate the lies Satan feeds the people around me that I love. To think that I have been a part of reinforcing those lies......that crushes me. The extent of the damage done is overwhelming. And yet, it's really not about me - it's Satan playing his twisted games with we don't need to give in to. Like sharks smell blood, he finds our weakness and preys.

The goal is to rise out of the passivity we are set in to begin confronting the evil we deal with daily. John Eldredge writes that there are three levels that the enemy will work at in our life. "The level is always, 'I'm not here; this is just you.' So whatever you're dealing with, your addictions, your rage, your lust, your compulsions, the breakup of a marriage, the failure of a ministry, the split of a church- 'I'm not here. This is just you.' Right? He loves to stay at that level. The level of ignorance. The second level is when you begin to realize, 'Wow. He is there.' Then what he usually tries to do is intimidate you. 'Don't fight back. Don't pray against me. I'm going to make your life really hard.' He tries to scare you...And the third level is he tries to cut a deal. He says, 'Look, I'll tell you what, don't resist me and I'll make your life easier.' Make a little compromise in your personal integrity and everything will be swell."

Here is the hope- We have the victory. Jesus has already won the victory over Satan, but we have to grasp that power and use it in battle - just as He has given us salvation but we still have to do our part and accept it and share it. Eldredge writes, "Evil is not the point. The point is the love story. We live in a love story that is set in the midst of war. When you understand those two things, you will suddenly understand Christianity, and you will understand your own life."

I hope these words sink inside you, and change the way you see things, as they did to me. I feel convicted to be more persistent in my praying for others - interceding, crying out for them and really fighting against evil. Also to see more clearly the ways I am attacked and how I need to battle against the lies. -- And to be on guard in my relationships, not giving the enemy any foothold for destruction.

Once again, as I often see through C.S. Lewis' writing, Dekker reminds me of the life outside of what is immediately visible - there is so much more behind the "skin of this world"'s so terribly exciting. Truth is so beautiful.


Keisha Rae said...

You my dear friend, have just been used by God by writing words that pierced my heart. The exact words I needed to hear but no one was saying. I couldn't find them, partly because I didn't want to. Thank you thank you.

Richie said...

wow... Exaclty what Keisha just said... I need to start putting my armor of God on more faithfully and start fighting for The God who formed every intamate part of my being... too often we forget how powerful the tongue is... just as a small rudder controls a large vessel, so do our tongues influence the lives around us... Very good blog Grace. =0)

Anonymous said...

I always like reading your blog, Grace. I appreciate your thoughtfulness (in this post and in all your others)

Hannah B. said...

Great. Absolutely great. Thanks sweet Grace. :)

Kym Witt said...

Sweet Grace,
When I finished reading this, I KNEW, absolutely KNEW (because she almost always gets to your blog sooner than I do!) that one of those 4 comments would be from Keisha Rae. You really have no idea, when you write what God puts on your heart, how He is also speaking to the people who read. This is beautiful and powerful, and I hope I get to talk with my daughter about it.....

GLB said...

That makes me so happy to hear - it's all God, not me.