Two friends and I host a weekly podcast on various spiritual topics. Last month we planned to discuss (I kid you not), How to Recognize Spiritual Assault. Schedule conflicts and illness forced us to cancel our two previous podcasts. We didn’t want to call off a third.
To complicate matters, one of my friends was still under the weather, the other was swamped with work, and I had a longstanding 6:00 pm dinner date with out-of-town friends. I planned to leave the dinner at 7:30 to make our 8:00 call.
That was the situation four hours before the podcast. This is the story that followed:
- Late in the afternoon, my wife and I had a tense discussion. I missed much of my podcast planning time, leaving me irritated, distracted, and unprepared.
- Our dinner reservation was changed from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, leaving me little time for conversation with friends, and even less time for food.
- The closest parking spot was several dozen blocks from the restaurant, and I arrived five minutes late.
- As I left the restaurant, a torrential downpour greeted me, and I splashed and waded the six blocks back to my car.
- Three different traffic jams—three!—delayed me further. I arrived home with two minutes to spare, soaking wet, and freezing. And further irritated, distracted and unprepared.
I began the call in a frenzied, intense, and distracted state of mind. Do you recognize the frontlines of the spiritual assault?
It’s Not What We Normally Think
When I later reviewed that story with a friend, he exclaimed, “Whenever I speak on spiritual warfare, the same stuff happens to me: my wife and I get into a fight, my car breaks down, the sound system shorts out, and I’m an emotional wreck. We’ve got to pray against Satan’s evil orchestration of events.”
But the inconvenient incidents weren’t my problem; they were just its triggers. What left me bleeding on the battlefield was the bullets of twisted belief.
The book of Job may be the best spiritual warfare manual ever written. In it, only seven verses describe Satan’s evil orchestration of events: marauders, natural disasters, enemies, weather, and illness (Job 1:14-19 and 2:7). That’s it, seven verses out of forty-two chapters.
The rest of the book of Job reveals the distorted thinking of Job, his wife, and his friends. The book of Job concludes with God revealing himself, and it is God’s self-disclosure—clear thinking of true reality—that brings the healing Job needed.
It’s the Lies That We Buy That Kill Us
Scripture emphasizes Satan’s messages not his physical power. He’s called: a liar, the father of lies, a deceiver, an accuser, and a blinder of our minds. Scripture doesn’t call Satan the demon of thunderstorms, the terrorizer of technology, or the evil spirit of illness.
He may cause some of these, but he always lies about them with false interpretations.
Satan’s objective is to convince us of untruths about God (and then others and even ourselves). Satan’s plan with Job was to get him to “curse God to his face” (Job 1:11). It is our false beliefs that make us act in fear, rage, timidity, domination, misunderstanding, and oppression.
I Could Have Handled That Call Differently
The changed reservations, poor parking, and bad weather triggered inner responses of unneeded intensity, distraction, and forcefulness. I thought: “Why does this always happen to me? At the very worst times? Now I’ve got to make this call work, even though I’m unprepared.”
What if, instead, I believed that God works out all things for the good? Even poor podcast prep.
I would have made the call with peace not frenzy (Success doesn’t depend upon me), and curiosity not distraction (What is God up to?). Everybody would have had more fun. Including me.
Instead of cowering in thunderstorms, we can sing in the rain as we wonder, “What great marvel is God up to now?”
P. S. Plato urges us: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” If you are breathing, you are under a spiritual assault. The question we face is not, “Are we under attack?” but, “What is the heart of the attack?”
And the only cure for spiritual warfare is found in hearing Him. To nurture that conversational relationship with your Father, I suggest you read Hearing God in Conversation.
The publisher has reduce the Kindle price to $2.99 (they extended the offer an extra week) and the print reduced to $12.74. Buy now and watch the video below.
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