As Christians we are bound to have attacks, it is part of the package. We are trying to live our lives in holiness and obedience to the Lord, so of course the devil gets upset. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. When we become adopted into Christ's family, we become targets.
Now for those of you who don't believe that Christians can have spiritual attacks because we are hedged in by the Lord at all times, I'm here to say that I have had days where there is no other explanation. Sure, the Lord gives us protections, but He also gives us weapons. He wouldn't give us the Sword of the Spirit (the Word), I we didn't need a sword.
I have had days where I wake up from bad dreams, and then go into the day feeling as though everything is against me, electronics, children, spouse, finances. It all comes at me and against me and I feel completely emotional and unable to cope with the simplest of tasks. The whole situation feels out of my control.
On those days, I have found, that the sooner I can realize that this is not normal, that I don't normally feel this way, that my kids don't normally act this way, that my attitude is not usually this foul, then the sooner I can combat it.
|This is what I hope I look like in the Spirit, only as a girl.|
Is this meant to instill fear and anxiety though? No! It is meant to make us aware and discerning and prepared to look for the signs of battle. We have to be aware of the spiritual side of this life, otherwise we are walking around with our weapons at our sides open to being clobbered. The devil deals us attacks some times, and we shouldn't be standing around saying, "Lord, why is this happening?" Or worse, saying "Lord, if this is Your will, I accept it." When you feel like you are stuck in a funk, don't just walk around and bear it, hoping it will pass in a few days. No! Fight back! Ask Holy Spirit how to pray! Don't just take it lying down, draw your sword!
I know the Lord does protect us a lot of the time, but not every time. So I want to be prepared and learn how to be more prepared for future battles. Bad situations still happen to Christians and some of it is just circumstantial, but some are attacks. Why would the Lord allow it, you ask? Well maybe because one of the best ways to train a warrior is to throw them into some small skirmishes and combat type situations. As the years have gone on, and the more aware I have become of spiritual things, both good and bad, the more I feel as though I have gained some confidence in my authority and using my weapons. I had to realize the battle I was in though, and start to fight it.
The Spiritual side is as real as the physical, and the sooner I realized that, the more I started to be more effective with my prayers and direct in the way I entered into difficult situations.
Hard times come to everyone, but how you enter into it has a huge bearing on how you will come out of it. I might be having a bad day, everybody has them right, but that bad day can also have a spirit behind it that energizes it and makes it worse and less manageable.
That was my yesterday. By noon I was already in tears and ready to quit. Ken told me to go have some quiet time with the Lord, which made me want to hit him in the face. So I went.....and I ranted to the Lord about how horrible my day was, how horrible my husband was to suggest I go spend some quiet time with the Lord, and horrible my kids were being. Finally, when I spewed all that forth, I sat quiet and didn't know what to do.
Next I quietly and halfheartedly asked the Lord to break in and tell me what to do. Didn't hear anything really, but I decided to pick up a book by Elizabeth Elliot and read a few exerps from her "Keep a Quiet Heart". If anything, I knew my heart wasn't quiet, so what could it hurt.
When I left that 25-30 min. sit in my closet I felt rejuvenated, calmer, more in control, and ready to face the rest of the day. It got me refocused on the Lord and I was able to spend some time reading and listening to the Prayer Room later on. Ken and I talked later, and I was thankful that I no longer wanted to hit him. When I went to bed that night I even had some revelation on an idea to help me deal with some discipline issues I've been having with my oldest daughter.
So, did I feel like anything happened in that "quiet time", no. Did something happen in the Spiritual realm, I would say definitely.
Did I enter into today with a new and renewed focus and aware that the enemy had tried to take me on yesterday! For sure, and I tell you what, today has been amazing. Not perfect, never perfect with two toddlers, but amazing, smooth, and I feel in control again of my emotions and moods.
Do I sound radical? To be sure, but I'm not weird. If you don't know me personally already, I feel confident in saying that we could easily be friends. If we were having coffee together I would at no time start using my hands in karate type moves as if to fend off an unseen enemy (although I have known people that do), and when you tell me to pray for something I don't immediately go into spiritual warfare prayers (again, I know people who do). Not everything is warfare, and we are charged to be one's who don't fight as one's who beats the air (1 Corinthians 9:26). I want to know when there is an ememy, and fight it with wisdom and authority. I also want to know how to pray when there isn't a clear enemy. Some hard thing are just circumstantial. Therefore discernment is needed. Ask Holy Spirit.
But what does it look like then?
If you were to see me doing spiritual warfare in my house, you might not even recognize it. For real, it probably looks pretty tame in the natural. No big shouted prayers, no outward displays of strength (such as the aforementioned karate moves). I typically firmly whisper a rebuke, declare my identity in Christ, ask Holy Spirit to come into the situation and move on. As often as I feel it is necessary throughout my day I will repeat the above steps, and throw in some extra time praying in the Spirit under my breath. The devil has ears, but I don't have to shout to be heard. That is really how simple spiritual warfare can be.
Is it wrong to shout out prayers and do karate moves? Nah, it just isn't necessary, but sometimes when I feel all stirred up in the Spirit to pray for something, I do like to do a few little karate type moves now and then. It makes me feel good inside, but it doesn't actually do anything in the Spirit, it just feels nice.
Here is the summary though.
Today's post is meant as a reminder to myself and a chance to say to all of you that the sooner I/you can realize that a situation that feels out of control is probably being influence by an enemy spirit, the quicker I/you can take authority, pray against it, rebuke it, whatever and refocus on the Lord, drawing on Him. Will you feel an immediate shift? Probably not, I usually don't, but the results that I see in the natural speak volumes of what has been accomplished in the spiritual.
So be encouraged, we have been given the weapons and authority, the more often we have to use them, the stronger we become, the more discerning, and the more we can spur others on to believe for the victory!
I will also end with another thought. If you do feel you are in a hard season, but you feel clearly that it is not a spiritual attack, then perhaps consider if you are in a season of pruning. The Father is the vine dresser and Jesus is the vine, and those who are grafted into the vine are lovingly pruned so they may bear more fruit. As a Horticulture major, I can say that pruning can be quite a shock to a plant, no matter how healthy, but the results are worth it. For more teaching on the subject of pruning, or to just hear a great message on the subject, check out IHOP.org Weekend Service Archives and find the 1/15/2012 sermon on Responding Well in a Season of Pruning by Allen Hood. I highly recommend it even if you aren't being pruned.
|A freshly pruned grapevine.|