Thursday, January 29, 2009
Spiritual Warfare and the Armor
The Scriptures teach that we are personally involved in spiritual battle. This war will continue the whole time we live on earth. The war ceases when we die. At that moment, the Lord strikes the final victory bell and our homecoming, with a song of triumph, will begin. Until then, though, the battle rages. Satan's attacks usually are subtle. After all, he is the great deceiver. But his power on earth is considerable, and he can undertake a direct attack on those who give him a stronghold. I remember, for instance, the day Jonathan came for counsel. Two days earlier, he had tried to take his life. We began our meeting with some friendly chitchat; I sensed a warm relationship developing as we visited. Then I asked, "Jonathan what sin in your life do you feel the enemy is using against you?" Jonathan answered, quite honestly, "I am a heavy user of pornography. I believe it is an addiction with me." He described for me the kind of hold it had on him and many other details about it. I finally asked if I could pray for him. He seemed to welcome the offer. I prayed, "Dear Father, your child has sinned by making a naked human body an object of worship. Please grant him the gift of repentance." I wasn't expecting anything dramatic, but when I said the word "repentance," the most amazing thing happened: a spirit threw him on the floor as if it were gagging him. I immediately prayed for Jonathan, "Heavenly Father, this evil spirit is harassing your child. Plead bind him and set him aside." At that point Jonathan relaxed and was able to return to his chair. Seconds later, a prayer of repentance and confession poured out of him like few I have heard. In only moments, he appeared free of his bondage. He then asked me, "Do you know why I was thrown on the floor?" "Please tell me," I said. "I didn't believe in demonic powers. I thought I could be a Christian and indulge in pornography, and somehow get away with it." I stared at him, quite amazed. He added, "Today I have become a believer in the existence of the enemy." I smiled happily at the change and encouraged Jonathan to read the Bible regularly and apply it in his life. He followed that advice consistently. Jonathan's parents later reported to me. "We have a new son, one who loves the Lord and who obeys His Word." In this case, God let demonic powers drive Jonathan to such an extreme that he finally turned back to God in desperation. Clearly, that was God's purpose all along. The lie in Jonathan's life could only be vanquished by his seeking God with integrity. God had to apply the truth to Jonathan's specific need like a torch to metal. Mere candlelight would not have done anything. Most Christians will not confront the enemy or his forces so directly. But they will still engage in spiritual battle. The reminder-and warning-from Scripture is that "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against...powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places," (Ephesians 6:12). The spiritual battle may involve resentment, showing disrespect to authority, jealousy, or even verbal fighting between parents and kids. We need the armor to withstand all satanic attacks, including feelings of inferiority, selfish ambitions plans, and attitudes of indifference to those in need. No matter the sin, we need spiritual weapons to confront and defeat it. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.