Wednesday, June 17, 2015
All out aggression
When we started learning about spiritual warfare, the hardest thing for Evelyn and I to grasp was this mindset of being aggressive in faith. It seemed so contrary to all we’d been taught about being good Christians. Our upbringing was to be kind and considerate, and to avoid conflict. And when it came to spiritual things, it was even harder to break out of our habit of having that feigned holy, reverent attitude. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but there’s a churchy manner that comes as second nature to most Christians. It’s normal to walk into any church to find grinning greeters with kind voices to welcome you and ask how you are with homey chuckles and God bless yous. But just start to share the misery and suffering you’re going through, and these nice Christians begin to squirm.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t care, they just don’t know what to do, or what to say. They’re not equipped for spiritual warfare, and most don’t even want to know what that is. We were like that too, but at least we were searching for more.
It took more than teaching to break out of our churchy mindset. We had to watch others and witness the anger that pleases God, the audacity that could be interpreted as pride, but is in fact true humility and faith in God’s word. We had to observe our mentors speaking boldly to God and insisting that His promises come true (and then wait for a lighting bolt to strike them), and in amazement see God answer that prayer instantly. We began to wonder, could it be that God actually likes it when we pray so boldly? It sure seemed like God was rewarding these men and women of faith with miraculous changes when they spoke in anger against their problems. As we dug into the Bible, it was right there in front of us. Bold confrontation against evil was just as pleasing to God as humble servanthood. They went hand in hand. Our enemy doesn’t take the form of Philistines now, but demonic forces that have to be commanded out of our lives manifest in many ways.
The devil is brutal. Diseases are cruel, the heartache of broken marriages, bitter children, abject poverty, addictions and on and on—these are all the result of relentless demonic attacks. Sure, people bring these things on themselves, and to receive healing they’ll have to fix what is wrong, but even so, the real culprit is an evil force that took a hold of their foolish choices and inflicted the damage. The devil is an opportunist. Show him a chink in your armor and he’ll destroy as much as he can. Blaming the person for the consequences won’t restore anything. Teaching them how to fight their true enemy will. And if the devil is brutal, God expects us to be brutal in our fight as well.
In Psalm 139 David asks God, “Lord, don’t I hate those who hate You, and detest those who rebel against You? I hate them with extreme hatred; I consider them my enemies.” When we learned to let a holy anger burn inside of us knowing that hating God’s enemies was a way of honoring Him, we were transformed. Not only did we start to see miraculous answers to our own prayers, but our confidence in faith jumped to another level. Our character became grounded and strengthened, and our spiritual eyes became opened and God’s greatness became more real. Our fight demands that we continue to love the unlovable, to serve, forgive, and turn the other cheek, but towards the devil and his demons, we have no other choice but all out aggression. Sound strange to you? It did to us, but we could never live any other way once we learned it!
When they had brought the kings to him, Joshua summoned all the men of Israel and said to the military commanders who had accompanied him, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So the commanders came forward and put their feet on their necks. Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Be strong and courageous, for the Lord will do this to all the enemies you fight.” (Joshua 10:24-25 HCSB)