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Spiritual Warfare and Unhealthy, Immature Lives

Posted on May 9th, 2008

I spent my first fifteen years as a Christian studying and absorbing some of the best books and materials around the subject of spiritual warfare. I have encountered demons in Sunday services and in one-to -one sessions. I have sat under people deep into the field of deliverance. Yes, we have plenty of material here about demons from our years here at New Life in Queens, NYC.  Yet something was deeply wrong — with me.  In some ways, an imbalanced understanding of warfare (powerful and true discipleship paradigm as it is), only reinforced some of my immature, unhealthy behaviors rather than liberate me for Christ. So as I approached Ephesians 6 on the armor of God to preach on it, I wanted to do one sermon on it and move on. I could not imagine what I would say with all the pathology and craziness that goes on around it in the church. (That is the great thing about preaching through books of Scripture -at least occassionally. It forces churches and preachers to deal with texts they would rather avoid). Yet I know God is speaking to me — quite powerfully actually. Demons, principalities of darkness and spiritual forces are very, very real. Just read history if you doubt that. The first weapon we are called to put on is the belt of truth – truth, not just of Scripture, but all truth. This belt holds all the other weapons together. Yet I know how easy it is for me to lead a double life, saying, for example, that I am leading and steering NLF  when really I am afraid to so. It is easy to lie and say I am living a contemplative life around a Rule, but minimizing how difficult that really is and skimming on it. It is easy to say I am about union and communion with Geri when really I am seeking validation from her and using her to soothe my anxieties. It is easy to be a coward and not be courageous and speak truth people who do not want to hear it. I prefer often to do the easy thing, not the hard thing (like thinking before I speak, planning, not reacting). I think of how often I have avoided “truth” because I thought: “If people think badly of me, I will die!” Yet Jesus said, “Let your yes, be yes and your no, no” Matt. 5:37. This means that our words are to be like a signed, legal document. That is rare and almost impossible to do without God Himself! Spiritual warfare is real- very real. So real that the evil one can so dupe us in the church that our actual teaching of it inadvertently reinforces unhealth, immature behavior. How have you seen that, perhaps, to be true?

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