August 12, 2013

The Pages of Spiritual Warfare

You know those books that make you want to be a better person after reading them? I've only read a few of those books: Redeeming Love and the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers come to mind. Well, I just got through reading a book called This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. Boy, was it good. Just to give you a heads up, if you haven't read it, it's a book on spiritual warfare and it's intertwined with a wonderfully written fiction/thriller story. When you read it, it gives you some thought on the subject of spiritual warfare and the constant battle going on outside of our senses. I highly recommend it!

As Christians, we talk about spiritual warfare, not that often I might add, but I don't think we really grasp the concept. I know I certainly don't. It's almost something foreign to me. My whole idea of this warfare has been something along the lines of thinking that spiritual battles between demons and angels happen, but as long as I'm a human, I really have no say in the matter. After all, the big battle hasn't happened yet, right? It seems like a separate, distant occurrence. It's just kind of a thing I never thought of as being so close around us. The way Peretti writes his book is astounding. It really paints a picture of the demons and angels.

Guardian angels. We all like the sound of that, right? I have a keychain that's supposed to go on your car keys and it says 'never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly'. You've probably heard testimonies about people being saved by one or a divine interference happening just at the right moment? I have, and those stories always leave me a little breathless. It all sounds so...almost impossible. Well, it's not. The way Peretti writes his book, we have guardian angels around us all the time. All day, every day, protecting us from demons everywhere. It's amazing to think that as I go about my day, blissfully unaware of what is going on in the spiritual realm at that particular moment, angels are warding off demons. It takes on a whole new meaning about your heart and spirit being protected by the Lord. Another thing that Peretti does in his book which I really like is that he gives names to demons. For example: lust, complacency, deception, hatred, anger... I could go on. They have that one specific purpose and they attack unsuspecting humans. It's hard to wrap my mind around. But the coolest thing in the book, in my opinion, is Peretti illustrating the power of prayer and how God can bestow the greatest purpose on someone unsuspecting but faithful. It's heart-wrenching, in a very good way, to read about these small characters who have such a steadfast faith and who follow God's guidance in steps of faith. The little inklings they have come from their guardian angels. The urges to pray that burden their soul, are put there by their guardian angels who need the prayers for strength and success. I mean, it's mind blowing. The pictures Peretti paints of angels literally walking on either side of a godly man as he follows the Holy Spirit's urging in his soul, their swords sheathed, ready to protect, is mind blowing. I've never really thought about it that way. Prayer is the most important thing in Peretti's book. It gives the guardians strength, it significantly weakens the demonic attacks, and it illustrates the importance of being in communication with our Lord. Not just Him hearing us, but us hearing Him as well.

It's mind blowing, this spiritual warfare stuff. I'm certainly no expert at it. I'm not even halfway decent at describing it, I suppose. All I can say is that it's crazy to think it is so close and so real. And the funny thing is, we all are oblivious. We are worried about what we're going to eat for lunch for goodness sake. I worry about whether I'll get enough sleep to get me through the next day or worry about the grade on that test. Things are so much bigger than we realize. I suggest you get some pleasure reading in before school starts, and This Present Darkness comes highly recommended (by me). And you should read every bit of the Scripture below :) - they are some great verses!

Hebrews 13:2

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
-Ephesians 6:10-12
"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder."
-James 2:19
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
-1 Peter 5:8-10

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