Saturday, August 09, 2008

spiritual warfare isn't a joke. you might just be living a lie.

The spirit realm is more real than the physical realm.

There are a lot of people that will agree to this. I learned it deeply while in Africa. I SAW it to be true. I think a lot of people, even of different religions, believe it. Jim and Lisa acknowledged it on behalf of the New Age movement (a scene they were literally “pulled” out of. Both stories of the miraculous and “spiritual beings”).

Perhaps it’s a weakness of the western church that so many seem unable to acknowledge this as true. So often we live as if the opposite were true: what we see is what we get. It isn’t true, though, and we are in for a rude awakening if we live assuming that the spirit realm isn’t very active…what a dangerous lie.

There have been a couple times in my life when I have felt the enemy very close. I have friends who have experienced the same. These moments are reminders of the reality of a spiritual realm that is battling for the hearts and souls of mankind. It’s a sobering reality to be “re-awakened” to, and it happened to me the other night.

I had been on the phone with Mariah for a long time. We were catching up on life, talking about the future and a new semester at Moody. We expressed some frustration about the school, the environment, etc. Nothing “new.” We spoke of the pressures that seem to surround the place—the pressure to have the “right” answers, live the right life, be the best Christian, etc. Just a lot of frustrating things. We wondered together about why Moody is such a “hard place” to be.

Why, if it is a center for spiritual learning and training?

Why, if it is, at the same time, a beautiful place of community? Neither of us have felt the power of community like we have at Moody. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Why is there such a “dread” accompanied with going back? There is an oppressiveness about the place. I usually feel it the minute I’m back in the city. Why?

So, we were talking about these things. After we got off the phone, we were both feeling kind of gross and uncomfortable. Upset that we feel so upset about going back; uncomfortable that we feel so uncomfortable about going back (don’t think we aren’t at all excited, because we very much are!). I tried to go to bed but couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I was just asking God, “Why does this happen each time?...what is it about that place?” It started to make more sense. The Battle. The Spirit realm. There is so much going on that we DON’T see but sense and feel. It makes sense that Moody be a huge target for the enemy because of all the potential. My pastor in Chicago once told us that he sees young people come into Moody excited and zealous for the Lord but they leave all dried-up and “heady”—a reality that has saddened us and, perhaps, healthily frightened us a bit.

I kept feeling a growing sense of oppression and attack that night. The more I thought about it and the more I determined causes, etc., the more I felt dark. It was really weird. It was actually quite frightening. I tried to sleep. I dozed off for about 30 minutes but had terrible nightmares and really scary images flashing through my mind. I turned the light on but couldn’t shake it. I knew I could stay alone so I woke mom up. She came in and I told her everything. It was obvious beyond all else that it was a pretty heavy spiritual attack. She said “Andrea, the enemy can only be in one place at one time. Could it be that he has rallied his forces at Moody? It shouldn’t surprise us. He is strategic. It is ‘smart’ for him to target a place with so much potential. So he battles on the institutional level but also on the individual level.” It makes so much “sense.” Perhaps this is why there is such a strange oppression I feel…such a heaviness…why I feel exhausted (because my spirit is battling)….

I remembered a dream/vision I had while in Africa. I was reading Red Moon Rising and had spent a week in prayer over Moody, asking God to reveal things to me—should I stay? Should I go?
I saw this picture of Chicago and Moody. There were dark thunderheads rolling in over the lake towards the school. The storm was coming to bring change (the longed-for revival) but obviously not without battle. The change, growth, etc., won’t come without 1. Much prayer 2. Intense spiritual warfare. I don’t think its any accident that God has created such strong pockets of community at the school. I think that’s part of the Spirit’s strategy to create strength—through unity. But we have to be diligent about cultivating honest fellowship that is Christ-centered.

Mom left and I kept thinking about these things. I haven’t felt so oppressed in a long time. Another friend of mine has had similar experiences and described as feeling as through something were on top of you—and you cannot move. That’s how I felt. I couldn’t sleep and I felt afraid. While claiming the victory of Christ I lay there feeling evil so close by. It was a sobering experience because it reminded me that the spiritual realm is not a joke. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. At the same time, however, I have to confess a lot of my fear (which exposes a lack of trust). The victory is won.
I have a lot of new thoughts about the semester, now. I realize how much my life needs to 1. be close to Jesus (close to his words of TRUTH while the lies are being shot from all directions) 2. be lived in prayer (individual, yes, but also communal).

I read through Mark the other day and was thinking about the power of that blood—Christ’s blood. His saving blood is over me…and that is what protects me from the powers of darkness. Will I feel their power? Yes. Will I see it? Yes, sometimes. The point is, I want to live each day acknowledging that the spirit realm is more real than the physical. Pretty soon you are fighting what you OUGHT to be fighting: the powers of darkness that enslave this world, not the world itself. I look at someone who is “lost” and the battle isn’t against him (a grave mistake the church often makes) but against the evil that surrounds him or is in him. Does this make sense? Let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear.

Thinking on spiritual warfare is very intriguing to me. Perhaps because we aren’t really taught about it that much…but we live with it everyday.

I am grateful to be in the arms of the Lord. I was thinking about that laying there, quite afraid, that night. What if I didn’t have the assurance of salvation and protection from the Lord? What terrified despair I would live in. Wow. Such sobering thoughts…

Look around you, people! We are in the midst of a battle. We are in the midst of a huge, huge battle. You ought not take it lightly. We aren't here forever.

1 comment:

Lacy Lillian said...

we have lots to talk about.