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Our Enemy is Not a Being of Flesh and Blood
The last two weeks, I've written about my frustration with goal-oriented discipleship. I will continue that train of thought in the weeks to come, but I wanted to step out of that and acknowledge that it's Holy Week, and Easter is just a few days away! We (as in LakeView Church) produced a Lenten devotional book this year, and below I've included an excerpt from that book. I hope you find it helpful!
One of the strangest experiences I’ve had as a pastor happened early in my ministry at LakeView. It was an otherwise normal day when a young man (who will remain unnamed) walked into the church building and asked to meet with the pastor. I sat down across a table from him and asked what I could do for him. He pulled a necklace off and held it out to me.
“I want you to pray for my necklace.”
This seemed like a rather strange request, and I asked him why he was seeking prayer for his necklace. He said that he wanted a prayer of protection placed on his necklace so that it would keep him safe in the days to come. He held it out again and asked me to take it and pray for it.
Something seemed off to me. I felt a check in my spirit, a warning not to touch the necklace. So, instead, I told him I’d be happy to pray for him but wouldn’t pray for his necklace because no matter how many times I blessed his necklace, it wouldn’t keep him safe—that’s not how prayer works. He was rather agitated by this and insisted I take the necklace and pray over it. I asked him to tell me a little about himself and why he needed prayers of protection.
He said that he’d grown up attending LakeView Church’s youth group. But as a young adult, he’d met a new pastor, the pastor of a Satanic church in Stoughton. He said that the pastor had given him a copy of the Satanic bible and had opened his heart to Lucifer. He went on to say that Christians are deceived, and the truth is that Lucifer is good and Jesus is evil. Then he asked me again to take his necklace and pray for it.
I refused but offered to pray for him instead. But now, he was angry. He told me I should have prayed for his necklace and left. I went home that evening and didn’t think too much about what happened until nine light bulbs in our house burned out one after the other. These were LED bulbs less than a year old! Later that night, two of my boys had recurring night terrors, waking up screaming over and over.
Finally, a little before midnight, as I went into their room again, one of my kids asked, “Dad, what are those two glowing red things?” Looking around his room, I couldn’t see any red things.
“There are no red things, buddy.”
“Yes, there are. What are those two glowing red things, Dad?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “Let’s pray about it.”
I prayed for them again and put them back to bed. Then I walked out of their room and down the hall. As I neared the living room, two glowing red things caught my eye. They were the taillights of a car sitting in front of my driveway, shining dimly through the blinds in the living room. There was no way my son could have seen them from his bedroom, but somehow he knew they were there! I went to the front door and walked out onto the porch, and the car quickly drove away. I don’t know how long it had been there, blocking my driveway, but after that, the night terrors ceased.
I tell this story because we have a real spiritual enemy. Satan is real. Demons are real. Thankfully, that night was a relatively harmless attack—a lack of sleep and a few burnt-out bulbs. But not all spiritual attacks are that benign. The enemy pursues our souls and seeks to crush our lives into the ground. His desire is to keep us enslaved in the darkness like those long dead. He wants to destroy our hope and erode our trust in Jesus.
He will attack us in any way that he can: anxiety at 2 am, the temptation to sin, discouragement, accusations, lies, fear, and even physical ailments. Thankfully, our God is greater! Through Jesus, we have the power to overcome the enemy and all his schemes.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8a).