I recently finished a book that thoroughly changed my life. In the interest of being concise, but at the risk of sounding trite, it freed me from the crippling fear and anxiety I’ve been dealing with for most of my adult life. This is profound, and you know what I mean if you know anything about my struggle; if you don’t know the specifics, please trust that my newfound freedom really IS profound (and certainly don’t hesitate to ask me about it).
The book is Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance by Karl Payne. It is not a magic book that will fix all of your problems. But in the lives of most Christians, it is bound to fix some problems and to put one on the path toward fixing even more. It is a book that equips and empowers with biblical truth.
Since reading the book, I have personally been better equipped and empowered to wage war against the three things that comprise spiritual warfare: the world, the flesh and demonic influences—that is, when I recognize them. Karl spends a lot of time on each facet, breaking down what it is, how it can manifest and how it is to be fought against; nevertheless, it’s a discerning skill that I am still lacking in.
The last few days have been fraught with warfare. Racing thoughts that point out all of my failures and inabilities, nightmares, an overwhelming sense of inadequacy and insecurity, and restlessness. How do I know it’s warfare? Because it is (so far) keeping my focus off of God and painfully on myself. The enemy’s first priority is to destroy us and his best strategy is luring us away from the only One Who can protect us. Distraction is one of his more effective ways of positioning us for the deathblow.
So I know it’s warfare; now I fight, right? Right. But here’s the problem: I’ve done all the things the Bible teaches us to do to fight spiritual warfare (asking God to reveal any unconfessed sin that may be giving the enemy ground in my life, asking God in Jesus’ Name to remove the oppression, confessing sin and re-surrendering the areas in question to God, etc)—and it’s not working.
This morning, I woke up from yet another series of nightmares, on the verge of panic. ‘What am I doing wrong, God? What am I supposed to do next? Why isn’t the warfare stopping? How do I know if it’s because of sin in my life or if it’s just a random attack? How do I make it stop? I’m so…tired…’ He must have been waiting for my panicked tirade to quiet down because as soon as it did, He brought to mind Paul’s struggle with ‘the thorn in his flesh’. (II Corinthians 12:7-10) Paul tells us that, in order to keep him from getting prideful, God allowed a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan, to harass him. He asked God three times to remove the thorn, but God’s only response was, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
So now here I am: harassed, and still without answers. But there’s one thing I’ve learned in recent years; nothing is allowed to happen in the life of a believer without God’s permission and God wastes nothing. I don’t need to understand what is happening to me right this moment to know that God has a purpose that will eventually be revealed.
And while I hate the idea that there’s something I don’t know, possibly something I’m even doing wrong, or worse—something I’m doing wrong and should have known better, His grace is sufficient for me. His unmerited favor is enough. I can rest in the fact that He loves me anyway, His purposes in my life will not be thwarted, and He is fully Sovereign and in control.
Yes, even being harassed, I can rest. Isn’t that stunning??
God wastes absolutely not a thing that happens to me AND I have unmerited favor with Him.
Everything’s gonna be all right. ♥ (to be continued…)