Spiritual Warfare II
“Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – I Peter 5:8
We look here at spiritual warfare; Peter the Apostle warns us to remain alert and recognize the enemy. And once we recognize the enemy and his persistent assault against us, Peter tells us how to react:
“But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” – I Peter 5:9
Appealing substitutes face us every day. Our world is filled with seducing counterfeits designed specifically to satisfy humanity’s spiritual need for love and acceptance. Many of these counterfeits can lead to dangerous addictions and eternal peril, not to mention cults, gangs, and other perilous substitutes.
What we should remember is that whatever we put in the place of God threatens our spiritual well-being. For humanity’s “self-improvement,” emotional control, and spiritual education, the world provides us with a steady diet of centering, meditation, and powers from the paranormal, such as witchcraft, channeling, contact with the dead, and other substitutes. In and of themselves, activities such as these do us no harm, but they can lead to more destructive practices.
Many New-Age teachers use terminology that sounds like Christian words: They go to “churches”; fallen angels are called “spirit guides” or even ‘guardian angels”; Time Magazine recently published a story on “The New Age of Angels.” What we must keep in mind is that angels of God cannot be called up through man’s prayers because they obey only God’s instructions.
They never draw attention to themselves but only work through God’s power and His messages. Never, ever should we substitute the worship of angels with the worship of God. In a later post, we will examine the book of Revelation and see how an angel in heaven admonished John the Revelator for kneeling before him. The angel realized this was incorrect, that only God the Father is worthy of worship.
Fallen angels can be conjured up through man’s efforts and will lie about their own destructive powers and will enter our lives through seemingly innocent portals. Children are especially vulnerable to the portals via fantasy literature, the internet and other media.
Many people, including Christians, don’t believe in the existence of a supernatural world. In Christ’s day, people were much more aware of the unseen world. In fact, it was a given that demons existed. Satan, demons, the demonic and the unseen world were all very much a part of the early Church culture and remain relevant today.
Remember this: nowhere in the Bible does it say that idols and gods worshiped by the ancient Israelites did not actually exist. The Bible states that they are false gods, not that they did not exist. In fact, if we look at the Ten Commandments, we run across a bewildering rule: “Thou shalt worship no other god before Me.” By forbidding the worship of other gods is to admit that other gods existed.
In today’s society, these “forbidden” gods exist under other names and enter our spiritual lives through seemingly benign “New Age” philosophies. We see today a merging of paganism and the Church as well as paganism and mainstream society to the extent that paganism is now mainstream. We’ve entered into a new world of moral relativism in which the lines between right and wrong are blurred beyond recognition. We can believe in whatever we wish (including the denial of a supernatural world), and it’s perfectly acceptable. We can channel the spirits of the dead and communicate with loved ones, but the belief in angels is hokey and outdated. We can travel the world looking for ghosts, but it’s impossible for angels to exist because to admit such would mean endorsing religion; we can sit outside the fences of Area 51 waiting for UFO’s to land, but we refuse to believe in the existence of angels.
In its broadest sense, the word “occult” means “hidden.” In religious terms, it refers to religious practices hidden from the masses – practices that were secretive and revealed only through mysterious rites of initiation. And while some might argue that Christianity requires an act of initiation (baptism), this practice is never hidden.
In arguably the most well-known prayer from the New Testament, we read the following line:
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” – Matthew 6:13
Christ here is speaking of Satan, the tempter; in fact, this passage is often translated as “…deliver us from the evil one.” Jesus here asks God to deliver us from Satan; deliver us from his assaults; deliver us from the temptation he excels at; deliver us from losing ourselves to the prince of demons.