“I'm here, Satan," he said. "I can't see you, and maybe you can move faster than I can, but I'm still here, and by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit I intend to be a thorn in your side until one of us has had enough!”― Frank E. Peretti, This Present Darkness
I remember when I read This Present Darkness. It’s a captivating book. It opened my eyes up to what was happening in the spiritual realm.
I didn’t know too much about demonic activity. I hadn’t been exposed to many teachings on it or any overt operation of the devil in people’s lives. I didn’t know any person that I could tell was demon-possessed or see any casting out of demons at church.
In fact, in most places in America, we are shielded from such things. I’ve heard stories of missionaries in other countries that have seen people shapeshift and turn into snakes and werewolves. Way out there things!
But for most of us, the cunning schemes of the enemy are much more subtle but no less stressful. Left unknown and unaddressed, the enemy, that Jesus has already defeated, will be able to have some victories. He is the source of the stress we experience.
Books like This Present Darkness can be both good and bad for us. The whole topic of spiritual warfare, which is what we are doing when we are stress-busting, can become a help or a stumbling block for us.
Knowledge of spiritual warfare is good in that it :
However, an overemphasis on spiritual warfare or wrong teaching can:
Stress-busting is spiritual warfare because Jesus came to give you life in abundance, to the full, till it overflows but Satan came to steal, kill and destroy. Obviously, stress is wrapped up in the enemy’s plan for your lives.
We are commanded to deal with the unseen, invisible forces that are against us, not ignore them. Mark 16:17 says “And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will drive out demons.” Playing ostrich and putting our head in the sand won’t make them go away. To have to face the opposition is part of ruling and reigning in life but we are assured of victory.
And 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).”
Strongholds are areas of life where the enemy has been able to take authority over. He truly has no power or authority to do so since Jesus totally destroyed him, but when Christians don’t rise up and take authority in that area, it leaves the throne empty and he just comes in and takes over with no opposition. We are commanded to destroy those strongholds and to start to rule and reign there.
When we start to engage in spiritual warfare and we start taking back mountains of authority that were always meant to be ours, then we’ll see more victories in life. We’ll have less stress and we’ll experience rest.
Joshua 11:23 “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their allotments by tribes. And the land had rest from war.” All the things that happened for the Israelites in the physical realm with their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land are how it works for us too in the spiritual realm. Once they engaged in warfare and destroyed the enemy, they had a time of rest.
Did you notice that phrase, ”according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses”? That’s what it will take for us too. We must know what the Spirit is saying and proceed with the Word of God as our first and final authority. We can’t go out and fight any fight we want to. We need to know the promises of God. Once we know what He said is our inheritance, we can know we can fight for it and win.
Let’s end with the quote from This Present Darkness that I started with: “I'm here, Satan," he said. "I can't see you, and maybe you can move faster than I can, but I'm still here, and by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit I intend to be a thorn in your side until one of us has had enough!”
Just as the thorn in Paul’s side was not a sickness but an evil spirit, I want to be a thorn in Satan’s side where he can’t get anything accomplished in my life. I want him to think, “Oh no! She’s awake!” I won’t lay down and take his spiritual attack. I won’t put off victory for a later day. And I will continue to fight to teach you to rule and reign in your own lives so you can live light and free!
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