Thanks for your patience, we’ve finally come to the end of the road and I can’t let go, it’s impossible, you belong to me, I belong to you. Hold on a minute – that belongs elsewhere doesn’t it? In any case, here we are at the climax of a minor detour from the thrilling fasting series that you’ve been reading with great interest. I’m looking at the theme of how things are not personal in the context of a journey from being insular to a more considered approach to different expressions of Christian faith. I’ve also identified my dear friend Pete Orton from Burton-on-Trent who has helped me in relationship reaching the position I’m in. In the last entry I laid the claim that the gospel itself makes some outrageous claims about the nature of humanity and how as a result it’s not going to be digested by everyone.
Do not forget the disclaimer from the first part! I won’t dwell on that, I know and you know it’s the thing to do before you think any further!
So we’re in the position that the power in the gospel is so amazing because it and it alone saves people – not intelligence, not works, not any other measure of man – only faith in the revealed Son of God and His restorative, atoning work at Calvary.
What does that mean for people who clearly have not accepted or even had an opportunity to receive this precious gospel? Well these people are susceptible to various forms of demon possession or at least loving the darkness. Apostle Paul sheds light on the issue in his letter to the church in Ephesus by stating quite clearly that our issue is not against people – flesh and blood – but against spiritual powers in high places – influential places, places that shape and guide ideologies, faiths, beliefs and the like in the world today.
So when I meet opposition from people the first thing I am to recognise is that it’s not the people. Having acknowledged then that it is not the people, the next step open to me is how to proceed from there. Often the best course of action is to leave the vicinity – no need for open warfare at this time. Equally sometimes it’s best to expose the force for what it is and expel it in the name of Jesus – that kind of stuff freaks people out, but that’s what we’re facing with a lot of people and we don’t appreciate it.
It has been exaggerated in places and its stigma has been used to turn people off from the reality of spiritual warfare, but I can testify that unless we recognise the forces behind people’s behaviour and beliefs we will either wear ourselves out trying to sort people out or worse still actively try to embrace those forces as we show ‘love’ to the people in the way of tolerating and endorsing their lifestyle. So what’s left to us is the task of finding out where there’s a demon behind the bush and following our Master’s example tell him where to go, i.e. behind us and far away from us.
Having been given all power in heaven and earth and commissioning us in the power of His Spirit we are told that we can meet this spiritual wickedness head on and experience victory by His authority. Personally this reality sometimes appears overwhelming and daunting and reading of spiritual luminaries who have faced tremendous spiritual oppression manifest in severe physical beatings does not entice me into the fray. Yet the reality remains that it is nothing personal I’m coming across when I meet staunch atheists, rabid liberal humanists and proactive almost militant supporters of other sects and religions. Worse yet it’s nothing personal when well meaning nominal Christians attempt to persuade me otherwise with the use of man-centred thoughts.
It can come across as personal and for the people themselves they can be so entwined in the philosophy and cultural norms that there’s no other way of looking at things. Yet what gives me hope and confidence is the Master and with that confidence comes a heart-felt compassion for people locked and captive to the forces of the enemy as I once was.
Within me then cries the same cry I made not so long ago for God to deliver them as He delivered me. For that same manifesto that Jesus read in quoting from Isaiah to be the reality for so many people who are otherwise closed from the power, glory and love of God’s Kingdom. I do not speak as one who is not susceptible to the wiles of the wicked one. I speak as one who has been the conduit for the malevolent forces of the wicked one to attempt to cause chaos in my home, the church and work. Yet I am the same one who has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and has been delivered time and again from the snares of the enemy. It makes the cry for deliverance in the Lord’s guide to prayer all the more important so that we are not trapped in sin and its consequences, but are set free from it to see God’s Kingdom come and will done on earth as it is in heaven.
It’s nothing personal – it’s everything spiritual, so we need to deal with it with the weapons of our warfare especially using the Sword of the Spirit to pierce through the ties that bind and bring liberty through the defeat of the enemy once more. Thank God for His Spirit at work in the lives of many bringing that deliverance and freedom to worship Him as they were created to do in truth and Spirit.
(I have a lot more thoughts on deliverance that I’m deliberating as to whether it’s worth posting them here on the blog. In the meantime what you can read for yourself is a recent six-part series of blogs on the LJN blog on this very subject – Deliverance, Deliver Us, Hear Me Out, What Hope of Deliverance, Is All Hope Gone, and When All Hope Appears Gone.)
For His Name's Sake