Words, statements and quippy sayings have a powerful affect. In the times and days we are living in, we'd better get real good at using these weapons wisely.
In the Church we have begun to look remarkably like the rest of the world. This is not a profound statement by any means but I'm guessing a few folks reading this blog will be shocked at what I mean when I say this. After all, we are all in agreement that it is appalling the number of broken marriages and wayward children we have in the Church today. That's an obvious one. Not to point fingers or call anyone out, but as believers in Jesus the Messiah, we are to give the rest of the world hope that HIS way of doing life, including marriage and raising children, offers a somewhat better existence than what they are stuck with. I mean, it's fair when you think of that expectation. We believe in a God who offers abundantly immeasurable beyond anything we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) So it would stand to reason that we look abundantly, immeasurably beyond anything we can imagine in better shape than our neighbors of non believers. This isn't 'a we are better than them' statement, on the contrary. This is simply pointing out truths in scripture that are not lining up with what is playing out on the stage of the christian Church. Currently we offer nothing more than eternity for those not in the Church. Eternity is great, but friends, we're living in a world that doesn't even believe in an after life, much less a need to secure a spot in said after life.
This blog isn't really about the reasons behind that or what we as a body of believers in Jesus are meant to look like- after all, He did die on a cross, get raised again all for us to.... go to heaven? Yes and so much more.
No what today's write up is about is this nonsense that we do as believers and that is giving the devil free publicity by calling him out on everything he isn't doing and giving God bad press by blaming Him for what He is not in fact doing.
We blame the devil for things that frankly I am certain that he had nothing to do with. We wear t-shirts that say "Not today satan!" or slap a bumper sticker on our cars (I wish I was kidding) and think that is suppose to send the devil a stern message. "Better not mess with me! I got my t-shirt on today, boy you better back up!" Um, hey did you know that this phrase originated with a reality show participant, in the series RuPaul's Drag Race? Funny when you know where things came from, isn't it?
Stating this now, iconic phrase, does little for you on the positive in a spiritual sense and could result in a host of ugly on the negative point. It puts you on the devil's radar as someone who has now engaged him and is ready for a fight.
Let me teach you something about spiritual warfare for a hot second.
The word satan means adversary, satan is not a being per sa. The devil is a being, make no mistake. But saying "not today satan" is the same as saying "not today adversary". In terms of dealing with the devil and demons, you're going to need to be a touch more specific. Not today adversary could really be anyone who is fighting against you, traffic, your kids, yourself, anyone really who does not want what you want in life.
In spiritual warfare, we do not have the luxury of throwing out that word "satan/adversary" and assume the devil got the message. It's akin to shooting a arrow, or better yet, a dart, blindfolded and thinking it'll take out your greatest enemy when at best it falls pitifully to the ground with a sad blink. If there is traffic, likely it's not the devil, but rather you. Perhaps you woke up too late, dilly dallied over coffee. Or, perhaps there's just a mass of humanity going to the same location you are and well, you might be late.
If you're fighting with your kids, a lot of times this is not in fact the actual devil but rather little demonic minions that are hanging around the house waiting to stir up trouble through your precious offspring or spouse. Here's an alarming truth I learn far too long into parenting- guess who lets those demons in?
Or your kids.
All through movies, books, music, friends and/or your ancestors, really, the list can go on and on. When we are saved by the blood of the Lamb, the demons cannot pester us unless we give them permission to do so. Might want to think about that before you blindly let your kid read the most popular books of the day.
Again, this is a longer topic worthy of much more discussion, but for now, let's just leave it with, maybe we need to look at a different source if the day has gone haywire.
Now if you are like me and are fully aware that I have played a role into letting these demons have a grand ol party in my home with my kids, and you are wanting to kick the devil out, again, more specificity is needed. The actual devil, the main guy, he is not likely the one behind your trials and tribulations. The actual devil is busy with heads of states, government officials, land procurers, people in Hollywood even, but that last one is a no duh.
Unless that is you, it's safe to say your bad days and pesky times are a result of tiny minions sent to pester, annoy, confuse, frustrate or any other negative emotion imaginable, all to take you off your spiritual path and role that you play here on earth.
Again, wearing a t-shirt proclaiming war is a stunning way to put yourself on the actual devil's radar because he is a legalist and if you're looking for a fight, he will surely give you one. Don't engage, don't fight his battles. Fight the battles of the Lord. Way more fruitful and productive.
The word of God admonishes believers to not antagonize their enemy- Jude 9 for example says that even the archangel Michael, (the biggest baddest angel) didn't dare rail against the devil but rather said, "the Lord rebuke you!" when he was fighting over the body of Moses. Unless you are an OG from the high ranks of angels, perhaps you too, could take a page out of Michael's playbook and not antagonize the devil all because it is culturally acceptable to do so.
Also, what happens when your shirt is in the laundry? You declared war yesterday and now the shirt is dirty, what ever will you do?
In the case of blaming God for foul happenings in our lives, be aware that anything good only comes from the Father of lights, in whom there is no shifting shadow. Anything negative that comes, disease, financial hardship, bad traffic, etc is likely not from God. The Word of God says, "the thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10)
God is not to be blamed for unsavory shenanigans in the world. That's the devil's department. He's the one that warps heads of state and leaders to do stupid and horrific things, the demons head off and see to it that those plans get played out by working with whatever regular old Joe that is willing to assist them in their quest.
A quick example of this is sickness. A belief that people get sick is an easy in for a demon caring sickness. Or, a belief that children will grow up and naturally rebel is another simple way to ensure your child WILL be tempted to against everything you have taught him/her. No matter the example I share, the truth needs to be said again and again, God is not the one behind destruction and pain.
Mild discomfort? Perhaps. He has walked me through some squeezing and uncomfortable times but it was more of a good workout than a source of devastation and despair. When my trainer would work me over, I wasn't thrilled with his antics but when the workout was finished I felt amazing. If at the end of your time of squeezing or mild discomfort you are thank God and excited for what's next, chances are, that was the enemy at work and not God.
When those times have come for me, I know who is the author of that- vile minions assigned to pester and annoy me, or to take me out of the game altogether. Either way, I am well equipped to battle the right battle with the right tools.
If your life is not as peachy and rosy as the Word of God says it should/could be, take an assessment. Have you provoked the devil into engaging with you by smack talking like you're some straight up spiritual gangster?
Are there pockets of entry points, things you could correct, remove and get rid of out of your house and heart so that the enemy of your soul isn't legally allowed to hang around?
Can't kick your friends out, you know?
Are you someone who says things, "God is testing me or teaching me and that's why this horrific event is/has happened?" If that last one is your train of thought, I respectfully say, "you couldn't be more wrong".
God is good. All the time.
God only does good. All the time.
God can only be good. All the time.
Engage with God more than you do the devil, I guarantee your life will shift dramatically.