That is his secondary mission – and he only has two!
There are times in our spiritual walk where the mixture of elements – mental, emotional and spiritual – intertwine with traumatic events and tribulations, tap into our own weaknesses and fears to create a spiritual stronghold. Like a perfect storm, none of the elements alone are capable of utter destruction however, infused with supernatural influence, our mind becomes a battle field for every exaggerated lie and distortion, for every magnified and imagined fear and failure. Unexplainable depths of confusion, fear, anxiety, and guilt spearhead the torment in spiritual battle.
When you’re there, you will know it.
In Matthew 8:23-26, the disciples were following Jesus into a boat. They had done nothing wrong. Yet, “Without warning, a furious storm came up” evoking great fear, convincing these seasoned fishermen of sure death. Jesus was sleeping as the storm raged around them.
A spiritual storm may last days, weeks – rising up without warning, to rob us of peace, crush us underweight, and draw us toward ungodly relief. A spiritual battle is a furious storm, whose instigator is full of hatred, fury and supernatural power – power second only to Almighty God.
Rational thinking and fleshly logic are powerless, like fighting a fire breathing dragon with a toothpick. Clichés and platitudes – even self-application of scripture – are merely oars futilely striking raging waves and wind. Others can advise but none can enter the battle, save the Holy Spirit, the ‘Wonderful Counselor’, through prayer. Our course of action remains unchanged: to actively and expectantly wait upon the Lord. He may seem to be sleeping during your utter distress and attack but He has, in fact, gauged and measured the spiritual battle for His purpose.
The principles and purposes of battles remain constant over the ages. In Judges chapter 3, following miraculous deliverance, God led the Israelites victoriously into the Promised Land – a foreshadow of us in Christ. However, God Himself left enemy kings in this promised land to test His people and train them for war. The Lord called His people to completely depend and rely upon Him, their battles are His. It is a call to stand, to remain obedient when under fire with the expectation of God’s deliverance. How much more, in these last days, are we to “…be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power…take your stand against the devil’s schemes…not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world…” (Ephesians 6:10-18 recommended).
The devil can torment the minds of believers, launching a battle on emotional, mental and spiritual fronts churning together the elements into a raging perfect storm. Our ‘sleeping’ Lord is a waiting Lord, ever-present to take the helm as we, in mustering faith, cry out to Him. Our weakest prayer, offered in faith, can open a door of light to expose the powers of darkness and bring understanding. In the midst of turmoil, the willfulness to praise and worship God releases His presence. As the Lord speaks through His Word our heart gains strength – His strength – and “divine power to demolish strongholds” (II Corinthians 10:3-5)
Deliverance may not be forthwith, neither are we immune to suffering and wounds in the battle as the Lord trains us to fight but in that fight, He will reveal spiritual truths not otherwise learned.
Tormenting the saints is secondary; Satan’s primary mission is to maintain man’s separation from God through pride, rebellion, disbelief and the deceitfulness of sin. If the “wages of sin is death”, those who live in unrepentant sin, separated from God, will reap fruits of guilt, confusion, and anxiety with a real expectation of judgment. Spiritual battle for the believer is not wasted, needless turmoil and suffering but rather an appointed interface with powers of darkness. We are promised victory before the battle and great reward therein – a deeper revelation of our Deliverer. With strengthened faith and resolve, and humbled dependence on the Lord, may we better refresh and minister to brethren, and beckon the lost to His salvation and deliverance.
“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.” (Psalm 118:5)