For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12 NET)
Spiritual warfare is a very real thing. Some people experience it differently or are effected by with without ever acknowledging its reality because in Western Civ, spirituality and the spiritual realm falls outside the realm of scientific study in that its difficult to impericise. Meaning, you can't measure it, taste it, smell it, call it by name. (For example, If I described a 4 wheel vehicle, big, yellow, able to carry dozens of people (normally students), that had yellow and red flashing lights that displayed when it was picking up and dropping off students, you'd say BUS!, yet with spiritual war, its different). The above is a poster that hung in my room as a child. The verses following talk about spritual armor and the reality that we need to rely on the Holy Spirit in our lives accompanied by our agency in enabling this work through honing our hears, hearts and hands to follow its prompting.
When I was at Cortland College in NY I think I had my first experiences with spiritual warfare. Leading a group of Christians on a very secular campus it became apparent that people were influenced for better (and often for worse) by spiritual forces that either held them captive. Christians are influenced by the Holy Spirit and others by worldly spirits. The amount of time praying, fasting and spending time reading Gods word definetely made me more attuned to these forces and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Random meetings became divine appointments, the correct words would flow from my mouth when my brain wasn't telling me what to say.
Keeping in Practice
Unfortunately, these skills need constant upkeep. Like going to the gym, its a Habit that needs to be formed and maintained. Prayer, fasting, reading God's word among other spiritual disciplines are the lost cornerstones of a faith that many in the western church have abandoned to tongue service. I'm working at this in my life and hope to keep this sword sharpened.
I'm praying again and spending time in the word and feeling compelled to spend time praying, fasting and seeking God's intervention at the Simply Youth Minstry Conference this year. I'm not sure why, but feel driven to. I like that, because its not about me, but about God and God's working in this event designed around youth workers helping youth workers. Join me in prayer for SYMC:
- Divine encounters outnumber the classes and the curriculum of the teachers.
- God's rest is given to those who need it “divine napping” if you will.
- That Len Evans and the SYM Soul Care team are empowered by the Holy Spirit in great ways.
- Traveling Mercies! Last year quite a few got caught up in Tornado Alley heading to SYMC Louisville.
- The speakers hear and heed the Spirit's prompting in their leading.
- The lead team is able to execute their plans and follow the Spirit's lead when the plan needs to change.
- The In the Trenches Team become true servants and seek out ministry opportunities above and beyond their regular assignments.
- Attendees are able to hear God, get emboldened for their ministries and discern the spriitual war around them.