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During the month of February, our Bible study topic will be spiritual warfare. We will ask questions (which may or may not be answerable), examine scripture, and consider what we believe. As always, it is understood that we do not all have to believe the same thing.
I have figured out this much - sometimes the “blockages” I encounter that prevent me from functioning at my best are spiritual in nature. Sometimes it feels like something other than me is fighting me to prevent me from getting unstuck. I know that may sound weird; but there is plenty of scriptural support for the belief that there are spiritual forces that operate in opposition to God and to God’s will for God’s children. Personally, I find it as easy to believe that as I find it to believe in God. In both cases, we are talking about spirit-beings which are other than human. What makes it easier to believe in good spiritual forces than in bad ones?
My sense is that some people are repulsed by the notion of a devil or demons. Perhaps that is, in part, because evil spiritual forces have historically been portrayed as ridiculous caricatures - the bright red, horned creature with the pitchfork, etc. They have been personified in a way that puts them in the same category as fairies and leprechauns, in terms of belief that they really exist.
I am not at all sure they belong in that category. In fact, I’m as sure as I can be that they don’t. Jesus not only spoke of demons, he spoke to them. He delivered people from them. He cast them out. And they knew him on sight. They feared him. They obeyed him.
I believe that there are wicked spiritual forces that operate in direct opposition to God and God’s will for God’s creation, including human beings. I do not believe these forces look like their caricatures. I don’t know that they look like anything; any more than God looks like an old white man with long white hair and a long white beard. That does not mean they aren’t all real.
The significance of all of this, for me, is that if it is true that evil forces operate in this world - and in our lives - awareness of that surely puts us in a much better position than denial. Awareness does not absolve us from responsibility for our choices and behavior. But it might very well equip to recognize when we’re up against something bigger than ourselves; something for which we need to invoke a greater power than our own. The good news is that there is a greater power available to us.
Come to Bible study, during the month of February, and let’s discuss this further. It really could be life-changing.