Spiritual warfare. Since my family is in the midst of attack I am quite sensitive to the topic. I see it all around me. It’s not coincidence that months ago when I planned a day trip to New York it included a performance of Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. It’s also not a coincidence that my assigned readings for today discuss it. When I read Jesus’s words and see his actions in Luke 11 I am reminded of a few things.
1 – The man possessed by an evil spirit is not evil in and of himself. The spirit that possessed him is evil. Just like the man himself was not mute, the demon was mute. When the man was possessed he was mute, but when the demon was driven out the man could then speak.
2 – The evil spirit that possessed the man was particularly strong, but Jesus was stronger.
3 – After a victory against a demon we need to be particularly careful to replace the void with God or else we are even more susceptible to evil.
Luke 11 sets us up with instruction on prayer before the story about driving out a demon. Jesus gives us guidelines for what to pray for and how to pray – boldly, knowing that as God’s child he wants to give us our desires, as long as they are in line with God‘s will. As a mama bear I am ready to attack to protect my cubs, but then I am reminded not to repay evil with evil but with blessing (see yesterday‘s reading). Not an easy task, but with prayer it is much easier. I need to be reminded that our battle is against the forces of evil, not humans that are not strong enough or do not have the Holy Spirit active in them so that they can sufficiently recognize and/or overcome evil. We are to love our enemies. Not The Enemy, but human enemies all around us that have fallen prey to The Enemy and his minions.
In his letter Peter says
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13)
I am very aware of this spiritual battle. As I grow in my Christian walk I am more and more aware of it. As I grow stronger I can feel the enemy stepping up the gain against me and the people I love. So I pray more and seek God more and my faith is strengthened. And along with Peter, I say
To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11c)