In 2019, by the time this article was first published (August 25), ten children were lost in the previous 22 days due to being left in hot cars. 248 mass shootings occurred in the US; and in all of 2018 there were 323. Easily linked activist attacks and deaths have been greatly on the rise. Thousands of Christians have been killed just because of their faith, to the point where some major news outlets are beginning to call the problem “near genocide”. In spite of many people believing this is all a fairy tale, it’s becoming more and more clear; there’s an enemy at play and a cross to stand up for.
Caution about my involvement
I get it; pay attention the the tree of life, not the tree of good and evil. So let me be clear here; I’m publishing for one, specific reason; the enemy buries its attacks in every-day life, hiding them in plain sight. Often times when we want to blame other people for fallout, we’re not looking for the underlying causes of the turmoil. In other words; when one of our brothers or sisters gets particularly annoying, unbearable or destructive; we often sling our anger in their direction without having compassion over how the offending behavior started.
So the purpose of this article is strictly to put us on alert over our own reactions toward others. I’m trying to say; sometimes we need to turn ill feelings into understanding. The way to do it is to allow room for the possibility that, in each situation, the enemy may be at play more than we could ever imagine
What I am and am not saying
I’m NOT saying that we should excuse poor behavior. I believe that, ultimately, each one of us is responsible for our own actions and there is no substitute for repentance.
I AM saying we often DO NOT pay enough attention to the underlying causes of such poor behavior. More specifically, for the purpose of this article, I’m writing about the influence of the enemy; the Devil.
I don’t believe bad behavior is a natural thing. We’re created in God’s image and his image is love. There are tons, tons and more tons of influences that we accept as normal life; when in reality, things that alter moods and behaviors are everywhere. Nicotine (especially vaping) is an irritant, causing faster heart rates, higher blood pressure and addiction. We’re supposed to be able to rest and heal at the sight of the stars we can’t see through light pollution. We breathe, eat, hear, absorb and encounter unnatural stimulants every day and night. And in the midst of all of it is the enemy, a complete opportunist who just waits for the next thing that can be used against us.
This might be the worst of it all because every day, we accept it as normal life. These things often don’t feel like a threat; and that’s the goal of the enemy, to make them feel acceptable. I’m talking about the things that affect everyone. Porn, billboards, TV, smut magazines, junk food, alcohol, environmental pollution, gossip, extinction, WiFi, etc.
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It’s all there in droves and it all leads us away from clear, free spiritual and truly communal thought.
I don’t think God intended for us to be using WiFi routers when they are proven to interrupt sleep and induce states like fight or flight mode. I don’t think He wants us living next to cell towers that are known to cause cancer. I’m sure God doesn’t want us to believe that someone should be idolized because they’re on the cover of a magazine. And these types of things may not always be pointed as weapons, but they constantly tempt us away from who we really are.
I’m not going to get too deep into this one; but I will say this… the enemy takes notice of those who raise their voices in attempt to spark rebellion against greed and misinformation. This is clear if you’re paying attention to the news, or if you know how to use a search engine and type something like “dangers to activists” or "Christian persecution".
There are many things that prove the concept of what I’m saying; things that were originally designed for right purpose, but ended up being often used for the opposite. Here’s just a small list:
Dynamite was originally invented and used for construction and farming. Later on, many of those booms were not used for such nice things,
TNT was made for coloring clothing. Same change as above,
The loudspeaker was invented for music, then Hitler got hold of the idea and used them to slander his ‘enemy’ in droves.
The Devil is not going to see the tools that we’re using, like technology, money, etc; then say “ahhh, it’s fine, I’ll let them have that stuff ‘cause I got my own ways”. No; he may not have a shred of wisdom, but he’s incredibly intelligent. He’s the best battle commander Earth has ever seen, from the dark side that is. If human fighters know enough to use every advantage they can get… well… how abut someone who’s had thousands of years to think on it?
No human armed force says “oh look, the enemy has one of those new-fangeled techno computer thinggys attached to their guns. Well we don’t know what that does, but we know better than to waste our time with it. We’ll keep using our 1800’s levels and monoculars for targeting.” No! Duh! It doesn’t work that way. And therefore the enemy of the light looks for every new device it can possibly use.
The devil is not an artist, he’s an opportunist. If he wasn't using technology to try to reach his goals; you wouldn’t have nasty digital comments on articles that help people get to God; malicious hidden cameras would not exist; and Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not be as famous as they became in 1945.
In other words; evil uses every situation, every spirit and every bit of technology it can to work against our getting to God.
Division and illusion
It happens in any battle where any opponent knows anything about fighting... divide and conquer; and always use illusion. Animals will puff up their extra mass to make themselves look bigger. Insects will stand up tall and present themselves more dominating than they often are. People yell and say one-liners in the hopes of making their opponent more intimidated (you know… “Make my day punk”).
In the history books, psychological warfare goes as far back as any recorded war. Demoralization, false flags, slander and other tactics are used to create layers of disinformation and they’re documented at least as far back the Bible. It would be foolish to think the Devil has backed off of these tactics in the last couple thousand years. Why? Because they work now as well as they always have.
This plays into relationships regularly; facing each other is becoming harder and less convenient. That leaves room for our thoughts to run wild about what a fellow human is doing. So if we’re so uncomfortable outside of texts and email that we can’t go to someone and talk about what doesn’t seem right; all sides of the story never come out in a fair forum. Gossip takes over. Blanks get filled in and people become unnecessarily distant.
There’s another hugely important part of that too, the illusion that the enemy doesn’t exist. There’s a certain level of immediate safety for those who label people like me crazy, then try to throw a straight jacket and some happy pills at us. But that protection ends at the border between fear and reality.
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book of war. If you can convince your opponent the real you doesn’t exist, you can stand right next to them with a smile on your face and hand on the controls and no one will say no. The advantages of the Devil making people look silly for knowing he’s there, they’re endless and very well worth the investment.
Taking ourselves down for the enemy
The enemy is still looking to take us out and is often successful, but often for reasons that we give him. Aside from miscommunication, sins are the biggest open doors. I know that word “Sin” makes a lot of people cringe, but there are some very technical reasons why we do best when we avoid it (found in my article Sin, a Realistic View).
Making habits and addiction powerful and hard to break, adding peer pressure, applying ignorance by lack of education, convincing you you can't be forgiven; this all adds to the mix.
So the enemy will not willingly stop attacking, make no mistake. But, those attacks can be made relatively ineffective when we run our lives the way they were meant to go. Sin is our choice, so I can’t tell you what to do. But I can tell you about the consequence; not just from education, but more importantly from experience.
Is there actually a spiritual war?
That’s not as straight an answer as I’d like it to be. The short answer is “yes”; but I personally don’t believe it’s what people usually think it is. I hear it described as “The war between good and evil”, but is it?
When Lucifer tried to overthrow God, he got smacked down like a kid reaching into the cookie jar without permission. So as far as a war between God and the Devil; I don’t see it. In spite of what that darker religion is saying, you simply can’t take God down.
I think the war is between the Devil and us humans; God’s children. And while the outside world offers great influence, that war seems to be mostly internal and on an individual basis. In other words; I’m fighting to overcome sin, temptation and learned behavior. But the battles also extend to our relationships and the fight to keep them from being destroyed.
What to do about it
This is highly debatable. I’ve heard many people who’ve said humans are supposed to be exposing and taking down evil, but I think we often take that too far. It’s pretty clear the way God has spoken to us through the Bible. As I posted in my article Wicca, Witchcraft, Wile;
"10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD"
Deuteronomy 18, KJV
So as far as fighting against evil by using things like witchcraft, spells and sorcery; it’s been made clear that we are forbidden. Vengeance is no different:
"Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord."
Leviticus 19:18 KJV
There is, however, one hugely important thing I know; all life, when it grows properly, grows from the inside out. Newborn humans can only function well at their core (heart, lungs, flailing bodies). Later, as their skills grow outward they learn to operate their arms and legs (gross motor skills). After that, they learn how to use their fingers and toes to manipulate (fine motor skills). Socially, they start out only thinking about what they need. Later on, they learn that other people also have needs.
I think we develop spiritually the same way. So first thing’s first; shoring up our own behavior is the beginning of our journey away from evil and toward Heaven. That in itself is a war with an opposition run by the Devil. Habits and temptations are some of the hardest battles we can fight. They are compounded by a world that often gives us reason to run headlong into short term rewards.
From there the battles move toward our relationships. This is another place where more psychological warfare comes in. By gossip, unfair judgement, slander, etc, we are influenced to ditch each other; and for good reason (good for the dark side). We are much stronger together:
How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight…
And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
Leviticus 26:8 KJV
Putting it into practice
The enemy is constantly aware of the right times and places to drive wedges between us and God, and between each other. So awareness is one of our own best tools. Personally, it’s been a long road of practicing the retraining of my own thoughts and actions.
During arguments I’m now saying things to myself like “was that really how I want to think about that person, or was I set up to think against the love Christ tells me I should have?” When my kid acts up, I remind myself that she too has unnatural influences in her life. Some are easily explainable, like sleep loss due to thoughtless neighbors. Some are not. But keeping that influence in mind helps keep me patient with her.
During conflict I avoid communications through technology like texts and email. I try to do things either face to face or at least voice to voice. That’s hard and less convenient, but more beneficial and informational.
I have to constantly try to be compassionate. I have to constantly remind myself that people not only do what they were taught to do, but also that the enemy is constantly trying to pit me against my brothers, my sisters and myself.
I don’t pay enough attention to the enemy to get drawn into the fight and away from the path of ministry and self improvement. I pay just enough attention to be aware that, at any time, the Devil is at work around me. So I try to disconnect from his influence and reconnect to what’s natural. I try to remember the examples set by Immanuel and remember; my greatest accomplishments come when I reach them with compassion and love.
Links mentioned above
How to Get Used by the Dark Side (article) - a more in-depth view of how we can all get sucked in to the trap.
Pray for the Enemy (article) - I'm here to bring home as many brothers and sisters as I can. This is one way to do it.
Porn is Okay, Right? (article) - It's one of the most rampant, most accepted weapons used by the dark side.
The Bible (article) - I used to think there was no manual to life.
Sin, a Realistic View (article) - A non-judgmental information package about open doors to evil.
Forgiviness Pt 3 - Forgiving Yourself (video) - It was the hardest part of the forgiveness package for me, but one of the best tools for the Devil.
The Hardest Relationships are the Strongest (article) - Shedding unique light on the art of appreciating relationships.
Wicca, Witchcraft, Wile (article) - This article DID NOT make me more popular among non-Christians!
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