Though devils all the world should fill,
All eager to devour us.
We tremble not, we fear no ill,
They shall not overpow'r us.
This world's prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none,
He's judged; the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.
~'A Mightly Fortress' by Martin Luther
This past week things just seemed to pile on. I admit, I'd succumed to the "diabolical D's;" doubt, discouragement, and depression. It felt like I was under attack. Too many hassles seemed to continue to wear me down. I really began to wonder if there wasn't some kind of spiritual aspect to my stress. Was this "Spiritual warfare?"
While I'm not so fundamentalist/evangelical to blame every problem, stressor and mistake on Satan- I'm also not skeptical/humanist enough to discount or deny the existence of angels and demons. I may be my own worst enemy and there are plenty of obstacles provided by the world itself, but I also know that the Devil would love to see us harm, whether he has a direct hand in it or not.
So, I hunkered down on my daily scripture reading/devotions & prayer time and I sought some prayer-cover from some warriors I know.
Two things got me thinking about the very concept of spiritual warfare though. First (and most importantly) Easter. Jesus paid the ultimate cost on the cross, but then He didn't descend into Hell to suffer more, He went there to declare victory. Christians should always remember that Jesus won the victory against sin, death , and the Devil. There is nothing that we can add or detract (like Lincoln said about Gettysburg).
The other thing that got me thinking was how many (so called "Christians") use fear and anger to manipulate people into accepting Christ. Hell, judgement, an angry God, torture by demons all seem to be ways that some among us seek to guilt and pressure us into falling into line with their positions and opinions. They want us to believe that we're either on God's side, or on Satan's side.
First of all, Satan is NOT God's equal and opposite. Satan is finite, individual, limited, and defeated. Secondly, God IS love. He does not coerce or manipulate. He is patient, kind, and merciful. He loves us enough to sacrifice His only begotten Son so that we can become His adopted sons and daughters.
Now, I'm still a bit beleaguered and fatigued, anxious and stressed. And I'm sure's heck accepting and grateful for the prayers of others. Perhaps I'm being tested, or "on the anvil" as author Max Lucado calls being tempered and prepared by the Lord. Perhaps I'm not facing anything that anyone else goes through. But no matter how tough it gets (and believe me, a lot of people have it a lot worse than I do), I know that my Redeemer lives. I also know that I don't have to worry about fighting, all I have to do is stand firm and claim the victory Jesus already won.
See also Psalm 46: 1-11, Romans 8:31-19, Ephesians 6:10-17, and Revelation 19:11-16