Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Sometimes it's just the devil
From the desk of the Tiger Lily.
Sorry for the latency, everyone. I haven't felt Inspired to write for months, and have gotten lazy with quick-posts on FB.
Recently there has been an increase in satanic attacks on LC and I. My sister has moved a 12-hr drive away from the nest to begin her "new life", which entails a marriage and a continued training in her specialty. Her move greatly displeases the matriarch, who now has the time (and irritation) to send her demonic thoughts and wishes our way. She has been on a rampage about my move to the briar patch since I informed her of the impending move, and has never gotten over it. In her life, she got to be the sibling who moved away to marry a creep, while the other sibling stayed home to care for the parents. Thus, she expected me to be the next generation's "sibling" to care for her and her husband.
This time the attack has been in the form of thoughts and impulses directed at me about a neighbor. This neighbor, while a good person, does not hold a candle to LC and it would be an insult to even begin to compare them. These thoughts and impulses were bombarding me for about 24 hours, even after LC and I prayed about them, and as I was struggling to ignore them and occupy my attention with other things, it became easier to resist, and they finally lessened and died away. I can sense the occasional ebb of a thought trying to make it past the Spiritual barrier we constructed in prayer, but it is not at even a tenth of the intensity it initially possessed.
Why am I sharing this embarrassing anecdote? Because sometimes it's not you or "the old man" you used to be. Sometimes it's just the devil doing its best to steal your Joy, your Peace, and any/all of the Gifts given you by God. And it is difficult to pin-point the cause of a lot of trouble and upheaval in life via demonic suggestion, but once you identify the enemy, it becomes much easier in Christ to fight and prevail over the foe.
So, how do I identify the cause? Is it always the devil? Yes and no. All evil in this life originates from the foe of man. However, as LC says, "100% of the trouble you run into can be avoided if you just stay home." If I am actively flirting with temptation, of course it will run me over like a freight train. If I allow these thoughts/impulses to take root in my mind, instead of instantly rejecting and rebuking them, they are like an ignored weed in the garden that can grow and flourish without rain while the good crops stagnate. It is my responsibility to keep my garden free of weeds (along with prayer for God's Help and the Strength to keep it weed-free), and to pluck out any weeds that rear their ugly heads and throw them far from my garden, where it will not choke out the harvest of good things that God is Growing in my character. If those weeds are allowed to grow unchecked, they eventually become too big for a person to fight and completely take over the garden.
The devil knows every person's weaknesses, and had all of mine figured out long before I was just beginning to realize what a weakness is. If I guard my Achilles' heels, and run from every situation where they might be exploited, then I know I've done everything in my power to protect myself and those I love.
What about the times when these temptations show up out of nowhere? For years, I've blamed myself for thoughts and feelings that swayed me like a tree in a tempest, because I thought it was "just who I was" and "an unpleasant part of life". That is a lie from the pit of hell. Anyone who is a Child of God is FREE from sin and has the victory over sin in Christ (Romans 6:6,14,18). They are a new man, no longer subject to the old weaknesses and lusts of the flesh (2Cor 5:17, Eph 4:17-32). That "old man" is no longer a part of you or me, because that person was nailed to the cross with Christ (Romans 6:6) and is dead. However, that dead thing, though buried, is still present within us, and this is what satan appeals to, to attempt to make us stumble and fall. It is NOT me, but the "sin that dwells within" (Romans 7:17,20) that satan tries to reanimate and turn us back into a zombie as a slave of sin to satan's will. It takes the power of Jesus Christ working within the person and the help of His Holy Angels to sit on the grave of that zombie and keep it where it belongs, dead and buried.
satan cannot force any Child of God to sin. All it can do is suggest and tempt, sometimes directly, but more often, especially as the Christian matures, via the ambush sneak-attack of satanic people in our lives. In some cases, it is "friends" who only keep people around for validation or because they want someone to take advantage of, soul-suckers that literally drain the vitality right out of you, or satan-whisperers that persuade you to do foolish things or get yourself into situations where you know you will be tempted just to be "accepted" by them and the rest of your group of "friends". In other cases, it is the person you fall in love with, who is a tool of satan sent to destroy every last vestige of your personhood. In my case, the family bonds are strong and due to certain Spiritual abilities, I am like a lightning rod that picks up the will of the people who selfishly wish I was down there, giving up my entire life to pamper them into the grave. The more time that goes by, the stronger my resistance has grown to where I do not allow the will of those people to influence me, but it has taken quite a while to develop to this point.
That's another thing about God. He wants us to mature, so just like as infants we had to learn how to walk by occasionally falling, He allows us to make mistakes so that we learn from them and grow stronger in our Spiritual Walk with Him. Everyone likes to think of the "Footprints in the Sand" story and imagine we are the ones being carried, because it makes us feel better, but the hard Truth is that the times when we are carried are few and far between. God doesn't want Spiritual babies He has to coddle all the time. He wants Spiritual warriors, battle-tested and strong in Faith, which is exactly why He lets us experience hard times, stumble, fall, get back up (with His Grace), fall on our faces again, and keep pressing on until we are strong enough to at least face the hard challenges in life without screaming and running the other way. He does Win the victory for us, but we are the ones that must wield the Sword of the Spirit.
Anyway. Back to my original point, and summary. A lot of times the source of the attacks/moments of temptation can be Christians who allow themselves to be tempted, but sometimes it's not you. Sometimes it's just the devil or one of its servants. Resist it in Jesus' Name, and it will flee. If it's still there or if it tries again, keep resisting it in Jesus' Name, and it WILL flee. (And if you don't have the will to resist, pray for it. God is always there to help you.) And you will be one step closer to becoming the finished glorious Creation that Jesus has Intended for you to be, since the beginning of time.
Stay strong, friends.