Quick question: When I say the words 'Spiritual Warfare', what comes to mind?
Is it perhaps the stereotypical 'angel on one shoulder and devil on the other' scenario?
Is that angel perhaps dressed in a flowing 'pure-as-driven-snow' white robe?
Is he/she/it holding a small golden harp, strumming heavenly melodies at random?
Is there a halo around said angel's head?
Does he/she/it have wings that arc gracefully from the shoulders, and stretch out towards the mortal plane below?
And this 'devil' character.
Does it (I'm not going to justify gender in this case) have a pale and sickly red skin pigment?
Does this devil have a pointy tail that for some reason is shaped like an arrowhead?
Is this devil swinging its tail around in circles, languid and easy-going?
Does this particular devil have a pitchfork with which to poke sensitive areas of an unknowing human victim?
Does this devil have a particularly wicked grin plastered on his smug little face?
So these two emissaries of the mighty forces of Heaven and Hell wage war on your shoulders, shouting good and bad messages at each other that ricochet around in your consciousness.
"Smoke and do drugs! Sleep around!" says the little devil.
"No! Tithe and pray! Give blood and go to church!" says the little angel.
What a cute little illustration of warfare.
...If only it were that harmless.
The Lord has dramatically changed my views of this particular subject -I once saw cute little cartoon versions of angels and devils pulling at a dumbfounded human's ears in a contest to see who could scream the loudest.
Now I see that we are quite literally under attack from an enemy that wants us to die to the inheritance that God has made for us. The enemy will try anything and everything to keep us from God.
Past sins are not beyond the enemy's capacity of use, and it is only the things that hurt us the most that he will try to leverage against us.
My past struggle with pornography is a fine example. (Well, perhaps the word 'fine' doesn't apply here, but hear me out).
I've already told of how my arrival here marked a spiritual downfall for me - a major crisis of faith that crumbled the ground beneath me. I was left with nothing but God - which was the safest place that I could have been.
When I was swept up in my sorrow however, I took subconscious notes that I am only now coming to recognize as important. As I walked off into the darkness behind the Ohana Court that first night to hide myself, I felt broken. Through my tears, I crouched behind a rock and shook from the sobs that were wracking my body.
...Here is where it happened. When I was in my greatest moment of weakness and sorrow, the enemy sought to sink its blade even deeper into my wound.
I remember it clear as day - I looked up at the night sky through my tears, and I glanced around for fear of others seeing me. It was then that my eye caught a window that had it shades open in the building behind me.
Behind the window, I saw a woman slowly undressing, unaware that anyone lay in the darkness of the building beneath her room. She had her shirt off, and I saw her hands reaching around to unfasten her bra.
Oh how the enemy must have laughed at my screams. It hurt so badly to see such a thing when my defenses lay in pieces before me.
I wrenched my head away and cursed my fate, and pounded the pavement with my fist until my knuckles bled.
The orchestration of this event however, was not from God. It was the enemy striking at me, tempting me even when I was at my worst.
How like him. Vile to the very end.
I had resisted. Barely. But that event served to bring The War to my attention.
I had received a communicae from The Heavenly Host in a most unusual way.
And I enlisted.
Do you know that you have an angel following you around? Right now?
Depending on how badly your life my be going, you may have more than one.
Do you know that God sends out legions of angels to protect those who come under attack from the enemy?
One of the greatest truths that I've learned here is that no matter how badly we are tempted, God always gives us a way out. Always.
The enemy cannot force us to do anything. He can only tempt us into actions.
I have this beautiful picture in my head of angels following me around. I see myself in a scenario such as the one I described above - one in which I am tempted.
I see them hovering above me, fiery eyes intently watching me, studying my face.
I see myself being tempted, and they collectively hold their breaths.
I see myself resist. And they burst into cheering. Raucous cheering.
Donna Jordan, one of the leaders of our DTS, tells us that she has a friend who is gifted with visions, and she tells Donna that she can see angels. Visually see manifestations of them.
She has told Donna many times that she sees four angels guarding her wherever she goes. Three flanking her from behind, and one in front of her, protecting her path.
Securing the way before she walks it.
In my mind, I see my angel as a tall sentinel - hooded head bowed, and great mighty wings folded in reverence. I see him carrying a great sword, tall and wide. His fiery eyes are always fixed on me. He is ever-vigilant, gazing at my face with compassion and unsurpassed loyalty to his King.
...Sorta makes the whole 'angel and devil' scenario more real, doesn't it?
It humbles me to think that God loves me so much as to protect me with His personal guard - especially when I am so unworthy of His love. Especially when my very nature is to sin.
What a great and mighty Father we serve.