Humble yourselves, therefor, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares about you. Be self-controlled & alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:6-8
...there should be no division in the body, but that it's parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
1 Cor. 12:25 & 26
You may have heard the old saying; "The greatest trick the devil ever played on people was not in getting them to believe that God does not exist...but that he doesn't."
Spiritual Warfare is a strange thing. Most Believers will say that it is real, but they actually pay little mind to it. I have also heard some Christians say that it isn't real at all, or that at best it is a minor thing that isn't spoken of much in the bible.
To the later viewer I would ask exactly what bible they have been reading? To the former I would explain that it is very real indeed...and that it is messy and not very pretty. Do not EVER think that Satan is not a brilliant tactician. He is the "god of this age," and should never, ever be underestimated. No, there are not little demons hiding behind every shrub. But if you truly desire to follow Jesus, Satan will hate you more than he hates those who don't, and he will look for any & all chances to trip you up.
I've been told that one of my spiritual gifts is "Discernment." I really don't think that is a big deal. I personally believe that all Believers have access to all of the spiritual gifts if the need arises. We don't own them. They belong to God. If he wants you to have one for a particular task at hand, that is his business and his right. (So there!)
N-E-Way...So yeah, there are times where I pick up on stuff on a spiritual level that others miss. Again, I don't think that is a big deal or surprising in any way. A minor one just happened a few weeks ago. A dude who comes into my store caught me right away. I could just sense the presence of Jesus in his life. (Honestly, that HAS to have happened to you a couple of times.) After talking to him two weeks ago I found out I was correct.
The two freakiest times I have gotten a "Bad" vibe in my spirit was many years back. I was driving out to California to see some friends. I was passing through Salt Lake City and decided to see the big Mormon temple there. I wasn't really sure where it was, so I just figured I would drive to what I thought was the center of town because it would probably be in that area.
Holy moly, I didn't need a map to find it! I didn't even realize how close I was getting to it, but the hair on my neck began to stand straight up as I was driving. I just began to get the most evil feeling all over me...like the feeling of darkness. Next thing I knew, I was right next to that temple. I could not get out of there fast enough!
I'm sure that those words might sound a bit harsh & shocking to some. I am not one that believes that Mormonism is a "Cult," because it does not fit that definition properly. However, I am absolutely convinced that it is as far from the Jesus of the Gospels as Islam is. It's absolute false teaching. Say what you will about me, I felt the presence of demons near that thing.
The other time I got a powerful vibe was after I got to the town in California where I was to visit my friends. (Davis, California, to be exact.) Of all things, I just felt an overpowering sense of loneliness & emptiness. I couldn't shake it from the moment I got there, but I couldn't figure out what was up.
Turns out, this city of over 30,000 people, this University town...has no churches. (This was back in the 90s, so I don't know if that is still the case.) I'm sure there must have been a handful of Believers around there, but there was no designated place for people to meet. I can only surmise that this sad fact was what was triggering my spirit to feel the way it did. Seriously, emptiness & loneliness. A very sad state of affairs...but a fantastic church planting opportunity.
Being a man, I like to pretend that I am an island. I am all I need. Well, me and God anyway. Just us two buddies taking on the world. When I am having a rough time, I just lean in to Jesus and all is well... NOT!
What I learned today...which I should have known a long time ago...and actually did know, but chose to ignore it, is that Jesus never set up the church as a solo performance.
I've been having a rough couple of days. Among other things, I feel a nice reserve of stress pilling up. This coming Monday after Easter I begin a new teaching job. I'll be working at the same school from last year for it's 4th quarter. This means that I will be working two jobs at the same time, with only one day off a week. It just about killed me last year.
So yeah, stress.
Certain stressors I can handle really well. This one I guess I can't. These are tough students. I have some tough memories from last year.
So this morning it kind of came to a head. I just felt squished. When I get that feeling I just kind of freeze in place. It literally gets hard for me to actually move. Plus, the way the enemy works with me is to immediately pile on even more negative memories, mistakes, character flaws, etc. ("Thank you, Sir. May I have another?")
This morning I was sitting in my chair reading the bible & doing a little praying. It didn't help. Later, I even got down on my knees and cried while praying. "Please Father! Help me! I can't handle this." It didn't help.
Then I did something I should have done all along. I called my Dad and told him a bit of this and asked him to pray for me. Then, I e-mailed my pastor and a couple of friends. I told them how I was feeling and asked for prayer. One of them responded immediately. (Thanks Dan!) Boo-ya!!!!! I began to feel the weight lift.
Why is it so bloody hard for me to ask for help from other Believers? I don't think there is a book in the New Testament that doesn't encourage Believers to help each other, be there for each other, OR to ask for help from others. But for some reason I refuse.
I could say that it is because I do not wish to be a burden, and there is some truth in that. I could also say that I don't always enjoy going into detail about what I might be going through at a particular time. Potential confession & embarrassment are never pleasant. So there is some truth to that, I suppose.
Really though, it is just me being stubborn and prideful...at least the majority of the time. I'm a "Guy." We don't ask for help. I have no problem crying openly, because a "Real Man" is strong enough to do that. But to ask for help? Sissy-Boy!
If you think that's bad. Imagine me actually being willing to receive help.
"Such A Girl!"
I had a long time at work tonight to run the events of today around this mellon filled with cottage cheese that I call my head. So this was God's little lesson plan for the day. Me pulling my head out and humbling myself. No, not humbling myself before God. My need to humble myself before God's people and asking for their help. Because the church does not exist for itself, but for others...including the others in that very body.
Hopefully, the next time I will be quicker to look for the immediate resources that God has provided. Hopefully, I will realize that I am not an island, but instead merely one more part of a body that is very big.
"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it;
if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."
I need to be a bit more humble and be ready to ask. Because sometimes you can't make it on your own...and you were never meant to.