Discover How to Discern the Truth About Feelings, Moods, Trials, & Temptations
Is the adversity from the Lord or an assault from the demonic?
I love the way the Lord speaks through men or women of strong faith, testifying to His mighty power and the defeat of our enemy.
Some years ago, I had the privilege to work closely with Natasha Vins and Mary Smallenberger. I was given over a mile of film footage smuggled out of the former Soviet Union, which I made into More Than Conquerors, a film about the persecuted church.
Afterwards, Natasha gave me a picture I still have on my wall of John Bunyan being visited by his family in the jail cell in Bedford, England. John was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel outside of the established government church, the Church of England. Imprisoned to silence him, he became a man of courage and integrity. While in prison, he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress and other classics that resonate with the truth of Scripture.
I love John Bunyan. My mentor, Ken Anderson, who taught me all I knew about film editing and laying of sound tracts to dub films into other languages, loved Pilgrim’s Progress. Under his guidance, I dubbed Pilgrim’s Progress and other Gospel films into multiple Eastern languages.
As a result of these experiences with the Persecuted Church, my heart was open to receive a Christian mindset born out of suffering.
In the mouth of one witness
Several years ago, reading Bunyan, I came across this quotation,
“If it be of God, let me not despise it; if it be of the Devil, let me not embrace it.”
That attitude enabled him to face persecution with courage.
In times of my own adversity, that quote became a part of my prayer life.
In the mouth of two witnesses
Later, reading the biography, Behind the Ranges, of J.O. Fraser, I ws greatly encouraged by his beautiful life. Fraser was a missionary to the Lisu in China. In adversity, he often prayed,
“Lord, if this be from Thee, I accept it, but if it be from Satan, I refuse it.”
I was excited, for his prayer was so like Bunyan’s. At the time, I struggled with depression, which would descend suddenly out of nowhere.
I began to verbally speak his prayer whenever feelings of depression hit me. It was amazing, because 9 times out of 10, the depression would almost immediately lift off me.
In the mouth of three witnesses
A couple years later, in Watchman Nee’s Spiritual Man, I read,
“Even though I know not if this is of God or of Satan, yet I choose what is God’s and reject what is Satan’s.”
Another confirmation we have the choice to bow before the sovereignty of God and at the same time to reject anything sourced from the demonic.
In the mouth of four witnesses
Last month, to my joy, I discovered a fourth witness to the testimony and prayer of the above three heroes of the faith.
“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I accept every purpose my Lord has for allowing me to experience this fierce battle with Satan. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of His blood, I reject every purpose of Satan and his kingdom in afflicting me in this battle. I command every wicked spirit behind this affliction to leave my presence and to go where the Lord Jesus sends him.” Mark Bubeck
Empowered by Choice
Life is about making choices. We all face difficult situations. Fearing we might make a mistake, we may be passive and do nothing. We may even believe there is nothing we can do.
But we may also choose life. Even if the trial originated with the demonic, the kingdom of darkness first needed the Lord’s permission to bring it into our life. That means, as we trust Him, the Lord will use even the darkness to bring blessing into our life.
To understand there are choices is very empowering, especially if you have experienced abuse.
No evil is greater than the Lord Jesus. He sees and knows what you are going through, He weeps with you, and He has promised to be with you in the midst of the storm.
Facing the Pain
Feelings are overwhelming, and steal our hope. Those feelings may be dumped upon us by the powers of darkness to deceive and take us captive. But how can we know for sure?
If our first impulse is to find a way to escape and anesthetize our feelings, numb our heart, or go to a doctor for a prescription to make us feel better, we will miss an opportunity to move deeper into relationship with the Lord.
Our drug of choice may alleviate the problem. But seeking to escape pain has the potential to mask the true issue and make us dependent on things of the world, rather than dependent upon the Lord. In our dependency on physical things, we inadvertently open a door that enables the enemy of our soul to cause us harm.
When negative feelings hit, let us choose to welcome the Lord’s hand on our life, instead of first seeking human wisdom and understanding.
As we reject anything derived from an unclean source, seeking to receive whatever God has for us in that temptation or trial, we will experience Him in a fresh way.
Please note: I am not suggesting rejection of appropriate medical care.
Authority and Identity
Adversity is a wonderful opportunity to grow in the Lord. When we truly accept Jesus as LORD, it unleashes the power of God.
What appears to be depression or a physical issue requiring drugs may actually be an opportunity to experience the Lord’s personal touch, setting you free from an assault of the enemy.
Choose one of the above quotations. Or adapt it to your life. In addition I ask the Lord to enable me to learn the lesson He has for me.
Rather than feel helpless or like a victim, make that declaration of faith a part of your life, especially if or when you struggle with overwhelming feelings of fear, doubt, unbelief, anger, pride, depression, grief, hopelessness, discouragement, or lust.
You will be amazed at the wonderful power of speaking life over yourself, as you stand with authority in your true identity in Christ Jesus and begin to move forward in the dominion mandate as a child of the Most High God.
Dear Heart, may the Lord help you to follow in the footsteps of these great men of the faith and may your life overflow with His victory and blessing as you choose life in the place of your greatest pain.
Bubeck, Mark. Warfare Praying: Biblical Strategies for Overcoming the Adversary. IL: Moody Publishers. 2016. Pg 43. Print.
Bunyan, John. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners: Or, A Brief and Faithful Relation of the Exceeding Mercy of God in Christ, to His Poor Servant John Bunyan. 1910. Pg 19.
Nee, Watchman. Spiritual Man Vol 3. Combined Issue. Christian Fellowship Publishers: NY. 1977. Pg 135. Print.
Taylor, Mrs. Howard. Behind the Ranges: Biography of J.O. Fraser of Lisuland, Southwest China. Moody Press: IL. 1964.