Yesterday I brought up the tug-a-war we are in as we battle our sinful flesh, our porn-filled world, and the demonic forces we are warned about in Ephesians 6. Now some of you may think that demons are not a problem for you…but you think that to your peril. If you think they are not real then read the Gospels and see how many times Jesus dealt with demons…and why would God tell us about the full armor or God we need to be putting on every day and the tearing down of strongholds that are against us?
There are at least 7 times Jesus specifically cast out demons of specific people and a number of other times we are just told He healed people and cast out demons in a crowd. Plus, when the disciples returned from going out in 2’s they reported that they had cast demons out as well as did the disciples after Jesus returned to heaven recorded in the book of Acts.
I mention this because I do believe in demons, and I know that they are able to have an influence on the lives and the families of Christian believers. However, I also know that Jesus gave us His authority to cast them away and deal with their evil influences on Christians who may have given them a foothold in their life by the choices they make.
Can a Christian be demon-possessed…I do not think so but am not absolutely sure. I believe that the Holy Spirit of God indwells every Christian and so demonic possession seems unlikely to me, but I know one thing…
We can Overemphasize the Role of Demons
We can Underemphasize Role of Demons.
What I do know from my own personal experience is that there are times when I believe I am being harassed by demons through lies I am tempted to believe. I have also struggled with depression and anxiety since I was in my late 30’s and sometimes what one thinks might be demonic could also be attributed to mental health or illness.
However, how do we win this tug-a-war we are in with our flesh? This really gets to the heart of why recovery from our sexual brokenness is so difficult. Now I did receive an email from someone about yesterday’s email/podcast. Which I always appreciate. He said…
“I loved your analogy about the tug of war but disagree with your conclusion. I don’t have to wait till I am glorified to be free – I am free now. Not through my strength but through Christ.”
I appreciated his response and I do believe that we can be experiencing freedom from sexual sin in our lives. But it does not just happen…it is the result of doing the things we are told we need to be doing to live the Christian life and believing what God teaches us. I am experiencing freedom from sexual sin and temptation…but that does not mean I am not, at times, tempted and even if I never sin again sexually there are plenty of other sins with which I have to do battle.
So, how do we win this tug-a-war we are experiencing in our lives? It really comes down to the question…
How does one experience the normal Christian life?
The normal Christian life where we are experiencing every day what helps us grow closer to God, deeper into a community of believers helping one another, being filled with, and walking in the Spirit while putting on the full-armor or God?
Just like there are things we have to do to maintain our physical health there are critical things we need to do to be experiencing the freedom that God wants us to have. That will not be found in a life of comfort and prosperity because we do not feel our need for God when everything is going well. Unfortunately, suffering is part of this formula and we learn as Paul had to learn that when he was weak God was strong…and to keep Paul weak God allowed a demonic spirit to continue to torment him.
Breathing, drinking water, and eating food are the essentials of keeping us alive and reasonably healthy. Yet, there are times when we can be doing those three things and still become unhealthy or ill. So also, there are spiritual things that we need to be doing on a daily basis to remain spiritually healthy.
We can have and maintain ongoing freedom, but it will be the result of fighting the forces against us and maintaining our spiritual and physical health. However, it is foolish to think that we will have everything under control and no longer will be tempted to sin.
One thing I think we all need to realize is we should not be overwhelmed in this battle and believe that we can never win. We will definitely win and win forever in heaven…it is just the remaining days I have in this life on which I need to focus. And it is doing those things one day at a time and in a community of other believers that will make all the difference for you.
Every week I sit in on 10 of our 14 Online Support Teams and as we close praying for one another almost every man will thank God for being on the OST and how much it has been helping them. They are so thankful that they no longer have to fight this battle alone. Weekly they are telling the truth to one another and if one has fallen the team helps them up and helps them learn from the fall and helps them set new boundaries that will help them continue to learn how to walk in purity.
Even more powerful is the fact that every member of every OST is supposed to communicate with the entire group daily through GroupMe or WhatsApp EVERY DAY so that they never have to be alone again facing the temptation that has been devouring them for years.
I know I mention this often…because I believe it is critical for you in your recovery. All of us need this weekly accountability and daily support. And it is because at 180 we want to be helping more men. About 200 are in the 14 Online Support Teams and we will find room for you…or start a new one at a time that works for you.
Why keep losing this battle when you can become part of an army fighting and helping one another?