Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spiritual Things



A little while back I promised some more of my "deep thoughts".  Well, here is one that has been on my mind recently. If this kind of stuff bothers you, do not feel obligated to read it...



Ever since August, I've been thinking a lot about spirituality, as in angels, demons, and other beings.  There are a lot of ways western culture has interpreted this topic and many of said interpretations could not be any farther from the truth.  I really, really don't believe the hogwash about star-crossed romances between an angel and a demon, or a human being transformed into a demon, or a half human - half angel.  They make for great entertainment but they twist and distort the truth.  I do believe fallen angels exist, though, and I think there are a lot of fallen angels out there.  Like Satan, for instance, once called Lucifer, the most powerful angel.  God cast him out and Satan took one third of the angels as his own army.  (See Revelation 2:9, 1st Timothy 3:6, Ezekiel 28:11-15, and Isaiah 14:12-15.  If you want to know more about the story of Satan's fall, HERE is a really good article to check out.)

Like this? Yeah, hogwash.

But that all sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn't it?  It sounds more like a paperback fantasy novel or a summer Hollywood flick.  A second-in-command turned to evil arch-nemesis bent on destroying humanity? Think of all the fictional villains I just described in that sentence!

To me the whole thing about "angels and demons" was something I just didn't think about for a long time.  You probably know I am a Christ-follower, or technically a "Christian".  I was raised to go to church every Sunday and youth group every Wednesday.  Every summer I had to go to Vacation Bible School and Bible Camp.  I was fed the kind of stuff about angels being Caucasian and never hitting puberty.  And when you're a kid some of the stuff in the Bible has to be toned down before you're allowed to learn it.  But we're not kids anymore; we all know what really happened in the Garden of Eden.  Anyway, I've long since grown and moved far away from that stuff.  Now I'm able to study Scripture on my accord and come to my own conclusions.  Over the past several years I have met people who told me a ton of fascinating stories, and read a few books on the subject as well.  Now one thing is becoming increasingly clear to me...that the spiritual realm is not just "out there" beyond the clouds or down below.  It's not about harps or horns, or fire and light.  It is a lot more real than that.

I have a family member who for the past couple years has been able to sense demonic and angelic presence.  She told me that sometimes she can sense a demon latched onto my shoulder if I am having a really bad day.  This family member also has a very, very hard time being in places with a lot of people, like a mall or public setting; her personality literally shuts down because her "sixth sense" is bothering her so much.  I also have a friend who told me about her youngest daughter describing an "imaginary friend" who would turn into a hideous monster if she didn't do what it told her to do, which was often to misbehave.  I also once knew a young man who said he could see demons hanging out in the balcony of a church whose leadership later crumbled tragically, and once saw a "ring of fire" surrounding another church in which people were praying.  And one man who "saw" Satan in the form of a businessman, who later transformed into a dragon saying that he "felt more comfortable this way".

I've heard lots of other stories too, but you get the idea.  It feels really weird and strange, doesn't it?  To think that there could be a demon behind me right now feeding on a negative thought?  Or that angels and demons are battling for life in hospital rooms?

But the spiritual realm is not a fantasy or an illusion.  I believe it is all very, very real, and it's happening right now.  There are people using real voodoo and witchcraft on the night of October 31st.  There is still demon possession happening in 2013 AD and beyond.  We may even be in the presence of the same angels and demons who walked alongside people in the Bible or ancient Rome or the Italian Renaissance.


In some ways, I think, the spiritual realm is even more real than we would call "reality".

I mean, think about it.  How often does our perception of "reality" gravely deceive us?  How many times have you "felt" something was one way and it turned out to be another entirely?  How many times has your mind or senses tricked you into believing something that was absurd?  And also think about this...how easy it is for us to be tricked or lied at in this "reality".  For example, we only hear the side of a story someone wants us to hear; we don't accept something because we were given a false impression of it; we convince ourselves we are one thing when we are not that way at all.  All of those are so, so easy to pull off in this reality.  You have to wonder just how "real" "reality" is.


In conclusion, I don't think this is meant to frighten us at all, but if it does that is understandable.  It is scary to think about enemies we can't see or hear.  However, there is more to it than just scaring ourselves silly.  Instead, I think it should help us see our world in a very different way.  I think it should lead us to think twice about things we toss around as just normal and a "part of life", like bad days, mood swings, destructive habits and addictions, dark thoughts, and temptation.  When you view those things in light of the spiritual war going on, they should seem a whole lot more significant.  In light of the fact that demons are constantly preying on us and waiting for something to latch onto, perhaps we shouldn't take "just another bad day" or "just an old habit" so lightly.

Of course that is just one side of the whole battle.  There are also angels protecting us and coming to our defense.  Angels that, when they appeared to someone in Scripture, always had to say "Do not be afraid." And they literally say that every time...pretty convincing argument that angels look more like they're from the WWE instead of a Hallmarks "get well" card!



So yes, I do believe that this is a very real thing we're fighting, and everybody is involved whether they like it or not.  Let's not get so caught up in all the worldly things that distract us from the real issues.  Worldly things are okay if they are in the right place...just as dessert is fine so long as we do not treat it as the main course.   Otherwise, we start to get sick.  Treat cake like cake and treat beef stew like beef stew.  We have to always remember that there is a whole other reality happening all around us.  Spirituality is much like the air; we cannot see or hear it, but we can certainly see the effects of both its presence and absence in our lives.  It would be absurd to act as if air does not exist, but even our denial of it does not exclude air from our daily lives.  People who don't believe in air still have to breathe, after all.  However, believing in the existence of air is extremely important in the physical world.  Imagine if someone went deep-sea diving or into outer space not believing in air!

I believe it is the same matter with angels and demons.  We're involved even if we deny they exist, but being aware of how very real it is can save our spiritual lives a lot of "suffocation" and "drowning".

FOOTNOTE: If this sort of spiritual stuff has you interested and you want to know more about how demons try to "attack" us, read C. S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters".  It is technically fiction, but it's a great insight into how demons influence us without us even knowing it.  A very scary but eye-opening book!


6 comments:

  1. In my sunday school class we're going to be discussing the spiritual realm and I'm kind of excited and kind of scared at the same time. (since I have a "fear trigger." I'm worried I might get triggered.) My teacher said something last week that I really liked. He said that not all things are spiritual but not all things aren't. Like, you gotta find the balance between spiritual and "reality." (for lack of a better word.)

    I know I've encountered demons before and once I even scared one off. That experience really shook me. But it showed me about how much power we have in Christ. Like, all I had to do was walk in the room and the demon fled. That's the power of Christ. Its insane.

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    1. We have been discussing that in my Sunday School class too; I will be praying for you.

      Exactly, and it is real insane what God's power can do in a place like that. I've also noticed that when people start talking about spiritual battles is when demons really start to attack, like they don't want people to be aware of this. Which makes it all the more important.

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  2. Sometimes I wish I had ESP so I could see some of this crazy stuff... other times I'm glad I'm in ignorant bliss. But I definitely have heard way too many stories to deny that spiritual beings interact with humans on a day to day basis around the world.

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    1. I could never say I wished for it. Not after the stories I've heard; I'm glad I don't know what they look like and a part of me hopes I never find out, even though sometimes I get a bit curious.

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  3. Wow, this was a really deep post. Since the realm of the unseen really often doesn't impact our lives in very tangible ways, we're liable to forget that it exists, and that is many ways the spiritual realm is far more 'real' than the physical realm will ever be. Occasionally, when I'm in a really bad mood or have just generally been unpleasant, my mom will remind me that bad attitudes and such attract demons while keeping ourselves centered in Jesus Christ and His power really invites the protection of His angels. While I don't have any abilities like your family member, there are times in my life when I feel so close to the Lord it actually begins to become a physical sensation, as if my body is filling up with Him, if that makes any sense. Or like even today, when I was taking a test and my mind started blanking even though I had studied. I was nervous of course (when I get nervous that tends to happen), and I started to panic, but I tried to calm myself and began praying for God to help me, because I know when bad things happen, I often spiral into depression and that brings dark things (in more than one way) into my life. As I prayed, my mind began to clear, and while some might say it was just because I was trying to calm myself, I believe it was the Lord intervening on my behalf and helping me, another one of those times when He intervened directly on my behalf.

    I remember once I sat with my friends during freshman year and the other girls were trying to get our 'school ghost' to give us a 'sign' and I felt really uncomfortable, as if we were doing a seance and it was like there was evil in the room. (the fan also turned on with no good explanation all of a sudden too, but that's another story for another time.)

    Thank you so much for sharing this, for being willing to kind of stick your neck out about a subject that most Christians kind of tend to push under the table a lot these days. The spiritual realm is very real, and we are all part of it. There are demons out there, but as long as we stay strong in the Holy Spirit, we are completely protected. Again, this was a wonderful post, and I look forward to reading more of your 'deep thoughts' posts.

    In Christ, and many well-wishes,
    Towa

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    1. Thank you for such a long, well thought-out comment! I know what you mean about the physical sensations brought upon by feeling close to God; I think there is a psychological aspect to that, but the spiritual influence is far more profound. It is amazing how skilled demons are at keeping certain thoughts out of our head and replacing them with others. I pray for your and your depression; for me it is self-pity, resentment, and anxiety over a lot of stuff.

      Ironically I notice a lot of "Christians" tend to shy away from this subject; they're perfectly okay with talking about the ten commandments, their favorite Bible verses and whatnot, but I haven't met many who were willing to address the very real spiritual realm.

      Thank you so much once again; posting more deep stuff is a bit scary, like putting a piece of my heart out for the world to see (that is exactly how I felt when I published my book online), which makes it all the more encouraging to get the feedback and support, it means a lot to me <3

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