The Holy Spirit and Warfare

Angel and Demon by Lawrence OP, Creative Commons

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

(Acts 2:13 — see Acts Chapter 2)

Let me begin by first saying, no one needs to hear this more than I do. After the last post on the Holy Spirit and how to know if you have him or not, I’ve had this one thing nagging at the back of my mind. There’s one other indicator to tell us when we’ve received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Opposition.

 

What the Opposition Looked Like for the Disciples in Acts:

Invariably, when you, or I, or anybody receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we’ll encounter spiritual warfare. For the disciples in Acts on the day of Pentacost, when they were speaking in foreign languages under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, some made fun of them and accused them of being drunk.

 

What the Opposition Looks Like for You and for Me (Often Times):

You’re at your keyboard and you’re on a roll. This is going to be an epic blog post. Suddenly the phone rings, it’s a family member you’ve been meaning to get a hold of for some time now. So you pick up and they have a lot to share.

After five minutes you look at the clock and think to yourself, “Did I spell Philippians right? Is it two Ls and one P, or the other way around?”

After 15 minutes you start to pace. You think to yourself, “I think I’m going to move the last paragraph up to the beginning of the first subheading. That is, if I can ever get off the phone with this person.”

By the 30 minute mark you’re ready to come out of your skin! “Doesn’t this person on the other end of the line realize I’m working on something that could save the world?”

Finally, after an hour or so your family member tells you they have to “let you go, because they have something to do.”

By the time you hang up, you’re frustrated. The roll you were on has slowed to a crawl. Your conversation with your family member wasn’t a very good representation of Christ’s love. You go back to your keyboard and continue to write your post about the fruits of the Spirit.

“Now where was I?” You think to yourself. “Oh yea, …love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness…”

Hah! The irony! How often do you find it to be so much easier to write about how to love people than it is to actually love people?

And that’s just one obstacle the enemy uses to frustrate your efforts to labor under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There’s also the neighbor’s leaf blower, work responsibilities, your brother-in-law who needs a hand moving, ESPN, the family member who doesn’t value what you do or recognize the time and effort it requires, etc., etc.

And then there’s the more serious tactics of the enemy.  Family members are taken ill, you’re taken ill, a loved one dies.

And then there’s that voice. That little voice in your head that says, “You’re not worthy. You’re not a writer. You’re an imposter.”

 

Take Heart:

Listen, I want you to take heart. In fact I want you to start rejoicing over these obstacles. Because facing opposition from the enemy puts you in the same camp as the disciples in Acts! After the Holy Spirit came to them the disciples faced all kinds of opposition. They not only were mocked and accused of being drunk, they were hunted, they were incarcerated, they were tortured, they were executed. Most of you reading this blog haven’t experienced anything like what they went through.

But still, you face opposition and that’s good.

It could mean you’re on to something. It could mean the enemy is alarmed, and has taken notice, and doesn’t like what he sees, and wants to stop you, or at least slow you down.

 

Your Primary Tactic for Defense:

The enemy’s primary weapons are always the same, lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and pride of life. He might want to distract you through your eyes with ESPN. Or he might want to entice my flesh with burgers from McDonalds, or he might want to tap into your pride by fostering an unhealthy desire for recognition.

The best tactic for you is to submit yourself, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 — see James Chapter 4)

 

Your Primary Weapon:

If your primary tactic is to submit yourself to God, and to resist the devil, your primary weapon is love.

When you’re interrupted, fire up a prayer and find a way, dig deep, and disengage from writing about God, and love whoever interrupted you. Jesus didn’t say to love your neighbor, or your brother, or your sister, unless you’re working on something for Me that’s really important. He just said love one another. It’s not an option. It’s a command!

So do it.

When you’re on a roll it’s hard, I know, but do it.

The deeper you go when you write, the greater the fruit, I know, but do it anyway!

Jesus commanded it.

So no matter what,

Love people.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

-Jesus Christ, John 13:34

Matthew 22:37-40 — All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments

Love and InterruptionsI hate to be interrupted. I’m convinced that’s the reason God put me in a career with the fire service. Working for a fire department, you’re constantly interrupted by calls to help other people with their problems. After years of “training” for interruptions in that environment, I still sometimes find myself frustrated when my project work is unexpectedly delayed by people.

Today was one of those days. I was determined that today would be the day I finished the creation of a Kindle version of Traveler and the Chaplain, but, God had other things in mind. The morning started out with an emergency repair of a door lock accompanied by a great fifteen minute visit with my neighbor Tom. That was followed by the discovery of a dead battery in my 1994 Camry. So I called Kathy who returned home to give me a jump. Then we ran the Camry over to the shop. Then we grabbed some lunch and ate it on the way to an appointment where I dropped her off. We had a nice 30 minute conversation on the way. That was followed by a visit with an old friend who gave me a fantastic history lesson about some of the U.S. Army’s battles with Indians in Eastern Oregon. That was followed by dinner with my son, daughter (in-law), and grandson.

Not one word was written today toward completing the Traveler and the Chaplain Kindle version.

But what a great day it was. What tremendous opportunities I was given to pour into relationships today.


How Jesus loved people:

God’s way isn’t our way. Jesus’ life was full of interruptions. Please heal my son, the Royal Official begged Jesus. (John 4:46-54) While He was traveling, a leper came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” (Mark 1:40-45) While He was teaching the paralytic’s friends lowered the man down through the roof so Jesus could heal him. (Luke 5:17-26) On and on it goes — one interruption after another.


How you can too:

Obviously you and I don’t have the same gift of healing that Jesus has. But you and I can choose to respond to people who interrupt us, the same way that Jesus did. He responded in a welcoming way. He responded in a warm way. He responded with love. You and I can too.

Life’s about relationships, with God, and with people.

Even when they come in the form of an interruption.


“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

–Jesus Christ, Matthew 22:37-40

 

[Image via: auq84, Creative Commons]