Thursday, August 1, 2013

On conquering the devil

Dear Christian brothers and sisters all over the world. Now I'm introducing to you a whole new subject that I haven't talked about but that I've started hearing weekly about in those African prayer evenings: conquering the devil. Last night I lay awake getting inspired on the subject pondering it from each side so now I'd like to share you what I found :). This subject makes me wonder and question because I've learned some whole new kind of prayers contrary to the ones at my church: praying against your enemies instead of praying for them. At my church the most common types of prayers are forgiveness of sin, The Lord's Prayer and healing prayers to help the needy and fragile and to increase world peace. We never pray for anyone's destruction but mainly to help others. Now let me share you some related Scripture to begin with:

"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written:' Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said "throw yourself down. For it is written: "He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." Jesus answered him, "It is also written:' Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written:' Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him." 
Matthew 4:1-11 

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect."
Matthew 5:38-48 

So even Jesus himself teaches in the Bible to do good for your enemies and that's why I've preferred praying for God to open the hearts of my enemies and lead them to salvation and repentance instead of destruction. This is because I believe that it isn't a business of man to revenge his enemies in this life because I trust that God will for sure punish them after life because He knows and sees everything knowing who's loyal to Him and who isn't. Let go and let God. These my beliefs also explain why I so persistently was keeping my ex instead of all those bad things he did to me (read 1 Peter 3:8-22 below). Paul writes also somewhere in his letters that the spouse who doesn't believe in God or obey Him will be blessed by his or her devout Christian partner. From the beginning it was my wish to bless my ex but he answered to my goodness with evil. But as 1 Peter 3:8-22 argues it was better for me to suffer with him doing good and fulfilling all his wishes until the bitter end because God will reward me in the end of times. But then finally it was time to let go and as I'm arguing in my previous post abundance has started coming my way since :).
They preach every time in these prayer evenings how drinking, smoking, lying, cheating etc. are bad things and how a person doing all this is possessed by a devil and I have to say that I get deeply touched every time because I was with someone who did all those things. They wanted us to pray against friends turned foes (which I've experienced a couple of times) and against that person or force (= devil) that's stopping us from succeeding in what we want to do and who's wishing our failure. Also these subjects of prayer are current with me because for now I've failed getting the education that I wanted for this autumn and I've also failed having an apartment for my growing family. There are some people who either predicted my failure in these subjects or didn't want me to succeed: 1) a study advisor/a career psychology told me that I wouldn't make it to university 2) my own mum at first didn't want me to move in quickly with my new fiancé (but now she has met him and changed her mind) 3) A social worker told us that it isn't possible for us to live together or find an apartment in this town 4) until now landlords haven't granted us anything because of their racist/prejudiced attitudes. What else can I do but keep trying and praying for God to open up their hearts?

Suffering for Doing good
"Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, 'Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.' Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits - to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand - with angels, authorities, and powers in submission to him."
1 Peter 3:8-22 

I also have a personal confession to make regarding this subject: As I already pointed out in my last post I told that few months ago I was at the lowest point of my life and I mean by this that I was on the verge of suicide. Yes, as I learned in the last prayer evening this means that even I got possessed by a devil because of the influence of my ex who was also possessed in his own ways that hurt me so much to the point that I lost my dignity for a while. I have to say that I'm living a very enlightening point of my life right now and all this my contemplation in this post is leading me little by little into an a-ha moment. I haven't talked about devil itself in my blog yet until now but I believe that few months ago I was working on a subject in my post Déja Vu Of Spiritual Awakening which is closely related to being possessed with a devil: listening to Your Everyday Self (= the EGO) instead of Your True Self. So let's have a small recap on what I said about the ego in that post: The ego is insecure, doubtful and afraid and likes to depend on others too much thinking that it will give me security. You know Paul writes in his letters about that power that is making us to do what we wouldn't like to do instead of what we'd like to do and I strongly believe that he's talking about our Everyday Self = the fearful ego = the devil. So on the contrary our True Self must have the meaning of Holy Ghost which will provide us anything we desire as long as we are righteous and believe in it.
So here comes the a-ha: Why did I fall on the verge of suicide with my ex? Because I listened to my insecure, doubtful ego, the devil which made me believe in all those negative things that he told me and did to me! And why am I not yet in university but was only close to an admission? Because I listened to those negative people encouraged by a devil who made me believe that I'm too stupid for that! And why have we not been granted an apartment yet? Because at times I feel like quitting the search because of ungodly prejudiced people who almost make me believe that I'm stupid to listen to my True Self (= The Holy Spirit) which brought me in this town to follow my dreams.

New life
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, then lead diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written:' It is mine to avenge; I will repay", says the Lord. On the contrary:" If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:1-21

1 comment:

  1. Signs of your spiritual growth are quite evident. Keep doing what you're doing, you're clearly on the right path.