A TOUR THROUGH HELL
Do you feel like you’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death? It can feel excruciatingly lonely and utterly terrifying. I know that venomous valley well. It’s where I experienced panic attacks that turned into endless, tormenting nightmares, and demons physically terrorizing me. I often wondered if I would permanently lose my mind. Let me be clear: I understand that many people do not believe in spirits, spiritual warfare, or even demons and angels, but if you are reading this blog and have had or are having these experiences, take heart because there is hope to be had…keep reading!
The truth is that the spiritual realm is real!, Angels and demons are very active on the earth whether we see them or not. Contrary to what you might be experiencing now, not all spiritual realities are negative. In fact, there are more angels for us than there are demons against us. However, I’ve learned that navigating our way out of what can feel like a deep dark spiritual valley is a key part of developing our spiritual authority. In fact, as a Believer, you are currently spiritually equipped to walk your way out of it! Unfortunately for me, back then I made the mistake of camping out in the valley of the shadow of death for three years. Believe me when I say it wasn’t because I wanted to, nor do I believe any of you experiencing this living hell want to stay captive either. My problem was that I had been educated right out of my solution, and was imprisoned by bad doctrine! I’ll explain what I mean.
WHO’S YOUR ENEMY?
I had been taught and believed that Christians could be mentally ill but not demonized. Meaning, a Believer might have chemical deficiencies or imbalances and may experience symptoms of mental illness, but because they are a child of God, demons had no authority to oppress or terrorize them; I was taught that the only people who were demonized were unbelievers. In other words, if you were experiencing what may be described as demonic activity, you were either a Believer with a mental illness and it wasn’t demonically related or you were not truly a Believer and were demonized. Sound familiar? This faulty teaching had me questioning my sanity and set me up to war against my flesh instead of the spirits that would ambush and attack me every day.
It’s so important that we understand we are not warring against our old man (the flesh), rather we are battling with principalities. Ephesians 6:10-12 emphatically says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Did you catch that? Your true enemy is spiritual forces of wickedness!
My so-called tour through hell immediately ended when the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I wasn’t insane at all, rather I had been listening to a spirit of insanity that projected its own maddening thoughts on to me. The defective doctrine that Christians couldn’t be demonized was dismantled in mere moments when I learned that evil spirits will talk to us by giving us their thoughts. To be clear, thoughts originating from a demon are similar to a demon manifesting physically in front of you. Both are manifestations of evil, and its intention through the confusion and chaos is to kill your faith in God the Father, steal your spirit-filled destiny, and destroy your original design in Christ. But there’s something demons know that maybe you do not know — They know and see that you are marked by the glory of God. They know that you have power over them. These disempowered bullies are simply banking on you not knowing that. Maybe now it makes sense why the majority of spiritual warfare happens in the mind? They attack your knowledge of God and the knowledge of your identity as a child of God!
Through perverted ploys and subtle schemes, these evil spirits plant thoughts that are compelling. In other words, through thoughts that are not your own, demons frame a narrative about you that reflects their own image. In an attempt to mar the image of God that you bear, they position thoughts in such a way that it feels like your thoughts, even though it’s completely opposite of your history or your nature. Any sort of agreement with these invading thoughts can destroy your confidence and spiral you down into depression, anxiety, isolation, and self-hatred. You must know that this is a manifestation of evil. You are not who they say you are! You are not broken! You will have breakthrough. This will end. And Jesus MAKES ALL THINGS NEW (Rev. 21:5)!
THE KEY TO VICTORY
When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Matthew 4 says Jesus prepared for warfare by fasting, but did you notice Jesus’ battle tactics against Satan? Let’s take a look:
The first test (Matthew 4:3): “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”
Jesus’ response (vs. 4): “Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: ‘It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.’”
Though He is physically depleted and weary, Jesus’ tactic is to remember God’s promise to Him and declare out loud that His “yes” to the will of the Father will not be swayed by the physical reality he is experiencing.
The second test (vs 5-6): “The Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, ‘Since you are God’s Son, jump.’” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”
Jesus’ response (vs. 7): Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
Make no mistake, Jesus is not arguing with Satan; His tactic is to stay rested in His identity and the reality that Satan is not His equal. In fact, He reminds Satan of that.
For the third test (vs. 8-9): “The Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”
Jesus’ Response (vs. 10): Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
Jesus throws the final blow with a tactical rebuke and reminder that only God is the victor as He is in full agreement with God’s will. With authority, Jesus silenced Satan!
Demonstrated by Jesus in the wilderness, if I had to give you one key to win in warfare it would be to REMEMBER! You might ask why is remembering the key to victory? Because just as we saw with Jesus, Satan’s go-to weapon is to cause us to question not only who we are to God but who God is to you — your Father, who gave you His likeness (Gen. 1:26-27), His mind (1 Cor. 2:16), and His Spirit (2 Cor. 5:5). Though it may feel crazy in the valley, God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Just as Jesus rebuked Satan by holding on to His power and His peace during physical, emotional, and spiritual testing, you have been empowered by the living God to victoriously walk through the valley. Remember, if it’s not good, it’s not the end! Don’t retreat and don’t give up. You were made for victory!
I am praying today that you would have peace in this season, that God would protect you through the night and that His voice would be the loudest one over you. I pray that irrational thoughts would be dissolved in Jesus’ name and that the Holy Spirit would make clear the illusion and lie of the enemy. I pray that angels would surround you and that the right people would come around you in this season.
To help you fight the unseen battle and win, I want to give you a FREE digital copy of my book Spirit Wars. And, I want to invite you to participate in a FREE 4-week video devotional teaching that I just launched this week. You can find the devotional videos on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. You can also sign up here to receive them right in your inbox.
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