By R. M. Harrington
Christian warfare consist of a battle against the monarchs of darkness and spiritual powers of wickedness in high places, against demons of the world and of the mind. The bible declares that we are to recognize and cast down vain imaginations. We are commanded to resist those things that are exalted against the knowledge of God. We are empowered to bring unrighteous thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ.
These paraphrases illustrate the depth of mind battle that Christianity encompasses. They do not fully detail from where do the imaginations come. Neither do they explain the development of thoughts that lead to disobedience. They do not expound upon the length of the battle.
In this tale, I will be brief, and not focus on all aspects of Christian warfare. Indeed, I speak of only one example, of a battle that is long running.
King James Version - Psalms 106:37
"Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils."
In a previous article "Christian Aging: Discovering The Biblical Response to Growing Old", I wrote of how children must honor and respect their parents. Herein is a flip side to that coin.
Dealing With Demons of The Mind.
Joe was twenty years old when he entered the prison. He arrived on the last bus, the one just behind our group. He came off preaching, witnessing, and glorifying Jesus the Savior, almost childlike in spirit and in physical appearance. A fire burned in that lean frame, and he could not restrain it even if he had tried.
We became friends that day, this young man and I. We fellowshipped, attended services together, and shared a bible study.
But unrest pursued Joe's spirit. At times, anger would consume him. Great rages of cursing and tromping and spitting would erupt from his lips and body.
Perhaps I should have ceased to hang with him. His reflection on Christ often seemed contaminated. Yet I lingered near, the spirit within me refusing to permit me an exit.
When the fits would start, when the cussing would break out, I would simply say, "Joe. If we are going to talk you will have to stop cussing". And he would.
A Living Sacrifice To Devils.
In the course of time, I learned Joe's story. When he was seven years old, his mother and father, captured by the devil of drugs, began to prostitute this their only child to the sinful lust of wicked men and themselves. For years, Joe knew nothing but sorrow. Those, whom he would have loved, choose only to use him.
In later years, his father left. But other men came. At thirteen years old, he broke out on his own. But a lifestyle of drugs and sex for money was already established. So he lived the only way he knew how, and encountered none who sought to offer help.
Joe's mother had a daughter.
The child was less than a year old when Joe left home. But he kept track of her, visiting, being a brother, and finding a new kind of love, an unselfish love that was somehow within him. Perhaps it was that desire to be the father that he had never known.
Just after his twentieth birthday, Joe's mother released his seven-year-old sister into the trade for drugs. At that time, Joseph attempted to kill a man.
Burdens To Great To Bear.
Though I knew Joe's troubled life, the fits of unrighteousness became more and more difficult to deal with. He looked upon me as a father figure, but that burden became too great for me to tolerate. I began to avoid him.
God has a course for each of us who are called according to His purpose. I could not escape from Joe. Our quarters were too confined, our God too exact in His plans.
One evening, at supper, I sat on the end seat of a bench. People were all around me and there was no place for another at this table. But another table was set to my left, this one empty.
Joe sat at the empty table. I tried not to look at him. He spoke to me, called me by name but I avoided answering.
Why, God? I asked in spirit. Why must I be burdened with this wild man? I don't know what to do. I am young in faith, I do not even understand myself.
"Michael," said the Lord. "Joe is just like you, only to a deeper degree of battle. He too has been assigned demons to trouble his walk. They seek to enter his mind, to dominate his life, to restrict his Christian witness. They cannot enter his heart, for I reside there in all fullness. Neither will they succeed in subduing him, for My strength is in Joe's weaknesses. One-day men will marvel at this man called Joseph.
King James Version - 1 John 1:6,8,10
"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
To Each A Cross To Bear.
By now, Joe had grown angry at my lack of attention. His cursing had begun. But my vision of my own struggles had returned to clarity. I smiled as I stood up and carried my tray to the other table. Sitting down, I looked Joseph full in the eyes.
"Joe," I said. "If we are going to talk, you will have to stop cursing."
And he did.
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