You may find this post disturbing, but I don't write it for that purpose.
Some years ago my family and I attended a church where we had a been for a few years which had a pretty large percentage of passers-thru. People would come, sometimes just for a Sunday morning meeting, sometimes for a few weeks, and some would come for months. This particular congregation was unique (in my experience) in this way while we were there. Seems like people from the past would just turn up, make a meeting, and then move on, and you might not see them again for years, some never.
On the morning that comes to mind, normal in most respects, we arrived and greeted friends, as we often did. We moved into the main part of the auditorium where folks were taking their seats, getting ready for the meeting to start. As we did, we moved toward the area where we normally sat, and I saw a friend near the front who I recognized from probably ten years before, when we were part of another congregation together. His family was around him, and it was great to see them, a pleasant surprise. But, at this same moment, I recognized something. When I looked at my friend, I saw a religious spirit covering him.
At this very moment, I saw that he was a captive – though a believer – to a dark host that was exerting influence over his life and his interpretation of the world around him. This angered me, and I responded in the spirit by rebuking this spirit and calling it out as a trespasser. I didn't share what had happened with anyone until a little bit later, but as I thought about it, it helped explain some things I had seen before in his life, but didn't really understand. This man, a very intelligent, well-spoken, and articulate person, had been a pastor and spiritual leader for many years.
The thing that came with the realization that a dark spiritual host had my friend as captive, was that I felt like the Lord was saying to me that this man belonged to Him! The Lord was emphasizing to me that this was wrong. This should not be this way. God was grieved by this reality, and didn't want it to continue as it was.
Sadly, I don't know how things developed from there. As many did, the man and his family were only in town for a few days, and they were gone. But the experience hasn't faded with the passing of time in my mind. My prayer then, and now, is that this wrong is made right.
I was reminded of this experience this week.
I was in town, driving thru a parking lot, when I randomly encountered two people who I know. At first I didn't recognize them. They were moving toward the building from the parking lot, when I saw something similar to the thing I saw that day more than a decade ago at my old church. A spirit of darkness was present upon one of these folks. It happened quickly, and I was past them and gone down the road.
As I drove away, I got an intense pain deep in my chest. I felt like the Lord was letting me feel, in some small way, what He was feeling. For God's children to be under the direction of a dark force is a grief and pain to His heart. Jesus died to rescue us from such forces, transferring us from the kingdom of darkness, to the kingdom of light. This kind of situation is a terrible sadness, because it should not be. We have been rescued from such things, and delivered into the Kingdom of the Son of His Love!
As I thought more on this, I was reminded of the scene in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy where Frodo is pierced by the sword of the Wraith, which almost results in his death. Later on, Gandolf says that the wound will never fully heal, and he continues to have pain from it, even tho he has recovered. I, too, have had this same sword in my chest, the sword of the trespasser. Perhaps that could be why I felt pain in my chest when I saw this happening earlier this week.
In the late 90's, I drifted. I became disillusioned, and there were a number of contributors, but mainly becuase of some unresolved conflict in my life with a few of the people closest to me. As I became more and more spiritually bored in my disillusionment, I started to give ear to the influences that threatened to destroy me, and I couldn't understand why this was actually appealing. The strange thing is, the desire seemed to be coming from inside of me. We know that every person is tempted when they are drawn away by their own desires. so this makes sense. But I knew better. How could I desire something that I knew would kill me? This is where the deceptive craft of darkness worked it's way into my situation, causing me to lose clarity and see things in ways that were imagined, but not true.
Over time, my mind became the haven for dark thoughts and dark ideas. I was firmly under the influence of dark spiritual forces, tho I would have resisted acknowledging that at the time. Don't be deceived friends, all things can be known by what they produce, and this was destructive. In the midst of my captivity, which is what I was in (regardless of the fact that I thought I was actually walking in freedom) Jesus physically appeared to me. Funny, I had been praying for a few years before that this would happen. I wasn't expecting to have Him show up at a time like this – I was a mess! He didn't say anything to me, but in a moment I was in my right mind, and the dark influence fled from before Him. Once I was in my right mind, He was gone. In that moment, I was free.
It may be that you find yourself, today, under the influence of a dark presence, even though you have been saved by God's grace. I write today to appeal to the God of all grace, and to you, for freedom. Don't give your mind, your heart, the substance of your life to greed, anger, lust, seduction, or religious self-righteousness. Today, walk in the freedom that Christ has purchased for you. Such freedom stands secure, ready to be lived in and enjoyed. Cry out to God to make you free from such influences, and in your freedom, walk as one who is free. Give your mind and heart to the light of heaven, to the Son of God, and to thoughts that accompany the salvation that has been, once and for all, purchased on your behalf.