Friday, April 11, 2008

Awareness Test

My wife and I have been talking a lot the last several days about spiritual warfare. We have talked about how when we are numb to the forces of darkness that are waging war over our hearts and minds we can go on numb to their influence. However, once our eyes are opened we see that those forces have been present, and influencing our lives in very real ways.

I saw this video today on Larry James Blog:

I think that it illustrates this point VERY WELL. What task did you focus on, did your intensity focus on the task on counting passes, or were you instead aware of the really significant event going on in the room. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us to not be focused on the seeming priorities of this world, to the point where we miss the significance of what is going on unseen around us.

Let me illustrate this in a way that I personally struggle with. Bob walks into my office and says, "Kevin, you suck! You're the worst IT guy we have ever had. I can't wait till you leave for Africa and we get a person with some competence!" My reaction is to react by raising my voice and illustrating Bob's incompetence and returning his anger with anger. However, our battle is not flesh and blood. Satan wants me to miss out on community with people, Satan wants me to feel insecure as a person. If I see Bob as my enemy I will question myself and dismiss Bob. HOWEVER, if I am looking through the lens of what is REALLY going on in the things that are unseen, I enter into Bob's pain and look to restore him in love! I return anger with love, motivated by the fact that Bob doesn't hate me, Satan hates me! Anger and defensiveness is easy, being open and vulnerable to Bob as a means of restoration is hard. LOVE IS DANGEROUS, because it requires me to see the unseen and focus on the ENTIRE spectrum of events present in the exchange.

God has equipped us with the right tools to see be warrior in the bigger picture. Listen to how Eugene Peterson puts the following verses in The Message.
Ephesians 6:13-18 Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Understanding that we are a united community, working together to keep each other's eyes open. Seeing real truth solution in God's word to encourage and bind each other together, that is passing the Awareness Test in the spiritual realm.

The old adage, "Hate The Sin, Love the Sinner." is wrong because it is a euphemism to masquerade judgment and condemnation. In the light of awareness of the spiritual warfare going on around us, we should "Hate the ENEMY, Pray REDEMPTION into the Sinner." Any action on our part that does not intend to move an individual toward being recreated into the image of Christ, is carnal! Anytime we react rather than interact we have failed the awareness test.

Our struggle in NOT against flesh and blood. Are you watching to be aware of who it is against?


Elysa said...

Just gotta say, I DID see the bear. Probably the preschool teacher in me showing. ;)

Jan Parrish said...

Great point. It's easy to react rather than respond in love.