Spiritual Warfare thoughts....
I'm not the kind of Christian that blames everything on Satan.
When I get a cold accompanied with the sniffles, my first thought isn't "Satan gave me a cold." Frankly, I consider this thinking quite silly.
I also don't think that the level of attack I'm experiencing always relates to how important I am. What I mean is that I don't think it's wise to determine your prestige in the Kingdom of Heaven by how miserable your life is down here on earth. I've seen myself come this subtle summary before and it's seductive. "I'm having a horrible week, I must really be a threat to Satan for Him to come after me like this." I'm not saying there isn't a place of this thinking from time to time, but this can be a form of denial when taken to an extreme.
I love to feel important, and my flesh figures out ways to read things into life to make me feel so. If someone doesn't like me I figure out a way to turn myself into the hero and them into the villain. What I'm saying is that sometimes I can make really stupid decisions and somehow spin doctor the the story into an attack from the Enemy. But in reality, I was just stupid and no one was attacking me but me. "I have seen the Enemy, and he is me."
The desire to live in an epic story with an important role can really mess you up when it comes to this kind of stuff. You can drum up some pretty crazy conclusions just to substantiate your pre-determined storyline.
And the idea of spiritual warfare seems to play into this narcissism perfectly if we're not careful.
Sometimes when I hear people using Satan as an excuse for their incompetence or immaturity I just want to scream. "I just really feel that the Enemy is coming against me." And to that I wanna say, "Not so buck-a-roo, you just haven't been getting good sleep." or "Give me a break, you can't work all the time and do nothing to invest in your marriage and then blame the Devil for the divorce." I could give you example after example, but suffice it to say that we are notorious for coming up with every reason but ourselves for failure.
Is the "Enemy" real, oh yeah! Is he prowling around like a Lion, you betcha! But he's also prancing around like an Angel of Light. We can't forget this. When you're looking for the Lion all the time, you'll miss the Light. And I'm finding him in the Light more than anywhere else.
Christians that fixate on Satan lose credibility over time. They one-dimensional, uni-directional mindset makes them impossible to befriend in the realm of reality. Their compulsive urges to attribute everything to the supernatural and the paranormal cripple them in the realm of the natural and the normal. And here's the kicker for me, the only thing that kept me in Christianity after I graduated high school was finding God in the natural and normal. I had had my fill of faith and heavenly places and things above, what I was starving for was finding somebody or something that spoke of normalcy. Something that made sense instead of always playing the "spirituality" card.
I needed to see people owning up to mistakes and taking responsibility for their ineffectiveness. I needed to witness someone interacting with the world without thinking it was "out to get 'em". I needed to see love without strings attached to "rewards in heaven" and compassion without the "obsession with conversion" breathing down your neck. I needed to interact with someone who could talk about stuff without trying to figure at a clever spiritual parallel, the "all-roads-lead-to-Rome" kind of conversation where you are always interrupting the rhythms of reality with the rhymes of spirituality. It's almost like you don't think reality is worth anything or has any meaning in and of itself when you're looking to spin it into kingdom conversation whenever there's an opening. Or worse yet, when you're looking for ways to inject "Spiritual Warfare" into every little disappointment someone shares or rough patch they're experiencing. It does not honor a persons story when you highjack it and turn it into an opportunity to pitch your belief system. It's inhumane.
And people can feel it. When you're around someone who can't think outside that box, you can smell it a mile away. It has an odor that is unmistakable. And people, over time, cleverly figure out a way to remove themselves from that person's presence. It's not because they don't like them, they just don't like what everything gets turned into around them. And the worst part is that when a person who is a "Warfare junkie" picks up on this, their belief system allows for them to interpret it as "Spiritual Attack" and a privileged position to suffer for the sake of Christ as an ambassador of the gospel. It's a spiritual spiral that can sink someone for life because the negative feedback can simply galvanize the person's theological stance and make them all the more zealous to spread the message (spread the mess).
Let me be clear. I believe in Spiritual Warfare with all my heart. I believe there are many who could use a dose of the supernatural to wake them out of their natural slumber. I know that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood (alone). I know the "weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are mighty in God for tearing down strongholds". I know that even Jesus was tempted by the Enemy and that He prayed in the Lord's Prayer to "be delivered from evil".
I've been to Warfare conferences and read scores of Warfare books. I believe them with all my heart. But this metaphor of Christianity must be kept in check and balanced with the other thousand metaphors that the Bible uses to describe the life of a believer. For some reason this metaphor gets the most playtime and I think it's because it plays on our need to feel important and heroic. There's just something that feels good about thinking the Enemy is after us all the time, it's addictive. We matter. We are on the front lines. We know things no one else knows. If he could take me out then it would effect everybody else. I'm a threat and he's after me, I just know it. And the inner dialogue goes on and on until you're like Nash in the movie "A Beautiful Mind" out in his shed thinking you're saving the world when you're really lost in your own "sub-reality" with some newspaper clippings, a bunch of tacks and some yarn. There's just something powerful about feeling like you're always in the "crosshairs" of the enemy. You're the main target. You are.
It's subtle isn't it. Cause we can't live like warfare doesn't exist and we can live like it's the only thing that exists.
I just had to get this off my chest.