DAY 16 – Spiritual Warfare: What does it look like?
READ: Acts 19: 8-9 13-16, 18-20, 23-30
Movies like The Exorcist and Harry Potter are familiar to many of us, if even only by name. Yet, for those who grew up in a calm, Christian environment, it’s hard to imagine what the Spirit world really is or what it looks like. It just seems so foreign. Angels we can handle. Demons? Not so much. For some folks, however, the “dark side” is very familiar, and very real. When Paul entered Ephesus, in Greece, apparently some exorcists were performing exorcisms by invoking Paul’s name! But the evil spirits didn’t buy it. One of them is quoted as saying, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then, the demons proceeded to beat the men up and chase them out of the house! Others who secretly practiced magic, after hearing the Gospel, even started coming forward and confessing. Surprisingly, Paul’s biggest problem, came from a local artisan who crafted and sold gods for Shrines. The Good News was bad for business, and he was determined to run Paul out of town.
How Does That Apply to Me? Spiritual warfare doesn’t only, or always, come in the form of demons that appear. It can also be found in the attitudes and actions we throw around and use as weapons as well. Regardless of the tactics Satan threw Paul’s way: listeners publicly maligning him and his beliefs, others trying to copy him and ride his coattails, furious businessmen trying to run him off—nothing caused Paul to back away from the teaching and training he’d come to do. Paul didn’t run from the angry crowds—he ran towards them! He didn’t let the spiritual warfare wear him out or scare him away. Those encounters not only made him stronger, they made him more determined. When trials and frustrations come our way, let’s remember that spiritual warfare may simply be at play trying to chase us off in hopes that we’ll abandon the mission. Let’s commit to stay on course and finish strong!
Acts 19:18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.
Praying Together: Let’s ask the Lord for Spiritual eyes to see when difficulties and hardships come our way. May we be willing to realize though they may be strategies of Satan, the Holy Spirit can, and will, help us overcome them.