Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, April 9, 2012

D is for Demons

Yikes..yet another sort of morbid and scary topic. I'm sorry. I actually think about this subject a lot. It's not something everyone thinks about even a little, or at all, really. But I do. I don't know if you're aware of it but there are demons all around us at every single moment of the day. If you are a Christian, count on legions of them. I don't mean to scare you but it's the truth and it's something we Christians need to be aware of.

Aware but not afraid

In Anthony DeStefano's The Invisible World, he gives a great explanation of the spiritual world we do not see. The concept of an invisible world does sound like a bunch of sci-fi b.s. to the average person, and maybe even to the average Christian. I have to admit that even though I've been aware of Satan at my heels since I was very young, the idea of an "invisible world" as a reality sort of chaffed me for a few days when I first heard it put that way. I remember a show I used to watch when I was younger, called Are You Afraid of the Dark. (Think ghost stories for tweens.) In one episode, there was this other world which wasn't really seen except with a special pair of glasses which were found in some creepy magic shop. So when the main character had the glasses on, he could see shadowy people playing basketball on the court his friends were also playing on and in other scenarios as well. But no one else could see them. So that is what I immediately thought of when I first heard the idea of an "invisible world."

But as I thought more about it, prayed about it, read the bible, looked at my past, read Mr. DeStefano's book, etc, I realized that it was more than just a world we cannot see or a "mystical realm" of good vs. evil where demons and angels battle; it was in fact a reality that is at the very core of who we are as children of God, our purpose here on earth, and the defining nature of our fragile souls and the danger they are constantly in. I also realized that perhaps the fact that the world does not take seriously this concept and is moving further and further away from God has played a huge role in my hesitation. I mean, just having the experience of that show and the numbing effect of so many other movies and shows, not to mention the great movement in society to recognize as "perfectly okay" all the things God deems as sin and evil, no wonder it's sort of mind-boggling and almost unbelievable at first glance.

This may sound sort of strange as well but I have always been very cognizant of a presence in my life that was not good. It has always been like there was a darkness in every corner of every room of every place I entered. When I was doing bad things or in bad situations with other people, the darkness seemed multiplied. But it wasn't overpowering. It's not like the scenes in those horror movies or on TV where the darkness just envelopes the person. It's just sort of there, hanging out in the background. It's not really visible to the naked eye, more of a feeling, a knowledge of it. It wasn't until very much later, when I started to turn my life back to God, that I realized how much I had invited that darkness in. It was like I gave Satan and his minions an open invitation to tea and cake. And they constantly were accepting and often inviting their friends.

The thing is; I'm not afraid. I think I used to be; when I didn't realize what it was that I was facing. And mostly when I was completely unaware that I had control over how much darkness was surrounding me at any given time. The truth is, if you are following God's path for your life, the darkness might be there but it won't have as much control. And that's not due exclusively to the fact that you are "being good," it is due to the fact that there are also angels surrounding you at all times as well, battling for you. The concept of angels battling demons is as old as the world; but it's not a fairy tale. Many depictions of angels from art history show angels with swords. There is a reason for that. Just read the bible. They are here to defend us; to defend our souls. And it's not when the "end of the world" comes that this defense will take place. There is in actuality a GREAT battle already being waged at all times around us. Each of us could have legions of angels and demons in the midst of a bloody fight right in our living room and we don't see it.

And why not? Why don't we see it? To tell you the truth, I'm not sure. I don't think there will be a moment when we automatically see this invisible world in its true depth and entirety as if we had put those glasses on like that kid in the show I mentioned. But we can become more aware of the fact that there is one; that the battle is actually taking place. We can become aware of God's miraculous hand in our life, the angels He sends to protect and defend us, and even the demons which surround us each day as well. The more in-tune we are to our souls, to our call from God, to our lives which He has given us and the purpose He has chosen for us, the greater ability we have to "see" this invisible world. The knowledge of the darkness in the corner and our guardian angel co-existing in one place grows stronger each time we ask God to put us on His path for our life and do our best to stay on it, asking for His strength at every moment.

But what if we aren't aware of that path or our purpose? I think as the daughter of a very devout Catholic Christian, I was able to be aware of such darkness even from a young age because my mother prayed for us constantly and taught us about faith and God and a lot of what He expects from us. And perhaps part of it was Satan's own desire to make sure I knew he was there, in an attempt at scaring me, which he did often in very real ways when I was younger. But the thing is, if we aren't taught and aren't prayed for and aren't aware of God's will for our lives, and we choose to do the wrong things and we choose not to see the truth, we are easy targets for these demons. We are their prey. And a lot of the time, we are COMPLETELY unaware of it.

A lot of people live in complete spiritual darkness and don't even realize it. Even Christians. Even people who attend church on a regular basis and are generally "good" people. They suffer and so do their children. No one is perfect, of course. But the failings of our parents have a lasting effect on us, not only emotionally or even physically but spiritually. The main job of parents is to raise their children with the knowledge of God, His love, His presence in our life, His purpose and will for us. We were all created with a purpose. We were all meant to serve.

One of the greatest ways Satan keeps us from fulfilling our purpose is by paralyzing us, which is marked by those times when we aren't aware of that darkness and the battle. It's those times we don't want to step in and guide our children because we think they should be allowed to figure things out on their own. It's those times when we just make plans for our life without consulting God. It's those times when our desire to be practical, successful, comfortable or in control causes us to say no to God in His requests to give us new life (a baby), to change our situation, to change our circumstance, to change where we live, where we work, our relationships, etc. It's those times when we refuse to stand up for what's right like defending the sacrament of marriage, unborn babies, the poor, the weak, the oppressed. It's those times we say we are happy with where we are in our relationship with Him and don't want to make an effort to make it even better. We are paralyzed and live in spiritual darkness in these situations, and we don't even know it.

And make no mistake, there are times that I forget about this darkness. Every time I fight with my husband or I am impatient with my children. Every time I selfishly choose myself and my own desires and plans over what's best for the good of our family. Every moment when I ignore the opportunity to plant seeds in my children's hearts about God's love and His will for their lives, and Satan's desire for their soul. Every time I make a plan for our future without asking God if it's in His will. Every day I let pass by without thanking Him for it, regardless of how hard it was to get through. It is in these times the darkness closes in and I often don't see it until it's too late and the damage has already been done.

And that's when the demons are rejoicing. Because even if they don't have our soul, they have put us in a position where God doesn't necessarily have it either, and it's easier to sway us. It's easier to keep us from His blessings and inheritance. It's easier to destroy us, which is THEIR purpose. But there is no reason to actually fear this. If we desire in the depths of our heart to be a true servant of God, to follow His will, to lay our life down for Him, there is no reason to be afraid. But we have to decide and stick with our decision. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Even the next five minutes are not guaranteed. There's no question about that. The question is - Do we want to live in spiritual darkness with those demons closing in on us, taunting us, pulling us closer to them, or do we want to live in the light of Christ, in His purpose for us, His design and calling?

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen..


Christine said...

Great post. You should read Beautiful Battle by Mary DeMuth. It's about women and spiritual warfare.

Coffee in the Garden
In the Care of the Great Physician

Editor and Publisher Shelly Burke said...

Thanks for taking on a difficult topic that's not often talked about...but the demon world is part of our lives and we do need to be award of the darkness that's out there.