Our Afflictions And The Devil’s Grip.

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The human condition is resilient yet amazingly frail and vulnerable because we are caught between the opposing forces of flesh and spirit. Throughout our entire lives, this battle rages like an incessant wildfire. By default, the lusts of the flesh usually have the upper hand because it’s very easy to give into the physical. The spirit is difficult to comprehend due to its elusive nature but nonetheless God gave us the awareness of its mighty pull.

Galatians 5:16-17. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

Since I began tuning up my spirit, life has never been the same because I started to experience real freedom from the chains of bondage. The Lord was gradually purifying my heart and mind from enslavement which had taken its toll on the quality of my existence. Inconceivable shifts were taking place and impossible turnarounds made visible.

For about 12 years, I was a cannabis user. I truly believed this was something that would stay with me until death because it felt comfortable. I used to smoke cigarettes and was set free from nicotine 3.5 years ago but weed was different. It was soothing as it provided an escape from the ordinary and it didn’t have any obvious negative effects. By this I mean, I was able hold down a job, pay bills, raise my daughter, be active, etc.

But the Holy Spirit was lovingly convicting me and cleansing the impurities which had accumulated over time. I kept receiving nudges from God to reconsider this choice and naturally it became less enjoyable which left me wondering if this was really what I wanted. With all the other changes that had taken root, perhaps it was time to turn over a new leaf. For example, I stopped fornicating and ceased other forms of immorality which had been destroying my spirit because I wanted more of God.

1 Peter 5:8. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing anyone who uses marijuana but the season was changing and I had to adapt. The supposed joy which this plant once brought was no longer there so I had to let it go. The mind altering effects of THC were opening portals for other spirits to invade my temple. Maybe this was always the case but with the Holy Spirit dwelling within, I am now super sensitive to intruders and their attacks. It also doesn’t help that today’s marijuana is genetically modified to produce increased potency which results in higher likelihood of addiction.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

On my journey to sobriety, I discovered verses in the Bible which pertain to the warning of sorcery and here is one of them.

Revelation 18:23. “And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”

The Greek word for sorceries is pharmakeia which means the use of medicine, drugs, spells and poisoning. Thought I’d share so that you can investigate further and make your own sound judgements about the world we live in. In the End Times which are already at hand, there will be great deception therefore we must be on the alert.

I was dependent on a drug to make me feel okay. Finally, I understand there were deeply ingrained issues which were being masked by the need to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Bear in mind, it’s not just substances like weed or alcohol that keep us in shackles. People also use food, work, relationships, cosmetic surgery, sex, pornography, social media, masturbation and so on as crutches to underlying problems.

Galatians 6:1-3. Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.

We would be extremely naïve to dismiss the fact that there isn’t a spiritual layer to our afflictions. Yes, there is a physiological aspect but we need to acknowledge that the spirit is sick and easily captivated by toxic influences. Often, we need to feel immense pain from the addiction(s) in order to be open enough to accept a spiritual solution.

In the Gospel of Mark (5:1-20), there is an encounter between Jesus and a demon-possessed man whom he restores back to wellness. This perfectly illustrates that evil spirits are real and our need for a Saviour is great.

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Take care of yourself.

Amen.