I had an interesting experience during the week which has got me thinking.
I was in a part of town I don't usually visit and as I stood waiting for the person I was meeting there, I became increasingly aware of a heavy, negative spiritual atmosphere in the area. It became quite oppressive and I was getting really uncomfortable when I sensed God asking me a question.
Immediately, the atmosphere changed. It was just like a light had been turned on in a dark room as my focus shifted from the very real spiritual darkness around me to the one who has been given ALL authority (Matt 28:18) - the one who was actually in charge in that place.
It was quite a startling experience, and I have been thinking about it ever since.
Now it's obvious from what I've just written that I believe that the spiritual world is very real, as is the battle we face every day. And just for the record, I also believe there are times when we care called to confront those spiritual forces.
But I started to wonder about how much time and effort christians have put into chasing the demonic, 'discerning' and 'driving out the enemy'. And I started to wonder if we might not have been more effective simply agreeing with Christ that the Kingdom of God is, indeed, at hand?
Knowing beyond a shadow of doubt that the King is in charge here!
It concerns me that we've worried so much about the influence of the enemy that we've hidden ourselves away lest we be contaminated. We've denounced everything from music styles to hair styles. We've lived in fear of the 'other' - other religions, other philosophies, even other christians.
But who really IS in charge here? Do we believe God is in charge, or do we just give mental assent to something that has no reality in our lives? If we truly believe that God is in charge, then why do we live in fear? Shouldn't we be the most free, confident and loving people around?