“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
As many times as I have read the verse written above, only recently have I truly seen the full ramifications of it in not only my life, but in the lives of those around me. On Sabbath afternoon, January 17th, I saw this campus for what it really is: a warzone.
Mr. Gavin asked if I would be willing to sit in on a group session, and having nothing scheduled for the afternoon, I was more than willing to join. It started slowly with the usual frivolity of most parties involved, attempting to veil their discomfort at the idea of “opening up.” By the time we’d gone halfway around the circle, I was stupefied to discover that ever one of the boys in the group had at some time in the not-so-distant past communicated with evil spirits—whether through just praying to the devil or, in one case, actually speaking with demons. I recalled the time I had once prayed to the devil, and it took me a moment to understand that it’s not as much of a rarity as some would believe.
As the group time continued, I found myself in the midst of a battle—visible to myself if no one else—with the powers of darkness. Just as progress seemed to be made spiritually, some distraction would come, or someone would crack a joke. I began silently praying with increasing fervency that the spell of the evil one would be broken.
As we prepared to end our time together we each said prayers over the individuals involved. My heart began to fill with gladness as I believed the battle was over. But I was wrong.
Satan mounted a final attack, and while we were praying, some began to lose focus and the spirit of irreverence and foolishness spread from one to another. As I began my prayer, a deep vexation came over me and midway through the prayer I broke away and told one of the boys, “Get out.” The others quickly halted the frivolities and jestings and I finished praying.
When all was said and done, I walked out of the room and caught eyes with the boy I’d so harshly sent out. A conviction came over me that I should not have sent him away. As I spoke to him about it, I could see that he had been wounded by my action, and I confessed my fault and asked him for his forgiveness. He responded that, “It takes a real man to admit when he’s wrong.” And from there, we were cool. In the ensuing moments, a conundrum arose in my mind. How is it possible to be doing the Lord’s work, through prayer and the laying on of hands, and at the same time lose connection with God to the extent of grieving the spirit of another? “What is this madness?” I asked myself over and over. “Am I really who and what I think I am? Or is this a farce? Mustn’t it be if I allow the flesh to take over while attempting to do the work of the Spirit? Am I striving in my own strength?”
Questions to no end. I still don’t have the answers; I just knew what I had to do. I called the group back together and asked the forgiveness of all for having misrepresented Christ by my rash action.
I don’t have the answers. I just see the warzone more clearly. It’s a battlefield where you can shoot one of your allies while trying to set another one free. It’s a battlefield where you lose unless you are fully committed to, connected to, and driven by the Holy Spirit.
And this “Camlan,” this combat zone, this arena of supernatural inter-cosmic warfare is where I have chosen to live.
May God have mercy upon me.