“Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Pet 5:8
One of the things that tends to throw me for a loop is being off my routine. Our trip to India was amazing (you can read the blog here), and we had a great time experiencing its sights and sounds. While it was a vacation, the main purpose was to take my father’s ashes to India and place them in the Sutlej river, as had been done for generations in our family. As the eldest son of my father, if I went to India, I would be expected to play a key role in the Sikh ceremonies surrounding this event. (It is worth noting that while I was in Israel last year, God prepared me and showed me that dad had accepted the Lord and was with Him in eternity).
Because of this, I was somewhat apprehensive about going, but the Lord gave me some words through trusted friends that I was supposed to go and honour my father, and not to worry since He is with me. Also, I know that the thing that keeps us in bondage more than anything is believing the lies of the enemy, who does not want us to know that we are new creations in Christ, sons of God, seated in heavenly places, and not just a resuscitation of our former selves.
So having this assurance and experience of walking in His presence, I went to India knowing that I go as an ambassador of the Kingdom. On the trip, we visited Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist temples, and each time, I knew that the Lord was with me. As we visited each place, I prayed in tongues and God showed me that the people I met in those places were as lost as anyone else, and that He loved them with His everlasting love.
Throughout the trip, I was aware and had my guard up. Visiting the various temples was fine, and even the role I had to play in the memorial service was ok, since I was aware of what I was doing and also of what I was NOT doing. I was aware of His presence wherever I went … except for one place.
Time to relax
After the memorial service was over, my uncle had insisted that we all go the next morning to have a wonderful massage at a place a few blocks away. I wasn’t going to go, but they needed 8 people to get the special rate, so I gave in. None of us had any idea what this massage was like, and we assumed it would be similar to ones we get here in Canada. Not so! This was an Indian massage which I later found out was an Ayurvedic four-handed massage. As soon as they started, I thought to myself, “this is not good”, but I went along with it. There was clearly some spiritual “stuff” attached to this massage and I had willingly participated in it. I got slimed.
For the next two weeks, I was confused, not hearing from God, dealing with lustful thoughts and other things. I couldn’t get back on track. The words playing in my mind were, “I have been caught and can’t get out. The enemy has control of me and I need to find a way to break his hold. I am stuck and can’t move on until Jesus releases me. My destiny is on hold.” The effect of this thinking was that I felt far from God. All I felt was: struggle, condemnation, unable to pray, unable to hear from God.
Believing the lie again
A few days after we got back to Canada, I was yet again asking God to release me from this when suddenly, I was aware of how I was praying. I was praying like I was here and God was somewhere “out there”. I felt a nudge telling me to refocus, since God is in me and around me and closer than my skin. As soon as I did that, I saw that I had been believing lies. I didn’t know what the lies were until this point, because the enemy doesn’t tell us what they are. He tricks us into behaving in ways consistent with the lies, usually by reminding us of how we felt when lies were all we had.
The first lie was that I was not a new creation in Christ. The second lie was that I have to wait for God to do something before I can move on or hear from God. The truth is that my ability to hear from God is undiminished. It’s just that I have had someone yelling in my spiritual ear and I was listening to it. The reality is that I am still a son of God and nothing can separate me from the love of God.
Distance and delay
This is exactly what John Brown has said – the two chief lies are distance and delay. By believing these lies, I had trapped myself. I could not hear because I was listening to someone else. I had forgotten that satan is a liar and the father of lies, and that his words are very subtle and sound like the truth. The reality is that I still sit in heavenly places and that my life is hidden in Him. If God has hidden me, then there is no way the enemy can find me. The only thing he can do is lie to my flesh and hope I believe it. He doesn’t do this by trying to convince me of the lie, he does it by reminding me of how it felt when I lived that way (i.e. guilt, condemnation, struggle, rising, falling), and telling me that because my soul feels it, it must be true. In reality, I am already a new creation. I don’t need a fix from God or to get re-saved. I need to stop believing the lie, and pickup where I left off.
Later, I asked God how come I got caught in the lie again. He showed me a picture of being so filled with the Spirit that my own internal spiritual pressure was more than enough counteract anything the enemy was trying to do. Galatians 5:16 says, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are like a meteorological high-pressure system: high pressure always flows to low pressure – we can change the atmosphere. The reverse is also true – when we are not full of the Spirit, we can be affected by things around us – we become the low pressure area where things can flow to us. I saw this in India, many people who went to the temples were looking for something to receive. I’m sure they got something.
There were other things that happened shortly after this revelation; God told some dear friends exactly what I needed to hear and arranged things so I could get some ministry a few days later. One of their insights was that God had allowed these things to happen so he could deal with some unresolved root issues all at once. He is so good!