“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest. But now my kingdom is from another place.” Jesus, John 18:36
This world seems so solid at times we seem to forget we will not be here long. Seventy years used to be about the limit, but now many octogenarians and nonagenarians occupy independent living houses as well as assisted living quarters. Psychologists tell us it takes about five years to internalize a major life change so that it feels normal, a small percentage against 80 or 90 years of life. The result is that most of us feel very comfortable in our life situations, unless we are under significant duress or in dire conflicts.
There is a danger in getting too comfortable in this world though. “Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it’, while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of being really at home in earth… You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle-aged and the old.” (C.S.Lewis)
We must keep in mind we have been visited by Someone who was not from this world. He is its Creator, but we did not trust Him in the Garden of Eden and because of our founders’ lack of trust, we still find it difficult to trust Him. However, for those who make a decision to trust Him, there is a transfer of citizenship that takes place. We receive passports that identify us as belonging to another world as well, even though we have not visited our new “home country.” (See John 1:1-14; Hebrews 11:10.)
Yet we remain in this world for a time until our Supreme Commander decides it is time for us to leave for home. For many of us this usually stretches out to that 70 or 80 years to which we referred in the opening lines of this blog. During this time, He calls on us to represent Him as His ambassadors (1 Corinthians 5:20), aliens in the world as He was an alien (John 20:21). And as aliens we may expect some of the prejudices and antagonism that comes with not being in our natural environment. (1 John 3:13)
In particular we must be aware, without becoming engrossed, by the presence of “other aliens” who are not from this world, and who hold major influence in the affairs of mankind! Much of our antagonism comes not from the people who will oppose us when we act as Christ’s representative, but rather from subtle influences of which most people will be unaware (2 Corinthians 4:4). There is a Spirit in the world that leads us into relationship with The God Who Is There, and there are spirits in the world that oppose Him without reason or sanity.
We understand there are two dangers associated to recognizing the activity of demon powers:
1. Ignoring them and pretending they do not exist.
2. Obsessing over them and seeing them under every rock and in every shadow.
A friend of mine who worked in a bank told me about one of her training exercises. She was told she needed to learn to recognize counterfeit bills in order to effectively do her job. The training consisted primarily of sitting in a room and counting money for the tellers for several hours per day. She wondered how long this would go on as she began to suspect maybe this was all they wanted her to do; count the money and never get trained for anything more.
Then one day, she “felt” one of the bills coming across her desk. Something seemed “different” about it. The thickness of the paper was not quite right; the ink seemed slightly different. Looking very closely she noticed lines in Jackson’s coat that seemed out of place and border lines that were inconsistent. She had found a counterfeit $20 bill, the most commonly counterfeited currency in that day. Reporting it to her supervisor, he then had her check several other stacks of bills. One by one, she found several counterfeits in different denominations in the various piles.
It was then she was told of the counterfeits she had missed in her first couple days of training. And in fact, the bank was getting concerned that she would not work out. But as she continued handling the real bills, eventually she began to recognize the fakes! She told me about this episode when I told her that I had accepted a counterfeit $20 at the store at which I worked and had been called to the bank to verify my deposit. Even after telling me it was phony currency, I could not identify it as counterfeit. But her training in handling so many real bills had prepared her to “feel” the false one as soon as it was in her hands.
This is how we should “handle” dealing with demons. If we love the truth, if we immerse ourselves in the Word of God and study the Scripture, if we practice the Presence (see August 20, 2016) of the “real” Spirit of God, that alien Visitor with whom we are allied, then when the “phony” spirit of this age comes along, we will recognize it because we will simply know from our experience what the real “feels” like. (1John 1:1, 2:27)
If instead, we become too comfortable in this world, if we only handle the Bible when someone else reads or teaches it, if we ignore our Commander’s Presence throughout the day, we will be ill prepared to identify the counterfeit.
With which visitor to this world do you want to identify?