Today as we remember those who gave their lives in war for us, it is good to reflect on how such terrible wars could have happened. I grew up during the Cold War. When you live under the threat of world-wide nuclear extermination it focuses your attention. I have stood in the huge cemeteries of Europe where you can see over 17,000 crosses, each representing a young life cut short. The Good News is our hope that they inherited a more glorious eternal spiritual life of joy.
1. I tried for years to figure out “why things go wrong”
Many people have trouble believing in an all powerful God of love who could allow such a terrible thing as war happen. At seminary I learned this is formally known as the Problem of Evil. We need to understand that God loves us enough to give us free will. The consequence of free will is wrong choices by some people – including national leaders.
- Post-Enlightenment theology which does not really believe in the supernatural, including spiritual principalities and powers, depends on Education to help people make better choices.
- Bible teaches us that there are evil spiritual principalities and powers that deceive humans into making destructive choices
- Evil is a technical theological term for deliberate harm with no mitigating benefits. Bad things happen by chance – evil has intention to harm.
- Many people are very uncomfortable about accepting the reality of spiritual evil because it makes our lives more challenging
- We prefer to keep our heads in the sand and avoid trouble
For me this was a profound discovery that confirmed the Biblical world view and helped me understand why things go wrong – and the importance of spiritual protection.
2. Understand that we are spiritual beings with bodies
Many of the pictures of Jesus show an aura around Him. Our personal spirit is in fact larger than our body and surrounds our body.
- In healing prayer, the healing energy of the Holy Spirit flows through the spirit of the healer, into the personal spirit of the person being healed.
- Christians believe that at Baptism the Holy Spirit of God comes and lives in our personal spirit to connect us to God. Those who are baptized and who have kept their Baptismal Covenant can claim the special protection of the blood of Christ.
3. Our Personal Spirit is the part of us connected to God
- Where we experience love joy and peace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- Withers and dies when we ignore God
- Becomes polluted, unholy and separated from God when we sin
- Is “Born Again” or re-energized when we re-connect to God through prayer and praise after separation
- Our Personal Spirit is also connected to our soul – our mind, will and emotions.
4. Our Soul is our “Self” – mind, will and emotions
- Connected to our Personal Spirit and to our body - with all its senses and demands
- Like the meat in a sandwich between Personal Spirit and body.
- Our Personal Spirit and Soul are in conflict over the demands of God and the demands of the body
- Evil Spirits deceive us through our minds – our Soul
- Our minds also deceive us by shielding us from consciousness of emotionally charged information
5. Spiritual life is a struggle to bring our soul into obedience
Our hope is in eternal spiritual life in relationship with Jesus Christ. This means a lifelong struggle to overcome the temptations of the mind, body and will that can separate us from God. The Good News is that we have a Saviour who sends us the Holy Spirit to help us stay in relationship and protect us against evil. I pray on the Armour of God daily:
- · Helmet of Salvation protects my mind from destructive thoughts.
- · Breastplate of Righteousness - our right-relationship with God protects my personal spirit from destructive emotions like fear, anger, bitterness and jealousy.
- · Belt of Truth, the Word of God found in the Bible, holds me together
- · Shield of Faith to protect me from specific attacks - bad thoughts
- · Shoes of the Gospel of Peace to protect my stand-point
- · Pray for the Sword of the Holy Spirit to help me beat back the lies and deceptions of the spiritual forces of evil.
Jesus said “... the one who believes in me will live, even though they die, and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11.26)