Spiritual warfare is a very real thing; however, it seldom looks like how people imagine it. First of all, it’s spiritual warfare, which means that it’s really happening in the spiritual, or unseen, realm. Sometimes, though, we will catch glimpses of it manifested here in the physical, or seen, realm. Very rarely, that glimpse will include something big or exciting or movie-worthy. More often, that glimpse includes very small, ordinary acts that we perform in faith.
Our family, along with a few others, travel around the country working with groups of saints to help establish organic expressions of Jesus Christ. In other words, we are Christian workers who plant organic churches. Our vision is God’s eternal purpose through His Son, Jesus Christ. Well, you can imagine the push back we get from the unseen realm. Well, truth is, we often get push back from the seen realm, too. Well, truther is, we know the push back comes from the unseen realm through the seen realm (Ephesians 6:12). Anyway, there are spiritual forces against what we do.
Another family, the Walters, is currently with us in Austin, TX, to work with the Lord. Recently, we had a couple of glimpses into this spiritual, unseen battle. They both occurred early in the morning, between 4:30 and 5:00, and they both got us up and out of bed and walking around our campers.
On a recent Saturday, my parents were in town to help celebrate kiddo #1’s 18th birthday. We left the camper that morning with the Walters on one side of us and an empty spot on the other. We returned later that afternoon to the Walters on one side of us and new neighbors on the other. The new rig was indeed new, as it still had the paper tag on it from the dealership. The neighbors themselves weren’t around yet, so we decided they must have just had the rig delivered to the spot. Nice rig, no neighbors, no big deal.
That night, I had a dream. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a dream for all mankind, nor did I really want to follow this dream. I knew that something was taunting me in this dream. It had been years since I had experienced anything like this, and it took me a few moments to discern what was truly going on. Once I realized that this was actually something spiritual, I determined to call on the name of Jesus – Just say His name out loud – Jesus. But that’s not what came out.
Hmm…That’s not the name of Jesus.
Nope, still not it.
My lips were shut. My jaw was locked. I couldn’t speak. The only noises emanating from my mouth were hushed whispers. Something was keeping me from speaking Jesus’ name. This made me mad.
I labored out of sleep and rolled over to my back.
Now, my tongue was loosed, and His name flowed freely.
I started getting a little louder, but I didn’t want to wake up my sleeping bride. “Jesus.” What was this all about? Where did this come from? I started praying and binding stuff. I told the thing to leave me alone, to leave my wife alone, and to leave my kiddos alone. I even thought of the Walters next to us, and I told the thing to leave my neighbors alone. As soon as I had said those words, the picture of the new neighbors’ rig instantly sprang into my mind. This is coming from the new neighbors.
Whoa, hold on. It’s a new rig; surely they’re nice people.
There’s something attached to them. Get up and walk around the camper.
Um, it’s the middle of the night. Can’t I just lay here and pray?
Get up and walk around the camper.
That’s just silly, Lord. Can I take Bridget with me?
No. This is for you. Get up and walk around the camper.
Long sigh. Do I need a flashlight? Can I take my phone with me?
I Am your light.
It’s dark outside.
I’ve already lightened the night. You can see without your phone. You don’t need Bridget. Get up and walk around the camper.
So, I did just that. I got up, put on my shirt, found my flip-flops, and headed out of the camper. The clock on the microwave read 4:44.
Walk around three times.
Okay, cool. I started to walk around the front of our camper and was about to cut between ours and the Walters’. Then I changed course and walked around both campers – the Walters’ and ours. I just started praising the Lord. I declared Him. I proclaimed Him and His victory, His authority. I came to the end of my third time around.
Walk around three more times.
Okay, cool. I started walking three more times around both sites – cars, rigs, and all. This time around I bound up and cast out stuff. I sent whatever it was back to the judgement Jesus has for it. I started praying against fear, doubt, unworthiness, self-loathing, busyness, and control (manipulation). On my fourth or fifth time around the Walters’ rig, a black cat shot out from underneath it. About peed my pants. But I kept on walking and praying, and I came to the end of my sixth time around.
Walk around one more time.
Okay, cool. This time around I spoke a combination of praises, declarations, proclamations, and fervent prayers. I came to the end of my seventh time around.
Now go back to bed.
Ah, come on, Lord! I’m awake now. I have all this adrenaline flowing. I’m not tired.
Go back to bed.
I still wasn’t convinced, so I sat down in a chair on our little porch. Lord, if you want me to go back to bed, please tell me here. I pointed to my heart. As soon as I said the last word, my eyes grew heavy, and I started nodding off. Okay, okay, please let me make it back to my bed.
I crawled back into bed, unaware of the time, and slowly faded back into sleep. No more taunting dreams. It wasn’t necessarily a restful sleep (I had just been through quite an ordeal!), but it was a more peaceful sleep than before.
The next morning, I awoke and shared the night’s events with Bridget. We thanked the Lord for His victory and authority and shared the news with the Walters. Again, we praised our Lord together. We thanked Him for the work He is doing in this area and for His building of His Church.
And we slept undisturbed after that.
Until Round Two…