anger, discerning the spirits, evil spirits, experience, fear, following Jesus, Liberty, life, obedience, peace, prayer, the devil, the mind of Christ, walking after the flesh, walking by the spirit, wisdom, worldly spirits
I guess many of you know how bad you feel when you said something of which you immediately realized that it was the wrong thing to do. Even if what you uttered was the truth, either the timing was not right or the statement was not spoken in love. Recently the Lord made me aware of certain Scriptures regarding this. Maybe, I will mention some of them further below. What He taught me in practical terms, instead, appeared to be a bit unusual at first.
One of the first lessons He taught me was the following. Imagine you see Susanne riding her bike along the Europe Channel on her way home. On that day it was pretty empty and I enjoyed my time alone with the Lord. Suddenly I got aware that ‘someone’ was behind me on another bike. He could have passed me by as I heard he had been faster before he started following me. Although no bikes or walkers approached us from the opposite direction, he kept riding behind me. Hmm… 🙄 That made me somehow suspicious as I also felt an immediate check in my spirit. I kept riding while praying, waiting for ‘something’ to happen.
It seemed this person had forced the pace since, out of the blue, this man appeared on my left side. He looked at me and kept my pace. As he started to talk, I began to feel bad as I perceived an evil spirit approaching me, even violently. The words this man uttered might have sounded like innocuous compliments to a casual observer. If I had been another person, maybe, I would have gladly said, “Thank you”. However, I sensed that by doing so, I would have opened up to an evil spirit pressing in on me. So I asked the Lord about how to behave as this guy kept talking, looking into my face, seemingly not willing to speed up or to leave at all. Jesus simply told me to ignore him. Therefore I neither looked in his direction, nor did I answer him a word.
Such a ‘non-behavior’ is anything but easy for the flesh as the old nature says, ‘Well, you could have said this or that and then his mouth would have been stuffed.’ Yes, the choice between walking by the flesh or by His Spirit, this can be a trying struggle sometimes. It seems to me that we always need to decide to either follow our old habits or to embark on a completely new journey which might turn out demanding to the flesh. As this man did not leave, I felt a sort of anger and fear welling up inside me. Automatically, I accelerated as I wanted to escape him. But Jesus warned me to not do it, “Slow down instead!”. I obeyed and, believe it or not, as I had almost come to a standstill, this guy left without any additional remarks. 🙄 It seems to me that this experience was a vivid example of the following Scripture I quoted before in my latest posts.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Js 4:7 ESV)
What I want to share with you now is what had been happening inside me while I did not utter any word on the outside. It was only a very short time as I felt fear and anger coming to the surface. However, as soon as I obeyed our Lord again, these negative feelings disappeared at once. In the past as I had felt so weak whenever I was confronted with evil spirits, I was used to having mental reruns of such occurrences for days and weeks, even months – if not years. The negative feelings in my soul that had their origin in the work of demons kept tormenting me again and again.
But this time a peculiar thing had taken place. As I was still wondering why I did not bother about this guy’s behavior anymore, even only shortly afterwards, I felt a deep and calming silence inside me that seemed to expand tenderly. It was as if Jesus had taken my hand, leading me to a deeper level of knowing Him. I was amazed at this wonderful silence, finding myself deeply at rest. Alas, spiritual experiences are so difficult to describe. 😦 I can only say that I somehow ‘stood’ in awe about God’s wisdom which is often times the opposite of what we have been taught to believe to be correct.
My takeaway on this specific lesson is that I will try to avoid reacting after the flesh in the days ahead. I know I need His help to do so and I know I will certainly make mistakes. However, I saw that reacting after the flesh keeps us at our habitual soul level which can never ever touch the spirit’s realm as the kingdom of God is located much deeper inside us. After this event I had some other experiences where Jesus told me to not immediately answer others, but rather to listen to them and, while doing so, Jesus shared His wisdom with me. If I had automatically answered as I used to, I am afraid I would not even heard Him talk to me. 🙄
Out of such a God-given silence His wisdom is flowing forth. As the natural soulish realm has been quieted, His peace and life follow immediately. Knowing this, as I assume, James wrote,
19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.
24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (Js 1:19-27 ESV)
Looking at verse 19, I realized that anger only wells up in me if I have not heeded this important advice to quickly listen first. Instead, if I talk before listening, I know I get angry quickly. Once being really angry, I know how difficult it is to get rid of my thoughts and bad feelings again. It might be even impossible to rid ourselves of anger as we cannot fight the flesh with fleshly weapons. The last verse 27 ends with another advice, telling us to keep ourselves ‘unstained from the world’. After my strange bike adventure, it seems to me I know now what that means. When we open up to worldly spirits, we submit to them, whether we want it or not. Thus we become a pawn in the hands of the evil spiritual powers. But if we LISTEN TO GOD FIRST, He tells us what to do. Perhaps, this behavior makes us look like idiots in the eyes of the world at times. Yet our Lord is pleased and lets us feel His pleasure immediately. Obedience to Christ is really liberty! 🙂 It is the liberty from false yokes of bondage and freedom from the dictatorship of our fallen nature.
All images © Susanne Schuberth 2021