Body of Christ, darkness, demons, discerning the spirits, encouragement, experience, feelings, Fellowship with God, following Jesus, freedom, pain, peace, Principalities and Powers, Satan, spiritual power, Spiritual Warfare, T.A. Sparks, the heavenlies, The Holy Spirit, thought life, throne union, Victory, visions, walking by the spirit, World Rulers
In order to illustrate the contrasting pair I chose in this title, I will give you an example. Just think about someone who has been hurt deeply by another person. The pain they feel can neither be forgotten nor does it seem that it will ever be healed. Since we as human beings do not want to feel pain at all, we might choose different ways to protect ourselves in the future. Some people suppress all their negative feelings, others tend to talk about it often, and others again seek revenge up to a certain extent. There might be even more ways to deal with such suffering on a permanent level, yet none of these methods will ever set us free. Quite the contrary.
As long as we try to break free on a horizontal and natural level, not seeing that our human enemy was driven by demonic forces in the dark realm that is situated in the heavenlies above this earth, we will not effect anything. We won’t be victorious by using our mind and intellect, neither will our strong emotions be able overcome the devil who is a spirit. All such human effort reveals the weakness of our soul which is not submitted to God’s powerful Holy Spirit yet.
Today as I was on a prayer walk this birdfeeder made out of a coconut caught my eye. Behind a fence, how appropriate! As you can see in the picture below there is also dense undergrowth where animals can hide. Letting this image speak, I would say that Satan only offers us his feed in order to capture us, that is, our thinking, our hearts, and our will. Whether we know it or not, when we have surrendered to his suggestions, our mind and feelings are imprisoned (just like behind this fence). Then it seems we are compelled to re-think the same issues and to feel over and over again the same (old) negative feelings. Can you relate, dear reader? 🙄
It was only later as I had a short vision where I, standing with God and Jesus in the air above, saw a deep valley underneath which was not covered by gray clouds yet. But a huge dark cloudbank was hovering over the mountain ridge. As I was wondering about the threatening impression I gained, Jesus suddenly closed the view on the valley by locking it up through a big metal covering of sorts. Afterwards the valley was completely gone and I could even tread on this ‘floor’ in the air. Some time later Jesus asked me to re-open this covering on my own. Of course, I could not. Therefore, He took my hand in His and made me touch the metal ground. At that moment the covering was ripped open and the valley re-appeared. But now Jesus shed some light downward and the valley turned into something more pretty.
As I was still wondering what that vision might mean, someone told me they had been deeply offended by a loved one. It was obvious to me that the offending party had been driven by a demonic force since the accusation and assumption were really gross. I suggested to ‘freeze’ this contact for the time being and they did accordingly. Instead of feeling anger or hurt any longer, God’s peace filled our hearts soon. Asking the Lord later whether my intervention had really been part of His plan, He reminded me of the vision and of an older blog post of mine. Cutting off contact came from Him as He closed the dark valley where the demons walked abroad. At a later, definite time, the relationship with this loved one will be restored (i.e., by re-opening the covering of the valley which will be more enlightened then). If you are interested, the old blog I just mentioned was “Do Not Allow Demons To Speak”.
As almost always, I want to share another excerpt from T. Austin Sparks with you now. The reason is that God often confirms something I have just been going through or answers a request of mine through this man’s writings. And so it was today. TAS in his book “The Inner Man of the Heart”, chapter 4, wrote,
“It is always a dangerous and paralysing thing to allow soulish human feelings to come in and take precedence over the spirit in relationships where spiritual help is needed. Compassion, love, sympathy, concern, interest, desire to help, etc, must be absolutely under the control and direction of the spirit. Failure to observe this law has resulted in some of the most ghastly moral and spiritual tragedies in the lives of Christian workers. If we allow either natural attraction or human desire on the one hand, or natural repulsion and human distaste on the other, to have any ruling place, the consequences may be disastrous, and the result will certainly be spiritual failure. Very often even in the case of a loved relative the human interest has to be made quite secondary – sometimes ruled out altogether – before a spiritual issue can be effected. [emphasis added] OUR will and wish has to be surrendered to God’s.”
“Having seen that the basis of all fellowship and co-operation with God is spiritual, in and through the born-again spirit, we must realise that this at once defines the real nature of our service. The background of all Cosmic conditions is spiritual. Behind the things seen are the things unseen. The things which do appeal [appear?] are not the ultimate things.
“The whole world lieth in the wicked one.” There is a spiritual heirarchy [sic] which, before this world was, revolted against the equality of the Son with the Father in the Throne, and in spite of the hurling out of heaven and the eternal doom which followed, has been in active revolt and antagonism to that “eternal purpose” right through the ages. A certain judicial hold upon this earth and the race in Adam was gained by Satan through the consent of that first Adam, through whom the purpose of God should have been realised on this earth.
“Thus we have Paul telling the members of the Body of Christ – The Last Adam – that their “warfare is not with mere flesh and blood, but with principalities, and powers, the world-rulers of this darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies.”
“What a lot is gathered up into that inclusive phrase “This darkness.” How much is said about it in the scriptures. The need for having eyes opened is ever basic to emancipation (see Acts 26:18). The cause of all “this darkness” is said to be “Spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies.” Literally translated the words are “the spiritualities” or “the spirituals,” meaning, spiritual beings. “Wickedness” here does not just mean merely inherent wickedness or evil, but malignancy; destructive, harmful.
“In the heavenlies” means simply inhabiting a realm beyond the earthly; not limited to earthly geographical localities; moving in the realm surrounding the earth and human habitation.
“World rulers” means that these malignant spiritual hosts are directing and governing the world wherever the government of Christ has not been superimposed through His Body – the spiritual Church. [emphasis added]
“Principalities and Powers” (authorities) represent order, rank, method, system. Satan is not omnipresent, hence he must work through an organised dividing of the world under these principalities and authorities, and he himself “goes to and fro in the earth,” and has seats here and there. (Job 2:2, Rev. 2:12, &c).
“The Apostle declares that the explanation of situations is to be looked for in the unseen, behind the actual appearance.” (1)
What jumped out on me in TAS’ writing above was, in particular, that the evil forces rule the world as long as we, you and me, dear brother and sister, do not serve as Christ’s spiritual Body yet. We should be the vessels through which He empties the heavenlies from spiritual wickedness in high places and removes all these demonic forces. That is the purpose of our calling into a spiritual ministry. Have you ever thought about that? Honestly, I had not until I read about it some time ago by TAS. It is not simply about being saved and then leaning back. We are called to be sons and fellow-heirs with Christ right now. We are called upward and we have been seated with Him in the heavenlies. NOW! 🙂
“In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks’ wishes that what was freely received should be freely given and not sold for profit, and that his messages be reproduced word for word, we ask if you choose to share these messages with others, to please respect his wishes and offer them freely – free of any changes, free of any charge (except necessary distribution costs) and with this statment included.”
All pictures by Susanne Schuberth 2022
Susanne, you wrote the following that reminded me of my own main and reaction among my fellow Christians. I swore that I would never let those in the institutional church get close to me again. Yet, as time went on the Lord made it clear that the clay does not say to the Potter, “Why have you made me thus and so?” And, “Why must I go through such intense firing even more than just once?” Think of all the misunderstandings and betrayal that Jesus went through among His own disciples much less at the hands of His own Jewish people.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:16, ESV2011)
You wrote, “Then it seems we are compelled to re-think the same issues and to feel over and over again the same (old) negative feelings. Can you relate, dear reader?” Yes, I know it well. Learning this lesson gave me deeper meaning to His words, “Those things you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” We bind ourselves to the workings of Satan when we refuse to forgive those who have hurt us. But “As we forgive, so shall we be forgiven.” Like your picture of the bird feeder behind iron bars, unforgiveness is Satan’s enticing feed.
You wrote, “What jumped out on me in TAS’ writing above was, in particular, that the evil forces rule the world as long as we, you and me, dear brother and sister, do not serve as Christ’s spiritual Body, yet. We should be the vessels through which He empties the heavenlies [spiritual wickedness in high places] and removes all these demonic forces. That is the purpose of our calling into a spiritual ministry. Have you ever thought about that? Honestly, I had not until I read about it some time ago by TAS. It is not simply about being saved and then leaning back. We are called to be sons and fellow-heirs with Christ right now. We are called upward and we have been seated with Him in the heavenlies. NOW!”
Yes, and how Satan seeks to strip us of that power by our love for the world instead of our love for God’s kingdom. The word “world” in the New Testament most often is the Greek word “kosmos.” It not only means the earth, but the spiritual system that rules over men and their kingdoms. This why David wrote in the psalms,
“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.” (Ps 118:8-9, ESV2011)
It is no coincidence that “princes” rule over “principalities.” In the USA we have the left and the right in politics and many Christians have aligned themselves in one or the other. Yet in scriptures they believe in we read,
“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.” (Isa 30:21, KJ2000)
Keep listening to the voice behind you and sharing what He is saying to us all, dear sister.
Love in Christ,
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Susanne Schuberth (Germany) said:
Once again, thank you so much for your edifying contribution, Michael. 😊🙏🏼💞 This comment by you is full of wisdom! ⭐⭐⭐
Also, I just inserted your suggested correction [in parentheses] into my own blog. Thanks a bunch, that was very helpful! 😇👍🏼
Regarding this bird feeder and this evil feed Satan offers us continually, I simply thought about closing the door to any spoken or written negative words and thoughts. But you are absolutely right, when we cannot forget, the root cause must be unforgiveness.
I cannot deny that there are traumatic experiences as I had my own share, too. And I do know that I had never been able to face the pain, to feel it again, to mourn over my inward brokenness, and to eventually forgive those offenders without Jesus who through the power of the Holy Spirit set me free.
Your deliberations on loving the cosmos and on princes ruling over principalities make a lot of sense to me. Very good, my brother! 👍🏼
How much I have missed your comments, Michael, I can hardly express in words. 😔 What you share is always complementary to what I have written as you might already know.
Of course, the Body of Christ consists of many members and I do covet the contribution of all those others who read my articles! I always hope someone feels nudged to share what God has put on their hearts. And how joyful and grateful I am when this really happens! Only God knows how much. 😇😇😇
Love in Christ,
Your sister Sanne ❤️
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