Greetings and good morning, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the nature of a spiritual battle.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
A Spiritual Battle
"Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians, Chapter 6, Verse 12.
Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we gain additional insight into the battle of good over evil. Although Jesus has been given all power in heaven and earth, has defeated his arch rival, who has no power to harm his children, an evil influence of rebellion still lingers in our world as millions and millions of souls unwittingly function under his nefarious policies. We are constantly confronted with the spectacle of evil both within ourselves and without.
" . . . There is no adventure in the course of mortal existence more enthralling than to enjoy the exhilaration of becoming the material life partner with spiritual energy and divine truth in one of their triumphant struggles with error and evil. It is a marvelous and transforming experience to become the living channel of spiritual light to the mortal who sits in spiritual darkness.”” We shall see how we perform in a battle with evil. We shall get a rare glimpse into the spiritual helpers who work with us as we participate in these battles. As in all battles, the soldiers are trained first before they are put in the thick of the battle. To gather insight into this training we shall use a material analogy.
Last night while watching one of the Tina Turner concerts, we were amazed at the skill of the musicians. But our attention was particularly drawn to the piano player. There was one place in the song where he showed off his skill. As he played the notes on the piano in perfect harmony with the other musicians, we were fascinated how those keys responded to his fingers so flawlessly and perfectly. I began to think about the long years of training that he underwent before his mind could train his fingers to play the keyboard. Whatever note or series of notes or chords that he desired to play were faithfully transmitted to his fingers. Without error, the sound was produced and it was beautiful to watch his fingers as they flew so effortlessly across the keyboard. And there was such joy in him as he played, and I marveled at how all of this was done without consciously thinking about it.
But I recalled that whenever you practiced a thing for so many years, whenever you perform any task, it is done without conscious thought as to how to do it. You just do it. I thought about all the performances that he had participated in over his life, and how each one had led him to a higher skill level, demanding just a little more from him. And since I am not a musician, I tried to think of an analogy that would give me a feel for his skill at playing the piano.
Finally I came up with the use of the alphabets. I remember when I was in first grade I first learned the alphabet. I remember the teacher had posted the letters around the wall. And as we systematically learned them, there was this reinforcement on the wall. When I first learned them I strung them together in a song. And I would repeat this song over and over again. Soon we began to construct words using these alphabets, simple words at first and then more complicated words. And as time continued we learned to write sentences with these alphabets and more complex sentence structures. And as I continued to practice as I moved up through the grades, the use of the alphabets became second nature. I had learned to use them without thinking, to combine them in all sorts of words that I had learned over the years. And as I wrote, I felt the joy of skillfully using the alphabets as they were combined into words.
So we arrive at the spiritual jumping off point from our material analogy. Just as it takes time to learn how to skillfully play a musical instrument or how to skillfully use the alphabets. It also takes time to learn how to do the Father’’s will, and to respond to the spiritual helpers who work with us on the outside. But as we continue to practice, we become more and more skilled. And after years and years of practice we become ready for our encounter with significant spiritual battles.
And now let us begin: the stage is set. All the players are in place, ready to confront the evil that has arisen. In this scenario, the evil is personified in a misunderstanding that has risen to the level of anger, and pride. This particular evil is especially difficult to deal with because of the close affections that we have for the evildoer.
The evildoer starts out by firing a weapon chosen to inflict the maximum amount of emotional damage--the withholding of affection. This creates the first emotional casualty, and we temporarily withdraw from the battlefield and receive the healing balm of mercy for this emotional wound. We retreat into prayer and seek to know the Father’’s will. After seeking to know the Father’’s will, we pray for the evildoer and return to the battlefield. This is only one of many emotional wounds we suffer in our battle to win the victory of good over evil.
Having emerged from seeking the Father’’s will, after being ambushed emotionally, we prepare to fire our first weapon into the fray. We take aim and fire the weapon of patience.
This weapon is devastating. It covers the evildoer completely. The evildoer tries to remove this cover of patience from his soul but he cannot do it. This weapon of patience is of such a nature that it can only be removed by the person who bestowed it. But the evildoer is not finished yet. He responds by withdrawing from our midst. But this time we are ready for the emotional onslaught. This time our armor of understanding is in place. And we understand that evil reflects immature choosing, the inability to follow the Father’’s will. And so we fire another round of patience to cover the soul of the evildoer, and our spiritual helpers move in to reinforce our spiritual courage and moral stamina. We will not be moved. We will be patient. We know that patience must be extended continually while we fire our weapon of love. We again retreat into prayer, seeking the Father’’s will.
And we seek for greater insight as to how we can bring the evildoer into the light; but the Father instructs us to play the melody of mercy and wait for the opportunity to do some good deed for the evildoer. The spiritual helpers move in to minster mercy to the evildoer. This particular weapon of goodness is designed to make real the love of the Father in the form of patience. It causes the evildoer to stop and reflect, and consider the goodness of the relationship from which he has withdrawn.
As the evildoer continues reflecting, a process that might take some time, the spiritual helpers move in on the evildoer and intensify the thoughts of goodness that Father’’s spirit has brought into consciousness. This intensification of the good thoughts causes some feelings of remorse, but stubborn pride is not willing to throw in the towel yet. By a chance meeting between us and the evildoer (which the spiritual helpers have arranged), we display our goodwill toward the evildoer, showing that we still love him very much and long for his return. In the meantime, the spiritual helpers display this scene to the evildoer’’s soul, causing a chipping away of pride. As this battle rages, we continue to seek renewal of our minds and spirits. We are in an intense battle, and we are using a lot of moral and spiritual energy.
Finally we arrive at a new strategy. We decide to make an appeal to him for help. Our spiritual helpers have informed us that the armor of pride in the evildoer has sustained some serious cracks, and an assault at the right junction will cause it to crumble. So we retreat into prayer, seeking the Father’’s will, seeking the best form of spiritual appeal to use. We want this spiritual appeal to be just right, for not only do we want the evildoer restored to our midst, we also want these misunderstandings that are bound to arise from time to time resolved through sympathy and goodwill. The stage is finally set. A situation arises whereby we require help from the evildoer.
The evildoer has wanted to rejoin our fellowship but pride has prevented him from rejoining our midst. But the sight of one of us needing help, desperately, causes the armor of pride to completely crumble, allowing the Father’’s love of mercy to shine through. And the spiritual helpers move in with the ministry of forgiveness, and we are reunited with the evildoer. We had never stopped loving the evildoer and had forgiven him long before he sought it. In fact, we are always ready to offer the mercy of forgiveness. It is one our finest and most effective weapons, especially when the weapon of patience is fired early on in the battle.
And now that we have won the victory, have reclaimed our lost brother or sister, we engage in a feast of the Father’’s goodness, and the spiritual helpers minster joy and thanksgiving to our souls, and we all have a grand spiritual time. We have won another victory of good over evil, and have restored our lost brother or sister to our midst. Hallelujah.
This concludes today's message on a spiritual battle. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.