Are You Prepared for Spiritual Battle?

I was thrilled to see my very first post up on this fantastic website last month. I happily wrote about dealing with sensitive topics. I felt experienced and insightful as I penned that post, delighted with the opportunity to share what I’d learned.

And the next day, a maelstrom erupted on my blog.

One commenter interpreted something I wrote in a way I never intended. I immediately tried to correct the record with a follow-up comment and a clarification in the blog post itself. But the commenter struck back with a personal attack not only against me – but against my husband. Now that is not alright with me.

I politely but firmly defended myself and my husband. Expecting it to end there. It didn’t. She left another scathing comment, which I did not approve. Then she followed up with a comment on my Facebook page that was even worse, which I removed. And another blog comment that was appallingly vitriolic.

While I’d love to say that I calmly handled this situation with Christian love, joy, and peace, I was actually a bit rattled. I externally dealt with these exchanges okay enough, but my chest felt tighter than two-sizes-too-small skinny jeans and I found myself questioning everything I wrote in that post and a few others. Had I done something egregiously wrong?

Then a friend wrote these words to me: “I think this is a bit of a spiritual battle. Satan is trying to shake your cool or make you question what you do.” The timing and extent of what happened made me think she could well be right.

sword

Whether it’s a nonfiction book or blog post or an inspirational story, your writing can have an impact on others. We have a positive effect on our readers far more than a negative one. However, that one naysayer can poke and prod so long and hard you wonder if Satan is applauding with each jab.

He probably is.

I’ve often been told that putting yourself out there in ministry and in writing means opening yourself up not only to constructive criticism but to verbal assaults. Tough skin, I have. But impenetrable? Nope. And if I give an opening – become vulnerable with my readers in some way – someone could hit a tender spot. I could find myself in a spiritual battle.

Am I prepared?  I wish I felt at all times that I was. But I keep turning to God, seeking wisdom from my godly friends, finding comfort in encouraging comments from readers I have helped, and plugging along with my writing. After the Sword of the Spirit, the pen is still my favorite sword of truth.

Success and Spiritual Warfare

"Christ in Gethsemane" by Michael O'Brien

Today, Good Friday, we remember the great cost paid for our lives.

And [Jesus] said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
~ Mark 14:36 (NKJV)

When our Savior pleads with His Father in Gethsemane, exactly what does “the cup” contain? Jesus has already given His word that He will accept the contempt and degradation, scourging and crucifixion, and the death required by bearing sin, horrific as these all are. The cup evidently contains something far worse, so terrible that Jesus Himself wishes to avoid it.

I believe “the cup” contains sin’s monstrous, consummate penalty—isolation from God as He turns away from the one bearing sin (Matthew 27:46).

We who are Christ’s will never taste of that cup. The veil is torn asunder, and we have sweet fellowship with God, to our everlasting gratitude and praise.

I shall not die, but live,
And declare the works of the LORD.
~ Psalms 118:17 (NKJV)

Christian authors declare faith in penning everything from theological resources to respectable entertainment, inspirational devotion to suspenseful adventure, history to romance. Our works usually combine such elements, for we use all possible means to connect with readers and build up their faith.

Would we expect success to go unnoticed by our enemy?

Whatever else is shared and learned about writing, publishing, marketing, etc., the substantial spiritual warfare that many authors experience should also be noted. The wider our sphere of influence becomes, the more important it is to prepare ourselves for spiritual attack.

The devil will use anything he can to diminish our spiritual vitality and fruit. Among his weapons are:
• deceit or distortion of truth
• distractions
• conflicts or division / separation among believers
• strong temptation to fall into immorality
• inflated feelings of success and pride
• discouragement or overwhelming feeling of failure
• depression, confusion, or other mental impairment
• contempt from impersonal critics
• betrayal by personal friends
• attacks on reputation or unfounded accusations
• unusual stress in health, finances, and relationships
• terrifying demonic presence, perhaps via nightmares

I unhappily confess that although I’d waged and won smaller spiritual battles, my strength faltered when the fight became fierce. I had lost top fitness, gradually spending more time serving the Lord and less time in simple fellowship with Him. I was then blind sided by the intensity of an all out spiritual attack, which occurred on the heels of publishing successes.

Just as we acquaint and train ourselves with the publishing resources made available to us in order to succeed, we do well to acquaint and train ourselves with the spiritual armor made available to us through the price paid at Calvary.

I write to you, young people, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have victory over the evil one.
~ 1 John 2:14

Today we remember the great cost paid for our lives—and we may think of our lives as the goal for which Christ died.

Our lives, rather, are the means for a greater end—fellowship with God. And fellowship with God is what drives our spiritual fervor, empowers our spiritual gifts, and wins our spiritual battles.

Q4U: Have you experienced spiritual attack, concurrent to your successes? How have you overcome?

© 2012, Anne Lang Bundy