Yesterday, my daughter and I visited a local church service down the road from my house a bit. The morning mountain air and brilliant sunshine made for a pleasant walk. My daughter and I had planned the outing as something to do together while my wife is out of town for a few days. The speaker's topic was on...ready for this?...things that hold us back from being connected to God and others, with an emphasis on overcoming being wounded. I was sitting there listening attentively, waiting for the tap on my heart from the Lord. I knew there was a purpose for me to hear this message in the midst of my sharing some of my ponderings in the Wood here for the past week. Outside, we could hear a thunder storm approaching. It was about three-fourths of the way through the message when the speaker neared his summation and utters his climatic theme line to which he built, "Open your heart!" Lightening strikes somewhere and momentarily throws the meeting hall into darkness. The light flickers back on after a few seconds, and the congregation laughs at God's punctuation mark. It got my attention in the circumstance, as well, and I began to compose this post.
In the message, I heard him use references to our sin nature (I've been using a metaphor of hole) and our woundedness interchangeably. I promise I am not orchestrating any of this. Further, he had spent much time building a case for how "spirits" from the devil's minions work to use sin nature/hurt to hold believers back from the connectedness in which he exhorted us to experience. Early in the message he had described a spiritual dynamic wherein a believer attempts to move toward God or other believers and the "spirit" assigned to that believer "yanks the chain" he holds over the believer, the sin nature/wound, to keep the soul obstructed from God's fullness. He justified this by reading Daniel's OT account of praying for twenty-one days for the angel who arrives and describes a fight with a demon as the reason for the delay. The remedy for overcoming such "spirit" obstacles is by faith to open one's heart to the power of God, as God's power is greater.
I have been spending a lot of time describing characteristics of life in the spirit. I have never attempted to attach what I am articulating to actual spirit beings of the supernatural, except to state the obvious, the Holy Spirit is the source of our life in the spirit. I have done this purposely. I do not discount the existence or the work of demons in the earth. However, I believe much description given of demons' works is often conjecture with poor support from scripture. (A spirit assigned to a believer to tempt him or her at the precise moment movement toward God is detected? Maybe that's true, but nothing I can establish clearly in the Word and therefore faithfully believe.) It is an easy paint job to describe things going wrong in our personal life as a demon "yanking our chain." I believe much attributed to demons is not the work of demons, but rather issues under the control of the believer; if, and here I am complete agreement with the brother who spoke yesterday, we open our heart in faith.
Again, I think it is useful to separate our sin nature and its impulses in our lives from our hurts and the way that affects our behavior. Scripture offers us much clear instruction on responding to these situations.
We reckon ourselves dead to sin, as our new creature lives past the old way.
We die to ourselves and our hurt.
Chains on the believer in regards to our sin nature are an illusion created by our idolatry. Recognize and repent of loving something more than God the Father and these chains dissolve completely. Chains from hurts that keep one blinded by pain are self imposed as we hold ourselves in constant self-protection mode. Accept in humility the comfort of God and follow His instructions to forgive and forbear.
This list of written remedies in the Word is long and substantive. God provides us emotionally strong and life-filled ways to be, all based on a "spirit" of love to use in response to others and from which to view our earthly lives. All are available to us by placing our faith, our trust, our dependence on the Holy Spirit in residence within us. The written Word lives within us, a living Holy Being, who is the Great I Am. We are granted by the Cross the right to say, "I am in Him."
How does one learn this faith? God provides individualized instruction no speaker can ever begin to touch. The mechanism is our conscience. Listen and obey those inner leanings that are a function of conscience and completely in line with the Word. Life will spring up in the heart.