Am I remembering that every spiritual experience I have down here is a means to an end—my ultimately going to heaven?
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." 18 He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
INSIGHT: In regards to what I’m about to write, the old lukewarm me would say to the new me, “Are you insane Michael?” But the answer is no, and yes I have had an encounter with an angel, and several encounters with demons since I became a true Spirit filled follower of Christ. As Warren Wiersbe wrote, “the the devil doesn’t go after dead horses”, and the old me was a dead horse.
One time, I woke up from a dream where I had just realized that the person in my dream was possessed by a demon, and that was why they were after me so much. The second I realized this in the dream, I woke up sleeping on my stomach, while being held down in my bed, paralyzed, unable to move or speak while the covers were slowly peeled off of my head. Yes, I was terrified when it first happened, but I was finally able to get my voice and chase them off in Jesus’ name. Trust me, they are real, and as you grow in your faith, God may allow these encounters for a reason. Rather than overpowering our free-will, God uses them to chastise us, discipline us, strengthen us, and to motivate us to live godly lives, and to seek shelter from Him. The worst things demons do to us is lie to us, but they can do nothing to us that we do not open the door to, or that God does not allow. God used demons in Saul’s life to torment him, and to shape David into the King he would one day become (1 Sam 16). He used a demon in Paul’s life to keep him humble (2 Cor 12:7). A pure heart, and an obedient walk with Christ, provides authority to overcome evil spirits!
Let me tell you the other side. I have a child who was feeling threatened and scared by someone. It caused them great fear and I wanted so bad to be able to help them, but I was 600 miles away. I explained that Jesus said his children have angels watching over them (Mat 18:10), that God sees it all, and that the only person that should be scared is the offender, not them. A few people around me insisted that I get involved and rescue my child from this situation, before something bad happened and they were left feeling like I did nothing to help them. I prayed and fasted about the situation and asked the Lord what He wanted me to do. Incredibly, He directed me to Psalm 94:9 and the Spirit spoke to my heart, “I see all of this and you don’t have to worry about them…trust me.” A few days later, my child shouted on the phone, “Dad, I saw my angel!” One morning, while getting ready for school, God was gracious enough to open their eyes (Num 22:31) such that they were able to describe the 9’ foot tall angel in the corner of their room. I explained that he is always there, but he just can’t always be seen. All my child could then say was, “Dad, do you know how embarrassing this is to know he is watching me when I get dressed, and when I’m going to the bathroom and everything!” I started cracking up and praised God. God had made me a promise that he would watch over my children, and here He proved to me that He sees everything that was being said and done to them, and I had nothing to worry about. My child never again expressed fear after that angelic encounter, and the answer to our prayer!
As scary or exhilarating as spiritual encounters can be, Jesus still wants us to remember that everything in this life is simply a means to His glory and our salvation. Set your heart fully on the grace to come. Some people get way too caught up in the spiritual here and now.