When I was a young teenager, I was really into reading these books for teens on spiritual warfare. The books followed the lives of a brother and sister who had spiritual encounters with the occult, the demonic, witchcraft, etc. They were written in a way that showed God always overcomes evil and the importance of the Armor of God, however, they scared me to death. So much of the book was written to help the readers see that the occult is nothing to delve into while the brother and sister and the power of God didn't overcome evil until the climax of the book - as every good suspense book is written. But as a young teenager, this made me VERY afraid of the devil.
I had read the scriptures and grown up in Bible-teaching churches and a Christian family. I knew the devil was out to kill, steal, and destroy. He is the accuser of God's people. He isn't someone to poke a stick at. After reading those books, I had nightmares. Terrible ones. I could tell you story after story of nights when I woke up paralyzed by fear, hardly having a voice to pray and ask for help. This waned for a time, but shortly after I moved to an area that was inundated with witchcraft the dreams came back. The overwhelming fear came back. The spiritual oppression came back full force. I would wake up and feel like my voice disappeared. I would wake up and feel a presence in my room. If my voice came back, I would just start worshipping and saying out loud, "Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord." I felt like the darkness was haunting and taunting me.
Listen. We are NOT meant to live this way. We are NOT meant to be afraid of the dark, afraid of the demonic, afraid of the enemy. We are NOT meant to hide and cower until he goes away and leaves us alone. We are NOT meant to look for the devil hiding behind every bush in every circumstance. Let's not give him that much credit. He doesn't have any power over us unless we hand it over to him.
I began to understand this about 8 years ago, but God has been showing me some new things about where I stand with the devil.
I have heard it said so many times by believers, "greater levels, greater devils." Maybe that's true, I can't say for sure. I don't see much of a biblical precedent for that, but circumstantially speaking, the statement seems to carry some weight. "Greater levels, greater devils" is a statement that implies that the closer we get to God, the more the enemy is going to attack us. The attacks will get greater and greater, harder and harder as we draw near to God and his plan.
I don't know that I fully subscribe to that statement. I think sometimes that may be true, but I don't know if that is a steadfast rule for every believer.
There is a verse in the New Testament (1 John 3:8) that says Jesus came to "destroy the works of the devil." So if I think about it beyond Jesus' 33 years on earth, I have to understand something very important. The devil is still prowling the earth looking for who he can devour, he is still the prince and power of the air, he hasn't been thrown into the lake of fire yet. Jesus ascended into heaven and gave us his Spirit who gives us access to ALL of God's power. ALL of it. Not just some of it, but ALL of it. Did we get that? The power that raised dead men to life, healed the sick, and made blind people see is LIVING INSIDE OF US. And we have FULL ACCESS to that. On top of that, we are made to walk in the footsteps of Christ, fulfilling the mission he has put before us. Our lives and paths may look different, but we are purposed and equipped to DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL, just like Jesus. We aren't on the defense y'all! We are offensive players. We are STALKING the darkness.
I think each time we submit more fully to God and begin to fulfill our purpose, we come up against a spiritual wall. We enter into enemy territory and we are purposed to DESTROY the enemy in that territory. That territory belongs to God and we are the ones to TAKE IT BACK for God. We walk in a constant state of victory because our brother, Jesus, extended all of his power to us. We have full access to the resources of heaven and perfect victory, but it's up to us to go to God and receive it.
We are not made to be afraid of the enemy. We are made new in Christ so that he is AFRAID OF US. We are made to stalk the darkness, take back territory, and reign as sons and daughters of the most powerful, most loving, most righteous, most holy, most gracious, MOST HIGH GOD. El Elyon.
We have nothing to fear for our God is with us. Emmanuel. He provides the resources to secure the victory. Jehovah-Jireh. We have ranking over the enemy because we belong to the Almighty God. El Shaddai.
So let's stop cowering in fear. Let's stop doing what keeps us safe and start doing what we were purposed to do:
STALK the darkness. DESTROY the works of the devil. TAKE BACK territory.