I meet many Christians who claim “persecution” any time someone disagrees with them. The words “enemy” and “worldly” are tossed around with glee.
There’s a troubling obsession with The Language of the Infidel: it’s intoxicating to think “God is on my side” and that anyone who disagrees is working for satan. Everyone is a “false teacher” including the church across the street, the pastors in a different denomination, and politicians across the aisle.
This sort of self-affirming theology can never admit it’s wrong and is always blaming the devil, demons, and warfare instead of examining itself. It fantasizes a phantom caricature of “haters” so that there never has to be accountability.
This sort of thinking can be expanded to Main Character Syndrome, in which I believe I am the hero of my own story and everyone else must be conquered or conform. This mentality almost destroyed my marriage. In my book, I talk about how my marriage was saved when I broke out of the idea that I was the hero.
Grab my book here: The Voices We Carry: Finding Your One True Voice in a World of Clamor and Noise
God totally has grace for you when you mess it up. He loves you no matter what. He wants you to cast off guilt and shame, because it doesn’t work and it’s not who you are and it’s what Jesus came to die for.
On the other hand: God does want you to recover. He wants you not only to experience the cover of grace, but also His grace-empowered Spirit for a fruitful, passionate, purposeful, mission-driven life.
I believe God will restore you every time you fail for the rest of your life, so when you relapse and go down a porn-binge, God is still going to love you afterward, every time. But my question is: Do you really want to keep living this way?
I’m not asking this to guilt-trip you. I’m only saying that once the old self is dead, it’s not worth it to go back there anymore. I don’t think Lazarus missed his tomb and climbed into his coffin sometimes. I don’t think the healed blind man Bartimaeus wore a blindfold to reminisce on his days tripping over things.
You’ll be forgiven by God every single time, but God wants you to experience the fully forgiven life too.
So if you break a “clean streak,” please don’t wallow in self-pity. When you mess it up, it’s okay. But what’s even better is getting to the place where going back is no longer an option, and you’re so in love with God that turning around is unthinkable. I believe we can get there. I believe our God is that powerful. I believe we are not merely works in progress, but we are empowered by It Is Finished.
J.S. from What The Church Won’t Talk About
Anonymous asked (edited for length):
What’s your attitude towards sleep paralysis and the supernatural/spiritual warfare involved with that? … Most nights I’m fine with the knowledge that the Holy Spirit is protecting me … but some nights (like tonight) it’s really hard to make myself sleep. … Do you think there’s a reason that it happens, aside from the fact that Satan pretty much likes attacking the children of God? Just thoughts.
It’s a bit crazy you’re asking me this since I’ve suffered from “sleep paralysis” for about twenty years. It’s the basis for the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies and in the olden days was called the incubus or succubus, which are male and female demons. It’s also called night hag or night terrors, and in Korea it’s called gawi, which was also a Korean horror movie.
It’s apparently hereditary since family members are more likely to suffer together. I had a cousin I never met until I was 18, and her whole family has it. I only found out a few years ago that my brother has had it since he was little.
Recent studies have shown that your body in sleep-mode locks up so you don’t act out your dreams, so that sleep paralysis is your lock-up mechanism occurring early while you’re falling asleep. To get out of it, most people have to fight to move, breathe, or scream to reverse the lock-down.
I understand the psychological reasoning here, but it doesn’t explain the hallucinations, voices, and general feelings of terror. All which I’m sure some scientist will discover is “neurons firing randomly” or “oxygen intoxication” or something else.
But as always, I agree there’s a spiritual element here.
Continue reading “Question: Sleep Paralysis — Satan or Psychological?”