Spiritual Warfare, Part One
This week on the Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender is joined by his friend and colleague Rachael Clinton, Assistant Director of Program Development & Admissions, to launch a new series about the realities of spiritual warfare. This is a huge, complex topic, one that many Christians shy away from. But, Rachael and Dan argue, spiritual warfare is a reality that must be addressed.
Dan: “I think there are a million things that evil is out to steal, but most centrally, out to steal innocence, holiness, purity, a sense of, ‘This is a good world, I’m with good people, and the processes we’re engaged in have a goodness to them.’”
Rachael: “Where are those places in our heart where faith has been so distorted, so assaulted? Can you look at your life and see how that vulnerability comes under attack again and again and again to reinforce the sense that, ‘You can only trust God to this extent.’ And oftentimes they are the places most core to not only our desire and gifting, but also where we are most meant to play on behalf of bringing hope and healing to others.”
Dan and Rachael spend this episode naming a few core assumptions they hold stepping into this conversation.
Dan: “I do believe that there is something called the kingdom of darkness, that there are forces, entities—an entity with intentionality that designs and desires to do you, individually, and the corporate world of your relationships, your church, your calling—it wants to do you harm. So it exists, it is intentional, and frankly, it is profoundly well organized. […] We are its primary target. It’s committed to destroying that which reveals most the kingdom of God—and that’s you and me, made in the image of God.”
“There is an unseen world, it is a busy unseen world, and it has great cruelty.”
Rachael: “The more people reflect and reveal the glory of God in their lives, in their hearts, in the generosity of bringing their gifts on behalf of this unfolding kingdom of God that’s constantly breaking forth—in some ways, the more evil wants to shut that down.”
Dan: “Evil hates hope. Evil hates the ability of me or us to dream redemption for ourselves and for others.”
“Love is one of the most creative and anti-evil forces in the world.”
Rachael and Dan also name what the Scriptures name as the intention of evil: to steal, kill, and destroy. Evil fights to rob our capacity for the goodness of God, destroying our capacity to give and receive love. In the end, the work of evil leaves us fragmented and divided, while the goodness of God, the movement toward shalom, leads to wholeness and integration. The final assumption that comes up in this episode is also crucial in this conversation: We are not alone.
Dan: “What we can underline is that he who is in you is stronger than he who is in the world. We wouldn’t even be talking about this if we didn’t have the deep conviction that something of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, something of the story of Jesus, is our primary weapon against the story evil wants to distort that story with.”
Rachael: “How often do we hear in Scriptures that that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit that dwells in us. […] Evil has to contend with Jesus. We get to be participants who throw ourselves in the way of grace and step into some of these places where heartbreak and bondage and division are wreaking havoc in our lives and say, ‘You don’t have authority to be here anymore.’”