Spiritual Warfare, Part Three

This week on the Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender is joined once again by his friend and colleague Rachael Clinton, Assistant Director of Program Development & Admissions, to continue their conversation about the realities and complexities of spiritual warfare. In this episode, Dan and Rachael talk about the crucial intersections between spiritual warfare and the story work that we facilitate at The Allender Center.

Dan: “What we’re making a claim on, with regard to the work that we do, is that we don’t step into warfare directly—not at first, and often not for a long period of time—until we’ve been privileged to be able to be in someone’s story.”

Story is a bit of a buzzword these days, and fittingly so: we are storied people. But the type of story work we talk about is different, because we are inviting people to engage the particularities of their stories of harm and, like Rachael says, “enter shadowland.” It is through this deep, meaningful engagement of our stories of harm that we prepare our hearts to grapple with spiritual warfare in a way that brings kindness, compassion, and, ultimately, the freedom that can only come from God.

Rachael: “When I think about the story work we do, I think about the profound privilege of getting to bring stories of harm we’ve experienced that have really shaped the way we see ourselves, the way we see God, the access we have to ourselves and to God, and how that impacts our relationships and our lives.”

“It is the kindness of God that leads to repentance.”

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to spiritual warfare, and Dan and Rachael talk about the potential for deeper wounding and repetition of harm that can occur when the particular movements of a story are not engaged with curiosity, compassion, and care. This work brings to light our defensive structures and the vows we have unwittingly made, and it enables us to pull up evil by the roots rather than just attacking the surface.

Dan: “In one sense, I can understand why most people don’t want to do that work. It’s too demanding, too slow, and doesn’t feel immediately productive. […] But you’re providing language for what it means to pull the weed out by the very roots, and those roots are enstoried. Those roots are embodied. Those roots require a kind of kindness—it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance.”

Rachael: “And we have a God who names us, who gives us identities, who we know someday, when all is made well, we will learn even more our most true name. If evil can keep us from knowing we actually have a place and a story and a face and a name that is dear to God, then we can stay bound to these abstractions of ourselves that we’ve claimed must be true about our identity.”

Next week, in the conclusion of this series, Dan and Rachael will talk about the actual act of spiritual warfare, reflecting together on the particular ways that they engage it after wrestling with the crucial realities of story work.

We have a God who names us, who gives us identities.