I was browsing the bookshelf at work on my break the other day when I spotted a book written by a man who had been involved in witchcraft and the worship of Satan. It caught my eye because it should not have been there. It was a book about faith not counselling. I opened it up and saw it did not have the company stamp on it so I was right. It did not belong to the company. I took it home, read it and returned it to the shelf last night.
As I read this book I was struck by how much faith the author continued to have in the power of Satan and his minions both demonic and human. His description of his time as an agent of Satan was detailed and almost nostalgic in flavour. He described in detail the rewards of giving himself over to Satan, the power he saw being used there, the pleasures available to him and how much he enjoyed it all. His description of his conversion was, by contrast, wooden and much less convincing. He did not dwell on the costs of being an evil person with the same attention he had given to the rewards. He made it seem like he only turned to God because he had been cast aside by Satan and could not make it on his own.
After converting he, and the people he cared about, became targets of various human and demonic attempts to harm them which were, of course, mostly deflected by God. The final section of the book should have been devoted to what it is like to live in the power of God and illustrating how much better such a life was. Instead, he devoted it to the various and costly demands being good required of him and ended it with what was really just a sermon of quotes from the bible. It was as if he was describing life as it should be not life as it was.
When I closed the book my main impression was of the power and massive resources available to those in the service of hell and the, by contrast, impossible standard required of those who choose to serve God. I felt a twinge of fear about what evil people could do to me if they ever decided I was a threat.
I have felt the power of Satan and lived with the oppression he can inflict.
After I was attacked I lived with the knowledge he had been able to make five strangers turn against me and join together to attack me. Not only that, he had been able to make all the usual worldly sources of help desert me. He caused the policeman I rang for help to put the phone down and go back to sleep. He caused the neighbours who heard the screech of my home alarm and my screams in the night to turn a deaf ear to my plight and go back to sleep too!
He sent five young people who had no reason to harm me to my house in the dead of night. He used them to subject me to an hour of terror such as I have never known before and kept the police, and my neighbours, from coming to help me. For three months afterwards I lived with fear and the sense I was on Satan’s turf where God could not help me. My connection to God was completely severed and I was cast into a pit of fear and doubt. I could not feel God or hear him or even believe he really existed despite the fact that my attackers had failed to get inside my house or put a finger on me physically.
At that time I was not in the habit of repenting of my sins on a daily basis. I rarely felt the need to repent but God still spoke to me anyway. Now I was cut off from him and could not hear him or feel him with me. I reached a point where I had to make a choice. Either I let go of my faith or I made a choice to believe even if it was really all just a lie.
I chose to cling to God even if he did not exist. I decided I could live without anything and everything except the belief that there is a God and he does love me. I surrendered everything to God. I told him he can let Satan attack me every day, he can strip me of all that I own, he can let everyone I love die and I would accept it all in return for his love and presence in my life. I said I would rather be insane and believe in a non-existent God than live my life without Him.
At that moment the connection was restored and God spoke to me again. He told me the power of Satan was strong over the town and it was magnifying the interference in our connection caused by all my un-repented of sins.
I am not a Catholic nor have I ever been exposed to the rituals of the Catholic church but I have heard of, and ridiculed, their ritual of confession. It seemed to me the height of blasphemy for any man, apart from Christ, to claim the power to forgive on God’s behalf. It seemed wrong for anyone to believe saying hail Mary’s, whatever they involve, can buy God’s forgiveness for sin. Now God was telling me there really is a need for me to do to what the Catholic church calls “confession”.
“Every time you smoke a cigarette you go against my will and sin.” God told me. “You sin every day in many ways and some of them are things you don’t even realise are sins. Each of your sins is automatically paid for by the blood of Christ but you must claim that blood to be fully clean of sin. It has been many years since you were washed in the blood of my son and Satan is using all that accumulated dirt to block our connection.”
He told me what I needed to pray to fix this and said I need to pray it out loud even if only in a whisper. He said I should do it at least once a day if possible but more might be needed in the current situation. Here is the prayer I now try to pray at least once a day.
“Father, forgive me for my sins. For all the sins of commission (things done or said that were wrong), sins of omission (things not done or said that should have been done or said), sins of thought, word and deed, I have committed since last I cleansed myself. Wash me clean with the blood of Christ which was shed to pay for my sins and fill me with the holy spirit that I may live the life you created me to live. Let your will, not mine, be done in me and in my life always. In Jesus name, and for his sake, I ask these things and I give thanks for the sacrifice of Christ and for your love and mercy.”
I prayed this prayer out loud and felt the wings of God settle over me once again. I had missed the sense of His presence, the vital connection to Him, so much. Two hours later, without leaving the house, without saying a word to anyone or doing anything at all but smoke a few cigarettes I felt the connection begin to weaken. I prayed the above prayer out loud and the connection was restored but, to stay fully connected, I had to say this prayer almost hourly and it became tedious.
I began to doubt the power of the prayer and feel wrong and sinful for even praying it so often. It was highlighting exactly how much of a sinner I really am and I didn’t like it.
I turned to God and asked him how many times this prayer would be able to cleanse me before I would become insincere in His eyes for not ceasing to sin.
“It is not possible for you to ever stop sinning,” God answered me, “only 100% possession and complete surrender to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can achieve that and there are very few who can remain in that state 24 hours of every day. I know what you are capable of and I do not ask more from my children than they are able to give. The prayer has the power to cleanse you, and is acceptable to me, every time it is said even if you must say it every hour on the hour or a dozen times an hour for the rest of your life. Not everyone would be able to even say this prayer let alone mean it. It is much harder to do, and more powerful because of that, than you realise.
Never doubt the blood of Christ. It is as infallible as water. If you wash in water you will be physically clean. Water will work to cleanse you each and every time you use it. It will never lose its power to remove the physical dirt you accumulate each day.
The blood of Christ is equally as effective at removing the daily accumulation of spiritual dirt for anyone who has surrendered their life to Christ and accepted his sacrifice.
This world is physically dirty. Dust clings to you as you go about your day. Human beings are physically dirty. Perspiration clings to your body and becomes foul smelling whether you admit it or not.
It is possible to go for a day or three without cleaning your body with water but the longer you go the worse you will smell. The worse you smell the more repellent you will be to the people you meet.
The same is true on the spiritual plane. This world is spiritually dirty. Sin clings to you as you go about your day. Human beings are spiritually dirty. The desires of the flesh cling to your spirit and become foul smelling whether you admit them or not.
It is possible to go for a time without cleaning your spirit with the blood of Christ but the longer you go the more foul smelling your spirit becomes. The worse your spirit smells the more repellent you will be to me and the angels whose job is to aid and protect you.
It is as simple as this – wash regularly in water to keep your body clean and wash just as regularly in the blood of Christ to keep your spirit clean. I do not condemn your body for perspiring and attracting dirt. Nor do I condemn your spirit for the way it gets dirty. I just can’t stand the smell of an unwashed spirit and Satan knows that. He can magnify any smell clinging to you with his own to create interference in my connection with you so keep your spirit clean.
You do not get upset about having to repeatedly wash your body to keep it clean so why do you think washing your spirit just once should be enough? Nobody is foolish enough to think they can keep their body clean using will-power alone so why do they think it is possible to keep their spirit clean without washing it?”
Since that lesson from God I have made sure to wash my spirit regularly. It is a ritual and is of no greater distress to me than having to wash my body. I don’t plan to ever allow my spirit to get so smelly it will attract Satan’s minions to me again. If they are ever drawn to me for any other reason I intend to be sure my connection to God is free of interference so it will not be as traumatic as it was last time.
I continue to suffer the after-effects of having been attacked. They are not too bad but they arise now and then – fear, memories, distress. I would not ever want to go through that again but being attacked was not the worst part of the experience. I would, in fact, rather be physically attacked than ever feel so completely cut off from God again!
My sins no longer have the power to separate me from God because I wash myself clean of them every day. I try to stay clean but I know God doesn’t expect me to be able to stay spotless so I don’t agonize about why I cannot do that. I simply wash whatever spiritual dirt gets on me off each day and leave it behind the same way I leave physical dirt behind when I wash that from my body.
There is always, there will always be, some sin in my life. I will not fight a battle that Jesus won centuries ago. I do not dwell on the sins I repeatedly commit. I wash myself free of their dirt daily and trust God to change me enough to stop committing them. It has worked with all the sins I used to commit that I no longer even want to do. It will work, in time, for the sins that still dirty me today.
All I have to do is want to become the person God created me to be and be obedient to his will as much as I possibly can be without becoming a sad, oppressed, would-be saint who can see nothing but how impossible being completely clean of sin is in reality.
It’s easy to follow Satan because he does not ask us to be perfect. He tries to tell us God does expect perfection and people end up leading lives that make as much sense as a life obsessed with avoiding physical dirt, including bodily secretions, without the use of water would make.
I don’t believe the lies about having to be perfect so I find it remarkably easy to follow God. I also find it a lot more personally satisfying than the author of the above mentioned book made it sound!