Summary: Chip Ingram shows how the Bible teaches us to deal with issues of spiritual warfare.
Welcome to Spiritual Warfare 301: How to Do Battle with the Enemy and Win. Remember, 101 we said it’s real; there is an invisible world, and there is an invisible war. Then in 201 we learned that you have protection. Everything you need to be victorious, you have. You’ve got the belt of truth, you’ve got the breastplate of righteousness. I mean, you have everything you need. Your feet shod with the Gospel, preparation of peace.
Now I wanna share a story, and I’m not sharing this story to be dramatic. This happened the first year I was in Santa Cruz. I had a number of different experiences as a pastor earlier, but this was the most radical, ’cause we’re moving from just -- not times where you’re walking faithfully with the Lord. But I’m talking about spiritual attack, the kind that at times you don’t understand and scares you to death.
I’ll let you rewind with me the VCR of my mind -- I guess it’s about 13 years now, 12 and a half. New pastor. Been in this community with all of this occult, and it is -- I’ll learn later -- about 2 a.m. And in my first time this happened, it happened multiple times to me and family members, but this was the first time. And I don’t know whether I’m asleep or I don’t know whether I’m awake. What I know is, is that I can open my eyes and I can see that my wife is in bed next to me, so I’m assuming I’m awake.
But the problem is I can’t move anything in my body, and there’s a sense of evil in the room that is so foreboding that I don’t even know what’s going on. And not only that is that little by little, as I’m crying out to God in my mind because I can sense something’s wrong and I’m praying "Jesus, help me, help me, help me." And there is a pressure, like weight on my chest that feels like about 5,000 pounds, that’s crushing it, and something going around my neck so that my windpipe is completely closed.
And if you’ve ever had someone dunk you when you were a kid, in a pool, and you just can’t get any air, and you’re right at the point where you wanna go -- and, you know, the next breath you’re gonna take, you’re gonna come up and get air or you’re gonna take in water. That’s exactly where I’m at. And I’m crying out to God and I’m praying and I’m praying, but I can’t move anything, and I see Theresa over there. "Oh, God, help, help." And I’m gonna suffocate, and I’m thinking, "How in the world can you suffocate in your own bed when there’s not any water?"
And just at that point, I go (Coughs and gasps for air). And I sit up in bed, and I’m literally soaking wet as though I’ve played full-court basketball for two hours. The hair on the back of my head is straight up. There is such evil in the room as though shadows and a manifestation of evil like I’ve never seen in my life, and I am scared to death. And I don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t know what to do. And I’ll tell you a little bit later about what I did, but I will tell you, it was hostile, offensive, demonic activity, and that scene was repeated scores of times in the next 12 years or so.
What do you do when it’s not like you’re just being deceived, it’s not just a little condemnation, it’s not just that, you know, you’re being convicted and some things are happening that you need to deal with? What do you do when, for some very specific reasons, there is strong frontal satanic attack?
As I was sitting up in bed, I thought to myself, you know, "I need to pray, and I think I need to pray out loud." And I’m a pastor, okay? I went to Dallas Seminary. It’s not like I don’t know a few verses. Okay? I’m an old ex-navigator. I got some weapons in here, but I am scared to death and I’m thinking, "I think I need to pray out loud." And notice this: the enemy again. Pride in the fear. If I pray out loud, my wife might wake up. If my wife wakes up and hears her husband talking out loud in the dark to no one there, and he’s all sweaty, she’s gonna wake up and go, "He’s a nutcase." Now, of course she wouldn’t really think that, but that’s how I felt, and I was immobilized to do spiritual warfare for a period of time.
At the same time, I had a good friend who -- he would call himself a classical-nominal Christian: intellectual, belief in Jesus. He said, "Looking back, I may have been saved, may not. My life didn’t demonstrate it. Went to church now and then. A little bit more then than now, and tried to be a good guy, raising my family. Came to our church, made a real commitment to Christ." And then he began a process.