One of the most valuable things I learned when I was with YWAM in Thailand was the concept of coming in the opposite spirit. What does that mean, you ask? The enemy attacks us, and we try to take the defence, protecting ourselves from his barbs. This is good, but we forget at times that we as Christians have power through Christ to not only flee from the devil, but to cast him out. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore…” (Ephesians 6:12-14) We are instructed to defend ourselves with the armour of God, but we do have an offensive weapon! We are not required to just stand and take it, or to run away every time. We are not left without combating power!
Our primary weapon is the Word, which is the Spirt of God, likened to a sharp sword. The word brings light where there is darkness, and makes the shadows flee. The word is life, which conquers death. The word is wisdom, which triumphs over foolishness. The word is clarity, which dissipates confusion. When we are being spiritually attacked, it would be wise to remember what our great Commander has equipped us with. Therefore, when struck with temptation, take up your armour, and unsheathe your sword.
Sometimes the spiritual attacks show up in the physical, in relationships and human interaction. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” (Romans 12:14) I was hurt very badly by a friend of mine, and was struggling with forgiving her. I would say “Lord help me forgive her” with complete indifference in my heart. How long would this process of forgiveness take, I wondered. I was ashamed that – even though I prayed forgiving prayers all the time – I would immediately dwell on the hurt and pain she had caused me whenever I though of her. I decided to change my tactic to beat this spirt of resentment and bitterness that was encroaching on my territory. So whenever I thought of her, instead of surrendering I said, “God, bless her. Bless her work, bless her relationships, and draw her close to You. She is your precious daughter. She is valuable. She is loved by You. Bless her.” This was very hard for me, but because I took action against my own unforgiveness, I was able to overcome my bad feelings, with surprising speed.
Another example is this: Whenever I am tempted to sin, I try to recognize it as an attack and immediately start praying for one of my friends who has drifted from Christ as a counter attack. HaHA! I no longer flounder around the sinful thought, thinking to myself, “Oh, stop thinking that. Ah! Stoppit, Kyla! Stop thinking.. oh. it has been thought. Dangit.” What a novel idea, to pray when I’m tempted. (seems obvious, but you and I both know that prayer isn’t always our default reaction.)
I think this whole ‘coming in the opposite spirit’ thing can be applied to many areas in our lives. It’s a ‘turn the other cheek’ kind of thing. It may seem weak to repay evil for kindness, but the Great Kindness of God was [and is] not weak. It’s very, very powerful. We as children of God are associated with Him. (Romans 8:12-17) Our identity is in the King of Kings, the most powerful and mighty being in all of existence, AND BEYOND. Therefore, let us not be frightened. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8: 31) Let’s take up our sword and fight the good fight.