I Fought a Demon Friday

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12
In Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Pilgrim, on his new Christian adventure finds himself in a dark valley where there lives a devilish creature Bunyan names “Apollyon” (borrowed from Rev. 9:11).
Christian describes the creature as “hideous to look at [with] wings like a dragon…”
Satan has no authority over one who’s professed their faith in Christ. The devil’s only hope – using extraordinary skill – is to try to weaken our faith by weighing us down with shame, condemnation, discouragement, and the like. (This is precisely why, when Jesus warned his disciples, “Satan has asked for you..,” encouraged Peter, “I have prayed your faith may not fail.” – emphasis mine)
Apollyon, knowing he no longer had any dominion over the pilgrim (named Christian) began to go to work on Christian’s mind. With rapid-fire, he relentlessly filled Christian’s mind with lies and half-truths (which are still whole lies.)
Christian, knowing the truth would set him free, boldly faces Apollyon and proclaims, “
[Even when I do fail my Lord], he is merciful and ready to forgive.”
Then Apollyon, filled with rage, fire blazing from his mouth, shouts,
“Prepare yourself to die, for I swear by my infernal abode that you will go no farther. I will spill your soul here!”
Bunyan continues,
“And with that, [the demon] shot a flaming arrow at Christian’s chest! But Christian had the Shield [of faith] in his hand, and with it he intercepted the arrow and averted its danger. Then Christian drew his Sword [of the Spirit, which is the Word of God]…and gave Apollyon a deadly thrust, proclaiming, ‘We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom. 8:37).’ With that Apollyon screamed and fled away,…”
Each year, May 13th is heavy. But that’s not the day I most fear.
The day that torments me is May 12th – the day before my 19 year old son took his life. “What did I miss? If I had only….” These questions can drive a parent to madness.
And that’s where the demon attached himself Friday, hissing into my mind, “You were a pathetic dad. Your son needed you, but you let him suffer and die. It was your fault.” [ad nauseum]
By Friday afternoon, I was so beaten down and ashamed (almost to the point of being sick), even having served as a pastor for 40 years, I was having trouble remembering a single Bible verse.
But suddenly, it started raining (the Lord has used rain to minister to my family in times of pain). Then, I noticed my forearm (which, mind you, had been with me the entire fight) and saw my tattoo which, in Hebrew, says, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
And that’s all it took. The fight was over. The demon fled in awe-filled terror.
I had immediately regained my awareness of the presence and power of the mighty, risen Christ.
Weeping had lasted for the day, but joy was again upon me! Guilt had abated; the joy of the Lord became my strength! (Ps 30:5; Neh 8:10)
I was exhausted.
I then sensed Jesus whispering to me gently and lovingly,
“My child, don’t fear. I was with you the whole time, strengthening your faith, reminding you of truth – even bringing rain. I’ve got you. I’ve got Jordan. Rest now. I love you.”
This is my story.
But, I am well aware you have the same stories of battles with Apollyon.
The same Jesus who rescued me can, and will, do the same for you. Jesus is closer to you than you are to yourself. He is in the furnace with you (cf. Dan 3:24-25) He’s got you. He’s never left you. Trust him.
Take up your Shield of Faith, which extinguishes all the flaming arrows of the enemy, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (cf. Eph 6:10-18)
We’re not putting on “armor”; we’re putting on Christ!
I fought a demon on Friday.
Christ crushed him.
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” – Ps 18:2
Soli Deo Gloria, nw