Overcoming the Malignant Team
... that Works to Disqualify Us for God’s Kingdom
When I was going through a dark time—and a light came on in my soul because someone I didn’t even know about, prayed for me. That's how important intercession is!
LET ME TELL OF A PERSONAL AND BITER INCIDENT OUT of which I learned something about the inner workings of my own soul—something I think will help others, especially in whatever dark days may be impending. It’s about an exposure of my dianoía, that operation of our minds wounded in the Fall of our Parents in Eden. We learn from Paul that the dianoía of everyone outside of Christ is darkened (Eph 4:18). But we also learn that God has delivered us from the power of (the) darkness, and... translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son (Col 1:13).
When we know Redemption’s fullness, we can know that the authority of the darkness is broken and we need have no fear about the days ahead.
In revealing what I’m about to, I’ve wondered whether I should expose any more of my own humanity. But then, I realize two of my heroes, David and Paul, held back nothing of their own personal weakness and trials as they revealed the grace and power of God’s Kingdom into which their imperfect humanity was ever pressing them.
Many of the people to whom we write—even after years of serving the Lord—still have a cloud of darkness over their minds. Their weakened humanity has to deal with this as they’re being drawn into the Kingdom. It leaves many tired and worn. But, our
weakened humanity—as well as the blows that come against our strengths—can serve us well as they crowd us into the love and provision, as well as the righteousness and protection of our heavenly Father. In this we come to know His Kingdom.
I determined long ago that whenever the enemy strikes, I will receive his blow as an opportunity to “get mileage out of it” for the Kingdom of God. This is one reason I am free to relate things that happen, even personal pain. I want you who face similar pressures to have answers that are real and that can work in your lives to relieve you of spiritual and emotional exhaustion. It’s only then we can be free to function well in the Kingdom into which our heavenly Father has translated us.
Let’s look again at Col 1:13. How full its statement is! It speaks to us of the Father...Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.
Delivered is from the Greek rúomai meaning “to rescue someone; to drag them from danger.” Power is from exousía which means “authority, dominion, or jurisdiction.” Translated is from methístemi which means “to cause a change in someone’s position; to transfer someone.” Both delivered and translated are from Greek Aorist forms which make them tell of a work already done. See it again: “The Father has delivered us from the jurisdiction of the darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.” In this Kingdom we learn to live out of the Work Christ has brought to completion for us. We call this The Finished Work. We can live in it.
SOMETIMES I THINK IT WILL NEVER STOP HAPPENING— this opening of my soul to reveal the weakness that remains. It’s like David said, LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! (Ps 3:1)
I could speak now of the recent death of my dear wife, but I choose to wait on that. That pain is still too near and raw to reveal the lessons I’m yet learning. This about which I tell concerns something that happened about ten years ago that revealed some of the darkness holding me under its authority. Briefly, here is what took place. Some close relations let Glenda and me know, in no uncertain terms, what miserable failures we had been in their eyes. The most painful thing was a slur against our “religion.”
It hurt. It was like a sharp stab. Glenda and I had spent money we could not afford to go and see those dear ones—only to receive that!
For days we fumed, thought about it, and tried to build up our defense. I said, “Why did this have to happen? I thought our relationship with them was good. Will things like this never end?” I couldn’t think straight or get answers.
Shortly after the incident, Glenda and I had to be separated for a week. We prayed together and parted. Fear entered me. The shock had brought disorder to my mind. It was as though some of its “wires” got crossed. For a while I couldn’t distinguish between what had happened and what I thought might have happened. I asked, “Is this causing me to lose my mind?” My inner man was pierced and I was not prepared to withstand the attack.
What happened touched an easily offended spot in my soul. The enemy is skilful at manipulating this with any of us. He waits with watchful eye to throw some deadly dart toward us with his own venom with the intention of maneuvering us back toward the power of darkness from which the Father has rescued us. If we allow the darkness to maintain jurisdiction over us, it encourages Satan in his attacks. He holds the idea he can win us back over into his camp.
But then, as I was alone, considering what happened, I began to be encouraged—even though there remained some pain. I found that painful events and emotions do not have to be pushed down in the subconscious mind in order for us to get on with life. Instead, I found that—if we allow it—blows can serve us well, just like a hammer serves a nail well. It drives it into the place for which it was designed. I’ve said this before, maybe too many times. But I was still learning this principle at that time.
THE RESTORING OF MY MIND AND EMOTIONS STARTED gently, with a brief vision, so small I didn’t perceive it as coming from the Holy Spirit. But soon I knew. He was letting me see my soul. I saw it ripped open. Inside was a dark curtain draped over part of my inner man. Then I knew, if I allowed the darkness to remain, that part of me hidden would invite more trouble. He showed me this was my dianoía, still ruled by some forces I didn’t like to admit were there.
The dark area had been in me all along. The hurtful incident only revealed it. Now the Holy Spirit wanted to do His work in its place. Slowly—oh so slowly—light began coming. I’ve found we can’t rush the work of God any more than we can rush the light of dawn. The pain had been so biting, I didn’t think the Holy Spirit could bring any good out of it. But, I knew better than to argue. He is thorough and powerful, yet gentle, as He does His work in us.
When I stopped resisting Him, He shot a thought into my mind like a spark of light. He said simply, The one who attacked you is hurting too.
This thought pierced my darkness even though I couldn’t entertain it very long. I was hurting also. And—I was busy building my defense, composing the letter I would write to let these people know what they had done to us. But at least the slight thought did come, and it registered. I began to see what they said and did was out of their own inner hurt, most of it not related to us.
That was the beginning of the healing of a relationship that has since become a blessed one. Long ago we had learned, and even taught others, that expressions of anger and resentment from one person to another frequently come from old hurts brought on by old relationships, some of them from early life, long forgotten by the conscious mind, but recorded in the human spirit under a shroud of darkness.
We have said before that the human spirit becomes a dumping ground for the emotions. Hurts, traumas, resentments, bitterness, etc., that our emotions can’t continue bearing because they wear us out, find their way into our spirits. They lie dormant but with their diseased life ready to burst forth in the conscious part of us when some slight, some word, some sight, some intrusion into our peacefulness takes place.
As I was holding my wound before the Lord, He whispered to me, Do you care enough about them to pray for them? Gradually I began hearing more. It was coming from the heart of my heavenly Father. I’ve loved you enough to allow this to happen. Now give up your case. Stop building your defense. Let My Spirit bring healing in you and bring to life in you My Word that you already know.
The Holy Spirit was prompting me to take a small step out of the circle of my hurt into the circle of the others’ pain. Doing this made room in my spirit for Him to do His work in me. Then I could pray for them. Recently during the severe illness of my dear Glenda that claimed her life, these very people became instruments of mercy and healing for us both.
As I was thinking about what was taking place inside me, the Lord spoke more to me as He showed me the trouble was in my dianoía. I allowed it to be split open so you could see the sickness there and receive healing. And—so you could become a better instrument of healing for others.
NOW, LET ME TELL YOU OF THE MALIGNANT TEAM that works to keep our inner man in its sick estate, all with the intention of making us ineffective for the Kingdom into which the Father has translated us.
There are two passages in Ephesians where Paul mentioned the dianoía in its sick and weakened condition—Eph 2:1-3 and 4:17-19. From these two Scriptures we learn how a darkened understanding, or dianoía (a, will hinder our inner man. Our mind is one of the battle grounds where the enemy expects to defeat us. So, we may well consider it is a place we can expect some of our greatest victories in battle.
Praying like Paul prayed in Eph 1:15-19 is like using a switch to turn on a light. He prayed something like this: “Dear Lord, bring Your healing light to their understanding”—their dianoía.
That was so simple! But it works.
When that blow came to Glenda and me and the darkness came over my mind, we found that someone had been praying for us. News of this came in a letter from someone not close enough to know what was happening with us. We didn’t even know at the time that they prayed. I just know that all of a sudden a light came on in me. Unexpectedly, I could think, and understand—and pray. It was later we found out about the other one praying.
I saw anew the importance of the discipline of intercession. We must not give up on it!
We believe the Holy Spirit will touch the dianoía of any soul for whom some intercessor cares enough to pray. He can even reach into an unbeliever.
But what about us who are believers? Some may ask, “Doesn’t healing come to our inner man when we’re born again?” Yes. The new birth makes knowing the life of the Kingdom a possibility and opens us to new realms of healing. But, the veil keeping much of the inner man in darkness remains in many people after they are born again. We know this by studying Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and practically every other Book in the New Testament. And—I’ve had to learn it by my own personal experience. The very positive and wonderful thing we are learning now is that the inner disease does not have to remain. There is a light shining that will break the jurisdiction of all the darkness.
IN EPH 2:1-3, ONE OF THE PASSAGES SPEAKING of the darkened dianoía, we find it is part of a malignant team that works at controlling every person outside of Christ. Paul presented this insight after telling in the previous chapter what marvelous things he had been praying for the believers for whom he held concern. Even though he saw them as in Christ, it still was necessary that the authority of this ill-disposed team be dealt with lest the believers be drawn back into the strongholds of the old life from which they had been redeemed. It is apparent: setting the lamp of God’s light in place is necessary before the corruption of the darkness can be discovered and completely dispelled.
From this passage we learn that the team of which the darkened dianoía is a part has seven stations-like outposts of the darkness—some inside the person, some outside. Each part of the team works at maintaining a sick inner government in unbelievers, and will try to maintain its hold in believers as well.
The evil team can be knocked out of the lives of believers who learn to do their own warfare , and—I believe—held back from others for whom intercession is made. The Lord Jesus has triumphed at every point. As we learn the stations where the battles rage in and around us, we gain direction for praying—and for receiving mental and emotional health. This will come as our human spirit teams with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. We will learn, eventually, that the only One Who can handle the dark forces that withstand us, both from within us and without, is the Holy Spirit. And, oh! He does this when we acknowledge Him and allow Him to do His work.
I’ve numbered the seven statements that direct us to the malignant team. Even with my background as a Baptist in what we called “eternal security,” I point to them and describe their threat. I also am a realist. I know that as these areas remain, they work toward wearing us down with the intention of drawing us back onto the side of the enemy. His evil intention is fierce. It is no longer a matter of church doctrine to which we hold. It is a matter of knocking out these stations so we can be made ready to stand in the evil day (Eph 6:13) in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).
SEE NOW THESE SEVEN POINTS as we find them in this passage from Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, a Letter of most exalted Truth. Let me state again: he presented this insight after he had presented the high statement of Chapter 1 about a believer’s position in Christ—and after he told what was his prayer for these believers. This next passage lets us know the team of evil we must overcome if our condition will measure up to our position. This is necessary if we will inherit the Kingdom with Christ. Take note that before he lists the malignant team, he stands us firm on the statement you hath He quickened. This means, “He has made you alive”—in Christ. It is no longer necessary that you live under the authority of this darkness.
Eph 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were 1dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye 2walked according to the course of this world 3according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the 4children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in 5the lusts of our flesh, 6fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind (the dianoía; and 7were by nature the children of wrath even as others.
See the team: 1—trespasses and sin; 2—the course of this world; 3—the prince of the power of the air; 4—disobedience; 5—the lusts of the flesh; 6—the desires of the dianoía and 7—the wrath of nature. We will go on to consider these points in coming articles as they name our dianoía as part of the evil team that will work to defeat us. If our mind, as it works to pierce the darkness and understand the ways of the Kingdom, maintains a conjunction with any of the rest of the team, we may well find ourselves subject to defeat in the evil day (Eph 6:13). This day is at hand already for many; for the rest of us it is impending.
In the first chapter of Ephesians Paul presented what we call “positional” truth. He told of where we are in Christ. But then, as we move on through the Epistle he calls us to deal with our actual condition as he names in the above three verses the aggregation of evil with which we all must contend and overcome if we will qualify to reign with Christ. Thus, we are being made ready to move with Christ in His Kingdom. We need no longer be weak believers who have only some vague hope about an age to come in which we will be overcomers.
As we proceed in later articles to lay out the points, we will note that they are marks branded on a person outside of Christ. By this we mean the way a person is by human nature. The tendency to revert to the natural way of living remains strong with many believers. Our purpose in this series of articles is that you may find the reality of your transference from the authority of the darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. In other words, we pray you will come to know your inheritance in His Kingdom.
EVEN AT THE RISK of ending on a negative note, let us take regard for these three statements from Paul, all written as warnings to believers:
- ·1 Cor 6:9,10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived:
neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God.
- ·Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do (“practice”) such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.
- ·Eph 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
This is not the end. We are getting ready to meet the grace of God which is ready to overpower every work of darkness listed above. Stay with us!
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