by Michelle Eigemann, LCSW
Spiritual warfare isn’t always easy to spot. It starts with a single seed being planted in the soil of your mind. After the seed is planted Satan sits back, puts his feet up, and watches as we water what will soon become bitterness, un-forgiveness, or in my case an identity crisis.
As we look at 1 Kings 18:1 the Lord gives Elijah an instruction “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” (New International Version) The problem with this was that Ahab had been searching high and low for Elijah and wanted him dead. Jezebel had already killed off all the prophets of God and desired that Elijah would be next. Elijah presents himself to Ahab as instructed by the Lord and offers up a proposition. He tells Ahab to gather all 450 prophets of Baal and meet him on Mt. Carmel. There they would present sacrifices to their gods and the one true God would send down fire to consume the sacrifice. Scripture says that Ahab thought this sounded like a reasonable request and they all met at Mt. Carmel.
The bulls were selected, the altar prepared and the prophets of Baal began to beacon their god. By noon, still nothing. Then it became time for the evening sacrifice and Elijah called them all to gather near as he prepared the bull and rebuilt the altar of God. Then he instructs them to pour water over the entire altar soaking the wood and everything around it. Elijah calls on God to send fire from heaven. God pours down fire upon the soaked sacrifice and burns up the wood, the rocks, and the water. Elijah had just experienced a spiritual high. He witnessed God in all his glory do what only the one true God could do. Now he waited for the promised rain that would end the famine. Seven times he sent his servant to look for even the slightest darkening of the sky. There it was off in the distance, a cloud rising surely the skies would soon break open with rain. That was all he needed; he warned of the rain and instructed Ahab to head to Jezreel immediately to get ahead of the rain. Then scripture says “The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.” (1 Kings 18:46, NIV) Maybe you’re wondering how far Mt. Carmel is to Jezreel, well wonder no more because I calculated it and it is 24.8 miles, and after running a 10K (6.2 miles) this past Saturday let me tell you that is no easy feat.
But with the turn of a page, we see that the spiritual high that had Elijah running faster than the chariot suddenly has catapulted into an emotional low. He’s lying under a broom bush begging to die. “‘…I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life…'” (1 Kings 19:4, NIV) How did that happen? How could he go from seeing God show up in such an amazing way in one moment to having suicidal thoughts the next? While scripture does not point to this as a spiritual attack I wonder if that could have played a role. After all, isn’t that how the enemy works?
Recently I co-led a class for single women on identity and God showed up mightily. One by one each woman began to peel off false labels and reclaim their identity in Christ. Through tears of rejoicing, each woman shared a testimony of what God had just done in their life. It was so powerful that our class ended up going an hour past our allotted time because none of us wanted to hush the Holy Spirit. I had just experienced a spiritual high. I saw God move in a mighty way and then just days later I began to experience (what I can now see as) an identity crisis. It happened slowly with just one negative thought, one faulty mindset, one little seed. Fast forward to a week later and that little seed turned into weeds that began to strangle out my true identity.
To recognize a lie we first need to know the truth. As I read 1 Kings 18 & 19 God turned on the light and the darkness had no choice but to flee. You see darkness doesn’t exist on its own; it is simply the absence of light. I had allowed the lies of the enemy to turn off the light which had me fumbling around in the dark trying to find my way. Confusion, distraction, and separation are some of the tactics the enemy uses to attack.
Thankfully we have the antidote. We have the sword of the spirit. So I took a deep breath, lifted my sword, and shouted truth into the darkness. A weight was lifted, the light was ushered back in and the enemy has left…for now. You see, if we aren’t experiencing spiritual attacks then I question whether we are rooted in God’s will. As believers, as Christ-followers, as hearers and doers of the word we should experience warfare…it’s when we don’t that we should worry.