Discerning Spirits

Discerning Spirits

I have had a problem for a while, but I had not been able to diagnose it.

Yesterday, I had a no excuses moment for prayer.  The moment was a blessing, and the prayer came forth naturally.  When my prayer turned to ask for help, there was a difficulty.  I know four people who especially need prayer, and their problems trouble my heart.  I need prayer too, but I don’t want to think about my problems. There was a need to pray, but there wasn’t the will to think about or name my friends struggles or my own problems.  The prayer was at an impasse.  All I could pray was, “You know there is a big mess; please fix it!”

My hope and faith were weak, but more importantly I had lost my sight.  Instead of seeing God working amidst everyone’s problems, I saw the Devil’s tactics carrying the day.  After appraising the Devil’s tactics and the worldly impossibilities, my reflection has been ending.  God’s power, foresight, and wisdom is immeasurably bigger than the Devils, but I wasn’t looking for God at work.  When I think rightly, my reflection begins with God’s work (let the Devil have a ridiculous footnote), and it ends with God’s work.  Any less of a focus on God’s role isn’t true sight.

Jesus is not the God of a rose colored world.  Rose colored glasses are a naive luxury or another form of denial.  Jesus made a tortuous death beautiful.  Jesus works with alcoholics, prostitutes, abusers, and me.  Jesus does dirty work, but Jesus does beautiful work.  I need to retrain my eye to see His work.  Hope and faith are nourished by this reflection.

Diabolos originally means the accuser and slanderer, and the Holy Spirit is called the counselor and advocate.  This is oddly like courtroom language.  On the final day, will the great accuser present his case against each man and all men? Will the Holy Spirit defend and advocate for us on this day?  Which side do I take when thinking about others?  When my reflection meditate on the Devil’s work, my reflections turn me into a new diabolos.  When my reflections meditate on God’s good (yet messy) work, my reflections are filled with the Holy Spirit.  As Christians, we must reflect honestly, and real honesty always leads to God’s love.