I just wanted to share what I experienced at the 4-12hour day counseling intensive that I went through this week, so that I might not forget the Lord and become proud in my heart (Deut 8:14). We put this on to help train leaders from other churches how we do gospel centered counseling. It never ceases to amaze me that if you pray to God, in faith that he would show up, he does.
I came into Redemption Group (RG) on Monday feeling pretty excited. I had a good Sabbath the Friday before and was feeling quite filled up. I was excited to learn about redemption and go through the process to receive more of God’s grace and a more profound understanding of it.
I didn’t think I would end up on the floor weeping and praying while 7 other men lay hands on me to pray with me.
I feel that God just really used me. And it was for his glory and their joy, and my joy. I wrote a document on the mourning of the second day describing who I would be if I had not been redeemed. It was pretty brutal as I faced again some of my greatest fears about the deep darkness and evilness that would be me; that lived in my flesh. On a side note, I am extremely grateful to have this refuge to just let loose all these fears. In a normal RG I don’t think I would have been able to really do this given the great time distance between Wednesdays. And so for that I am grateful.
I was praying that they would pick on me in the morning session. Little did I know that by the end of the day, we would spend nearly 3 and ½ hours on me. A lot of good things were revealed.
The first session I pretty much just shared about my “without grace” document. And just shared some of my darkest fears and scenes from my life that I had never shared with anyone. Stuff that I didn’t really believe I don’t’ think, but given the nature of this week I was able to just go into sin, with Grace, and with my brothers in Christ. I was in a refuge.
As we plummeted the depths of my sin, and the lies that I have heard from early childhood, even to now, it became apparent that I had some demonic influence. I had “tiny lizard” on my shoulder constantly whispering lies into my ear about myself and about God. We spent considerable time just listing out all the lies I heard. Then we broke for lunch. I went off and prayed Gal 2:20 and wrote a psalm. Was feeling pretty good.
We came back for the 2nd group session after lunch. And what I thought would be a quick response to what I had learned over lunch became another hour of exploring the depths of my wicked heart and this demonic influence. I continued to tell them things that I had never told anyone. Things that I had done to myself, things that I had done to other people, fears I had…the whole lot. My heart was dark and scary and I had given Satan a stronghold, by listening to him. And it felt empowering. Even as they all prayed for me there, I felt a sense of demonic anger of the gospel of truth being spoken to me. Strongholds were being torn down. I felt hope as one of the leaders said that he heard the spirit say that I would be delivered.
We broke again for 2 hours for dinner. This was not a good time for me. I felt very attacked and afflicted by demonic influences. I didn’t leave the church. And just wrote down 47 separate visions or impressions that came to me during those two hours. I read a chapter in 3 Crucial Questions about Spirit Warfare, by Clinton E. Arnold, which was really helpful on how demonic attack was working. I also sensed that angels were present. I also spent time in scripture and God brought be to Acts 13:33, quoting Psalm 2:7, “Today you have become my son” it meant a lot to me. And Psalm 91, which would prove to be a blessing later on.
We went into that third group session not knowing what was going to happen. I didn’t know if an exorcism was about to happen or what. In truth, I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to go through this anymore. But they went right back to me and kept digging. We hit the lies again and talked about my worst fears, who I would be without God. I felt weird. I felt the fear I had. Our God is a loving father and I have been afraid to run and be embraced by Him. I have tasted some of his gifts and glory but have been afraid to just come to him, fully and trust him. Like a scared little boy that I had been that couldn’t trust his step father for fear of abuse.
But our God is not like that. He is Abba, Daddy, Father (Rom 8:15). And so they had written up on the board some of the most prominent lies, the foremost being that I did not fully trust God, and was afraid.
I then got up to destroy each of these lies with the truth of Scripture. And I did. God’s word is powerful and has prevailed. I went through them one at a time and demolished them. Scripture is powerful and true. It is our weapon, our sword to wield.
After that we prayed. I knelt down and wept, and prayed. That I had rebelled against God by believing these lies about him. I confessed and repented of my fear and lack of trust and asked God for strength and for grace, to persevere. I asked the Lord to rebuke Satan, to destroy strongholds and to help me realize that I am seated with God in the heavenly realm above all things. That is amazing.
The demonic will never rest, they will always be after my joy. They will always try to hold me down and to hold me back. But I have one who is greater. I have one in me who has overcome the world. I have the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit living inside of me (1 John 4:4). Oh spirit would you reign in my mortal body. I am dead, truly dead. Jesus, help me live to you. Help me feel your joy, yes the fruit of the spirit. I ask earnestly for joy, become I am satisfied in you, because I am trusting you with every step I take. You are my God, I am your people (Ezek 36:28). I am your Son.
To end that night off, as I was leaving the church I noticed a piece of paper flapping under my windshield wiper. I pulled over and grabbed it. It was a note addressed to me as “My Son”. I opened to find that Psalm 91 in its entirety had been transcribed there by my fiancé, the very verses that God had brought me to hours before. She had stopped by and placed this on my car in the parking lot. I gasped and was filled with joy. The spirit had been working mightily that night.