Continuing the series on skills for Kingdom builders: dealing with emotional problems.
The last four posts have dealt with different categories of
causes of problems in the inner man: our sin, inherited tendency to sin, where
we are sinned against and griefs and sorrows. Satan loves to supercharge any of these areas, taking them
to the place where we no longer have control.
But he is able to work in other ways too. Satan is a legalist, and there are a
number of things that give him a legal right to a foothold in our lives. The easy way to remember them, even if
slightly contrived, (and the way I first heard them from the doctor who first
taught us about these areas), is that they all begin with the letter S.
- . Sin
All the areas described above, so sin in
any form, whether our own or not, can give Satan the right to access in our
lives. And he doesn’t play
fair. Take, for example, the
situation where an unmarried teenager discovers she is pregnant. Her first reaction is shock and shame.
She doesn’t want her life inconvenienced by a baby. Will she have an abortion? Her sin (sex outside marriage) affects the unborn baby and
he or she may grow up to have problems with rejection.
Ephesians 4:26 is an interesting
verse. It says, “Be angry but do
not sin. Do not let the sun go
down on your anger and thereby give the devil a foothold.”
There are some useful principles here that
I first heard from John Wimber.
It’s as though there are different gradations of demonic activity in a
person’s life. From this verse, we
have the impression that a person can be angry without sinning. Take, for example, Jesus anger against
the moneychangers in the temple.
It was a righteous anger, and there are situations where this is an
appropriate reaction (eg with social justice issues). However, the verse goes on to say that if a person allows (unrighteous)
anger to continue, it becomes a problem. Let’s imagine a scale of 0 to 10 with the problem of anger.
- Something happens and a person becomes
angry and doesn’t deal with it immediately. It’s as though they are at a grade 1 or 2 on the scale. When they realize what’s happened, they
can easily deal with it through repentance.
- Now suppose anger is a recurring issue. Maybe they are at 3 or 4 on our
scale. It will require some spiritual warfare on
the person’s part before it can be fully dealt with.
- If it is allowed to continue, he or she becomes an angry
person where anger is the default emotion and no longer under control. This may be at 6 to 8 on our scale. Most
of us probably have probably come across people like this who have a very short
fuse and anything tends to make them angry. This person is probably unable to be set free without others
praying and doing spiritual warfare with them.
- At 9 or 10 on the scale, the anger has led to major
problems/crime. Maybe they are in
prison for some crime committed during an outburst of anger. They may need major deliverance from an
obvious demonic problem.
Praise God, when Jesus died on the cross, he
won total victory over Satan.