Assuming you follow any of the national news in the U.S. I am sure you heard the phrase "the narrative." Essentially the narrative is the storyline that a particular group of people wants you to believe. For example, if you are a Republican the narrative is that President Trump is doing great things for the country. If you are a Democrat the narrative is that President Trump is not only the worst president in the history of the country, by a large margin, but he is also a modern-day version of Adolph Hitler or Osama Bin Laden. Clearly, there's a large gap between the two firmly entrenched opinions. What in the world is going on here?
Each important issue will have a narrative that various parties are espousing to the public. The version of the narrative gaining the most traction with the public is then considered the "dominant narrative." However, just because something is considered the dominant narrative does not mean the narrative is true. It just means that it is the version of the story that more people accept than alternative versions. In fact, the battle for the narrative may be the front lines of the unseen spiritual war going on all around us.
Most Christians miss or forget to think about the unseen world that surrounds us. I personally fall into the "forget to think about it" category on a regular basis. So who or what is in the unseen world? Spiritual forces both good an evil. The spiritual world around us is infinitely larger than the physical world in which we live. One of Satan's most effective tools is convincing us to think that there is no spiritual world around us at all.
In an excellent article by Greg Koukl on the site StandToReason.org, Greg quotes a verse from 2 Kings to demonstrate the spiritual world around us. Here's what he wrote,
In 2 Kings 6:15-17, the prophet Elisha’s attendant saw something in the visible realm that overwhelmed him—the Syrian army encircling their city with horses and chariots.
15...“Alas, my master!” he said. “What shall we do?”
Elisha, though, was not shaken. 16 He saw a deeper reality in the unseen realm.
“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. 17 Elisha then prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
In the example, the assistant did not have the ability to see the Army of God surrounding and protecting them until Elisha (who was a prophet) asked God to give him the ability to see the unseen world.
As a follower of Jesus, have you ever asked yourself something like this, "How can people believe this (fill-in-the-blank) statement that is so obviously false?" Doesn't matter what the topic is. If you are like me you have asked yourself this question many times in many different situations.
Why do people believe something that is obviously counter to Jesus' clear statements and parables in the Bible? Jesus gives us a very direct answer in John 8:42-26
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” John 8:42-26 ESV (Emphasis mine)
What does this have to do with spiritual warfare? Spiritual warfare is all about the "lie" and Satan is the father of all lies. He uses every lie that humans tell or believe to further his own selfish agenda.
What is Satan's agenda? To prevent humans from having a direct and personal relationship with God by any means possible. When we allow our sinful nature to control our lives we open the door to Satan. As Christians, we have the Armor of God to protect us, if we use it. Non-believers have no protection of any kind. Satan doesn't have power over us, he only has the power that each of us gives him. If we forget to use the Armor of God, Satan's nudges and influence will be impossible to resist.
Our human pride may try to tell us, "When I see Satan I'll just get down on my knees and pray to turn him away." Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Rarely does Satan attempt a direct confrontation with humans. Instead, he is extremely sneaky and crafty with his attacks. He influences us through temptation, offering the "forbidden fruit" that will supposedly fill our deepest desires. In fact, Satan is by far the most difficult adversary that any human will ever face. His temptations can be very tempting, but they are the illusion of gold, not real gold.
As you will remember, it all started in the Garden of Eden where Satan showed his true colors.
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5 ESV
Satan is not like Thanos in Avengers Infinity War who kills half the people in the universe "allegedly" to end hunger and poverty caused by overpopulation. Satan is all about his own selfish desires. He doesn't do or have anything that could be remotely considered good.
To summarize, Satan doesn't the have the power to make a human do anything without that human allowing Satan to have the power. Just as important and frequently harder to remember is this. Humans, DO NOT have the power to defeat Satan without the assistance of God.
We humans have an inherent desire to seek "truth". We are driven to know the right answer to questions and to search for whatever is true and right. That desire comes from the Holy Spirit and He is using that desire to call us to God. Satan's desire is to sow confusion, chaos, and discord. Satan would prefer that we choose anything other than whatever God wants us to believe is true, but if Satan can't get us to make a bad decision he is very satisfied with suggesting enough plausible alternatives to the truth that we become bogged down in indecision. To Satan, confusion, chaos, and discord (creating indecision) are some of the tools to turn us away from God. And, when are indecisive, we are weak and open to his influence. Important clarification, I don't consider indecisiveness the same as searching for the truth. Indecisiveness is when we stop searching for the truth.
For a great example of spiritual warfare and the battle for control of the narrative, let's look at the political situation in the U.S. right now. There are so many lies being thrown around by the radical-left, mainstream media, and the global elites that it's hard to keep track of them. It used to be that people who wanted to control the narrative would only twist the truth to something more favorable to them. These days the opponents of God doesn't even start with the truth. They start their lie with pure fiction and go downhill from there.
Please do not make the assumption that I am calling President Trump a saint. He is a loudmouth, obnoxious, egotistical bully with questionable moral behavior and he is clearly an excellent example of the sinful nature of and our fallen humanity. But, then so am I and so is everyone else on this planet. Sorry, but it's true. We all fall short of God's Glory. No one is righteous on their own. Without Jesus as our savior, we are all doomed.
What I find especially interesting is the clear evidence that God is using President Trump (sinner that he is) during his time in office to make a difference in America. Reminds me (and others) of the way God used the King Cyrus of Persia to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem in 2 Chronicles.
22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: 23 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.’” 2 Chronicles 36:22–23 ESV
Anyway, God appears to be using President Trump, the loudmouth, obnoxious, egotistical, morally deficient bully, to clean up the considerable mess left by the last administration. Despite their best (or worst) efforts of the radical left, mainstream media and global elites, Trump is making America better than it has been in a long time. While the economic numbers alone back up this statement, that's not the only thing he is doing. The President is pushing the country to return to the conservative core principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion upon which it was founded.
I'm not going to reiterate the long list of sins the U.S. has committed since the founding of the country. They are well known. But, we all live in a fallen world. Although American has been great, clearly America was never perfect. Still, for over 200 years the U.S. has been the best example in the world of the idea that human rights and religious freedoms are granted to all of humanity by God and God alone. Want proof? How many people have immigrated to the U.S. since 1776? How many more people couldn't immigrate but wanted to? Whatever the number, I'm sure it is staggering. This clearly says to me is that despite her imperfections, the U.S. still represented the best opportunity in the world for many people.
Now, back to the spiritual warfare question. Who are the opponents of God? The atheist or agnostic, radical-left shrills who believe life on Earth is an "accident", not a gift from God. They believe that humanity is the highest form of accidental (evolutionary) life and that there is no such thing as God or eternity. On the whole, their arguments are mean, bitter, hateful and meant to drive people apart from each other and from God. Who does that sound like? The opponents are also the global elites who driving a globalist agenda, not because it is right (although in their delusion they think it is), but because it would give them more power. Both the radical left and the global elites have fallen for the lie that they are better and smarter than others and therefore they deserve to tell everyone else what to do.
One thing that is almost certainly true. The louder Trump's critics scream the close he to uncovering the depths of their depravity.
So how do the radical-left, mainstream media and global elites fight back? Simple, propaganda. As a refresher, here's the definition of propaganda from Dictionary.com.
information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
Does that sound familiar? Which side in the spiritual warfare would use propaganda to further their cause? And what does their propaganda consist of? Accusation and blame.
Trump is a Criminal
The whole "Russian Collusion" narrative is absolute fiction designed to remove Trump from office. Here's a fantastic article by John Nolte at Breitbart.com discussing the issue and comparing the fictional accusations against the President to the realities of his accusers. In the article (that contains a few vulgar words), Nolte makes a strong case that Trump hasn't done anything illegal. The radical-left, mainstream media, and global elites have thrown countless accusations at him but nothing he has been accused of illegally doing has survived the test of fire. In fact, most of the accusations are rebounding and show the deceit of the accuser instead.
Why do they hate Trump? First, because they lost the power that they felt was rightfully theirs. Second, they absolutely detest is management style. It's bad to lose power, but it's even worse to lose it to a bully.
The problem for his opponents is President Trump has been extremely effective and he has done so many outstanding things for the U.S. that they hate him even more because of it. While Trump is far from perfect, who would you rather lead the country? Someone with politically correct style but self-serving, anti-God actions, or someone who makes substantial things happen that improve the country. I don't know about you, but I'll pick substance over style any day of the week.
Blame Trump for Anything and Everything That Has Gone Wrong or Might Go Wrong in The Future
When accusations don't work, the next step is to blame Trump for anything and everything bad that happens in the world.
Here's just one example (among hundreds) of blatant lies made about the President in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post. Apparently, President Trump is to blame (or at least he is complicit) for Hurricane Florence because he objects to climate change theories or at least because he objects to one-sided, ineffective climate change treaties.
Worse still, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D) criticized the Trump Administration on MSNBC for the poor and unprepared response by the government for a hurricane that hasn't even hit when he made the accusation.
How can any reasonable person make a legitimate criticism of the President for a poor government response to for a disaster that hasn't even happened yet? Worse yet, how can anyone believe this kind of statement? If someone has a legitimate criticism of the President that they can support with facts and data, I'm happy to review it and consider it's validity. But if someone is promoting an absurd lie and people are being deceived into believing it, does that sound familiar?
But CNN wasn't about to be outdone by the hysteria on MSNBC. They brought out their own pundit on who claims that President Trump's climate politics COULD lead to 80,000 unnecessary deaths every decade. At least CNN can say (if they would ever admit to mistakes) that they said "could" and it never happened. Oops, we were wrong. Not sure what MSNBC is going to say if the government response is effective. Most likely they will just pretend that Rep. Gutierrez was never on their show.
The funny thing is (in a sad sort of way), the data doesn't back up the claim that there is an increasing number of more and more powerful hurricanes. Check out this article for a different point of view on the frequency and strength of recent hurricanes.
Perhaps talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said it best when he commented in his show on Wednesday, September 12 about the Post’s editorial. “There’s almost like a demonic possession that has come over these people,” he said. “The next thing we’re gonna hear is that that Trump is colluding with Hurricane Florence … and that the special counsel is looking into it.” The quote is included in this article here from WND.com.
Again, the Hurricane Florence accusations are just one of the hundreds of similar attacks. The Bible is very clear about lies and false witness.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16 ESV
You shall not spread a false report. Do not join the wicked by being a malicious witness. Exodus 23:1 ESV
Stay far away from a false accusation. Do not kill the innocent and the just, for I will not acquit the guilty. Exodus 23:7 ESV
You must not steal. You must not lie or deceive one another. Leviticus 19:11 ESV
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Deuteronomy 5:20 ESV
Like a club or sword or sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor. Proverbs 25:18 ESV
He that hides hatred with lying lips, and he that utters a slander, is a fool. Proverbs 10:18 ESV
"Which ones?" the man asked. Jesus answered, "'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, Matthew 19:18 ESV
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16 ESV
Make no mistake about it, those who are deceived and spreading false witness are doing so because they have fallen to the temptation of pride and a lust for power. Even if their narratives were correct, the ends do not justify the means. The deceivers have shown time and again that they are willing to pursue a scorched-earth assault on the President to regain the power they feel rightly belong to them and that was "unfairly" taken from them by the "deplorables" who voted for Trump in 2016. It doesn't matter to them who or what they destroy so long as they destroy Trump.
Again, if we look at this from the perspective of spiritual warfare, what do we see? Are we fighting against the people who are the enemies of God and how should Christians respond? Paul said it best in Ephesians 6
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-20
In the end, it's up to Christians to demonstrate love to the world so that others might see the truth and be set free by that truth. Why is that?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Hate does not begat (give birth to) love. Only love can begat love.
May we go into the world and do as Timothy has suggested here.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
I haven't posted anything in several months. Apologies for that. Lord willing I will be posting many more articles in the days and weeks to come.
Thanks for reading and God Bless!