Jesus said of the devil, “he is a liar” (John 8:44), and one of the devil’s many lies comes in the form of distortion. For example, someone may say or do something abrasive to you. They really should not have said or done it, but in all honesty, it isn’t that big of a deal. Just a bump in the road. However, in the unseen realm, it’s as if the powers of darkness put a magnifying glass over that bump to distort and magnify the action, making it appear as a mountain-sized offense. If you do not recognize and reject the distortion, then you may get in the flesh and respond with the fury that a mountain-sized offense might draw out of you! But if you do, the offender and others are going to wonder what’s wrong with you because they understand that it really isn’t that big of a deal. Satan often wreaks havoc among the saints through this tactic.
Some years ago, I was all worked up about something. I was just spewing mad. Then I asked myself, “What am I upset about?” When I realized what it was (something very minor) I recognized I had fallen prey to distortion. Such distortion and the excessive anger it engenders are marks of the Enemy’s involvement.
A missionary of years past tells the story of overhearing another missionary couple having a tiff in the next room. Though the man understood that couples sometimes have tiffs, he noted that the present arguing was getting excessive as voices intensified. This was very unlike the couple. Taking a moment to consider the excessiveness, the missionary recognized the Enemy in the situation and took action. From his chair in the next room, he simply claimed his position in Christ at the throne far above the Enemy (Eph. 1:19-2:2, 6) and exercised Christ’s authority over the Enemy in the situation. Immediately, the situation calmed down, voices returned to conversational levels, and soon the couple reconciled and resumed their work.
Distortion often introduces excessiveness. Learn to recognize it. Perhaps there is an excessive attraction to purchase something. Reject it. Impulsiveness is a sign of the flesh, but compulsiveness is a sign of the Enemy. The Holy Spirit leads; the powers of darkness shove and push. The excessive attraction to buy something is not of God and must be rejected.
Sometimes there may be excessive distraction. Distractions are normal, but excessive distractions may involve the Enemy. After I had addressed some of these issues in a particular church service, a baby went ballistic during the invitation time. The church building was small, and the extreme crying could be easily heard even though the mother had taken the baby to another room. Recognizing the possibility of the Enemy’s involvement due to the topic and the timing, the mother claimed her position in Christ at the throne and exercised His authority over any Enemy involvement. Immediately, the baby calmed and quieted.
Recognize distortion and excessiveness as signs of satanic attack and, based on your position in Christ far above the powers of darkness, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
John Van Gelderen