1 Corinthians 2:12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
I recently had a disturbing lesson in the reality that there are more spirits out there than the Holy Spirit of God. A Japanese TV program that generally gives very interesting insights into places around the world was in a Buddhist temple in Burma (Myanmar), and there was a male-to-female transsexual temple dancer, not only dancing but giving personal prophecy to people present, almost exactly as I have seen many times in Pentecostal/Charismatic meetings. I had such a strong impression of evil that I turned the TV off, even though the program is one of very few that I watch. Shortly before that scene the dancer was being interviewed by the Japanese reporter and was saying that they were “married” to the god of that temple (Burmese Buddhism is quite syncretistic with animistic religion) and since they were the “wife” of the god, they dressed as a woman. I have seen people all over the world who are very impressed by “spiritual” things, but with no real discernment as to what spirits were involved. In “advanced” countries people tend to discount the supernatural, but the spiritual realm the New Testament speaks of in many places is certainly real. God does not send His Holy Spirit into a vacuum, but to displace the evil/unclean spirits that infest the world. We aren’t to focus on the evil but on the good, but we also aren’t to be ignorant that the devil and his demons are very real. We aren’t to be terrified of them, but we are certainly to be on our guard, as the Bible tells us in several places. (1 Peter 5:8, etc.) Again, we aren’t to live in fear, certainly. In a discussion of such anti-christian spirits, John says, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) We are to be bold but not ignorant!
I have encountered evil/unclean spirits many times, but I’m sure there have been many more times when I simply haven’t recognized them. My wife is more gifted in discerning spirits than I am, and she is very helpful to have around. Evil spirits tend to avoid her! One time about 45 years ago we were in Sasebo and she was standing at a bus stop, when two American cult missionaries spotted her and made a beeline for her, thinking they could proselytize in English. They got to about two meters from her and it was like they had run into a wall. They backed up and tried again, and the same thing happened. After that, they turned tail and practically ran away! She (and I when I heard about it) was very grateful for the protection of God. There are many deceiving spirits in the world. That’s why we need to be firmly grounded in the truth of the Bible and choose to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, and no other. I continue to encounter people constantly who are terribly deceived. I am to speak the truth in love, proclaiming “liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,” (Luke 4:18) so that the schemes of the devil may be defeated and God’s kingdom come indeed.
Father, thank You for this reminder. You know the deceptions in the hearts of the people around me far better than I do. I ask You to guard me by Your Word and Your Spirit, so that Your truth through me may indeed set people free, (John 8:32) for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!