Recently I went through a Chrisitan spiritual crisis and was helped in a big way by my church. I was also helped by a non-denonimational perspective through my Christian spiritual crisis, and that blog is coming next. I wanted to post both points of view because I don’t think that they are in conflict. This both / and is one of the most valuable things I figured out. Both views can be true at the same, exact time, and not necessarily contradictory. This blog is reproductions with permission of emails from my church Intercessory team who helped me through it.
One of the most important things to realized is that a Christian spiritual crisis is not a mental illness. Often times, however, people end up in the mental health system during a Christian spritual crisis and instead of developing their relationship with the Creator, they are simply told they are defective. I met with a clergy person at the Carter Center social inclusion forum, and he told me that he was concerned that more clergy people aren’t interested in working with mental health issues.
I asked him, “Do you know how to tell the difference between a Christian spiritual crisis and a mental illness?”
He said, “No, not really.”
I said, “If you figure that out, that might be the key to knowing why clergy people don’t want to engage with the mental health system.”
Because most pastors want people to come to awakening as a Christian, and not every Christian spiritual crisis needs a referral. Here are some things ways can help instead.
Ask other people to pray for you. If you are not familiar with the term intercessor in the spiritual sense, a good working definition would be Holy, believing, and persevering prayer whereby someone pleads with God on behalf of someone who desperately wants/needs God’s intervention. The prayer is Holy because it presumes to reach the very ear of the Living God. It is “believing prayer” because the moment the prayers leaves the intercessor’s lips we know that they are heard by the LORD and that he is acting upon them. It is persevering prayer because we do not stop praying until we experience relief in the situation. We know when relief comes because there will be a sense of peace that wasn’t there before the Christian spiritual crisis started.
The best example of an intercessor is Jesus, as the Bible says that “there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). And because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood—he never stops interceding for us—therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:24-25). I do not know if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, but I don’t need to know that in order for my prayers for you to be heard and acted upon.
Read Psalm 91. Read it aloud. Read it over and over, if necessary, until you can picture yourself in the Psalm and sitting under God’s protection. King David (who wrote most the Psalms) was a great warrior. He was know as a warrior as early as his teen years, because he fearlessly fought and killed lions and bears when they attacked his sheep. His emotional ups and downs were just him being real before God. You might consider that an aversion to David might well be a spirit in/on you not wanting to deal with such a powerful personality.
The Lord God is a shelter to those who run to Him. Call on Jesus to help you. He will protect you and keep you safe. There is a blessing recorded in the Old Testament that God instructed the priests to pray over the Isrealites. It is recorded in Numbers 6:23-24 and I want to pray it over you: “May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”
Cultivating your relationship with Jesus and growing in your friendship with the Holy Spirit will eventually crowd out (and likely evacuate) other problems causing your Christian spiritual crisis. It will also help to evict the one currently residing with you. Praise and worship of God is also a repellant to spirits not from God. You/we need to focus on God and the person of Jesus Christ, not focus or give attention to any spirits. Only by allowing the Holy Spirit to strengthen our mind, heart, and spirit can we truly life a live of light and love for ourselves and to others. By pursuing the person of Jesus, we accomplish this!
What if the Christian spiritual crisis involves invaders?
In a Christian spiritual crisis, you already have pain and discomfort. A spirit residing with a person will certainly resist leaving, and so there may well be a struggle. Reviewing the accounts of Jesus evicting spirits from people, I wouldn’t anticipate any physical harm to you in the process. On the contrary, you’re more at risk for physical harm now, with the spirit. A spiritual risk to you would be if you resist and/or do not allow the Holy Spirit to fully possess you, because that amounts to an open invitation for the evicted spirit to return—and with more spirits. (Recall Jesus’ warning in Luke 11:24-26) If you move close to Jesus and stay in prayer, you should be just fine. We are praying that the Holy Spirit living in you will strengthen your mind, heart, and spirit; we have also prayed angelic protection for you.
How do you know if the spirit in/on you is beneficial? I suggest that you do not concern yourself with this possibility. Demons have power, and their power can result in healing as well as destruction. We have to remember, though, that any healing or “good things” that come from any source other than the Holy Spirit are, by definition, made for our eventual downfall and destruction. Remember that the devil is a liar, a thief, and a killer. He has tried to kill you multiple times already, so trying to approach you like a pedophile would approach a child with a smile, kind words, and candy, is extremely dangerous to you. Run!
You can tell it is harmful by what it is, and not so much by what it is doing and how uncomfortable you are during this Christian spiritual crisis. If it is not from God, then it ultimately seeks to harm you and/or your family/friends. For example, I can easily help an old lady cross a busy street safely and still have it in mind to mug her and kill her once she is across the street and out of sight from others. My heart breaks, Corinna, when I think of your friend, Al Henning, who died by psychiatry. I do not wish your light to be similarly extinguished; yet that is the destiny that these spirit(s) have in mind for you. The spirit that is residing with you is keeping you from seeking God and loving Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. If you truly desire to bring light, love, and joy into the lives of others—especially those trapped in mental institutions, then it is the Holy Spirit you want to have with you and none others.
Make sure any invading spirits don’t return:
The key issue is whether or not YOU want the spirit to leave–not whether or not I think it should leave. Getting rid of it isn’t going to be the problem; the problem will be keeping you free from others, once the one is gone. Read Luke 11:14-28. You are right in that we don’t want to make the situation worse than it already is. This is spiritual armor we’re talking about; there is nothing natural about it, i.e., your mind and will are insufficient protection. Read Ephesians 6:10-18:
“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
In practical terms, this means accepting by faith who God says Jesus is and who God says that you are. It means filling your mind with Scripture, because the words of God have power and authority in the spiritual realm. It means praying constantly for the Holy Spirit to guide you and be your friend. It means sticking close to like-minded believers, so that they can pray for you and with you, as you work to bring life, light, and joy to others. It means interceding on behalf of others—much like I am doing with you, to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ closer to those who so desperately need freedom—both naturally and spiritually.
It means calling upon your faith in God to resist/deflect/extinguish those attacking “arrows” of doubt, guilt, thoughts of insufficiency, unworthiness, rejection, false accusations, etc. that are designed and hurled against you so as to destroy you. It means remembering that you are saved by God by belief in Jesus Christ for good works, that there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and that by His shed blood and your testimony you already have victory. It means wielding the word of God as a sword: using Scripture to battle the lies and accusations of the devil—just like Jesus did when tempted by Satan in the wilderness.
Pray in the spirit:
Lastly, Corinna, read Ephesians 1:15-23, which tells us to pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion; to stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all believers everywhere. We will pray that you develop a strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere. We thank God for you and will pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to 1) give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God; 2) that your heart will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance; 3) that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power, the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
Remember, Jesus is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church.