What my old church didn’t know.
The church I attended as a teenager never mentioned spiritual warfare, probably because they’d never heard of it. It’s Biblical, though, right from the beginning. Back in the Garden of Eden, God gives people “dominion” over all the earth. I’ve had many occasions to use it.
Demonstrating “dominion” with a bumblebee.
For instance, once in a refugee village by the Salween River, I was getting a group of young teens, a dozen or so kids, ready to be baptized. The pastor had asked me to teach some of the basic principles of Christianity, and this day I was teaching about spiritual warfare. The teens looked bored. Ah me! This was such an exciting subject, and so useful! How could I wake them up?
I looked out from the pavilion and saw my co-worker on a path a hundred or so feet away. She was whacking away with an umbrella at a huge bumblebee, clearly visible from our vantage point.
Aha! God was giving me an object lesson. “Students, pay attention to what I’m going to do.” I pointed at the bee and said in a firm voice, “Bee! Be gone! In the Name of Jesus, leave her alone! Go!”
The bee veered away and flew off. Lesson demonstrated! Now the teens were greatly interested and paid attention to the rest of the lesson. Thank you, God.
Stopping a determined carabao.
Another time, I was traveling with a different woman whose exuberance often landed her in trouble. We were traveling in the mountains and came upon a field with a herd of carabao, water buffalo. “Oh, stop the car!” she shouted. “I want to pet the pretty animals!”
Before our interpreter could stop her, she jumped out of the Land Rover and headed across the field.
“Liz! Liz! Come back,” our interpreter shouted. But she was already headed out, red Karen skirt and all.
One beast stared at her, then began to lumber toward her. “Stop!” I shouted. “In the Name of Jesus, Stop!”
It did. It stopped, stared at Liz, then slowly turned and went back to join the rest of the herd. Wow!
Are there limits to our dominion?
Where does this “dominion” stuff end? I honestly don’t know. I’ve tried stopping rain storms, sometimes with success, sometimes not. But who is to say the rain wouldn’t have stopped anyway? I know that prayers kept our trucks from falling off narrow mountain roads and kept us safe in exciting Thailand highway traffic with each vehicle making up its own rules. But…maybe that would have happened even if we hadn’t taken authority over it.
This I know for sure: that bumblebee and carabao both stopped in their tracks when I commanded them to stop. No one can deny that. Praise God.