On occasion, I feel led to pray in the name of Jesus for the protection of my family against any evil (demonic) spirits. Once during a time of intense prayer, I suddenly experienced the uncontrollable twitching of the muscles of my face. I wasn't frightened—it lasted only a few seconds. But it was so bizarre. I'm too embarrassed to tell anyone I know, but I'm wondering … could there be a spiritual explanation for this?
I can understand your reluctance to share this story in your Sunday school class or small group Bible study. Someone who has never had an experience like yours might find it frightening and confusing—or very hard to believe. Many Christians are wary of attributing spiritual significance to these kinds of experiences. They're worried that it will lead to an unhealthy preoccupation with supernatural phenomenon, that they might be deceived or misled by nothing more than superstition and fear. And there's some basis for that concern. Some people do get carried away—far away—from a sound biblical perspective on these things. We've got to stay firmly grounded in the Word of God and what it teaches us.
The experience you describe could have been a coincidence—there may be a simple physical explanation. But there could also be a spiritual explanation. Scripture is clear that demons and evil spirits do exist, and that they can manifest themselves in the physical, material world—sometimes causing very real physical sensations or symptoms (Matt. 17:14-18, 12:22; Mark 9:25). There is such a thing as spiritual warfare—a battle that rages between the angels and demons, believers and the enemy of our souls (Eph. 6:12).
Anyone who's ever made an earnest, heartfelt commitment to spend more time in Bible study and prayer can tell you that spiritual warfare is real. It's amazing how suddenly exhausted and sleepy we feel the minute we open our Bible. As we start to pray, a million distracting thoughts rush through our heads. We find ourselves reliving the most painful experiences of our past, or going over and over long to-do lists. The phone rings, a family crisis erupts. And yes, some believers have reported experiencing more bizarre and explicitly supernatural distractions. The good news is that "greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). With Jesus to guide us and lead us, defend us and shield us, we're more than a match for anything the enemy throws our way.
Christin Ditchfield is the host of the syndicated radio program Take It To Heart, and the author of A Family Guide to Narnia: Biblical Truths in C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia (Crossway).
Copyright © 2007 by the author or Christianity Today/Today's Christian magazine.
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