August 5, 2019

Sunday, August 4, 2019, thousands of churches around the world, especially in the United States, raised their collective voices in anguish and confusion because of two more horrendous mass shootings, leaving several dozen defenseless dead and more wounded. Other countries wonder how such a sophisticated country can be so violent, and why so many of our citizens are afraid to visit their countries when the U.S.A. is clearly more dangerous than their home. Here, we are dazed and confused. How can this have happened again? Over and over.

These two new incidents will ignite another political firestorm. What do we need to do about it? Ban guns? Ban certain kinds of guns? Change the requirements? There are proposed solutions that people explain and defend passionately. We all agree that this is a senseless, needless tragedy. But I believe we rush to solutions without getting the diagnosis first. We will never solve the program until we know why it is happening.

Here’s my humble opinion. This is far more and far bigger than mental illness. It is evil. I don’t believe this can be solved with political theories. It has nothing to do with politics; it has everything to do with the spiritual. I am continually reminding us that we are more spiritual than physical. We are not secondarily souls who live in a physical body. We are primarily spiritual souls living in temporary physical bodies. But we rarely talk about our spiritual health. When was the last time you went to your doctor and he asked, “How is your soul?” We don’t factor our souls, our spirits, into our health and actions, yet they are the source of all we think and do.

The world will pin the shootings on mental illness. I do believe in mental illness, and I know it occurs, but I believe it is far deeper than that. If you believe there is evil, you also have to believe there is good, and that leads me to believe there has to be a God. If there is a powerful force and source of good, there is also a powerful force and source of evil.

All I have experienced and all I have studied leads me to believe that what is going on in our world is demonic and from the deepest parts of the darkest place of evil. I believe most of what happens in the world comes from the evil one. I’d say about 85%is demonically directed, and perhaps 15% is mental illness. Mental illness describes someone who is hardwired to do these destructive and violent things. I believe the majority, the 85%, results from what we have allowed into our minds and spirits. Our input determines our output. Our society has indulged, gorged, and majored in perversion, violence, hatred, and rage for so long. We have raised children who have had a steady diet of this their entire lives, and the demonic has had full welcome and rein to their thoughts and spirits. Hosea 8:7 observes, “For they sow to the wind, and they reap the whirlwind.” It comes back with more fury than we ever intended.

I believe this is where we are as a nation and culture. Political rhetoric will never find the solution. It is a spiritual problem and must be solved on that level.

In Ephesians 6:11-13, Paul is instructing us on the spiritual battle that is raging all around us. He tells us, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

He goes on to say that the armor is necessary to stand in the “day of evil.” Right in the middle of describing the armor, he breaks into urging us to “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying . . .” (v. 18).

Paul understood what we seem to miss every single time. The problem with evil in our world is not medical, political, or cultural. It is spiritual. As long as our solutions leave out the spiritual, we will spiral deeper and deeper into hell on earth.

We are living in an age of darkness, and without God intervening this generation will end up hopeless. We are up against a lawlessness that sets itself against all that is from God. We must never lose sight that the battle we fight is for the souls of people. It doesn’t matter how difficult life looks, when we turn to God in prayer we are empowered to pull down every stronghold. We must take a stand, and get down on our knees to push back the darkness and bring about a season of mercy through prayer.

I want to strongly encourage you to become fully engaged in our call to 21 Days of Prayer, which kicks off this Sunday, August 11.

God, help us.