Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
–– Ephesians 6:10 to 12.
The People’s Cathedral men’s ministry director Michael Goddard would have us believe that Barbados is “under Satanic attack”. There is “too much evil going on”, he argues, for Satan’s forces not to be at work.
And he wants to see his seemingly “deafeningly quiet” fellow church leaders speaking up, living exemplary lives and evangelizing, rather than running behind politicians or making overtures to them for the hobnobbing.
There is no question that Barbados in most recent times has featured vividly in moral failings, but we must not be too hasty in blaming the devil for it. Almighty God, as we understand it, has always given us freedom of choice: to do right and be blessed; to do wrong and suffer the consequences.
And even though some preachers will insist that the Almighty gave us the freedom to pursue His will –– not to do what we want to, but what we ought to –– we aver that we are responsible for what ever actions we take. The lack of candour among our politicians, the doubletalk from the said church Mr Goddard wants to hear more from, the misjudgement of our social leaders, the irresponsibility of parents, the unbridled precociousness of our children, and the present obsession with shared and liked pornogrpahy on the Internet, via YouTube and smartphone tech apps, will not be so easily passed off on the devil.
Everyone of us must take responsibility for what this country has become; and if we are disappointed with and let down by its current state, let us do something about it. First, Satan can have no corrupting influence on us unless we are in for it and are prepared to take the risk of betraying the moral foundation of our ancestors.
We do not wish to dismiss out of hand Mr Goddard and company’s belief in spiritual warfare; the concept is clearly stated in Scripture, our having alluded to it at the introduction of this Editorial. It is just that we seek to counsel those among us that we must take care how we interpret and instruct on this biblical spiritual warfare, lest its pronouncements are taken out of context or driven to such extremes as exceed authentic Scripture.
We recall the Minister of Education’s understanding that our schoolchildren were possessed by demons skulking in the corners of many a school classroom; and multitudinous were the entreaties and incantations of the prayer warriors among us. It can’t be said though that the “spiritual battle” was won here. There was probably no spiritual warfare in the first place.
Our lapse in inculcating in our children and youth senses of moral principle, considerateness, respect, decency and self-worth –– because in many cases some of us do not exhibit any of these qualities ourselves –– is responsible for the misconduct we witness daily among our youth. And our young who do articulate these positive characteristics are sometimes hard-pressed to continue, seeing how they too are painted with the same brush that colours their marauding peers.
The invading Satan and his imps are no more around than scarce money to run this country and the many businesses and households in it. The only demons are the men who would not father their children, the women who are too sweet on their delinquent sons to show them “tough love”, the politicians who cannot give you the unvarnished truth, the church leaders who cannot make up their minds if they are for or against . . . .
Those of us who hold to the essence of Scripture accept that when we gather in God’s presence for worship and edification, we do so firm in the knowledge that there is no other power present that is not subject to the Lord’s will –– not even when we pray in our inner chambers.
We must not misconstrue Peter’s observation (1 Peter 5:8) that our “adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” to give Satan any omnipresence and omnipotence, though we should take care not to underestimate his work. We need only be sober; be vigilan