October eNews: The Power of Atmospheres
God created this world with an atmosphere: “the nearly transparent envelope of gases and suspended particles that surrounds the Earth, profoundly affecting and influencing environmental conditions on the planet’s surface.”1 However, just as there is an area that contains unseen particles and gases, so too there is an invisible realm in which spirits—both good and bad—live and function. And in the same way that activity occurring in the air around us affects “the planet’s surface,” the bustle that goes on in this spiritual realm influences humans.
This is an important subject for those who struggle with habitual sexual sin. If we are being regularly affected by the spiritual climate in which we live, work and play, then it only stands to reason that we should show great care about what might contribute to that climate.
Back in 2005, I wrote a book entitled, “Intoxicated with Babylon: The Seduction of God's People in the Last Days.” As part of my efforts I did a systematic study on the New Testament term world (Gk. kosmos), particularly what was written in reference to the last days. I arrived at the following conclusion:
Supplied with this new evidence, I did a thorough study of this important concept in Scripture, reminding myself that kosmos meant “an ordered existence apart from God.” What became clear to me was that, although sometimes the word refers to everyone living on the planet earth, it is used primarily to describe the corporate consciousness of the people of this world who are in rebellion against God’s authority. Kosmos is what binds together the unbelieving world. It is a global mentality that remains a powerful unspoken force in the lives of mankind. It molds vastly different people groups into one entity which lives out its existence on earth under the domain of Satan, unified against God.2
The book is about how the malignant spirit that is behind this global mindset is affecting and deceiving millions of Christians in ways they don’t realize. The spirit of this world is constantly striving to lure believers away from a true love for God into a lust for the attractions the world offers. (I John 2:15)
The apostle Paul made a couple of very revealing statements about the devil in the book of Ephesians. In the second chapter he wrote, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:1-2) In the final chapter, he made another revealing statement: “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.” (Ephesians 6:12)
These statements contain enormous insight into this invisible realm that surrounds us. When he referred to “air” in chapter two, he was not talking about the “gases and suspended particles that surround the Earth.” He was clearly writing about the unseen realm where devils do their dirty work of influencing and deceiving mortals. The term air is simply another way of describing “the heavenly realms” mentioned in the sixth chapter. Satan and his minions possess some kind of “power” to create ungodly atmospheres within this unseen realm.
Paul hints at how the enemy establishes these atmospheres when he called the devil, “the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” Devils have the power to create spiritual atmospheres in certain locales through lawless people that work in conjunction with a person’s flesh to lead him into sin. In other words, a tavern will have an environment that is conducive to partying. A prison will have a climate of pride, hatred and violence. An adult bookstore will have a spirit of lasciviousness at work within it. Not only do these locations have something which might tempt a person to sin (i.e. alcohol, pornography), but they also become a gathering place of demonic spirits that affect people.
I fully believe a person could walk into an adult bookstore blindfolded and still feel a strong, sensuous spirit in the air. That’s why Paul warned believers to “make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Romans 13:14) Because humans are so susceptible to spiritual influences, the wise apostle in essence was saying, “Don’t even get around those places where sin is available. Not only will you subject yourself to temptation, but you will also expose yourself to their demonic influence.”
The truth is that we all have to spend time out in “the world.” Perhaps you don’t have to spend time in a godless workplace, but we all inevitably have to make forays into worldly places such as malls, etc. Believers should do their best to take care about where they go and how much time they spend in carnal places.
It is even more important that the Christian maintains a godly atmosphere in the home. After spending the day amongst unbelievers, being subjected to their ungodly talk, their music, their disdain for the things of God, etc., it is vital that the believer can escape those influences in favor of a godly environment. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that most Christians don’t have much concern about the spiritual atmosphere in their homes.
There are a number of things that provide an open door for demons to establish their presence within a home:the Internet, radio, magazines, and even newspapers can all serve as conduits for the enemy. However, the most powerful weapon the devil has in his arsenal is the television. It is, by its very nature, a communication medium. As such, the enemy can use it at will to subtly (and sometimes brazenly) convey his anti-God mindset.
Christians who think they can allow the enemy to bombard their minds with a constant barrage of ungodly messages without being deeply affected are only deceiving themselves. There is a reason advertisers pay enormous sums of money for a few seconds of airtime. They fully understand the power that the medium of television has to influence the minds and actions of people. The truth is that television programming is nothing more than the enactment of the deeds of the flesh. How tragic when the very place a believer should be able to retreat to from the corrupting influences of the world becomes the place of the greatest pollution!
The best solution to this problem is to simply get rid of the cable and/or antenna. My wife and I did this nearly 30 years ago and have never regretted it. We allow ourselves a moderate amount of entertainment through the use of videos. Over the years we have built up a library of Christian movies. We have also purchased some G-rated movies and documentaries produced by companies such as National Geographic.3 I suppose on the average we watch about ten such programs per month—give or take.
To those who do not wish to go to this extent, I would like to make a couple of suggestions: First, set limits on how long the TV set will be turned on during the evening. There is nothing worse than to allow it to run continuously in the home. Also, show great care over the selection of programs. Rather than flipping through channels—and subjecting yourself to whatever may come across the screen—sit down with the TV Guide and decide ahead of time exactly what programs you will watch. Lastly, men should not watch television by themselves—there’s too much temptation available!
The benefits of limiting television viewing are well worth the temporal discomfort:
● Limitation of the ungodly influences of the world;
● Absence of exposure to the temptation to view sexual content;
● Protection of one’s children from the ungodly elements represented on TV;
● Quality time spent with family;
● More time to devote to godly pursuits such as Bible study and prayer;
● It establishes a quality of life emotionally and spiritually for the entire family.
These are only a few of the benefits. Breaking the television habit may be difficult at first. It might be best to spend that first week doing other activities just to break the pattern that has become established. Once the habit has been broken, it requires diligence to maintain this freedom. However, my testimony to you is that you will be closing the door to the devil and opening the door to the Holy Spirit to inhabit your home like never before!
1 Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge.
2 Steve Gallagher, Break Free from the Lusts of this World, Pure Life Ministries, 2001.
3 With our limited funds, I have found that I can go onto Amazon.com and bargain shop for used videos.
Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. He has dedicated his life to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and leading Christians into the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.
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