Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. – 1Peter 2: 11 (NLT) The Bible tells us that we are at war. That we have an enemy who is relentless in his attacks against us. An enemy who employs demonic minions to do his bidding against us and against this world. That we are literally wrestling against principalities, powers, and rulers over the darkness of this age we are living in. Can you digest that for a moment? We fight against spiritual hosts of wickedness which are located in the heavenly realms. I know that we want to hear all the feel good messages about the love of God but how in the world does it show love to send someone off to war with no armor, no weapons, and no details about the enemy they will be facing? I say this because it seems whenever we are faced with the appearance of proof within this dark world of the very evil nature of demonic influence, our fist instinct is to try and dismiss it with completely carnal logic. I saw a video this week regarding a popular singer in today’s culture, Nicki Minaj. It was a Christian production that focused on her statements regarding an alternate personality she has named “Roman.” In her own words she said that Roman is a boy that lives within her that says all the things she doesn’t want to say. She said that Roman was born out of rage and that while she has asked him to leave – he won’t. In one clip she allows herself to be taken over by this persona who then declares that anyone who doesn’t believe in him is “going down in a coffin.” This video was presented because someone was rightfully concerned about who our kids are following these days and what they may or may not be into. While this is true in general it is even more important when dealing with someone who essentially admits they are either being influenced by demons or outright possessed. Now, I am not a Christian alarmist who sees demons behind every song. I think that the vast majority of these types of accusations are largely fanciful and based on nothing in reality. I grew up in the age where we all heard about was how every artist had sold their soul to the devil and backward masked their albums to swear allegiance to the dark side. That is not what is going on in this case however. These are her words, not mine. Is it possible that this is all a PR stunt in the mind of Nicki Minaj? Absolutely, but do you think for one minute the devil cares why she is creating alternate personalities inside of herself? More importantly, when your children hear their favorite singer espouse this concept, do you think for a second the devil isn’t going to try and sell it to them as something desirable? Do you think the principalities and rulers over this present darkness cares one bit about what logic we use to dismiss this away? That is simply spiritual ignorance. You can see that spiritual ignorance on display in the comments from unbelievers to articles such as this or videos such as the one I am referencing. They openly mock the video, as well as the notion of heaven and hell; the devil and God. But we are to expect that no? But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. – 1Corinthians 2: 14-15 (NLT) We expect these answers from the world because the very things of God are utter foolishness to them. They hear about God, the devil, demons and angels and think that the people who believe are crazy. They use the logic of this age and of men who don’t want God to sacrifice any belief on the altar of pseudo-enlightenment. I get that. I get that to them Nicki is just being Nicki. She is just trying to sell albums or seem mysterious. And you know what? That might be what Nicki is thinking too! But none of that matters in the heavenly realms where demonic forces align against us and against this world. When you see the state of our youth – and Christian youth as well – maybe then we can not be so quick to dismiss spiritual causes and solutions. Just take a look at the epidemic of “cutting” amongst the youth today. We never would heave heard about this a generation ago but as the world continues to erode and wickedness increases as Jesus said it would – is it any surprise? Let me introduce you to the first cutter: When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from a cemetery to meet him. This man lived among the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones. – Mark 5: 2-5 (NLT) This demon possessed man cut himself with stones day and night. Beloved as Christians we do not believe in coincidence. What possesses someone to cut themselves? What possesses someone to commit suicide? What possesses someone to walk into an Elementary School and callously kill 20 kids under the age of eight? If you cannot see the forces of evil in this world then one of two things is happening. You are either not looking hard enough or you have moved in to close to this world. I am always stunned at the Christian response to things such as the Minaj video. It seems some Christians are very quick to dismiss spiritual answers to spiritual problems. Instead, they seek to employ carnal rationales to things that clearly have a spiritual aspect to them. I feel if they were there that day with Jesus they would dismiss the demon possessed man as simply someone who had a poor childhood and needed some medication. Where the world sees mental illness the Christian should see demonic attack. Where the world sees Nicki being Nicki, the Christian should simply take her at her word. She loses control of herself to an entity that lives inside of her, whom she has asked to leave and he has refused. How in the world can you defend that and not even consider the spiritual dimension? I’ll tell you how. Because we have moved into the world we are supposed to be moving through. Our key verse today is supposed to remind us that we are merely temporary residents and foreigners in this world. Pilgrims and sojourners another translation says. We are supposed to be in the world but not of the world. Somewhere along the way however, we found things we like too much in this world to give up completely. The modern church simply reinforces it as well. The sad truth is there is so much compromise with the world that you can no longer tell the church apart. The seeker friendly theories of church growth all emphasize the need to reach the culture. This is absolute heresy. It is the culture that is killing them beloved and leading them to an eternity separated from God. It is the culture that thinks being possessed by another entity is something “cool” to be discussed on an interview. Why in the world should we want to be relevant to this? We should be different from it! Completely different from it! In the days of Abram and Lot, Sodom represented the wickedness of the world we now live in. When Abram and Lot separated this is what the Bible says: Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. – Genesis 13: 12 (KJV) The next time we come across Lot, he is living in Sodom. We cannot pitch our tents towards the things of this world and pretend we are still just passing through. We will end up neck deep in Sodom. We will start to see the excuses of the world as making more sense than the spiritual answers God has already given us. Pray for Nicki Minaj; that she sees what she is messing around with has spiritual consequences. Pray for our children to not look up to anything from this world. Pray for believers everywhere to wake up spiritually, recognize the war going on all around them, and pick up their tents and move away from Sodom. Rev. Anthony.