There is a movie that came out some time ago called “Sleeping With The Enemy,” with Julia Roberts and Kevin Kline. It was about a woman whose perfectionistic, OCD husband had complete control over her–what she wore, how she kept house, the meals she prepared, and how she spent her time. If this emotional and mental abuse wasn’t enough, he was sometimes physically abusive as well. This wife knew the only way she could leave this man is if she executed a plan of escape in such a way that he would think she had died, and so she did.
My question is how did she marry a man like that in the first place? What inroad did he have into her life? Was it purely deception, showing her a false identity, hiding who he really was? Did he study her, find her fears and weaknesses, and offer a false sense of security? Did he manipulate her by guilt or shame? These are some of the ways the enemy finds inroads and builds strongholds in our lives.
We give the enemy access into our souls when we come into agreement with him. This can take many forms, but it is always sin that allows him entry. Sins can be actions, of course, but they can be mindsets or vows that we make such as “I will never…” or “I will always…” which is saying, “I will not submit to God.” They can be attitudes such as fear, unbelief, or pride. The kind of lie I want to talk about is one that is buried deep in our souls. If the enemy through our life experiences can cause us to believe a lie, then we will operate as if that lie were truth, not even aware a lie is driving our behavior.
Just recently the Lord healed me from about six weeks of my digestive system going haywire. I was trying to find out everything that I could by Googling and was entertaining the thought that it could be a dread disease, which was inducing fear. Finally, after researching very carefully, I made some serious dietary and lifestyle changes that I do believe was directed by the Lord. Obviously, I needed to take better care of my temple. But despite all the good changes I was making, I still wasn’t okay.
The one change I felt powerless to make was controlling my anxiety. I have had struggles in this area, sometimes to a large degree, sometimes not very much at all. The root of anxiety is fear. I read something interesting recently in a book called “A More Excellent Way to be in Health,” by Henry W. Wright. He said when we have ongoing fear, anxiety, or stress, which are sins, that we are agreeing with the enemy, and in doing so, he sends a death spirit to work in our body. Since his agenda is to kill, steal, and destroy, I don’t doubt it.
Sitting at the lunch table after church on a Sunday, I talked with my husband Mark about what was bothering me. Although the scenario was more broad, I narrowed it down to one specific issue that was causing my thoughts to spin inside my brain that day and my body to be tense. He suggested doing Theophostics, and I asked him to help me.
Theophostics is a prayer ministry. It actually means “God light.” I won’t go into a lengthy explanation here, but you go through a process where you look at the situation that’s causing you problems and embrace what you’re feeling. Through prayer, Jesus will take you to another memory until you get to the place where the “lie” was set up, where you believed it, agreed with it, and the enemy got his ground. In the end, the Lord speaks to you, shines his light on the lie, and replaces it with the truth.
In this particular situation, I was concerned about one of my grandchildren. I felt overly responsible for this child in my mind. I felt guilty when I didn’t think I was doing enough, being involved enough, that I was “necessary” for this precious child’s well-being. The guilt was the emotion I had to embrace. It didn’t take long for the Lord to bring me to the root of it. I believed a lie that I was not a good enough mother to my daughter. I cried in grief as the memories of where I felt I had failed her washed over me.
But at the end of the process, the Lord showed me the truth. No, I wasn’t a perfect parent. I made mistakes. God is the only perfect parent. But I was a good mother to my daughter. The Lord gave me several memories that showed I was indeed a very good mother. I was so surprised! How could I have known my worry over this grandchild had this root? Only God knew. I was now free in that place. I felt peace and no longer felt concern or worry. My digestive issues were gone that very day!
A lie that you believe in your soul will affect you in every area of your life. In “Sleeping With The Enemy,” her husband abused her in every area. Our enemy is the enemy of God. He is the father of lies. If he can find an inroad, he will abuse us mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Mentally I battled this imbalanced concern, which caused emotional pain (guilt and anxiety), which caused my physical problems. I know this won’t be a one-time experience. In the Lord’s timing, there will be other issues to address, and I welcome them.
It took courage for Julia Roberts’ character to plan an escape from her enemy. It can take courage to let the Lord reveal to us the lies, or strongholds, that are inside us. But the momentary pain gives way to glorious freedom as he brings the light of his truth. In John 8:32, Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” He will set us free over and over as we surrender every area of our souls to him. Listen for his voice. He will show you where you need healing as you seek him with your whole heart.
For more information about Theophostic Prayer Ministry, check out our website at hopepreserved.org.