Claiming the authority of Christ

I was talking to some of the people from another mission team working with us about how I was struggling with being here in Philadelphia.

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Although I don’t want to go home, there is definitely something uncomfortable about being here, and I’ve started to realize it’s not just because I’m nervous about what God is going to do through me. It’s actually because I’m nervous about the reaction I’m going to get from Satan while doing work that is counterproductive to the kingdom of hell. I tried to explain to them the indescribably dark feeling that came over me as soon as I got off the plane on Sunday afternoon. I’ve tried to shake it off the past couple of days because I know the rest of the girls on my team have already fallen in love with the city. I know I’m not there yet, and worry if I will ever get there.

Anyway, I was trying to explain this dark feeling I was having to the other team members when all of a sudden I felt a barrage of negative thoughts enter my head. I heard “myself” say that I shouldn’t be here—that it would be better if I were home because I can never do what we’ve been asked to do here.

At first I started to believe the words in my head, but then I realized these thoughts would never come from me, and would most definitely not come from God. That left only one option of someone who could put thoughts into my head—Satan.

When I realized this, I suddenly felt helpless and almost broke down crying in front of all of my teammates. I’m not usually a crier. Above almost anything else, I hate crying in front of people.

After sitting and wrestling with these thoughts for a few minutes and struggling to remain composed, I decided that I needed to address the problem. I sent a text to the girls in my group saying that we needed to talk as soon as we got home. I explained that I didn’t want to talk about what I was struggling with in a public place because I knew I would start crying.

I felt a little better knowing that I was going to be able to talk about it later, but I also knew I was going to have to wait at least three hours to address it with them. Plus, telling them that I needed to talk didn’t stop the verbal war inside my head.

Twenty minutes of internal battle had been raging before I remembered the authority I have in Christ’s name over Satan. It’s not an idea I’ve ever thought extensively about until I heard someone talk about spiritual warfare at Go Now orientation a week before we left for our trip. The speaker explained that since we are heirs to the kingdom of heaven, we have also been given authority over Satan because of Christ’s victory over him.

Suddenly the picture of me while under attack by Satan changed from bullied 2nd grader to Joan of Arc. After picturing this, inside my head I very firmly commanded: “Stop it! I know who you are, and I know what you are trying to do. But I know what God thinks of me, and you will not change my mind about that. In the name of Jesus Christ, shut up.”

As soon as I said the words to myself, I immediately felt a sense of peace rush over me. I was surprised at how much relief I felt and how quickly it came.

God is so good. The strength and power contained within his very name blows my tiny mortal mind. Experiencing firsthand the validity of something he has promised his children has grown my faith exponentially.

Juliana Pisano is a student at Stephen F. Austin State University serving with Go Now Missions in Philadelphia.

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