I am aware how much ground there is for fear about this, and I have been very much grieved by certain people I know, in whom I have seen what I am describing; they have left Him Who in His great love was yearning to give Himself to them as a Friend, and to prove His friendship by His works. I earnestly warn such people not to enter upon occasions of sin, because the devil sets much more store by one soul in this state than by a great number of souls to whom the Lord does not grant these favors. For those in this state attract others, and so they can do the devil great harm and may well bring great advantage to the Church of God.
God not only loves us, He wants to be our Friend and prove his friendship by doing great works in and through our lives. This friendship and power threatens the devil’s goal of destroying lives, families, and institutions. Therefore, we become a spiritual warfare target.
The devil is real or he isn’t. He destroys or he doesn’t. He designs and propels evil or he’s inconsequential. We trivialize spiritual warfare. We blame the devil for minor inconveniences or the consequences resulting from lack of discipline and skill-building. But the devil is not a mere gremlin. He destroys the good, expands suffering, and suffocates renewal. He drives disease, war, poverty, human trafficking, and drug use. In this war he “plays for keeps”.
In addition to the Devil’s overall strategy, he has tactics: gain territory and establish outposts. One of the Devil’s tactics is to keep those who have had mystical prayer experiences from becoming a powerful influence for good. So avoid sin. Marginalize leaders with poor character. Beware when previous sources of spiritual warfare resurface in concert. This may be the actual battle or a diversion. Also pray when bizarre events feel orchestrated and the “weak-minded” slip into strange behavior.
Are you a potential target? If you have had mystical prayer experiences, the answer is “yes”. You must reset your spiritual life and maintain a “fixed determination” to press forward to the center of the castle where the devil has less power. Teresa says the devil knows those who persevere “inflict great injury on him, and, when he plans to do them harm, he only profits them and others and is himself a loser.” Perseverance can turn the devil’s attack into our victory.