Last week, the devil ran away from me.
No, I’m serious. He took off. Fled. Forrest Gump-style booked it.
I was riding the RTD W-Line into work, just like every other morning. If you live in the Lakewood/Denver area, you know the W-Line community features some interesting cats. I once saw a dude on the train trying to consume a pod of Snack Pack pudding cups (yep, those ones from elementary school) without opening them. He was literally trying to eat the pudding with the packaging still on, teeth into plastic. That’s a story for another time, I guess.
Like most mornings, I was minding my own business. I called my mom, per usual (I’m a Mama’s boy!). She typically picks up the phone and says “you know I’m at work, right? Just because you’re not at work yet doesn’t mean I’m not!”…then proceeds to stay on the line for 15 minutes and listen to whatever problems, exciting new revelations, or other rants I happen to have in my back pocket that day. She’s awesome.
I was telling her about whatever current goings-on happened to be on the forefront of my mind while standing in the step-well next to one of the doors. It wasn’t the most comfortable positioning, so I decided to move to a different part of the train. That’s when I met the devil.
I was talking on the phone through my earbuds (I’m not cool enough to own AirPods, so I still use wires), so I may not have appeared to be mid-conversation to anyone out of earshot. When I turned and moved to a more open area, I looked up and my eyes met a dude whose eyes met me with terror and rage.
“WHAT THE F&%# ARE YOU LOOKING AT? YOU GOT A F*#@ING PROBLEM WITH ME?”
You might be as stunned as I was at the moment. For those of you who know me fairly well, you know that speechless isn’t one of my modes. I always have something to say, and I usually say it. But I was speechless. Completely frozen. My mom lost me on the other end for a moment. I couldn’t gather my thoughts, and I forgot what I was talking about with her. I was confused about how to respond to this man while also continuing the conversation with my mom. And I’ll be honest, I was a little scared.
I turned my head and looked out the window in front of me, trying to collect my thoughts. I was stunned, as I hadn’t ever laid eyes on this dude till the moment he boldly cursed me to my face. I didn’t know why he had chosen me for a verbal lashing. I ignored him for a few moments as I figured out what to do next. His dark, bruised and cold eyes were burning a hole through the right side of my face as I attempted to mentally prepare myself for, well, I didn’t know what.
I completely lost the ability to converse, so I hung up the phone with my mom. Then, I turned and faced the devil. In a moment of boldness that surprised even myself and the two women sitting near this mystery man, I approached him. I sat down across from him and looked him straight in the eye. Those cold eyes stared back, surrounded by bruises, tattoos and facial stitches.
This man was clearly embattled. What happened next revealed to me what was embattling him.
He repeated his verbal outburst.
“WHAT THE F%&# ARE YOU LOOKING AT? YOU GOT A F@#%ING PROBLEM BRO?”
In the shock of the moment (and the shock of my own decision to approach this dude) I forgot to come armed with words. I knew I didn’t want to engage in a pre-work day fistfight, so I kind of just stared back blankly. I didn’t need to make the next move, because he did.
“I’M GETTING THE F%#& AWAY FROM YOU!” he blurted while standing up.
And he did. He got up and left, moving to another seat in a different part of the train with his back turned to me.
I looked at the two women across the aisle and managed some words… “what just happened?”
They looked back at me with big, shocked eyes – probably confused as to why I hadn’t just ignored the guy and decided to engage him instead, probably thinking I was some kind of idiot but relieved that the dude ran away.
“He’s not all there,” one of them said.
I eyed the guy as I got off the train, but only saw the back of his head. I approached my office building, in shock of what had just happened but also breathing a sigh of relief and moving on with my day.
I didn’t think much of the encounter at first, but it hit me later what had happened that morning.
The devil ran away from me.
That guy, I’m certain of it, had a demon inside him. And that demon may have entered him in the form of drugs or alcohol, but that demon was manifesting outwardly. That demon saw me and lashed out at me. That demon chose me as a target and launched an attack.
I’d recently been listening to a powerful sermon series on spiritual warfare from Dr. Eric Mason of Epiphany Fellowship. I’d been growing more in tune with the reality of Satan and his demons on earth and the simultaneous reality of Jesus and His angels waging a constant battle with those demons. As my good friend Preston Coles has always told me, this spiritual realm consisting of angels and demons – which we can avoid realizing even exists for months, years, even lifetimes – is even more real than the physical life that consumes our attention.
That truth became incredibly apparent to me in this situation. After launching an attack on me, the demon inside this guy on the W-Line quickly cowered in fear when it realized who it was messing with.
It wasn’t messing with me. It was messing with the Creator of the Universe who lives within me. It was messing with El Shaddai (God Almighty), Jehovah Nissi (“The Lord is My Banner”), Yeshua. And before you think I’m overreacting and over-spiritualizing this seemingly simple situation, remember what this rugged and frankly scary man (who was asking for a fight) did when a very average, 5-foot-7 ¾ dude in dress clothes looked him in the face and stared blankly without words.
He cowered and fled. Because that’s what the devil does when he stares the power of Christ in the face. He has no choice but to flee. He must run. He must hide. He is overmatched.
Too many of us Christians are living in absolute fear of our surroundings and circumstances when we LITERALLY HAVE THE SAME POWER THAT RAISED JESUS FROM THE DEAD LIVING WITHIN US.
We blend into the world, cowering in fear of the future, fear of our superiors, even the fear of fear…because fear is all too real to us. Meanwhile, the devil-stomping power of Christ inside us sits dormant because, frankly, we forget it’s there.
If you are in Christ, you have power and authority. In fact, you have the only power and authority that matters…and the only power and authority that has any actual power and authority! Jesus Himself said you’d do greater things than He did because you have the Holy Spirit within you. Let that sink in for a second.
He wasn’t being facetious. You were actually meant to do greater things than Jesus because of the power He so graciously gave you. If you’re having trouble believing that, so am I. But He said it, so I’ll take my chances.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” – John 14:12-14 (ESV)
The power that took a dead God-man and resurrected Him in order to triumph over sin, death and Hell is living inside you. Let that one sink in for a second too.
Ok, now you know.
Say it with me. All together now…
I DECLARE WAR.