Here are the reflection questions for the second mansion:
-Where are you experiencing conflicts between God’s way and the world’s way in your life at the present time?
-What lies is the enemy using to attempt to convince you that these instances of the world’s way will best meet your needs, or that there is no real alternative?
-When you talk to God about this battle, do you ask for help doing it His way, or do you make excuses, defending the devil’s lies?
-What steps is God asking you to take now?
I really really struggled reading this chapter, because my “second mansion” experience was DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT than the ones described. I saw some similarities, but only vaguely. Here they are:
-Although I didn’t really have a desire for “worldly things”, I started to discover ways that I had “failed God.” Satan (I use this term loosely) reminded me of those every day. I couldn’t possibly follow God further, because I wasn’t “strong enough.” I may be getting into the third mansion with this statement.
-I really believed deceptions thrown at me when they had to do with my self-worth and fear (I’ll talk more about this later).
-I can understand to an extent the “mixed motives.”
-I agree that many churches don’t encourage people through this time of spiritual growth. New believers are told to “shape up”, but in this, I have only observed this in others. My journey has been very different.
-I do agree that the best advice for anyone in this stage is to draw close to other Christians further along in the journey. Everyone needs encouragement through this phase.
I don’t feel like I ever identified with the reflection questions at the end of this chapter. In my mind, I can’t remember ever wanting anything other than to follow God. That’s not to say that there weren’t times when I didn’t understand what I was going through (and in fact I still don’t understand some things). The battle in my soul was never for my allegiance; it was for my effectiveness.
I am about to share something that is highly difficult to share, but is a very real part of my journey. Please don’t lock me up; I’m not insane. I have met VERY FEW people who can understand what I’m about to explain.
Spiritual warfare means something entirely different to me than it does to most people. I once had a college professor say something to the effect of “Demons don’t act the way they used to in Bible times. They don’t show themselves, at least not in our culture.” Maybe for the most part, that’s true. I find for a lot of people, the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis to be very helpful. For most people, spiritual attacks are subtle and disguise themselves as other things, even God. However, I can’t identify with that, and it’s really hard for me.
Since I was little, and I can’t remember a time when this wasn’t true, I was very aware of the presence of demons. I’m not going to go into detail about this. I say this only to explain that for some reason, God has allowed my eyes to be opened to spiritual realities, at least in ways that He has determined “safe” at the time, but I never felt safe. It was only after I journeyed much further into the mansions when I finally grasped what it meant to “feel safe.” Spiritual warfare for me was literal and physical, and still is, but to a differing degree. I understand Mansion #2’s defenseless feeling, because as a young child, teenager, and eventually college student (because I don’t think I started to explore Mansion #3 until college) I did not yet understand how to defend myself against attacks. These were very terrifying years of my life. I have struggled this past year with some serious emotional wounds from what I experienced so young, and many questions have arisen in my mind as to why God would allow something so scary into the life of a defenseless child. Yesterday God asked me to follow Him down the dangerous path of discovering why He has given me this “gift” (I refer to it as a curse, but often there is a fine line between the two). And I need to add a disclaimer to all of this that you MUST READ.
I do not share this as a means to “sensationalize” evil. What I mean is this: I am not being open about this so that others can ask questions like “What do demons look like?” I will not answer questions like that, and as far as specific attacks and what was felt or done I will not share but with very few as the Lord reveals to me that they need to hear. I share this to pose that there are other dimensions of spiritual warfare than the typical experienced by Christians, and understand that my faith has come in a drastically different way than presented by the book will help you understand why I answer some questions the way I do.
That’s all for now.