Spiritual Warfare Forum: seeking direction

seeking direction QUESTION from Chris March 24, 2001 Greeting in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I have followed your site for a few months now and you seem to be one of the more knowledgeable sources of information I've come across. I should probably state first that I am not Catholic, but a born-again Protestant...this is, of course, relevant since I'm seeking information from the Catholic Church in this matter.
I've recently found myself questioned often about the nature of demons...to what extent are Christians protected, how do they influence us, what are their purpose, where do they come from, how can we deal with them...that sort of thing...and I've found myself doing a lot of research. Now, throughout my life I've always felt a sort of sensitivity to the preternatural...knowing when things aren't quite right, seeing when things have been moved about, and being able to discern what is beneficial from what is evil...on several occasions, I've felt an evil presence in an area and had myself and company leave.
I feel lately that the Lord may be leading me down a path in this area. I'm a pretty objective person and usually don't let emotions affect my reasoning...perhaps this is a good quality for this line of work...perhaps not. I don't really know. But I would like to know more about the field.
Now, when I say I want to know more about the field, I want to be pretty clear on this. This kinda stuff is frightening to me. If the Lord wishes me to work for Him in this area, then I am willing to follow His plans...but I'd really like to look into this more only to find out He has other plans for me. I'm not the type of person who jumps into things without thinking them through, and if I go down this path I want to know it's because it's God's will and not some weird feeling I conjured up on my own (or was influenced by unholy sources to involve myself in).
So I'd like to find out more about the field itself and perhaps this will help me to learn whether this is what I'm supposed to involve myself in (along with, of course, lots of prayer and petitioning for discernment).
First of all...what are the inherent dangers involved and how would it affect my lifestyle. For instance, should I become involved in it, how does this affect family members, friends, etc...are they put at risk?
Secondly, if I'm reading/studying this now (before knowing this is what I'm called to do), what sorts of dangers does this pose? I understand if you're not meant to deal with this sort of thing, simply having a book laying around on the subject can be considered a way of inviting unwanted 'guests'. If I'm not called to do this, then 'guests' are really something I'd like to avoid from the beginning. What are the dangers of simply studying the material?
Thirdly, what are the personal dangers to myself? i.e. health, spiritually, etc. In helping others, am I likely to become a frequent target myself? (this is probably what most scares me, to be honest)
Anyway, your counsel would be most welcome on the matter! And please, by all means, feel free to tell me I'm full of it and to go find other stuff to do with my time:) I won't be offended...I'll be more relieved than anything else. *grin*
Thanks!
Take care and God Bless!
Yours in Christ, Chris
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on May 14, 2001 Dear Mr. Chris:
You ask many questions that are far to involved to answer here. Entire books are written on this subject. In fact, the first thing I would advise you to do is to read the books I have recommended. These Recommended Books are linked at the top of the SW Index page. to this forum.
That is a start.
As far as going into a spiritual warfare ministry, yes, it is dangerous, to you and to your family. This is why one should NEVER go into this without great discernment and prayer. Most of the people I know, both Catholic and Protestant, who are deliverance counselors of note (that is, are not wackos, but level-headed people) came into this ministry kicking and screaming.
My first reaction to God's call for me in this area was, Forget you, Lord, I want nothing to do with this.
God had other plans.
Within a couple of weeks a couple and the wife's sister moved in the apartment next door to me. It turned out that the sister was possessed. God had put my first case on my doorstep whether I liked it or not.
Another example, I was standing in the foyer of the Church I attended. Dozens of people were standing around just arriving. Mass was not for another 15 minutes or so. All of a sudden this woman came through the Church and walked straight up to me and asked if she could get some help because she though demons were bothering her little girl. This woman wasn't even Catholic, she was Muslim. I told her, well as a matter of fact, this is my specialty.
In other words, if God wants you in this ministry, you will not be able to get away from it. But don't go into it merely because you feel a draw toward it.
In terms of dangers, the first year in ministry seems to be the most dangerous for most deliverance counselors. This period seems to be sort of a boot camp.
In my first year I was physically (sexually) attacked by a demon (due to a strategic error I made), my children were attacked, any many things occurred in the home. One of my children was even sexually attacked by a demon.
I have had invisible forces knock a pop bottle out of my hands, computers blow-up, and attacks to my mind and imagination that were nearly unbearable. Satan as instilled people to attack through slander and libel and harassment to such an intense degree that I nearly gave up.
This job is not for the light-hearted. It is a warrior's job, a warrior who has the grit to persevere through anything.
We will pray for you and this possible calling, but please do not go into this unless God drags you.
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