I was in a restaurant last night with some friends, and as the night went on, I began to notice an irritation in my right eye that felt a lot like an allergic reaction. It was red, it was puffy, and it was annoying. But it felt a lot better even just a few minutes after we left the restaurant. As I got home, and after I sneezed 7 or 8 times, I thought about how being in different environments can affect us, both physically and spiritually. I didn’t go into this restaurant with an expectation of encountering an allergen that would negatively affect me, so I wasn’t prepared for it when it happened. If I had been prepared with some allergy medication, I probably wouldn’t have had a negative reaction. The same is often true in the spiritual realm. There are a lot of negative forces (aka demonic spirits) in the world and, if we are not regularly spending time in the presence of God, we may find ourselves unprepared for situations where these forces are actively at work. Sometimes that looks like reacting to people or situations in a negative way, even though we know better. Sometimes it’s allowing our emotional or spiritual state to get stirred up and frustrated by what is happening around us. To quote the famous G.I. Joe, “being prepared is half the battle.” When we know what we may encounter, and we know the authority we carry in the spiritual realm, and we are consistently spending time in the presence of God, it is like allergy medication for the enemy’s tactics. It’s hard to be affected by spiritual shenanigans when you are firmly grounded in the truth of who you are. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be vigilant, because our enemy is certainly vigilant in trying to keep us off guard. Stay focused on Jesus, stay focused on loving people no matter what, and stay focused on the truth of who God says you are—this is the vigilance that will keep the tactics of the enemy from affecting you.

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