Wednesday, April 11, 2012

16. Fiery Darts

The focus of this blog is spirits. I have defined evil spirits, unclean spirits, and the gift of discerning of spirits. I have offered many thoughts on how to help various spirits. Yet I could also write much about Satan and his direct tactics against us. I often hear people say that Satan has no power to harm us unless we allow or invite it. I know from many experiences that this idea is dangerously false. I have collected much scriptural evidence refuting this idea, as well as statements from LDS leaders. Instead of presenting all of that information here, let me simply remind you of the life of Job. He was a righteous man, yet Satan was allowed to destroy everything he had—even his family. Job did nothing to invite the tremendous harm that Satan caused him. In the same fashion, Satan seeks to harm all of us because he enjoys our suffering. Satan harms us even when we do nothing to invite it.

So even though this blog is about spirits, I need to include what I consider Satan’s greatest tactic of harming us: fiery darts. LDS leaders have not defined fiery darts, but many members assume they are a synonym for temptations. The following scripture shows that they are not temptations because they are listed separately in the same phrase:

And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.
1 Nephi 15:24

The distinction that fiery darts are listed separately from temptations is very important! We all realize that Satan tempts us by having his evil-spirit followers torment us with negativity. But we fail to understand that Satan uses a separate, powerful tactic against us: fiery darts. While God gives us wonderful and precious spiritual gifts to bless our lives, Satan counterfeits this practice by firing negative spiritual gifts, or curses, at us. Hence, his fiery darts are literal. They are the opposites of the spiritual gifts we receive from God. Some examples of Satan’s curses are depression, low self-esteem, fear, anger, loneliness, abandonment, pride, envy, jealousy, and even physical ailments. (This list is by no means exhaustive.) We can actually count the number of curses Satan has given us. You can usually figure out what they are by pondering the things you struggle with that seem to overpower your agency or don’t make sense.

To remove Satan’s curses, we must have faith in Christ to be healed. Notice that faith is listed in each scripture below as the defense against fiery darts:

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Ephesians 6:16

15 Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.
16 Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, which I have sent mine angels to commit unto you;
17 Taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked;
18 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of my Spirit, which I will pour out upon you, and my word which I reveal unto you, and be agreed as touching all things whatsoever ye ask of me, and be faithful until I come, and ye shall be caught up, that where I am ye shall be also. Amen.
D&C 27:15–18

Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.
D&C 3:8

We can ask God through prayer to bless us with faith if we feel we lack it. Then ask God through prayer to literally remove Satan’s fiery darts. Sometimes God requires that we identify each specific curse before He will take each one away; He does this to teach us how Satan works at harming us. God may also require us to learn something from the curses or make amends to others before He will take them away. Also, sometimes we require a priesthood blessing to remove Satan’s curses. God will tell us which course to pursue.

We can protect ourselves from new curses by praying every morning and night for God to literally dress us in the armor of God (D&C 27:15–18). Ask Him to completely surround you—not just shield a little part of you—with both pure, white light (Romans 13:12; John 1:9; D&C 93:37; D&C 50:25) and Jesus’ love (“The Lord is my strength and my shield …” Psalms 28:7; see also Psalms 3:3; 59:11; 84:9; 115:9–11).