As I sat down to breakfast last Sunday, Jesse began excitedly sharing something he’d been reading which had fascinated him. A few moments in, after seeing the look on my face, he realized this was not a mealtime conversation and mercifully decided to enlighten me later. He waited till that evening, when he had the additional audience of his sister’s family in Oklahoma, to bring it up again. Permit me to momentarily gross you out.
The article he’d read, advertised on the front cover of National Geographic as “Real Zombies: The Strange Science of the Living Dead,” highlighted a variety of parasites and their freakish and frightening life cycle. Jesse began by sharing about a worm who grows inside land-dwelling crickets. When the worm is ready for his next phase of life (which is aquatic), he infects the brain of his host in order to alter its normal behavior. The cricket is suddenly compelled to take a suicidal plunge into water, where the parasite makes his escape. Next he told of a lady bug who becomes infected with wasp larvae. Though the lady bug still appears well on the outside, on the inside it’s being devoured. When the wasp is ready for its next stage of development, it exits the lady bug’s abdomen, but builds a cocoon underneath. The ladybug, whose brain has been infected so that its behavior is under the influence of the parasite, will now act as a bodyguard for the wasp, fighting off anything that would threaten to kill it. When the wasp is finished with its ladybug shield, the ladybug typically dies.
Though I informed Jesse that the danger this time was not that I would lose my appetite and be unable to eat, but rather that what I had eaten would be resurrected, he persisted undeterred.
Lastly, he shared about a flatworm who takes up residence in a certain kind of fish. When the worm is ready for its next stage of development, which must occur in the belly of a bird, the parasite infects the brain of the fish to cause it to come under its control. The fish, who normally swims deep, begins to swim at the surface, though this is contrary to its nature. It will even swim upside down, attracting birds with its shiny belly and making itself more vulnerable as prey. The infected fish are then consumed by unwitting birds, who then become the host for the worm’s next stage of life.
By the time he finished the last account, I was crying out for deliverance from this onslaught of nausea-inducing nature news ~ pleading to know if there was a point to all this. At long last, though there were more examples to share, the torturous tales ceased and our conversation turned a different direction. (For the full account see National Geographic, November 2014, Meet Nature’s Nightmare Mindsuckers by Carl Zimmer.) Yet, I was still troubled. After all, God’s creation is normally one of the ways I delight in Him. His creation usually reveals things to me about HIM, but I could not see Him in these accounts AT ALL. “God, Why? Why would you create something so vile?” I consoled myself with the thought that these parasites could not have been His original creation, but were a result of the fall.
The next morning, I awoke with our final conversation of the evening still on my mind. We’d been discussing much of the church’s failure to minister to those lost in or struggling with homosexual thought/behavior. One who had expressed compassion also commented on his difficulty understanding how anyone can be drawn to that particular sin. Though I could relate to his sentiments, remembering how the Lord had effectively exposed and explained the process of being led into any sin to us, I simply responded “they’re deceived.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I reflected on them with dissatisfaction. If I’d had the assurance that there was already a shared understanding of the things discussed in The Anatomy of Deception notes, this answer would have been sufficient. But apart from that, this reply seemed quite inadequate. True as it may be, since the only reason any of us do anything that’s not God’s will is because we are, at a core level, deceived, it needed further explanation for anyone not familiar with the concepts in those notes.
So upon waking the next morning, my mind instantly returned to my desire to find a better way to communicate all that’s encapsulated in saying, “they’re deceived.” As I expressed this to the Lord, He immediately replied, “Their brains have been infected.” As soon as He said it, the accounts Jesse shared the night before came flooding back and the revelation began to explode. The Lord brought to my attention that in each instance, Jesse said the parasite had “infected the brain” of its host. The result was that the host began doing things that were completely contrary to nature, behaving in ways opposed to how it was created. These behaviors, inspired and driven by the infecting influence of the parasite (in order to serve its purposes), were self-destructive to the host and eventually resulted in death. Yet, in some of the examples he shared, even though the host was being destroyed, it was so influenced by the parasite’s desires that it would fight off anything that tried to kill its killer.
I was in absolute awe at this revelation the Lord was so rapidly unpacking just moments after waking. Suddenly, I realized what He’d wanted to communicate to us through these parasitic parables. It’s no wonder it disgusts us and grosses us out; God’s giving us a picture in the natural realm of what happens in the spiritual realm when people become hosts for demons. When we fail to realize the truths shared in The Anatomy of Deception notes, fail to discern the source behind the thoughts that come to us, and fail to judge those thoughts by the standard of truth in God’s Word, we are certain to believe and act upon demonic lies. By yielding to those demonic lies and suggestions, we further open up our lives to their influence and presence. Instead of resisting them until they flee, when we receive them, entertain them, and yield to them, we become their host (inviting them in). (Remember, we get full of whatever spirit we yield to – see Are You “Full of It”?) Once people become a host to demonic spirits, these spirits “infect” their brain. Apart from enforcing the delivering principles and power of Jesus’ Name, blood, and Word, soon, driven by what will serve the demons’ purposes, people begin thinking things and doing things that are completely contrary to nature, to their true identity of how God created them to be. Though they may eventually want to be free, they may feel as though they’re no longer in control, but are controlled (possessed) by another’s will. Yet even if they’re aware that their thoughts and behaviors are self-destructive and will eventually result in death (and the death of God’s destiny for their lives), they may still fight off anything that attempts to deliver them. Due to the demons’ mind-infecting, behavior-altering influence, they may find themselves protecting and defending the very thing that’s killing them.
When I realized what the Lord was after, I wanted to read the whole article. Though the author unfortunately seeks to find an evolutionary explanation, there were still plenty of spiritual parallels to be found. Astonishingly, considering the original connection God made between parasitic possession and the demonic influence at the root of homosexual thought and behavior, the article also highlighted a parasite that causes the males of a particular species to become feminized – demonstrating and confirming God’s original application of this spiritual message from nature even more directly. Yet clearly, He didn’t intend for us to make such a narrow application from these accounts. These powerful analogies can be applied to any area where we have invited the enemy into our thinking, believing, and behaving by repeatedly yielding to his influence. (I also marveled at the continued confirmation God gave of the messages of INVERSION and REVERSION– through the example of the fish, under the influence of the parasites, swimming upside down!) The article repeatedly referred to the parasites’ ability to “compel the hosts to do their bidding,” as their “puppet master,” and of the hosts “service to their parasite overlord.” “They serve their parasite, even if they must hurl themselves to their own death to do so.” (quotes from Carl Zimmer) We see the tragic results of the spiritual parallel to this natural phenomenon all around us in this world every day.
While this undoubtedly applies to more obvious sins that people have opened up their lives to, such as the example God initially gave, if we attempt to exempt ourselves by applying it only to “big” sins that we’re not bound by, we will miss the power of what He’s trying to show us for our own breakthrough and deliverance this year. He’s asking each of us to examine our lives and allow Him to help us identify every wrong attitude, mindset, belief system, way of thinking, speaking, and behaving that’s been inspired by any source other than Him and His Word. As illustrated by the things He showed us in the Anatomy of Deception, the analogy of the parasites also highlights the critical truth that whatever those things are, they’re not from you! As long as we embrace the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions that come to us through another source (the enemy) as being our own, as just who we are or how we were created, we will continue to be deceived and live under their infecting influence. We can only begin the process to freedom when we recognize the true source behind those thoughts, separate them from ourselves, and understand that they’re lies that have nothing to do with our true identity or how God created us. Then we can begin to apply II Corinthians 10:3-5 to see those lying thoughts taken captive and brought into obedience to Christ. What mind-infecting, behavior-altering parasite has too long exerted its influence to prevent you from fulfilling God’s will for your life? What’s been robbing and stealing God’s purposes and plans for you by keeping you trapped and imprisoned under its influence? What are you protecting and defending, even though it’s destroying you and your destiny, instead of letting the Lord deliver you? As Carl Zimmer inquired in the article, “Why would an organism do all it can to ensure its tormentor’s survival rather than fight for its own?”
This is the year to “kill” it before it kills you (and your destiny). (Please don’t presume I’m advocating killing any person or group that you perceive to be your problem. 😉 I trust all to understand that we’re talking about internal hindrances – the battlefield of the mind against our true enemies from the spiritual realm.) This is the year to take captive the thing that you’ve been captive to, to bring into obedience to Christ the thing you’ve been obeying other than Him, to conquer what’s previously conquered you, and to control what’s been controlling you. What is that thing that’s caused you to continue wandering around the same mountain in the wilderness? What has caused you to continue sitting on the banks of the Jordan even after God told you to get your feet wet and GO possess the land (to continue sitting on the sidelines when the Lord said to get in the game)? What are the giants (or demonic parasites) presenting the illusion that you can’t do what God said? While it may be an obvious sin and addiction for some, for others it may be a more subtle stronghold. Is it pride? anger? impatience? gossip? envy? unforgiveness or bitterness? (or other character flaws we’re defensive about and fight to protect when confronted) Is it laziness? slothfulness? passivity? complacency? idleness? selfishness? irresponsibility or unfaithfulness? Is it doubt? unbelief? double-mindedness? or insecurity? Is it oppression/captivity in the area of your spirit, your emotions, your body (health), your finances? I know for myself, one of the primary things the Lord has served notice to is fear – informing us that it’s time to stop waiting to be delivered from all fear before we move forward in obedience to His call. It’s time to go even if we have to do it shaking and quaking, with sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in our stomachs, and any other way fear manifests to try to intimidate and stop us – because deliverance comes by submitting to God (doing what He’s telling us to do) and resisting the enemy (refusing to do what he’s telling us to). Just as the way into captivity to fear was the result of yielding to it one step at a time, the way out is by refusing to yield to it any longer – one step at a time. Though He’s been asking me to take steps to confront and overcome some giants in this area for the past several years, this year He’s asking me to face down and slay their general. There’s no more time to bow down to (obey/serve) fear. We must bow down to (obey/serve) God alone.
Is there anything you’re bowing down to, yielding to, and serving instead of the Lord? God began telling us in the latter part of 2014 – “no more business as usual.” It’s time to walk in our inheritance. It’s time to possess the land. He’s wanting to bring us from the narrow and restricted place into the large and spacious place (II Samuel 22, Psalm 18), but in order to do so we must break free of all the mind-infecting, behavior-altering influences that have kept us from believing and being who God created us to be and doing what He created us to do. We must stop waiting for them to leave and must make them leave – aggressively RESISTING them until they flee (James 4:7). We truly have a choice in whether or not our destiny is fulfilled; we must choose to obey God and do our part. He’s clear that if we don’t, just as He warned Esther (and just as He did with Saul, with the original Israelites in the wilderness, and others), He will pass over us and find someone else to do it. But you haven’t gone through everything you’ve gone through to miss your appointed season now and end up with only regrets. So, it’s time to refute and cast down every imagination that tells us we CAN’T that’s been exalting itself above the truth of God’s Word that we CAN do ALL THINGS God asks us to through Him who gives us Strength (Philippians 4:13). It’s time to no longer be conformed to the brain infection of the enemy, but to be TOTALLY TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our minds to God’s Word (Romans 12:1-2). (the Formed in the Secret Place notes are also key to this process). It’s time that the only spirit we HOST is the Holy Ghost. It’s time to be hungry enough for God’s will and serious enough about His call that we’re ready and willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES! His divine power has given us everything we need to succeed (II Peter 1:3-11)!
He has not promised that it will be without a struggle or a fight. But He has promised that if we exert the effort to do OUR PART, drawing on the enabling power of His Holy Spirit and co-laboring with Him, that as we “suffer” through taking those steps of obedience to confront and overcome those things that have previously overcome us, we will soon see that they’re being crushed under our feet as God establishes us, secures us, completes us, perfects us, and makes us what we ought to be. (Romans 16:19-20, I Peter 5:8-11)
Richest Blessings and Prayers for God’s BEST throughout the year! Let’s get up (ARISE) and GO FOR IT with all our hearts!
© Laura Jewell Tyree
For more on deliverance please see Are You “Full of It”?, the Anatomy of Deception notes, and others under the “Deliverance” category.
To hear the message God led us to the morning after writing this that tore us up with confirmations, go to this link to hear TD Jake’s first message of the year on steps to fulfilling our destinies (Removing the Barriers to Destiny). It will only be available through this Saturday, Jan 10 (message starts around 17:30 and ends around 2:01:00). (If you’re reading this after that time, try finding this sermon from 1-4-15 on youtube here. Hopefully it won’t disappear from there as well. Both this word and his New Year’s Eve message – “A New Normal” (more confirmation of “no more business as usual) were once again packed with precise and powerful confirmations of what we’ve been hearing from God.)