In my dream I found myself in a long office-like room. There were tables and desks everywhere on a linoleum floor. It was evening and time to go home so the place was barely lit. I made my way to the door at the end of the room when I came across what looked like a man sitting at a computer only all I could see was the back of a tall chair like the one I use in my office in real life so I could see no person. The moment I saw 'him' I wanted to hide and not be seen so I dropped to the ground and tried to get past him without being detected. Somehow he sensed me and the moment I did I started lying to him, telling him how important the work was that he was doing, hoping to ingratiate him. I saw on the desk where he was working a piece of white paper, and built into the paper was what looked like an electronic calculator. The keys were being depressed invisibly and I sensed that the machine had a life all of its own. And from the calculator came a voice, an almost mechanical like voice that at various times I have heard in my head in the past. At that point I was awakened by my son at the door waiting to be driven to the railway station.
Until my wife interpreted it for me, I had no idea what the dream meant. I knew upon waking that it was significant and at once went into prayer asking Yahweh to shine the light of truth on it so that I could understand. What had been revealed to me in the dream was a mechanised, habitual form of behaviour which keeps me woking late at night, albeit it on Kingdom matters, when the human side of me, one of whose functions is to look after the Temple of the Ruach (Spirit) - my body - knows that I should quit and go to bed. This slavery to work, built-up and reinforced over the years in a number of different ways, had come to possess an artificial life of its own - merciless and harsh to myself which had built up a spirit of fear in my real self. In the dream I hid, not wishing to confront this nature, and then, when I was seen, reacted in fear by turning on the spirit of appeasement which required me to lie to myself. But in do doing I was, in fact, serving a mechanical god - a demon.
All compulsive behaviour comes about as a result of splitting the self into opposing parts, a negative demonised part which exerts control over the whole system, and the real part connected to the heart and to life. Over the years this detatched mechanical part has acquired an existence of its own owing to various emotional hurts like rejection, the agony of divorce, and so on. We believe in numerous lies that ignorant people tell us, one of the most common ones being that to get rid of pain you need to forget, and to forget you need to occupy your mind with something else, like working hard. And when you believe in a lie, you are inviting in a demon to sustain an artificial process with a negative life force. The truth is that we can, and should, confront all pain, such as the deep sorrow of a disintegrating marriage, not with self-generated fortitude but by bringing it to Christ. Yah'shua (Jesus) heals us of all our pain - denying or burying pain away just makes things much worse and gives demons legal rights when we choose to believe in lies in order to deny or bury.
What tends to happen in real life is that when my body grows tired I switch into this mechanical mode and work on regardless. This happens towards evening when I should be talking a break or 'going home', something that is difficult when you work at home as I do now but a habit I learned in my last job when I would not leave my work place until 10 p.m. at night. Why did I do that? Because I was away from my family (as a weekend commuter) I would stay on at my job working because going to my tiny windowless one-roomed apartment earlier would make me feel lonely for my family. It was a way of 'coping' with loneliness. I would therefore work a 16 hour day to exhaust myself so that when I got back to my room I would then go straight to sleep. The pattern was reinforced when I got home at week-ends because I had so much ministerial work to catch up on that I never really got to rest properly. The mechanical control-demon would play with my conscience in all sorts of ways to make sure that I was working myself to death.
By the grace of God, Yahweh ordered me to quit my job when my health gave way and from then on I lived a far less punishing lifestyle. However, the demon of control was still there, keeping me working on each day when I should have quit hours before. Satan, moreover, always ensures that you can, if you want to, have more work than you can reasonably cope with, something easily done with ministers who have lost souls coming for help to them all the time. I learned the hard way to discern between those who really want deliverance and salvation and those who are just demonically-driven set-ups who know how to take time but make no progress because they never really want to change or repent. Degree by degree I learned to pace myself, knowing full well how deliverance ministers can so easily get burned out. We have to learn to retrain our conscience to respond to the Ruach (Spirit) and not to people's manipulative demons. Thus typically what would happen is that I would be ministering to someone for many hours and just as I was about to quit, someone would come on-line saying that they were going to kill themselves, or a demon in someone would accuse me of not being caring because I was 'ignoring' or 'hating' them, and so on. In the beginning I reflexly reacted and tried to minister to all of them but have since learned to listen to the Ruach (Spirit) and to know when to respond and when not to.
These learned lessons notwithstanding, I was still the prisoner of compulsive behaviour. What made it harder for me to detect was the fact that I was continuing to burn myself out doing good - working on sermons, articles, answering emails, and so on. You see, even lawful things can be wrong, as John Bunyan reminds us of in Pilgrim's Progress when Christian and his friend Faithful enter the city of Vanity Fair. We have to learn to distinguish between what is generally lawful and good and what is specifically lawful and good for us at each moment. We need to know what God's will is for the specific things.
My family noticed my behaviour and wondered why I was driving myself into the dust even though I was now at home and even though I had worked out some of the demonic tactics in ministery clients. They would notice that whenever I was in this mechanical mode that I could be distant and snappy and assumed (wrongly) that they were interrupting vital Kingdom work even though I was seeing so little of them. But as Yah'shua (Jesus) reminded Judas Iscariot, the 'poor' will always be with us, and there are times to set aside the wider ministry and focus on family and looking after one's self - "love your neighbour as [you love] yourself". The ultimate responsibility for looking after ourselves is ourselves. Yah'shua (Jesus) told us to go the extra mile when asked, but not an extra 10 miles, let alone an extra 10 miles compulsively under the driving force of a demonic whip. Burned-out destroyed servants are no earthly use to Him if they don't pace themselves. Am I saying we should not live sacrificially for the Kingdom? By no means. What I am saying is that we had beter be sure who or what our master is.
Now intellectually I knew all of these things - I had preached about it often enough - but what I was not aware of was the driving demonic compulsion that had gained a foothold through my believing an original set of lies. And even though one becomes intellectually aware of the problem and takes steps to control it, the problem remains unsolved and the power behind it becomes an unnatural hindrance to life. This spills over into family relationships where a spirit of unreasonable harshness can often manifest itself, reproducing the original fear that keeps the demonic system in place in the family environment. It doesn't matter that the reasons for the behaviour make intellectual sense if the spirit driving it is demonic and our heart does not understand it. After all, are there not demonically-driven ministers in the pulpits preaching Christ? Yes, there are, tens of thousands of them, and what then tends to be preached is 'another' Christ wearing the demonic clothes of the minister preaching of Him. Doctrinal correctness does not necessarily mean being in the Ruach (Spirit).