“Are you afraid of spirits?”, I asked Sai U and his wife. “Yes, we never go out alone after dark because of spirits”, they answer.
Shan-Tai prayer month 2011, day 18
Shan people are very aware of the existence of a spirit world and that these spirits can do great harm if not favourably disposed towards people.
As Christians we know that Satan and the demonic horde are not at all favourably inclined toward humans, especially any serving Christ or moving from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God.
Shan folks use various means to appease the spirits, merit from good works, offerings, amulets, tattoos, enchantments. Yet there is always a fear that the offerings have not been enough or the spirits will simply be capricious and cause harm anyway.
In Christ we have the comfort of knowing with certainty that Jesus decisively triumphed over Satan on the cross and now reigns over all of heaven and earth. We can never do enough, but we do not need to. By coming to God by faith in Christ we are saved through His works, not our own. This gives us a message of profound hope and utmost importance to share with the Shan.
And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
(Mark 3:11 ESV)
Yet, while he may be defeated, Satan has still been given some limited freedom. With it he prowls around seeking to destroy and devour. His destruction is targeted at everyone, unbeliever and Christian alike. His purpose is to deceive and blind, preventing people from seeing Christ. One tactic is to try to prevent evangelism:
It seems that every time local Shan evangelists go out their children feel sick.
- Protection from Satan and demonic spirits for the Shan and those reaching out to them.
- Evangelism to continue despite attacks upon those who proclaim the Gospel and their families.
- God to bind the enemy who has blinded the Shan for too long.
- Jesus to bring freedom to those enslaved by evil spirits (Mark 3:11).
- God to show Himself as sovereign so the Shan will no longer live in fear of evil spirits (Acts 16:16-18).