Note: a special Thank you to Marsha West for helping me with this article about spiritual warfare.
When I read about Rihanna's recent tweets to Satan, I remembered this passage:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
After an interview in which Rihanna decried her lack of sex, she has rejoined Chris Brown who had beaten her and attempted to choke her. I worry for her. After decrying her lack of physical pleasure, she has returned to someone who had physically beaten her - who does not love her and does not consider her spiritual worth. I do not know whether or not they are a dating couple, but in a culture that embraces "friends with benefits," does it really matter? A source sees nothing positive and only trouble in this relationship. Unrepentant Chris Brown considers the violence a "mishap." Now, when I read those tweets, I saw Rihanna fighting and struggling spiritually within herself. Rihanna told Satan to "F-off," and people say "F-off" to someone who they want to leave them alone. Also, she ended with "God is love." Could she be trying to connect with God? If she is a believer her ungodly behavior makes it obvious that she has strayed far away from the Lord and is not living in the spirit but in the flesh. (Romans 8:12)
The Bible teaches that we are at war with the world, the flesh, and the devil. Whether we realize it or not humankind is in a spiritual battle with invisible forces. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12) The “rulers of darkness” are real and they are powerful. The spiritual battle is not against flesh and blood. Flesh and blood warfare is conventional human warfare. The battle is within our own souls. The battle is internal, not external.
"But each one is tempted when he is drawn by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15)
The devil relies upon lies and distortions to destroy the human soul. The lies and distortions that lead people into sin and into damnation to Hell are thoughts, attitudes, and false beliefs (Romans 1:22-25), but virtuous and godly thoughts, attitudes, and a belief in the Truth lead people to salvation. This is why Christians must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:15).
By joining a man who refuses to behave in a godly manner, Rihanna has allowed Chris Brown to become an ungodly influence. And this ungodly influence would only weaken her further. Paul of Tarsus wrote that men should "love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her." (Ephesians 5:25) I doubt Chris Brown would sacrifice himself for Rihanna. Paul also wrote that men "ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself." (Ephesians 5:28) This verse and the next verse contradict entirely domestic violence. If a man does not want to be beaten, then he should never beat his wife. Domestic violence and relationship abuse go against God and are an ungodly influences.
Now, regardless of whether or not you are Christians, dear readers, you probably agree that domestic violence and relationship abuse are terrible social ills. If you want to argue scripture after reading this, what would you hope to accomplish when you agree that domestic violence and relationship abuse are damaging to women? Chris Brown is unrepentant and refers to the violence a "mishap." Because he considers it a trivial matter, this unrepentant would repeat what he does not regret. If it is of lesser importance, then it is no big deal to do it again.
But what led Rihanna back to him?
Rihanna's inner turmoil began before she restarted her relationship with Chris Brown and can be seen within the interview itself when she decried her lack of sex and stated that she had only her fans. Does she have any friends? If she does not have any friends, then she has no one to love and no one to love her. I saw a very lonely woman. I believe that Rihanna needs people who love her, and she needs to rededicate herself to God.
This culture has confused sex with love and personal fulfillment. The only instance in which love and fulfillment result from sex is through the birth and raising of children. Even then, the love and fulfillment is never from the sex itself; the birth of children is merely the natural result of sex. Love and fulfillment with children come from the teaching and nurturing and participating in the child's life to make the child a mature, responsible, and well-adjusted adult.
But sex and love and two completely different things. Love is an emotion. Sex is an act. The idea that considers sex the same as love and fulfillment is a false belief that affects people inside Christianity and outside Christianity.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life - is not of the Father." (1 John 2:15-16)
Because this culture has confused love and sex, Rihanna thought all she wanted was sex. In reality, all she actually wants and needs is love. And she needs to rededicate herself to God. Repent to God from all the terrible influences and behaviors. God wants us to have peace of mind. God wants us to have genuine personal fulfillment. God understands who we are better than we understand ourselves because He created us. So, when we give ourselves over completely to Him, He will show us and guide us on our way to personal fulfillment in this life.
If you consider yourself a friend of Rihanna, try to show her what love actually is. As she struggles to reconnect with God, read scripture with her or help her to find a church - not some celebrity megachurch, but a small local church with people who have their hearts in the right place. If you are a friend of Rihanna, then you can also pray for her. If you are a fan of Rihanna, and you worry for her, then pray for her. If you are the parent of a fan, and you worry about how this situation affects your child, then pray for Rihanna. If you fear this situation will hurt the cause of eliminating domestic violence, then pray for Rihanna.
Please, Father God, give Rihanna the strength to overcome her inner troubles. Give her strength and a sound mind free from turmoil. Give her friends and people who love her. For her own sake and for the sake of the people who she can influence, keep her heart directed to You and do not let her stray any further. Show her Your ways and teach her to walk in them. Show her what You want for her life, so that she will find the genuine happiness that You designed for her.