Wanting to know the nature of the enemy, how he and his minions operate and what you can do to fight them? The Spirit of Python by Jentezen Franklin might be the book for you.
What's in the book:
Identify the enemy
The first section of Python outlines the enemy, his nature and what his intentions are towards us. Unlike other books on spiritual warfare, Python looks at the enemy through both practical as well as spiritual eyes. The enemy isn't just a bunch of dark hooded Satanists running around. The enemy looks to be present in every aspect of our culture, our thoughts and our lives. Described as a python, the enemy also comes across as a parasite in Python; a force looking to infect and destroy every area of our lives. This realistic look through spiritual eyes gives a fresh vision of our enemy, his purpose and his approach.
Identify the enemies methods
Here we see the enemies plan on display like never before. Rev. Franklin explains each area of our lives the enemy targets and how he plans to target them. This is not a handbook conjured up by the imagination of Rev. Franklin or his staff, but actual methods the enemy has used in the Bible. The book also presents several modern accounts that helps the reader see the enemy is not finished with these tactics. He is only refining them.
Identify how to combat the enemy
In the final section, Rev. Franklin gives us tactics and tools to fight the enemy. It's surprising how basic some of these tactics are, yet they are proven through the Bible and through modern accounts in the book. Reading through these tactics, one begins to see that it takes a complete approach to fighting the enemy. Each area of our lives must be devoted to God and to ridding our lives of the enemies influence if we want to be successful.
Does the book work?
I've never found a book on spiritual warfare that took a spiritually-minded realistic approach to the enemy. Rev. Franklin does not marginalize or explain away the devil, but he doesn't create him into a mythical character, either. He presents the enemy for what he is, a liar and a thief looking to steal, to kill and to destroy in our lives. That's a serious enough threat without tying on a bunch of fantasy and Hollywood tinged bows on him.
Python does focus on the supernatural (i.e. types of demons, demon possession, etc.) and Rev. Franklin even gives examples of facing those supernatural forces. However, one never gets the feeling that he is embellishing or creating a story to sell his book. In fact, the story Python uses to show a man possessed by a demon presents the ideas and origins of demon possession in a way that relates to the reader rather than astounding them.
Especially in the sections on how the enemy attacks and how we can fight back, Python reveals a lot most Christians don't realize. We don't understand how much the devil tries to wrap himself around our lives. If we aren't careful, there are so many avenues the enemy will use to infiltrate and destroy our world. However, as many ways the devil tries to destroy us, there are so many tools God gives us to combat him. This section on combating the enemy presents the challenge of fighting the devil in a way that is doable-with the help of God, of course. You come away feeling empowered and that isn't always true with books on demons and spiritual warfare.
Nit-Picks and Problems:
There are places where Python doesn't go into greater detail that I would have liked. Most of this deals with the types of demons and with some of their methods of attack. Still, you get a clear enough sense of them to be able to identify when they are trying to infiltrate your life.
There are places where Python allows you to stop and think about what has been presented, but they feel too spread out. Even though Python does an amazing job of simply presenting the topic of spiritual warfare, it is still a wide ranging topic and having more opportunities to reflect on what was being said could have helped with soaking in the topics presented.
The Final Verdict:
This is a book definitely worth your time. If you have ever felt oppressed or attacked by the enemy, this book can help explain why you are being attacked, how you are being attacked and how you can fight back! You won't find any tales of the fantastical in here, but you will see an enemy that is very real and very focused on destroying you. More importantly, you'll see exactly how you can defeat him. Though there are sections that could have used some fleshing out, Python gives you exactly the amount of information needed to tackle all the challenges being presented in within its pages. Read it slowly and stop every 5 or so pages to think about what is being presented. It might take you a while to get through it this way, but you will be better served as the information is important and needs to be absorbed.
Read this alongside it: This Present Darkness by Frank Perretti.
This is a great novel that relates well with the material that Python presents. It tells the story of the enemy's attack, not just on individuals, but entire communities. Reading it while you go through Spirit of Python makes the story come alive even more than it already feels. Plus it's a nice suspenseful novel. Read it with the lights on!
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.