There are mixed reactions across the Body of Christ among believers when faced with evil strongholds that come to us when either we allow the Portals of Power to be opened or when we encounter people who have allowed such entry. As I said in the last Nugget, there are some who take a typically Western approach and deny such things exist – to their detriment. At the other end of the spectrum there are those who are filled with fear when weird things manifest themselves. On the other hand, there are those who are confident in their knowledge of the forces of evil and not worried in the least, but rather spend inordinate amounts of time in deliverance procedures, even to the point of getting all demons to name themselves endlessly. Let’s now explore these aspects of the topic. I will deal with these things now since I brought such things up in the last Nugget but will move on to other matters in subsequent Nuggets.
Allow me to preface whatever comments I may make with the following quote that I have clipped from Bill Johnson’s book “Hosting the Presence”. It sums up my favourite position on all things related to Spiritual Warfare.
“So much of what is called spiritual warfare comes out of fear. I have done it more than I care to admit. We would never worship or give honor to the devil. But remember like a child needing attention in the classroom, if he can’t get it for something good, then at least he’ll get it for something bad. . . The devil doesn’t mind negative attention. He’ll let us chase him all day long in the name of “warfare”. But it’s a place of weakness. God calls us into a place of strength – rediscovering our place in the Garden, walking with Him in the cool of the evening. It is from that place of intimacy that true warfare is experienced.” (Bill Johnson – Hosting the Presence – Page 36)
I love the quote so much because it sums up where I am at on things related to Spiritual Warfare now. And Johnson is the only other writer I have seen who refuses to spell devil and satan with a capital letter. Double love it.
It is said of Smith Wigglesworth on waking in the dead of night to the image, apparition or vision of satan himself standing at the foot of his bed staring at him. He rolled over saw the devil and then said, “Oh it’s only you!” Then rolled over the other way and went back to sleep. Exactly! When you know Whose you are and Who is always with you, there is nothing to fear about the devil.
I have had many encounters with satanic responses or demons manifesting as I have ministered to people over the years:- in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. They have occurred in situations or with people with whom I might have expected it. But they have also occurred in situations and with people with whom I would not have expected. I have had people speak to me in a voice not their own. I have seen people whom I would have categorized as sane, sensible, normal solid Christians manifest in ways that are out of character. I have seen similar manifestation from those whom I would expect to manifest in that way after being aware that they had been in contact with the kingdom of darkness. Most often the person begins speaking in a voice not their own and is greatly troubled when anything from the Bible is read or mentioned to the point where they want to snatch the Bible I am holding out of my hand in a frantic effort to remove the source of their torment. I have seen a mature Christian woman huddled in the corner hissing like a cat with an unusual glow in her eyes when we discussed in a home group the topic of putting on the armour of God.
Rather than sensationalize these things I don't wish to give you example after example. I will tell of one occurrence which happened in New Zealand. I had been called to help a woman who had gone through (endured) a series of Sunday evening ministry for deliverance over successive weeks. After the second or third in a row she rang the church again on the Monday morning asking for someone to come and pray with her as she was still troubled and felt oppressed. I volunteered to go. I arrived at the house and could see her through the windows peeking around the door on the far side of the lounge some distance from the front door, which was wide open. I approached the door and knocked and then saw her across the other side of the lounge. She screamed in a voice not her own, “You stay away from me you Man of God, you stay away from me!” As I entered she ran back into the dining room. I followed and on entering the dining room I saw her on the floor under the breakfast bar, pressed into the corner shrinking away from me with a morbid look of fear on her face, still yelling the same words. I spoke her name and then prayed and asked God what I should do.
Immediately I felt I should read the words found in Colossians 1 starting from verse 15 concerning the Pre-eminence of Christ. As I started reading she started screaming in terror in an unnatural high-pitched voice, “No! Not the sword! No not the sword!” Which of course made me read the Word of God even more. I read through to verse 1:23. All the while I read she was cowered into the corner. Then I switched to Chapter 2 and began to read verses Col 2:13-15. After I had read Col 2:15: “In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.” she leapt spectacularly out of the corner from under the breakfast bar, reaching a height of well over a metre and spiralling as she went, only to crash down in the middle of dining room in a whimpering heap and then remained silent. I don't mind admitting it was totalling shocking to me and left me in no doubt that I was dealing with the demonic. The hair on the back of my neck felt like they were standing on end and tingling. It was a moment I will never forget as long as I live. She lay deathly still. I felt to pray out loud for her and then I read again the same portions of Colossians 1 and 2. Suddenly she started to move again and went back to whimpering. I said her name and asked her if she could hear me. She spoke to me in her own voice for the first time during this encounter and began to answer my questions. I asked her if she knew what has just happened but she had no recollection. I then told her what had happened. She was shocked.
I then talked with her about the ongoing ministry she had received and then made it clear that nothing had happened to free her apart from statements made from those helping her, that she was now delivered of evil spirits. I pointed out each long period of ministry she’d had filed with endless repetitions of the spirits naming themselves when commanded hadn’t achieved what she wanted. But after each successive week of ministry by others in the church she would be back at the same place of needing ministry. I then felt to read Luke 11:14-23, followed by Luke 11:24-26:
“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’
So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order.
Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”
I then asked her if she could say, “Jesus is my Lord and Saviour”. She tried a number of times but all that would come out over and over was the first syllable of Jesus name, “Jeez . . .” “Jeez . . .” and no more. It was like it was stuck inside. After a series of attempts I explained to her that her problem was that she hadn’t filled the house with the Holy Spirit. But she didn't want to do that at that time. She said she needed time to think about it. I told her I was not going to do anymore on the basis of the verses I had just read. Unless she was willing to submit to the Lordship of Christ and begin to walk with the Spirit, there was no point casting out demons. I did not want her end state to be continually worse than before. Sadly she still refused to come under the Lordship of Christ, so I left. I pointed out to the others subsequently that it made no sense to me to spend hours and hours commanding demons to name themselves. Why would demons, who are the henchmen of satan, the father of lies, tell you anything you could rely on anyway?
Rather than rely on methods and steps in spiritual warfare, I would rather be led by the Spirit of God to know what to do next. But of course, that presupposes that one has a relationship with the Lord in the first place and can recognise His voice. (John 10:3,4,16)
Consider for a moment the story of Elisha and the Shunamite woman’s son. (2 King 4:18-37) Take particular note of verse 4:33! That’s amazing. Why one earth did Elisha lie down on the boy? That would have been abhorrent for one of God’s prophets to do. Jews were not to be in contact with a dead body. How much stronger would the prohibition have been for a prophet? To lie down on the boy would have been outrageous. Any holy anointing would have vanished. Yet notice the order from 2 Kings 4:33 – Elisha prayed, then lay down on the boy mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. Now why would he do that? As a consequence of prayer. I imagine Elisha asked the LORD for direction and the LORD gave it. “Elisha, Lie down on the boy!”
“What LORD, I don't think I heard you correctly?”
“Elisha, Lie down on the boy, face to face, nose to nose, eyes to eyes.”
“But LORD, the boy’s dead! What about the prohibition of touching a dead body?”
“Elisha, Lie down on the boy!”
“OK LORD, I’ll do what you say.”
(Ian’s guess at the conversation that took place.)
More important than what you know about spiritual warfare is that you know Whose you are! Once you know Whose you are and the fact that all the power of God is yours to do greater things, you don't have to worry. Just pray and do; pray and do. Remember Mary’s words: Whatever He says to you do it!
Learn to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit of God and do what He tells you.
Don’t get caught up chasing after shadows; satan likes nothing more than side tracking you.
But don’t impulsively leap into encounters with demons if you don't have a strong relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Take note of this account from the book of Acts in the Bible (Acts 19:11-20)
God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.
When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.
A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”
Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this.
But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?”
Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.
The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honoured.
Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices.
A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars.
So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.
If such things trouble you seek help from the prayer team at church or from people you know have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)