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By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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God gives ample warning in the Bible about the dangers which demons pose to people. These unseen enemies are constantly trying to harm God’s people. Satan is their commander who has control over legions of demonic beings!
Peter warned of him (and of his following hordes):
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet 5:8).
The trouble is, a huge proportion of Christians are blithely unaware that they are being influenced by demons! They neither soberly counter them, nor are vigilant against their smothering influences.
We are COMMANDED to RESIST them! (Jas 4:7,8.) But many Christians don’t. They tolerate them.
Why are many believers simply not doing what God commands?
I believe the main reason is laziness – a spiritual laziness. My reason for this conclusion is based on experience and also what Peter went on to state is necessary for you to avoid capitulating:
...giving ALL DILIGENCE (2 Pet 1:5).
...be EVEN MORE DILIGENT to make your call and election sure, for if you DO THESE THINGS... (2 Pet 1:10).
Most Christians have shallow belief and don’t DO. Thus, the devil has them where he wants them – inert, and not resisting him!
Why Are Demons Rife In Your Life?
Ignorance is the soil of failure, and it is also true that, coupled with this apathy or lethargy, there is gross ignorance in how to counter demons. I find it astonishing that someone who follows Jesus can be so dull spiritually and not know how to counter evil spirits. Yet so many don’t!
But, there again, that malaise is down to another widespread problem – lack of real humility. I believe that if you have real humility, you will be submitting to God on a moment-by-moment basis, and that submission opens the door for Jesus’ Spirit to indwell you, automatically countering demonic forces.
However, there are believers who are completely subjugated by demons! Evil spirits can enter through times of trauma and stress. Accidents, tragedies, divorce, extreme negative experiences, etc., can all allow demons to enter. And when Jesus begins to draw you to him in later life, those demons have to be countered.
But people think they are OK before God because they accept Him in their minds, accept Jesus in concept, accept intellectually the words of the Bible, and therefore think that they are living out the faith. But they are not. They are deluded by their lack of spiritual awareness, lack of humility, consequent lack of faith and lack of holy Spirit in their lives.
They are living out a life of "dead works", doing things as Paul said "in the flesh", not in the Spirit. Their delusion is spawned by the arch deceiver himself, who has control over their intellect or spirit, because they have let him! They have let him stay through pride.
Humility opens God’s door to you. Pride shuts it. It’s automatic.
1And the devil is so clever that he has these folks duped through a clever counterfeit. He has caused them to accept a false humility, one that is sanctimonious, religious, or smooth, suave. It’s not put in, but put on. It’s exterior, not interior. It’s not of the Spirit. It’s of another spirit that shuts God out.
This is a dreadful and dangerous state of affairs. Many will be lost and not saved, because of their failure to submit to the Spirit of God.
You don’t submit to the Spirit by not eating pork or shellfish. That is so minor in the area of submission that it’s hardly worth mentioning. You can obey these commands "in the flesh". You can do it without an inner change taking place within your spirit.
You can keep the Sabbath "in the flesh". Many Jews do that, thereby worshipping the Sabbath, not God.
Similarly, you can worship God "in the flesh" in worship meetings. You can sing, praise God, raise your arms. You can do any number of physically feasible things by your own efforts, and not realise that you are not really submitting to God or resisting the devil. You are just "going through the motions". And if you don’t change course, you won’t be saved.
How Can You Fight Them?
To be saved, you MUST RESIST demonic powers!
Various fallacies surround this truism. Exponents of spiritual warfare promote a whole range of other delusions based on "works of the flesh". I have seen "prayer warriors" marching around, chanting (‘praying’) and physically gesticulating, fooled by the fallacy that their physical works are actually destroying the spiritual strongholds of the enemy! What a joke! It would be funny if it wasn’t so pitiful!
I remember seeing Suzette Hattingh marching up and down on stage, vocally bludgeoning demons of this sort and that, "taking authority over" them by naming them (as if you need to – Jesus rarely named them; He just cast them out). She wasn’t the only one. Many do it. You may be familiar with similar antics of "prayer warriors", often based on the misguided notions of C Peter Wagner, who is reputed to be an authority on spiritual warfare.
You can shout and holler all you like, but it won’t shift one demon if you don’t have the right fundamentals in place – selfless humility (fear of God), and total lack of pride.
No, your words are not the main vehicle for casting out demons. Your CONVICTION is. And that comes when you are empty of self and know your desperate need for God.
"Strategic warfare prayer" to take command of principalities and powers over cities and nations is not for the ordinary man. It’s not for "prayer warriors" either. Yours is to take command over the demons in your own life, never mind about the thousands or millions of demons that infest cities and nations! What an arrogant assertion to claim that you have power in Jesus’ name over great swathes of land, when even Jesus does not exert that power in this age! That’s for the next age.
Don’t worry about casting demonic hordes out of your city or country. Jesus will take care of that in His own good time. He doesn’t need your help for that. This is the age of deception. He’s not changing it except in the individual lives of those whom He has called and chosen.
Your duty and your focus in overcoming the powers of Satan are primarily in your own life. Don’t worry about the other bloke. Worry about yourself. Too often people are so busy seeing others’ faults that they don’t have time to see their own.
That opens the door for demons. That’s one way you resist God and submit to the devil. Satan wants you to find fault with others, so you don’t see your own faults that will disqualify you from the Kingdom.
Fighting the devil is simple in principle, but it obviously needs some explaining, because so few are doing it. As you humbly submit your spirit to the Holy Spirit, demons flee.
Ways You Let Demons Govern You
Look at 2 Peter 2:14-15. "A heart trained in covetous practices." What is your heart trained in? Maybe it’s pride. You think too much of yourself. You don’t think you have a heart that is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jer 17:9). You think you are pretty good. You know Jesus had to die, but you haven’t yet come to realise that YOU put him to death by your self-will, your laziness, your apathy, your selfish preoccupation and doing what you want, etc.
I use pride as the basis of the problem, because it IS for most. And they can’t see it. It’s part of YOU, so you accept it. You’ve been used to it most of your life, so you don’t see what’s so wrong with it. Thus, you don’t see what is wrong with you, and you don’t see why God is distant.
When your spirit is crushed by the realisation of just how much you have hurt God, cruelly beaten Jesus with your sins of selfishness and pride, and covered it all up by hypocrisy and deceit, you will be where the Prodigal was in the pig pen. That’s where you need to be for true humility to be birthed within. Up to that point your ‘humility’ has been mere window-dressing, and a self-delusion.
When you feel like David felt when the prophet Nathan said "you’re the man" (2 Sam 12:7), then humility begins to be birthed within. It’s in your spirit, not in your mind alone. It’s part of YOU.
That inner brokenness makes your connection to God. As you stay that way – small in your own eyes – you can ‘listen’ to God, and follow the lead of His Spirit. Without it you are floundering around in a sea of confusion.
With this humble heart, you will sanctify God within (1 Pet 3:15). As you let Him come in by your heart’s submission in real penitence, truly broken up by the realisation of how sinful your attitude has been, inner power rises up. It’s a spiritual power against evil spirits. It’s from God’s Spirit, and enables you to RESIST the devil. You now don’t want the wrong desires, evil elevating attitudes, or slovenly habits. You want to be pure to Jesus, because He is yours and you are His.
We are to be partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4).
There’s no place for lethargy. You must be diligent (2 Pet 1:5,10).
You are to stir up the Spirit (2 Tim 1:6). Emotionally crushed like David was at the realisation of how wicked he had been, you are ready now to grow in God’s grace, and with revelation knowledge.
With true humbleness of heart and mind, now your hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness ascends within. You desire to be obedient to God in all things, and that desire increases and intensifies as you no longer want any glory for yourself. Self dies.
So, how do you resist the devil? First, by submitting to God.
And how do you submit to God? By coming to see and abhor your own sinful state. Letting yourself be humbled. When you are willing to let God show you how filthy you are in your own pig pen, your heart can be transformed. Penitent emotions flow, the Spirit flushes you clean, and a conviction arises within you to no longer tolerate the demons that have plagued you all your life.
Submitting your spirit to the Spirit of God is a mystery that cannot be adequately put in words. It’s something you experience as you willingnly let yourself go down. Then He lifts you up. His Spirit is holy and He can’t find a place in you until you want that same ineffable holiness. But as long as you are content with yourself, as long as you are comfortable with your demons, they will stay. He won’t. Malcolm B Heap
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