Spiritual Warfare #2: Live Free From Demonic Influences:
Since it is Halloween today, I thought I would be fitting to share another devotional on the topic of spiritual warfare from an upcoming series. Make sure you check out this post on my other New Life blog, What About Halloween?
“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” (Acts 19:13-17).
The Bible tells us that the devil and his demons are alive and well on planet Earth. However, it also tells us that Jesus came into the world to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8b), and that he has commissioned us as his disciples to do the same. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature…And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18). However, as we saw in the story above, we would be foolish to presume to use the name of Jesus without the power and authority in His name. Before we can ever hope to proclaim liberty to the captives, we must be certain that we are living free from demonic influences ourselves. Remember what Jesus said in John 14:30? “The ruler of this world (Satan) is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” What was the key to Jesus’ victory over the devil? Jesus had never given any place to Satan, and therefore he had no authority over Jesus.
There is a great debate within the Christian community as to whether or not a Christian can be affected by demons. Although I believe it is impossible for a Christian to be completely possessed by the power of a demon, I do believe that a Christian can be tormented or oppressed by demonic spirits. Is this not the simple teaching of the Scriptures? The Apostle Paul himself said, “a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me.” Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22:31). Why else would the Scriptures tell us to give no place to the devil (Eph. 4:27), to put on the armour of God so we could stand against the tricks of the devil (Eph. 6:11), to resist the devil (James 4:7), and “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)?
If it’s true that the devil and his demons can attack and devour us, how to we stand against his tricks? How do we live free from demonic influences? We know “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.” (1 John 3:8). That Scripture tells us that anytime we sin – that is, disobey God’s Word – we are giving a place to the devil. But there are many other ways that we can inadvertently open the door and give Satan free reign in our lives. Here’s a brief overview of some of the practices that can open the door to satanic influences in our lives:
DEMONIC ACTIVITIES (1):
Satanism, Witchcraft/Sorcery, Black or White Magic, Spells or Curses, Astral Projection (out of body experiences), Levitation, Mental Telepathy, Seances, Automatic Writing, Trances, Spirit Guides, Fortune Telling/Divinition, Tea Leaves, Tarot Cards, Palm Reading, Astrology, Ouija Boards, Bloody Mary, Light as a Feather, Table Lifting (& other occult games), Movies, TV shows, music, books, or magazines that the Lord might bring to your mind (especially those that glorified Satan, caused fear or nightmares, were gruesomely violent, etc).
If you have been involved in any of those activities in the past, then you have opened the door for the devil to torment you. If you want to be free from his oppression, then call upon the Lord Jesus in prayer out loud right now. “Lord, I ask you to set me free. I confess that I have participated in ___________. I know it was evil and offensive in your sight. Thank you for your forgiveness. I renounce any and all involvement with ___________, and I cancel out any and all ground that the enemy has gained in my life through this activity. In Jesus’ name, amen.” If you prayed that prayer, remember that Jesus said, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36). “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1).
1. List condensed from The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson—an excellent resource for anyone who has been involved in the occult and would like more information about finding freedom in Christ