“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
This month I would like to focus on spirits and spiritual warfare. Of course, the word, “spirit” carries many connotations, but I want to focus on the many spirits that can bind us and create strongholds, or snares, in our lives. Left alone, these spirits can find us conducting ourselves in a way that is unbecoming. For Christians, this can make us ineffective in our gospel witness and conversation with the saved and unsaved alike. Sometimes, these vicious spirits affect our relationships in a way that cause much destruction, sometimes even leading to death. The antithesis of this would be a discerning spirit, a God-given spirit which would expose these evil spirits that can manifest themselves and allow us to do battle with any enemy we can see. The discerning spirit exhorts us to put on the whole armour found in Ephesians 6, because God knows we are in a battle. The Bible holds historical accounts of how evil spirits left unto their own devices can harm people, saved and unsaved alike, on every level, mentally, emotionally, and yes, even physically, (consider the Book of Job). We need to get back to the basics and be prepared to cast out those things that invite such evils in, because, getting rid of them is serious business with no fooling around! It requires great sacrifice and resolve to obey God to cast them out, maybe even casting out things that we “like”. The Bible shows how serious this matter is through the account of Jesus’ disciples coming to him privately after having unsuccessfully attempted to cast an evil spirit out of the son of one of the multitude; Jesus, knowing full well how powerful the evil spirit was, said,
“…This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:29
So, we must be diligent in “trying”, or testing, the spirits to be sure we follow the ones sent by God and rejecting all others. As we prepare to do battle and take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, let us see how these evil spirits are described in scripture so we know what to look out for.
Named Spirits in the Bible
There are many very influential evil spirits that the Bible speaks of. These would include:
- A Lying Spirit (I Kings 22:22-23; II Chon. 18:21-22; John 8:44; Prov. 30:6; I John 4:20)
- The Spirit of Whoredoms (Hos. 4:12)
- The Spirit of Divination (or familiar spirits) (Deut. 18:10-11; Lev. 19:31; I Sam 28:7-8)
- The Spirit of Bondage (Rom. 8:15-16)
- The Spirit of Fear (II Tim. 1:7; Isa. 11:2)
- The Spirit of Heaviness (Isa. 61:3)
- The Spirit of Infirmity (Luke 13:11)
- The Spirit haughtiness (Prov.16:18-19)
- The Foul Spirit (of deaf and dumb) (Mark 9:25; Rev. 18:2)
- The Spirit of Antichrist (I John 4:1-3)
You may recognize one or more of these spirits in your life or in your home. The accompanying verses will give you a head start in how to deal with them. Remember, this is a war of good and evil so be prepared with your armour securely fastened.
“Exorcism” for dummies
Many of you dear loved ones may have experienced this spiritual battle firsthand as well as I have. We have stood by helplessly and watched a friend or loved one suffer oppression by one of these evil spirits. It may have shown up as an illness, an addiction, deep sadness, anger, physical self-inflictions, or any of a wide range of emotional reactions. The so-called medical experts of the world today would try to explain it away scientifically through psychology and mental illnesses, and such, not believing that these problems originate from sin and the spirit realm. Right or wrong, no matter what the doctors say, the Bible says:
“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.” Eph. 6:12
“…not against flesh and blood…”, not against the visible, but against the unseen spirit realm. Many doctors do not believe there could be anything unseen and much more sinister at work. Rather than addressing and advising a change in life habits, including removing spiritual gateways that exist, they would prescribe pharmaceutical drugs and clinics, something that mostly keeps the patient in “care” rather than remove them from bondage. Incidentally, understand the etymology of the word, “pharmacy”, comes from the Greek word, pharmakeia, meaning, sorcery; which is synonymous with witchcraft. If we are truly Bible believing Christians, why would we not give God the glory through obedience? That may require a change in lifestyle and habits. Why would we not do it God’s way? Yes, this world is in a mess as a consequence of sin and in some cases God would provide the wisdom of medicine to help, but why do we seek worldly wisdom first instead of obeying God first?
How can we protect ourselves from these sinister spirits and weaken them to cast them out? Firstly, and most importantly, if you are saved from sin by the blood of Jesus, you are protected. If you are not saved by the blood of Jesus, you must make that decision today. Without that, you do not even begin to have a chance. You have no protection and no angels to protect you. If you are saved and you allow the leaven of sin in, you remove yourself from God’s protection and, little by little, if not attended to, can lead to strongholds in your life. We must take these scriptural warnings very seriously to remain under the protection of His blood.
Do you suspect demonic oppression against your home or your person? Do you want deliverance from these evil spirits? First, with your heart tuned in obedience to God to do whatever it takes, pray fervently for the Lord to point at things in your place that are entry points, strongholds to be cleared out and then, prepare for battle! Whatever these things are, I would recommend to irreparably dismantle them and if there is anything else left then take it straight to the curb even if it is not garbage day! Since you are waging spiritual warfare, the devil will fight you about it right away. He will actually plead with you not to let it go and make you think it is your own idea.
“Prepare your heart to hate the temptation before you are forced to hate the sin!”
One of his favorite pleas will be something like, “Look how much money you spent on that and you are just going to throw it away?” Yes, and it will be worth every penny to do it too! Another of his favourites will be, “Why don’t you sell it and get some of your money back!” No! That would buy the devil time to get you to change your mind. His plea may be sentimental, such as, “…but, they’ve been in the family for years!” Do not give in! Fight away the thought and overcome the temptation to keep it around! Prepare your heart to hate the temptation before you are forced to hate the sin! That decision will have an immediate effect. When the Lord convicts me of these things, He asks me if I truly trust Him to provide everything in my life that I need going forward. I know He does. Then, God speaks clearly to my heart:
“IT WILL NOT COST YOU ONE CENT TO THROW IT AWAY…
…GET RID OF IT, IMMEDIATELY.”
Following is a list of some things that occupy nearly every Christian home. These are all strongholds to one degree or another. Just remember, as you begin to go through this following checklist, Satan will be offended that you are considering to get rid of them, because he knows what keeps you in bondage. He knows the effective tools for wasting your time. He knows what has a grip on your house and the treasure of your heart. Be prepared to do whatever it takes to get closer to God in these dark times by acting without delay.
This following checklist is not comprehensive, but God will lay on your heart what you need to change or remove completely.
Here are some common strongholds with some accompanying verses you may want to consider:
Television / Hollywood / Internet / Gaming – “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Psm. 101:3;
Symbols – Pentagrams (“Stars”); “peace” symbols; necklaces with symbols; Christmas trees; Jack-o-lanterns; crucifixes; any other worldly images; “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Gal. 5:1
Rock or CCM Music – “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Eph. 5:11;
Alcohol or Non medically scripted drugs (any) – Clear it out. All of it. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Prov. 20:1;
Friends/Family – disassociate with bad influences; “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3;
Worldly things – Gambling, sports fanaticism, shopping; “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I John 2:15.
Whatever it is…pray and let the Lord show you what is holding you from Himself; from reading the Bible every day, praying every day, assembling with the Church. After having cleared your house as God directs, holding nothing back, pray to ask the Lord to show you various KJV scripture verses to affix under each light switch in your house.
“And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:” Deut. 11:20
If you have done this and you begin to see success in bringing God’s peaceable Spirit return back into your home, beware! You may be tempted to, but do not go back to wallowing in the devil’s mud! The Bible talks about sweeping out your house in Matthew 12:43-45 and the danger of returning to the bad habit:
“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”
Finally, as a suggestion, begin to memorize these 13 verses found in Hebrews 12:1-13. Thirteen verses is not very much. You will see how easy it is if you work at it little at a time every day, repeating what you learned the previous time. Repetition is the key to success! Let the Word wash you and you will see peace return to your home and life.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. ” Heb. 12:1-13 [emphasis mine]
These suggestions are just the beginning. Continuing on each day in prayer and reading and memorizing the Word will keep you on track, but do not look back to that which you have set aside! You will not be able to walk the walk by your own strength, but by every Word of God. If you continue on in faith in God and His ability to finish the good work He started in you, you will succeed.
The battle is a daily one and will never be finished in your lifetime, but the enemy will have no more strength to use against you than the temptations you give in to. May the Lord give you strength as you grow and live peaceably one with another. ~R.
© Remi Fernhout 2014