There has certainly been enough news across the airwaves lately to keep us all excited and stimulated ... Russian airstrikes in Syria; the Russian/Iran/China partnership; upheaval in our political process; warnings of a global economic collapse, just to name a few.
Yet, the conversations I am hearing from people around me, and through this blog, are not as concerned about these admittedly frightening prospects. Instead of concentrating on praying for our nation and world leaders, I am receiving requests to pray for individuals who are being overwhelmed with confusing and distressing spiritual attacks. Let me rephrase that ... Christians are in much need of spiritual knowledge because they have been ineffective in fighting the Enemy. In fact, they often don't recognize the true nature of their burdens and why they feel under siege.
So, what comes to my mind, is a word that the Lord spoke to the prophet Hosea... My people perish for lack of knowledge. For a long time, I felt that this Scripture referred to the absence of genuine Bible study among avowed Christians; that we lacked understanding and comprehension of the Bible as a whole. But I now think that this verse is directing us to a specific knowledge that we lack, and therefore it is contributing to our perishing.
First, let's start with this question: what is your understanding of the Kingdom of God? Christians have a hard time expressing the meaning of this important theological term. One of the best explanations I have seen is the following: The Kingdom of God embraces all created intelligence, both in heaven and earth that are willingly subject to the Lord and are in fellowship with Him. The Kingdom of God is, therefore, universal in that it includes created angels and men. It is eternal, as God is eternal, and it is spiritual—found within all born-again believers. We enter the Kingdom of God when we are born again, and we are then part of that kingdom for eternity. It is a relationship "born of the spirit" (John 3:5), and we have confident assurance that it is so because the Spirit bears witness with our spirits (Romans 8:16).
Now, consider the Scripture where Jesus is opposed by the Pharisees because He has cast out demons from a blind and mute man (Matthew 12). The Lord is accused of using the power of Satan to deliver the man of his demons. And what does Jesus say? "If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come unto you." It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that the demons were defeated! And if we, as born-again Believers, are part of that same Kingdom of God, and are co-heirs with Christ, then we, too, can call on the power of the Holy Spirit to defeat the Enemy.
But we are perishing because we do not possess, nor act, on that knowledge! Instead, we fall victim to the demons, who are servants in Satan's kingdom here on earth. The devil has given them his authority over our human activities; over cities, places and territories; over social organizations and groups; and they influence sinful behavior -- even in Christians. But the faithful followers of Christ have no knowledge that by invoking the Name of Jesus, they've been given a greater authority in the Kingdom of God (by Jesus, Himself); and that they have the power of the Holy Spirit to command Satan's demons to leave them alone.
I can't tell you how many young women I know who are suffering from long-ago and unspoken child molestation, which opened the door for Satan to assign a demon to harass them. Through years of being silent and unaware of the authority and power they have in Jesus's Name, they have succumbed to Satan's temptations and attacks involving lustful activity, addictions to alcohol and drugs, attraction to the occult, and harmful self-inflicted wounds.... all to mask the pain and chaos that keeps them under the authority of Satan's demons.
Other people have experienced bewildering bouts of depression and anxiety, or are subjected to debilitating attacks of worry and unfounded fear. Still others have actually undergone physical attacks by nameless, faceless entities who keep them from operating in their full capacity as Christians. If these Christians only possessed the knowledge that there is a war between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan -- and that we are participants, living in enemy territory -- they might seek ways to equip themselves for the fight.
Jesus said, "As the Father sent me, so I send you" (John 20:21). He then enlisted those of us who follow Him to join in His commitment to "proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed" (Luke 4:18). Did you get that? I am proclaiming that Christians DO NOT have to be held captive by Satanic attacks! Just like Jesus did when He walked the earth, we need to fight Satan's kingdom, in the power of the Holy Spirit. He has given us His Authority ("I send you"), and we are to fight, in obedience to Him and our Father.
If all the afflicted persons I have mentioned had this knowledge, they would not be perishing. That is why I feel it is so important for Christians to become educated on this topic. Of course, one must be careful to seek out educational tools and ministers who practice deliverance in a Biblical manner. There are always false teachers ready to lead us down an unScriptural path.
Books by Derek Prince, John Eckhardt and Charles Kraft are all superior in their teachings on spiritual deliverance. Those who are suffering intense attacks should seek out a minister who is well-versed in Biblical deliverance ministry. Pastor Jimmy Low of Harvest Church in Temple, TX; Pastor William Lau of the Elijah Challenge Ministry; and Dr. Erica Shepherd of the Integrated Healing Prayer Ministry come to mind. I am sure there are other competent ministers, but I am hesitant to recommend anyone that I am not familiar with.
But, for me, the bottom line is this, and the reason I wrote this blog today.... It is unnecessary for Christians to be living their lives in defeat. Look around you. How many Believers do you know who are suffering? Maybe you are one of them. Please educate yourself! Learn what you need to know so that you can stop perishing, and become a vital, active part of the Kingdom of God. I read a quote once, and it makes so much sense... "The fight is real. The victory of Christ on the Cross and His resurrection is final, but not yet fully realized. Evil continues to exercise its limited, yet significant power until Christ returns in His glory." And so we must stay in the fight, freeing people from the Enemy's attacks, in the power of Jesus. We are Christians. We have been chosen and blessed to be on the winning side. It's time to fight back!
Luke 10:17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”