Overcoming the Devil

The third enemy we battle while on this earth is the devil and his cohorts. Scriptures explain relatively little about Satan and his minions, so rather than get into a theological debate concerning their origin and ultimate destiny, our purpose will be very practical: how do we deal with demons now?

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

Much of what we believe today about the nature of hell, heaven, angels and devils was derived from literature written in previous centuries, especially Dante Alighieri’s socio-political allegory, The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, Paradise, and Purgatory, written in the early 1300s. But we can conclude to at least some degree that the life God has made available to us today will be tested in one way or another here on this earth. We must be overcoming the reign of evil in our own lives before we can overcome it in the earth. Otherwise God would simply save us—give us His life, make us His sons—and take us to be with Him.

Here’s a quick review from earlier articles that will help us understand this enemy:

The Devil and His Demons Are Supernatural Beings

First, these critters are not spiritual beings—they do not have the same characteristics that describe God and our spirit (if we have been re-born). They were created by God to perform particular tasks here on this earth, one of which is to drive us to dependence on God. Learning to use our authority, learning to depend on the training provided by God will bring us the confidence and skill to overcome all fear and mystery regarding these creatures.

We can liken demons to germs, or bacteria. How often during the day do we wash our hands, often without thinking? We are actually recognizing the possibility that we have come into contact with a living being whose existence threatens our well-being. Left unchecked, especially if we have a vulnerability (a scratch or injury), these unseen beings could even kill us. But because we have been educated and have learned to habitually wash our hands (and cover our mouth when sneezing, etc.), we are on guard for their possible presence and are able to prevent sickness from getting a foothold in our natural bodies. Likewise, and just as simply, all Christians can learn how to prevent becoming oppressed or even influenced by demons. We can recognize our own vulnerabilities, and protect our wounds as they are being healed. We can even use their presence to our advantage, and recognize that their presence may signal an area where we are vulnerable or injured. In other words, we should pay the same measure of attention, without fear, to the demonic as we do to everyday bacteria. (Unless, of course, we’re talking about a hypochondriac person who is overly concerned about germs, whose life is controlled by being focused on the unseen dangers without resting in the reality of their daily experiences.)

The Devil Follows Supernatural Laws and is Under Spiritual Authority

Because demons are created supernatural beings, they dwell in the supernatural realm. They can affect the natural realm, and are restricted by the laws and boundaries that govern the supernatural plane. As is also true for angelic supernatural beings, demons are under the authority of the spiritual realm. So anyone wielding spiritual authority, God (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and regenerated humans (Christians) has legal authority over both supernatural and natural beings. Because saints rarely experience significant healing and freedom in their lives, they also rarely experience the responsibility, power and authority that comes with being a co-inheritor and son of the King. Therefore generations of Christians have been allowed to languish in the prisons of demonic oppression because those who know better do nothing.

Supernatural versus Spiritual

This may seem like a nit-picky point, but it’s important to distinguish between these two realms. By elevating aspects of the supernatural realm, like angels and demons, we give them much too much influence and authority in and over our lives. We will only begin to walk in authority over these areas in as much as we believe we have the authority. So let’s save the term “spiritual” for those things begotten of God Himself, and supernatural and natural for those realms God has already put under our authority, even though we are not yet walking it out.

Demons Can be Fought Using Either Supernatural or Spiritual Weapons

Though we have been taught that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, we have not been taught, especially by example, what these weapons ARE made of or how to use them for ourselves. God is infinitely practical and objective, and wants us to grow in dependence in this area by coming to Him to learn how to use His weapons, as He gives them to us to use. Each of us has to learn from Him directly, then model our victories and failures for others as well, encouraging them to be taught of the Master. God could get rid of Satan and his gang with a single thought (or likewise take us out of harm’s way), but He leaves us in the devil’s pathway so we can learn how to do battle. Remember, we are called Overcomers as well as Saints.

We Need to Tune Our Supernatural Senses in Order to Perceive Demonic Activities

One of the main reasons we have such trouble in this area is because we have not yet tuned our soulical senses to recognize what is going on in these three realms. As our senses are trained, we will begin to see more clearly into the spiritual realm to perceive what God is doing, and receive clear instruction, direction and encouragement directly from Him. In the supernatural realm, we will recognize the tactics and strategies of the enemy, and recognize our own successes and failures, thereby fine-tuning our strategies. We will also be more clearly motivated—as we observe and share in the freeing experiences of others, we enthusiastically join God in setting the captives free. In the natural, because we are growing into mature sons of God, we join God in His plan for this earth, standing in the gap and pro-actively, with full knowledge and collaboration, effecting His efforts on a daily, world-wide basis.

Overcoming the Demonic

In II Corinthians 2:11, Paul refers to his recognition of a tactic of the enemy, boldly stating “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” This hardly seems to be true for us. Instead, most of our time and thoughts seem to be tied up in wondering how we’re doing, if we’re on the right track, if we’re pleasing to God. So how can Paul claim to not be ignorant of the enemy’s devices? And how can we practically pursue our lessons so that we can say the same thing?

Goal and Purpose of the Enemy

In a nutshell, Satan’s goal is to steal, kill and destroy. This is his nature, what he was created for. And he’s been doing it for a good long time! He takes two main approaches; either direct assault on the things of God (including His saints), or the far more common subtle varieties of warfare. Unfortunately, very few Believers in each generation have become skilled at warfare with demons, and even fewer have done an adequate job in transferring that knowledge and skill to the next generation. So each generation, including ours, has had to essentially start from scratch in learning how to combat this terrorist threat.

Satan’s main approaches are to distract the saints from the purposes of God, encourage self-reliance in the saints, misdirect the energy of the saints, and discourage the saints, attempting to destroy their faith. His ultimate goal is to prevent God from achieving His goals.

The enemy attacks us on two fronts: either he will draw attention to himself and his purposes, distracting us from the real issue (God dealing with us to bring us healing), or he draws attention away from himself, to keep from being exposed and dealt with according to God’s will in that situation. But he can be overcome in God’s timing, and according to His purposes for our lives. So the enemy hinders us from our dependence on God only when we let him distract us or if we ignore him and let him set up camp. (This is not to say that Satan and his pals don’t have power—they surely do. But the source of that power to deceive and destroy can be easily quenched by going to the root of his involvement in our lives and dealing with that. This removes the enemy’s claim on us and, with a word from the Lord, he must flee.)

Like many of us saints, Satan too has a misunderstanding of God’s purposes for this time. We are often playing right into his plans when we believe and behave as though we were here on this earth to accomplish something for God. This may be a means, but we must keep our eyes on His goal, which is dependence on God, resulting in sonship. What we will find is that only dependence on God, in conjunction with getting our wounds healed and our flesh exposed, will defeat the enemy and undermine his efforts.

Why is He Our Enemy?

Though by his very nature Satan hates all creatures, he considers only those believers who are yielded to God (or in the process) as truly his enemies. This is because it is only through these vessels that God’s river of life flows freely to this world and its inhabitants, unhindered by flesh and the world system. It is only these people that are any kind of a real threat to the enemy’s plans. So consider this as part of counting the cost: If you want to be free from flesh, healed of your wounds, dependent and intimate with God, you have also chosen to become an enemy to Satan.

Symptoms of Attacks of the Enemy

We are most vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy where we have unhealed wounds in our soul and are therefore walking after the flesh in that area. Where we believe a lie, the enemy has a legal right to interfere in our lives. We often confuse an onslaught of the enemy with a flare-up of our flesh or attribute it to the circumstance, another person or our selves. The symptoms each of us experience will be unique according to our particular situation, and will run the gamut from extremely subtle to overt. Later we will examine ways to tune our senses so that even the subtlest attack of the enemy will be obvious, as will be our counter-attack. Like using night-vision goggles, we can learn to observe his attacks and either avoid or overcome them.

Unexplained, unwarranted or inappropriate thoughts, decisions or emotions

Each of us is likely to have an “off” day now and then, so we don’t want to get into a “demon under every rock” mentality; on the other hand, we don’t want to make any assumptions either. Generally we want to simply consider an attack from the enemy as a possibility whenever we feel, think, or behave erratically or inappropriately, especially if it involves not being able to remember it later, or control our thoughts, actions or feelings when we want to.

Demonic or supernatural manifestations

We experience these manifestations both in the natural and supernatural realms. In the natural realm, we perceive the demonic with our natural senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. In the supernatural realm, many of these same senses operate on a distinct level. We have the perception of these creatures or activities accordingly, though others in the same room may not experience or perceive them at all. Over time our spirit teaches our soul how to distinguish the different realms and how to not only recognize the activity in each but how to respond and overcome.

Results of Attacks of the Enemy

Considering that the goal of the enemy is to destroy and tear down what God is building up, it is a fair assumption to consider demonic activity as a possibility whenever we are drawn to rely on ourselves, our own strength. We will get into the weapons the enemy uses later, but for now we need to know that his activity in our lives is pervasive and subtle, but can be an indication of several things: we are being healed, we are growing in dependence on the Lord, and to approach each experience as an opportunity to learn from the Lord and grow even closer to Him. This makes every day an adventure. If we, for whatever reason, decide or do not know how to join this battle against the demonic, his unwavering assaults may be expressed as the following:

Crisis Cycles

Because God sometimes uses attacks from the enemy to accomplish His purposes, and we are most responsive to the Lord when we are going through something uncomfortable (mainly financial, relationship or physical/health challenges), we may find ourselves having to deal with the same kind of crisis in our lives over and over again until we acknowledge the interference of the enemy, why, where and how he has a legal or illegal influence in our lives, and then deal with him, taking authority over him if necessary, or getting healed and releasing him legally, as appropriate. If we ignore him he only gets stronger, and his roots go deeper into our lives and possibly into the lives of those we are in relationship with.

Greater Flesh Strongholds

Because the enemy only has a legal right to influence and attack in areas where we are vulnerable because of an unhealed wound, he is likely to exploit that area of our flesh to its greatest potential. So an area that may seem to be an insignificant or unimportant flesh pattern may eventually burgeon into a habit or feeling that is out of control. These flesh strongholds are on the one hand a great way to recognize an area where we need healing (at the root we are believing a lie) but on the other hand it would be great if we could all learn to recognize the enemy’s activity in our lives without having to wait for something to get out of control and perhaps create consequences that we could have lived without.

Oppression

Oppression here is being used to describe all the various ways the enemy overtly expresses his activity in our lives. Oppression can be expressed as a physical, bodily effect, everything from ulcers, asthma, ADD, inability to concentrate, acne, back problems, aches and pains, etc. to interruptions in all areas of our soul: confusion, inability to concentrate, hearing things, seeing things, inability to feel or express emotions, violent outbursts, crying jags, depression, etc. Neither our soul nor our bodies were created to be able to meet our needs, so when put into that role, they will accept help to cope from wherever it comes, be it creating its own life—flesh—or from external sources—the demonic.

Greater Sense of Being Out of Control in Mind, Will, Emotions or Physically

Though there are no doubt occasions where there is a physical explanation for mental and physical disorders, when not confronted appropriately, the flesh and demonic oppression in a person’s life (whether a believer or not) may lead to that person becoming completely out of control in an area. This does not mean that there is no physical “explanation” for a mental illness, for instance, only that if that explanation does not include the influence of woundedness and the demonic it will not be getting at the root of the problem. Even family genetics are affected and degraded by living under oppression over time.

Take Heart!

Once we realize the reason and reversibility of these attacks, we can actually thank God for them (he allows them in the first place), since their ultimate purpose will be to set us even freer. We must also acknowledge that the more we want to know the Lord, the greater the threat we will become to the enemy and the more he will attack. But it’s worth it, because through our grappling with him we learn to more and more depend upon and know our Warrior God.

Identify Particular Kinds of Attacks

Our goal at this time is not to cover the full depth or extent of the enemy’s capabilities or our vulnerabilities. Instead our desire is to begin to bridge the gap between each of our varying degrees of ignorance of the subject and becoming comfortable and encouraged learning and discussing the subject. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is your Teacher, instructing you in warfare through your spirit. You can have confidence that He will not put you in a position that He can’t handle, though it is likely that at some point in time He will put you in a position YOU can’t handle! We must not only learn how to succeed in overcoming the enemy, but also how to fail. It is often in our mistakes and trying that we learn the most, about ourselves, our enemy and the strength, reliability and unwavering love of our Commander in Chief.

CAUTION: None of us is capable of recognizing, countering and overcoming the attacks of the enemy on our own apart from God. God intends only that we learn, listen and depend on Him, and cooperate with Him as He completes the conquering through us.

The Enemy Uses the Weapons of Deception, Accusation and Temptation Against Our Soul (Mind, Will and Emotions)

By his very nature, as expressed in his names (Deceiver, Accuser, Tempter), these are all things the enemy is already doing, but we are victimized when we join him in accusing, tempting or condemning. He’s the deceiver, the tempter and the accuser; these will very often weave back and forth. But when we understand why and where he has power over us we can cut him off at the pass. Then we can get down to the real business, which is the flesh.

*Can the devil read your mind? No—what he can do is “push your buttons and yell” at you (supernaturally-speaking, that is); it’s up to you to listen or not. Over time he has gotten real good at judging how we’ll react to certain stimuli. So he knows what words, etc., to use in order to get the desired results. As we become free, we will more and more have deaf ears toward the weapons of the enemy.

DECEPTION: Leads to Distraction from the Truth (Mind-Related)

Deception is Satan’s attempt to get you to THINK contrary to who you are in Christ.

At his very nature Satan was created to be a deceiver. He is the father of lies, and has become very experienced and subtle at deceptions of all kinds. His greatest deception is the way he presents his lies to us as our own thoughts. He speaks to us in first person singular, using our catch phrases, our words and expressions. For instance, if we were to have the thought, “Bobby didn’t say ‘hi’ to you this morning, maybe he doesn’t like you anymore,” most of us would be able to at least recognize that it is not our thought. So the enemy has learned to phrase his lies using our language, our own expressions, so we will accept them as ours, swallowing the lie in the words. So the deception becomes, “Bobby didn’t say hi to ME this morning, maybe he doesn’t like ME anymore.” So we begin to think about and judge the situation based on what we think we’re thinking, instead of what the truth is. It’s very subtle, but that’s the way it works. Pretty soon, we’ve entered into it. Cuz we figure, “okay, that’s us. That’s me. I didn’t know I thought that way!” You don’t! That’s the deception. So the enemy’s goal here is to get us to accept his thoughts as ours, and distract us from our focus on Jesus.

By accepting the enemy’s words as our thoughts, we are easily distracted away from what the Lord is doing in our lives to what suits the purposes of the enemy (including the flesh and the world system). The ultimate distraction of the enemy is to get us to believe we are only engaged in warfare with HIM—instead of our flesh. We can also be easily distracted when we try to reason or rationalize how to approach a given situation or person, or even try to reason with our own feelings or thoughts, rather than rely on the Spirit within.

Why is Deception Effective?

Deception, the distortion of the truth, is at the root of every other weapon the enemy uses against us. Deception is effective because it is personalized, formed according to our individual flesh. It feels good, comforts us, gives us a sense of control—in other words, deception gives us what we want. Deception offers an alternative, an easy way to get out of the processing God is doing to and through his people today.

How to Protect Against Deception

Learn to recognize the truth by spending time with the Truth. The counterfeit will become more and more obvious to us the more we experience God’s truth about us, and begin to have our senses sharpened. As you overcome the world and the flesh, you will be less vulnerable to deception.

TEMPTATION: Leads to Betrayal of Your Identity (Will-Related)

Temptation is Satan’s attempt to get you to ACT contrary to who you are in Christ.

Building on deception (getting you to believe the information he provides instead of the Truth God provides), we are tempted to build our belief system and act according to a lie about ourselves, others or the way God thinks about us. For instance, if we believe the lie that we have to accomplish God’s will for our lives in order to be approved by Him, and then focus on accomplishing that purpose instead of accepting God’s unconditional grace and letting Him accomplish His will through us, we have both entered into temptation and betrayed, or acted contrary to, our true identity. For instance, in Christ, are we a pathetic people? But the enemy comes in and he says, “nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m going to go eat worms.” Or “This person didn’t call me, I guess they don’t like me. And, well, I don’t blame them.” On and on, and we start running with it. And it tempts us to withdraw from that person. We’ve entered into the lie and it has become a personal belief (something we believe to be true). But when we say, “yeah, that’s right, nobody likes me…” and we catch it, and say, “Wait a minute—that’s not true, I am not a pitiable person, I am righteous, holy and loved by God,” we acknowledge God’s truth about us, turn back to dependence on God, and the devil has failed.

Why is Temptation Effective?

Temptation is effective because it accommodates our flesh, our need for control, so it feels good. Change is hard for all of us, and learning to depend on God necessitates changing our beliefs. It’s much easier to live and do according to standards that conform to our strengths and cover our weaknesses than to simply accept God’s love, acceptance and honor on His terms.

How to Protect Against Temptation

Recognize that we are already accepted in Christ, that there’s nothing we need to do or accomplish to keep His approval. Again we learn to quickly recognize temptation by depending more and more on God, letting Him tune our senses to more quickly discern the enemy’s attacks, and counter them with His truths. (Though memorizing scripture can be helpful, we are talking here about the truths that, though they line up with scripture, have been made real to us by the Holy Spirit within us.)

Christ was tempted in all ways. So it’s not the temptation that’s the sin. It’s believing it. Which is why we need to be receiving our life from God—we can’t do this on our own. No one can be so extensively diligent to be catching every thought, but we can believe the Truth, as God makes it real to us. And that will reject the lie. In this case, the lie is that we are not complete in Christ. That we need something more. Then the enemy will Accuse…

ACCUSATION: Leads to Condemnation (Emotion-Related)

Accusation is Satan’s attempt to get you to FEEL contrary to who you are in Christ.

Satan’s weapon of Accusation is along the same lines as his other weapons, just aimed at your emotions. He will continue to use the first person; “Boy, no wonder I don’t have any friends. I just said the stupidest thing. I said the same thing last Thursday. Man look what happened then.” And we just go on a downward emotional spiral. Sometimes we are more susceptible to some accusations than others. For instance, stress of all kinds makes us more vulnerable. And of course if we’ve been tempted, we’re off guard, we’re focusing on what we’re doing. And not necessarily on what’s occurring on the other battlefields.

Why is Accusation Effective?

Accusation is effective because we have learned to live according to our flesh, what makes us feel in control, feel good, or feel comfortable. We often mistakenly judge whether something is good and/or from God by how we feel about it, or how it makes us feel. And since change is hard, and depending on God may not give us any feelings whatsoever, feeling something, even if it’s misery, is often preferable to learning to bring our emotions under control.

How to Protect Against Accusation

Acknowledge and accept that all your emotional needs have already been met in Christ. The emotions are the last to line up with truth, so be patient with yourself, others and with God as He slowly brings your emotions into a restful place. Though God gave each of us emotions, they don’t “mean” anything. As we depend on Jesus to meet our emotional needs, our emotions become more and more free and submitted to our spirit within.

WARNING: We don’t need to become too introspective or analytical about any of this, though. God is faithful to bring to our attention that which is not from Him, and how and when to deal with it appropriately.

How did Jesus Overcome the Devil?

As in all things, Jesus overcame the enemy by learning to depend on His Father. Though He was in all ways tempted as we are, He had learned who He was, who His Father was, and how to receive the life of His Father. He had already experienced having His legitimate needs met, and already had His mind, will and emotions brought into alignment with the truth He had received from His Father. So when the enemy came to Him, attempting to deceive Him with alternate information, Jesus could quickly recognize the lies and affirm the truth. Our goal is that we can eventually say with Jesus, the enemy has found nothing in us that would give him an opportunity to deceive.

Our Weapons to Overcome

Preparing for Battle:

Recognition of our identity

Experiencing a dependent relationship with Christ is the foundation for overcoming the enemy. The more fully we understand who we are in Him, who He is in us, and then join Him in His purposes in our lives and in this earth the more fully we are engaged in His activities, one of which is to destroy the works of the evil one. Learning how to use our weapons is not only for our sake, to protect ourselves and overcome the enemy in our lives, but also to be available to the Lord to set others free, so they too can experience wholeness in the Lord.

Determine who’s speaking to you

There are two voices that speak to the sheep, the butcher and the shepherd. Many of us have grown used to only hearing the harsh words of a taskmaster, demanding obedience and threatening punishment. We must learn that this is not the voice of our Lord, our shepherd. Even though Jesus often corrects us and even drives us into situations we don’t want to go, it will always be out of love. The Spirit will always build you up, tell you the truth, and will never tempt you to act independently from God. We must tune our ears to His voice through spending lots and lots and lots of time with Him.

The result of the devil’s instruction will always be to rely on something outside of dependence on the Lord. Remembering that the soul in dependence on the Lord is Satan’s greatest enemy, he will do whatever he can whenever he can to prevent this from happening. So whatever it takes, distraction, deception, or attempting to mimic an angel of light, the enemy will attempt to draw us into using our own strength, resources of our mind, will or emotions to meet our needs or even accomplish what we believe God has called us to do.

Set your mind

The devil is not overcome by well-reasoned logic or rhetoric. What does convince him to obey is the renewed mind, thinking and acting on the thoughts of the risen Lord working through the healed, creative mind of a saint.

Ask the Lord to put your mind on a short leash, then recognize and respond as He begins to reveal to you what you are thinking. As He does this, you may find several sources for your thoughts that are not from the Lord: your flesh patterns, the world system and the enemy all affect your thoughts. Over time, as you diligently value the Lord’s instruction, you will be able to distinguish the sources of your thoughts, and respond and deal with them accordingly. Just because you’re thinking a thought doesn’t mean it’s your thought, that it’s true, or that you need to do something with it (act on it). The Lord is faithful to teach you how to bring your thoughts into alignment with truth. Some will find this easy to learn, for others it may be difficult, depending on your temperament, how long your mind has been thinking whatever it wants to, and what the Lord is doing in your life right now. Whatever the circumstance, be confident that the Lord has you right where He wants you, and He is faithful to give you a sound mind and clear thoughts.

Release your emotions

The devil is not impacted by your passion or depth of concern or feeling. What does provoke fear in him is the saint who has had his emotions healed, freed and brought into submission to the spirit of a saint submitted to God.

Some of us need to rein in and bring our emotions into line with our spirit, and keep them from being the driving force and motivation in our lives. Others need to learn how to express their emotions, acknowledging their value and learning to enjoy and share them appropriately. Either way, the Lord wants us so focused on Him that regardless of what we may be feeling, His purposes and our dependence are not interfered with. This is something that takes more than head knowledge, it takes practice. We are all prone to want to avoid emotionally difficult situations, but the Lord wants us to actually embrace them as learning opportunities to be able to hear and respond to His voice, leading and direction regardless of what is going on in our emotions. Much like a military officer in a combat situation or an emergency worker during a crisis, we need our training to kick in under stress, regardless of what our emotions are telling us to do. When the going gets tough, we need to be able to hear Him the most. As we embrace this concept the Lord will put us in situations where we will have the opportunity to choose to react our usual way, or to submit our emotions to our spirit’s control, focusing our attention on Him.

Discipline your will

The devil is not impressed with the strength of your will or your self-discipline. The weapon that he is afraid of is the will that is submitted to the spirit of a saint living in dependence on the Lord.

As we grow in dependence on the Lord we will begin to see the decisions and choices we make from a different perspective—the Lord’s. Most of us have learned to make decisions for ourselves based on judgment that has been affected by our temperament, history, family expectations, flesh, and other outside influences. Many of us do not even know what we want out of life, what we want to accomplish, or how to set goals and achieve them. As we experience freedom we learn what our soulical desires are, then learn to submit them to the Lord. We can’t submit our will to the Lord, so that His will can be done, until we fully acknowledge and even honor our own wants and desires. Over time the Lord will bring our desires and choices into line with His, though there will also be times when He will ask us to do something completely contrary to our temperament, our abilities and even our desires. His purpose is that we have a free, whole will that does not control us, but is controlled by our spirit, then joined to the Lord’s will fully intact. This is the will that overcomes Satan; we choose to go to battle with him, though it would be easier, safer, less risky to let someone else do it, ignore him, put it off or choose another route. As we focus on the Lord, His direction and choices for us will gain and keep our attention and devotion.

Strategies

Our strategy for taking on the enemy and overcoming him is likely to include both defensive and offensive tactics. We must be able to engage in either, always at rest and dependence in the Lord’s leadership.

Offensive Tactics:

Seek the Lord, acknowledging His presence and authority, then ask for the source of the suspected influence in your life or for another person. If the Lord identifies it as a demon or other demonic influence, deal with it accordingly.

Ask the Lord for clarity, instructions, directions, strengths and weaknesses of the enemy; wait for His reply, which may come in whatever way He chooses to express Himself. Start with asking “Yes” or “No” questions.

  • Identify the enemy by name (his name will often reveal his function) if possible (ask the Lord for clarity, command the demon to respond truthfully). There is nothing wrong with speaking to a demon, just be sure to command him to be truthful. You may have to demand truth often.
  • Identify its range of influence—personal, geographical, etc. (ask the Lord for clarity, command the demon to respond truthfully).
  • Determine if it has a legal right to be interfering in the situation (ask the Lord for clarity, command the demon to respond truthfully).
  • If it doesn’t have a right, command it to leave the area, and to go where Jesus sends it. Feel free to command using Jesus’ name, but you don’t have to. Then ask the Lord if it has gone. If not, ask the Lord why not. Continue this discourse until it’s gone and you are confident it is. This may occur over time.
  • If it claims to have a legal right to be there (which is the only way it can stay after being exposed and commanded to leave), ask what is that legal right (ask the Lord for clarity, command the demon to respond truthfully).
  • If it has an actual legal right, deal with it accordingly (examples follow later in this chapter). Then command the demon to leave the area, going where Jesus sends it. Feel free to command using Jesus’ name, but you don’t have to. Then ask the Lord if it has gone. If not, ask the Lord why not. Continue discourse and discernment until it’s gone and you are confident it is. This may occur over time.

Follow up with other demonic influences that may be present.

This sequence is not meant to be a rigid, mandatory structure or to rule out other ways of approaching this subject. It is highly likely that other approaches are equally effective. Our goal is, however, to bring the topic of demonic warfare into our common conversation so we can discuss and learn objectively. If people are being set free from demonic influence, and are then learning to live in dependence with no fear of oppression or depression, God’s purposes are likely to have been accomplished.

Preventative Tactics:

Acknowledge that everyone is exposed to and can be influenced by demons every day. Again, it’s helpful to think of them as germs, and that we come into surface contact with them as part of our natural environment. Most of us are not afraid of germs, and have accepted the need for simple cleansing, like brushing our teeth and washing our hands, as normal routines for dealing with germs. We also need to build into our daily habits the same understanding and response to demons, without making a big deal out of it, so that we have the same ability to recognize the presence and authority to get rid of the demonic “germs” as the biological kind.

Just as there are kinds of germs that can do greater harm to us than others (ebola and anthrax, in comparison to the common cold and flu, for example), there are demonic influences of various kinds that are also of greater threat to us. As we grow in dependence, the Lord is likely to bring us into contact with these critters, so we can both learn how He works, His power, and what strategies and opportunities the enemy has available to him. We can always have confidence, however, that the Lord is always our protection. We don’t need to worry about not having enough prayer covering, being in His perfect will, or having committed some unknown sin. God is committed to our training because He loves us and wants us fully free and able to accept unconditionally what He wants to give unconditionally. So we can not only endure this training, we can embrace and enjoy it, knowing His strategies are always effective.

Satan and his buddies were defeated at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ 2000 years ago. God has left them here on this earth to give His Saints an opportunity to learn how to deal with them. So deal!

Hidden or Secret Tactics:

There will be times when the Lord, our Captain, will provide clear instructions as to who the enemy is, where he is located, how to go about waging the battle, and what the outcome will be. There will be other times when we won’t even realize we are battling the enemy until after the battle is over. We can rest assured during any of these scenarios that through our dependence on the Lord we will be ready to hear and obey, and ultimately achieve the purpose of the Lord in that situation.

Our Source of Authority

Our authority over supernatural beings is based on our nature as spiritual beings. It does not come from knowledge, gifts, anointings, mantles, age, experience, education, gender, position in a church, etc. Authority over the demonic is exercised in the supernatural and natural realms, so is restricted on their end to the supernatural realm. In other words, if the demon bothering you has a legal right to be there, your spiritual authority does not necessarily supercede that legal right in the supernatural realm. It is critical for us to understand the battleground, so we can overcome expediently and confidently.

This authority pertains to the supernatural angelic beings as well. Though we will not go into detail here, we also want to be willing to review our beliefs and relationships with those beings assigned to minister to the heirs of salvation.

Think of this warfare simply as a learning experience. As a co-inheritor with Christ, you have received the authority and responsibility given to our Older Brother. Part of our becoming one with the Father is learning how to be a son. Ruling, reigning and judging are all aspects of true sonship. Don’t put off till another time the opportunities God has placed before you now to learn how to rule according to His life flowing through you. This is an important and valuable aspect of dependence on the Lord.

It is okay to make mistakes: assume and accept that you will right now. But think of it realistically; if demons are like bacteria and we wash our hands whenever we think there is a need (whether there is a KNOWN need or not), we can approach dealing with the demonic in the same manner. It doesn’t hurt anything to wash your hands more often than is necessary. So if you believe there is demonic activity involved in a situation or your own circumstance, and you attempt to deal with it, and eventually determine it was something else, SO WHAT! No harm was done, and this is all part of our learning to depend on God for instructions.

In Jesus’ Name

As briefly noted previously, the common use of the phrase “in Jesus’ Name” is purely optional. Using the phrase doesn’t carry any more weight with demons than not using it. It does often, however, bolster our own confidence, that by invoking the Name of Jesus, we are calling on His authority, and therefore have a right to make certain demands on these supernatural beings. Let’s remember, though, that it is our own authority as spiritual beings, that we now have the same authority that Jesus has, that gives us authority over the supernatural. Likewise, just saying “in Jesus’ Name” doesn’t override a legal right for a demon to be involved. Also, our authority is not enhanced by either a reasoned argument, fervent fasting and praying (though these often reveal the presence of a demon as well as heighten our own soulical and physical senses), or the strength of our passion, emotional outbursts or wearying of the critter. Our authority is in our unchanging and unchangeable relationship to our Father—as a son.

Hindrances to Overcoming the Enemy

The primary hindrance to overcoming the enemy is Ignorance concerning the nature of the battle.

There seems to be two camps in Christian circles regarding supernatural warfare: either a pretty complete and willing ignorance or a pre-occupation. Only God Himself can keep our focus where it needs to be: there are times when we will need to pay close attention to the demonics, but other times when we need give it barely a thought. Remember that the end goal is not to be able to overcome the enemy on our terms, but through dependence on the leadership and direction of Jesus. We do, however, need to be aware at all times that whether you acknowledge it or not, if you are a believer, you are in the war. There is no “behind the front lines” when it comes to all three battlegrounds. We also have a tendency to give up too soon, often when circumstances seem to get better, rather than to wait to hear from the Lord whether that battle has been won. This is also why one of Satan’s greatest strategies, distraction, is so effective. It usually doesn’t take much to get us on to something else before the job at hand is completed.

Indulging the Flesh hinders us from overcoming the enemy.

There are only two resources available to our soul for life; either we are walking after the flesh or walking by, or empowered by, the spirit. So if we are indulging our flesh (not cooperating with God in acknowledging wounds, etc.) we are not able to enjoy the benefits of a spirit-filled life. Our senses are darkened, we are under the control of our own emotions, mind and will, and are therefore susceptible to deception accordingly. In that condition, it doesn’t take much for the enemy to distract us from our true identity and get us to believe a lie, which is often his ultimate goal.

Indulging the World hinders us from overcoming the enemy.

Throughout history one of the greatest pressures against a Christian is the pressure to conform, whether it be to an organized religion, a religious belief system, or political perspective. But compromising with the world (allowing time, history or any other world pressure to interfere with our dependence on the Lord alone) weakens our ability to recognize and overcome the enemy. Again our senses are diluted, and our ability to withstand the subtle influences of the enemy under these conditions is diverted toward other distractions. We are to be in the world, but not of it, affecting our world through dependence, how and when He chooses, rather than accommodating or accepting the standards of the world.

Negligence, or abdicating our Responsibility to grow in dependence, hinders our ability to overcome our enemy.

Most of us at one time can probably say we’re warring against the enemy, usually during those crisis times when we’re having relationship conflicts, dealing with physical, emotional or mental illness, or financial challenges. But as soon as we get through those times, we give God a well-earned thank you, and go on our merry way. We need to recognize those times as “Wake-Up Calls” from the Lord, that He allows those circumstances in our lives to happen to show us where we are vulnerable to the enemy and not depending on Him. If we continue to neglect our responsibility, we and others will continue to have to go through these circumstances over and over again. It’s not because the enemy is so strong, but because we neglect the opportunity to overcome.

Inappropriate Fear hinders us from overcoming the enemy.

All supernatural beings deserve our respect, but because we have authority over them, we have the responsibility to know how to deal with them appropriately in order to honor our Family name and set the captives (sometimes ourselves) free. Emotional fear, or fear based on illustrations and the experiences of others, is not conducive to a proper stance toward the supernatural. Just as we show our respect for the power and potential effects of bacteria, and respond accordingly, we also learn about and engage our enemy in the same way. Though our emotions are likely to be active, we are not to be influenced by them, or base decisions on them, especially since they are the last of our soulical elements (mind, will and emotions) to line up with the truth of our spirit identity. So we engage the supernatural realm, and its inhabitants, with the confidence that comes from having done our homework with our Teacher, motivated by His encouragement and direction, looking forward to greater opportunities to depend on Him and see His purposes accomplished in each situation.

Misunderstanding our Identity as a spirit being hinders us from overcoming the enemy.

In the desert Satan tempted Jesus three times to act contrary to His identity, and it was only because Jesus knew His identity, and could counter with the truth according to His Nature, that He prevailed. The same is true for us. If we don’t understand our authority, and Satan’s lack thereof, we will remain ignorant of his schemes against us, either becoming distracted from resting in the spirit to trying to do battle out of our own strength, or we will run from the battle altogether, being overtaken with the fight-or-flight options available to us when we were yet dead in our spirit. If God has not made your true identity and nature real to you, ask Him to do so NOW, then accept that it is true, regardless of how you may feel, or whether or not it lines up with your other belief systems or conforms to the accepted norms of your particular group.

Misunderstanding God’s Motivations and Intentions toward us hinders us from overcoming the enemy.

God is not testing us, or putting us in harm’s way to see if we’re going to obey Him or face the consequences. Remember that your spirit is in full cooperation and understanding with the Spirit of God. So if you find yourself looking for someone to get mad at, get mad at the Real You! Your spirit has already agreed with God that whatever circumstances you’re in is to ultimately bring you into greater dependence. The Real You also knows how it’s going to turn out, too, so has confidence in the strategy. Reminding ourselves how much God loves us, wants what is best for us, and IS leading and guiding us will go a long way to keep our warfare in perspective.

Misunderstanding the Time we are living in hinders us from overcoming our enemy.

We neither want to get distracted by the purposes God has for this time nor be ignorant of them. Rather than getting into what those purposes are, we want to acknowledge that during each period or age God has set aside something He wants to accomplish. We know and recognize that as individuals God wants us to take part in His purposes, according to His plan for each of us. This only points out a greater need to be dependent on Him for training and direction, knowing that we can rely on Him to provide the obstacle courses and practical examinations we need so that we will be ready and confident no matter what is in store.

Misunderstanding our Authority hinders our overcoming the enemy.

Our Father wants us to not only understand and acknowledge His authority, but our own as well. As joint-heirs with Jesus, we are to grow up and join Him as ruler and judge, according to His judgments. In order to do that we need to accept our authority, recognizing the weight of responsibility and the strong consequences that come with mis-handling the authority. Some may say that it is better, then, to not learn to use the authority, in case a mistake is made, with subsequent discipline. But knowing to do the right thing, and choosing not to do anything, is rejecting God’s purpose for you now, and will in itself hold consequences. So we remind ourselves of God’s intentions toward us, that He has arranged and already knows every outcome of these situations. Rather than waiting for us to make a mistake, so discipline can be meted out, He encourages our dependence, so that understanding and grace can be fully experienced, then extended. We are free to make a mistake here as well, knowing God knows where we are on the maturity-meter at all times, and has prepared accordingly.

Overcoming

We are intentionally not going to get very specific here, as God tailors each person’s experience according to what is needed for them, and we don’t want to get distracted by language. But generally speaking, our warfare against the enemy falls into the following categories: Demonics, Strongholds & Curses, and Witchcraft and the Occult.

Demonics (Supernatural Critters)

Dealing with demons is something every believer needs to be able to do whenever the Lord requires. Just like every aspect of our new nature, as we depend on the Lord to train and teach us, He will provide exactly the situation and challenges we as individuals need in order to have our flesh exposed, wounds healed and in the process learn to depend more on Him for life.

To start with, let’s make it very clear that there is no such thing as demonic “possession”; it is not possible for a demon to take up residence, or take control of a person’s mind, will or emotions, in either a believer or a non-believer. What they can do, however, is so confuse and intimidate a person’s soul that they are unable to distinguish between themselves and the force of the enemy, take authority themselves, or even ask for help. This is where others need to discern where to step in on their behalf, though the Lord often intervenes sovereignly. After a person is delivered from demonic oppression, influence or interference, the work of uncovering and healing the wound begins, so the person becomes impervious to being attacked in that area again. We don’t want to live being controlled by the fear that we have to be on constant watch for the enemy, but trust that our Watchman will give plenty of warning when the enemy tries to approach our gates.

God is not nearly as concerned about our language, our terminology, as we think. Neither is the enemy. He recognizes a loaded shotgun when he sees one; it is our aim and willingness to shoot that we need to work on. God will provide the target practice as He sees fit, with one goal to be trained to use a high-powered rifle, specific and exact terminology, when necessary.

Demonic Attacks

Demonic attacks (either by a single demon or group) can be generally categorized in the following ways:

Attacks of Opportunity

As we’ve already mentioned, if we continue to walk after the flesh or accommodate the world system, we will be vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. Like bacteria, we must accept that these critters are out there, and will take the opportunity to bug us when they can. Again thinking of them as bacteria, if we cut ourselves, yet neglect to wash out the wound, it would not be a great surprise for the cut to get infected. Likewise if we don’t learn to recognize the voice of the spirit, bringing our attention to either an old or new wound, or if we ignore or postpone paying attention to the notice, we may well find ourselves coming under the attack of the enemy. Now, don’t get all self-condemning when this happens. Just as when our cut does get infected, we simply recognize the need for extra attention, and the protection of the area for a time, perhaps even restricting our activities until it heals. We don’t take it as a measure or reflection of our character, behavior or our standing with God or with others.

Demons that Are Sent

Remembering that the greatest enemy to Satan is the Saint yielded and dependent on God, the more you learn to rest in, receive and extend His Life, the more you become a high-value target. Demons can be sent by those in authority in the demonic hierarchy, by believers and non-believers involved in sorcery (witchcraft & occult), and by God Himself. The best way to deal with a demon that has been sent is the same way we’ve already discussed—ask the Lord! It is helpful, however, to find out if the demon has been sent so that you can be directed by the Lord, if it is His desire, to take the offensive and launch your own assault, as directed, against the enemy. Demons are going to be around on this earth as long as we are, and may be a force we will have to contend with in the next age, so we should go ahead and acknowledge the fact that we’re going to have to learn to deal with and overcome them.

Demons that Are Invited

Finally, we can categorize demonic interference as something we ask for in one way or another. This is an intentional request made by either a believer or non-believer (the demons don’t care which) toward the demonic to carry out a certain task. Demons may or may not be obligated to abide by these requests, but we treat their involvement in the same manner as above. As dependent sons, we must learn how much authority we have to bless and to curse, and be careful to speak and do only what we see and hear the Lord doing.

Spheres of Demonic Authority

Though we don’t want to go into too much detail here and get distracted from our overall emphasis (learning to depend on the Lord), we do want to recognize that demons have various spheres of authority (time-related, geographical, soulical aspects, etc.) depending on its source of permission. In all cases, demons have absolutely no spiritual authority; their only possible authority is within the supernatural realm and over the natural realm. Their sphere of influence is only as far as they are authorized to go by law and by the Father. Even when we give them an inroad into our lives in one way or another, it is only because God has already set that up as a boundary and legal way for the demons to exist on this plane. We don’t want to read too much into the presence or influence of the demonic—it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve missed something or are vulnerable. It’s always crucial that we inquire of the Lord as to how to proceed, and then to follow up until He says we’re done.

The enemy is not creative—he can only copy. But he has had plenty of time to observe and practice, so he knows what form to take or activity to generate to get the results he desires. Our best defense is to be focused on the Lord’s voice within, whether subtle or clear, and trusting He is leading and directing for our success.

Strongholds and Curses

A stronghold is where the enemy has a legal, specific boundary established over a geographical region, time period, family, people group or affiliation in order to influence that region or group in a specific way. A curse is where the enemy has a legal right to interfere in a specific way with a specific person. Both can be approached the same way as previously discussed; we seek the Lord to uncover the legal claim, request authorization to overturn the claim, and, if the authority and license is given, abolish the stronghold or curse. There are many kinds of strongholds and curses, and it would take any one of us a great deal of time to learn them all; the most effective approach is to learn how to be trained by the Lord for each specific instance and apply what He reveals. Over time we will begin to see patterns, but learning His way, being trained by Him, is always the quickest and most effective approach.

Unintentional Strongholds

The enemy can establish an unintentional stronghold when enough unattended wounds have made the region, family, church, etc., hospitable for a dedicated number of demons to develop their own habitation.

Intentional Strongholds

An intentional stronghold can be designated over a region by believers or non-believers, higher authorities within the demonic hierarchy, and God Himself, for His purposes.

Unintentional Curses

We curse ourselves all the time when we believe the lies we tell ourselves, having heard them from others, like “I’ll never amount to anything.” Generational curses, inflicted and passed on from parents to children, are quite common. It would probably be safe to assume you are presently being affected by at least one generational curse. We also curse others when we even unintentionally inflict or open a wound. We need to be restfully on guard for ourselves to deal with these quickly, and ready and able to help others who may not know how to recognize and overcome a wound.

Intentional Curses

Intentional curses are effective when there is no protection or response when a wound is inflicted or opened. Intentional curses are most generally associated with types of sorcery, but even acting when out of control in our mind, will or emotions can turn into a curse, as can be observed on a crowded highway during rush hour.

As we learn to recognize the voice of our Lord, we will more quickly recognize the strongholds and curses of the enemy. We can then prevent them from creating a wound, or when an old wound is opened, take advantage of the opportunity to get the wound healed.

Sorcery (Witchcraft & The Occult)

Sorcery is any specific or organized attempt to manipulate supernatural elements using our own strength of mind, will or emotions. Sorcery includes anything from fantasy games to Satanic worship, but can generally be categorized into Witchcraft and the Occult.

Witchcraft

Without getting into too many details, witchcraft is manipulating or interacting with natural elements to obtain control or information. Because the demonic also has authority over these natural elements, attempting to influence or gain power over them is like trying to move in on the Mafia. Rather than just fighting back, demons will provide enough encouragement to gain confidence and dependence on themselves in order to gain control over the witch practitioner. Rather than gaining control over nature or the elements, those involved in casting spells and becoming “one with nature” often find themselves the ones being controlled. For instance, spells, rituals, and even the board game OUIJA are all based and made from “holy” natural elements (working OUIJA boards are made from wood, with a planchette made of stone; natural elements are earth, wind, fire and water; specifically herbs, blood, burning, etc.).

The Occult

Unlike most of those involved in various forms of witchcraft, which see themselves as cooperating with the forces of nature and of the universe in order to do good (however they choose to define it), those involved in the occult knowingly cooperate and join willingly with the demonic. There are many reasons people get involved in occultic activities, but they are all based on lies and unhealed wounds, which tells us the church is not doing a very good job of being a vessel of Living Water to a hurting world. The Occult is manifested in many forms, but its main characteristics are that it is organized, secretive and goal-oriented, with oath-oriented initiations involved most of the time. Any time you’re asked to join a group but not told what the group is about, or once you join you’re not allowed to tell others, recognize that whatever the group may be, it is not of Christ.

Combination Attacks

It is likely that where there is evidence of one of the above, other aspects of demonic involvement are strong possibilities as well. This is why it’s so important to follow our Leader when dealing with the demonic; there is no way any one of us could keep up with the trickery and deception that the enemy and his cronies have become masters of over the centuries. Yet simply by relying on Jesus, all the enemy’s crafts can be undone in a single word, breaking bonds and setting captives truly free. Remember, Jesus knows where you are at, and isn’t going to put you into a situation He can’t handle through you!

Examples of Prayers

The term “prayer” has many connotations depending on your upbringing and religious history. We’re using the term to simply describe the process and approach of dealing with the demonics, waging warfare, overcoming the enemy, or whatever you’d like to call it. The following is the sequence from above incorporating some language examples and ideas of other ways to approach this warfare:

1. Seek the Lord, acknowledging His presence and authority, then ask for the source of the influence in your life or for another person. If the Lord identifies it as a demon or other demonic influence, deal with it accordingly. (Feel free to command using Jesus’ name, but you don’t have to.)

“Lord, thanks for being here with us and in us. We remind ourselves of how much You love us, and that we are free to make mistakes as we learn to depend on You. We ask You to take us where You want to go, knowing that we can count on You to lead, guide, direct and protect us. You know better than we do exactly what the situation is, so we put this whole thing in Your hands and thank You ahead of time for what You’re going to do.

Jesus, is there demonic activity involved in this situation (‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions are best, at least at first) ? ”

“Lord, is this something we can take authority over?”

2. Ask the Lord for clarity, instructions, directions, strengths and weaknesses of the enemy; wait for His reply, which will come in whatever way He chooses to express Himself.

“Lord, is there anything specific we need to know or recognize about this situation?”

3. Identify the enemy by name (which will often reveal his function) if possible (ask the Lord for clarity, command the demon to respond truthfully). There is nothing wrong with speaking to the enemy, just be sure to command Him to be truthful. You may have to demand truth often.

“Demon, I command you to pay attention to everything I’m saying to you now. You will obey and answer clearly and truthfully what I ask. You will not interfere with anything else going on here, and will not bother (person’s name, for instance, John) in any way or interfere with this process. You will tell the truth, or be defying Jesus Himself.

Demon, I command you now to identify yourself by name to John’s mind clearly and plainly.”

Ask John to repeat to you what he hears in his mind. Very often it will seem too simplistic, or the person will think they’ve made it up. Move ahead gently, checking with the Lord throughout. Never pressure a person regarding any aspect of this or any process. If they are not comfortable at any time, rely on the Lord to give you the guidance to help them connect with Him directly for confidence, encouragement and assurance. Their confidence needs to be in the Lord’s faithfulness, not your expertise or ability.

John responds that he “heard” the word “jealousy” in his mind.

4. Identify its range of influence—personal, geographical, occultic, etc. (ask the Lord for clarity, command the demon to respond truthfully)

“Demon (or name given, for instance, Jealousy), I command you now to identify your range of influence.”

“Lord, is there anything we’re missing here?”

5. Determine if it has a legal right to be interfering in the situation (ask the Lord for clarity, command the demon to respond truthfully; demons are the ultimate legalists, and must be dealt with on legal grounds).

“Jealousy, do you have a legal right to be here? You must tell the truth.”

“Lord, is this the truth?”

6. If it doesn’t have a legal right, command it to leave the area, and go where Jesus sends it. Feel free to command using Jesus’ name, but you don’t have to. Then ask the Lord if it has gone. If not, ask the Lord why not. Continue discourse until it’s gone and you are confident it is. This may occur over several attempts.

“Jealousy, you’ve admitted you don’t have a legal right to be here. I command you now to leave John immediately and go wherever Jesus sends you. You must leave John alone, and everything that pertains to him is off limits to you. You will take any lies you have sown with you, and restore anything that you stole.”

“Jealousy, are you gone?”

“Jesus, is Jealousy gone?”

7. If it claims to have a legal right to be there (which is the only way it can stay after being exposed and commanded to leave), ask what is that legal right (ask the Lord for clarity, command the demon to respond truthfully).

“Jesus, does Jealousy have a legal right to be here?” (If no, follow previous discourse. If yes, proceed…)

“Jealousy, what legal right do you have to be here?” (the responses are likely to be varied, and it may take several attempts to clarify. There also may be more than one legal right, so simply pursue—it’s just a matter of time and persistence on your part…)

(in our example, John remembers a particular incidence of sibling rivalry in which his younger brother was given special attention over him; we would focus John on that memory, and ask the Lord to speak His truth for that situation, following the Lord’s guidance until the wound was healed, which would then negate the legality of demonic involvement. We would command the demon to stand quiet and not interfere in the healing process, then return to deal with him when the healing was done…)

“Lord, what is your truth for John in this memory?”

(give Jesus an opportunity to speak to John; in this case, perhaps John senses a removal of the jealousy, or hears words of assurance that have that effect)

“Lord, is this wound now healed?” (follow through until the answer is “yes”)

“Jealousy, John’s wound is now healed. Do you have any right to be here now?” (Jealousy responds to John’s mind, “No.”)

“Then, Jealousy, you’ve admitted you don’t have a legal right to be here. I command you now to leave John immediately and go wherever Jesus sends you. You must leave John alone, and everything that pertains to him is off limits to you. You will take any lies you have sown with you, and restore anything that you stole.” (You may also want to give John this opportunity to begin to learn to deal with demonics himself.)

“Jealousy, are you gone?”

“Jesus, is Jealousy gone?”

8. If not, ask the Lord why not. Continue discourse and discernment until it’s gone and you are confident it is. This may occur over time.

“Lord, have we missed anything?”

9. Follow up with other demonic influences that may be present.

“Any other demon present that is bothering John I command to make yourself known to John’s mind right now plainly and clearly.” (etc.)

10. Acknowledge the Lord’s work.

“Lord, thanks for what you’ve done here. Please continue to speak to and heal John, and help him learn how to enjoy you more and more. Give him quick discernment through experiencing your rest. Thanks again.”

This sequence is not meant to be an obligatory structure or to rule out other ways of approaching this subject. It is highly likely that other approaches are equally effective. Our goal is, however, to bring the topic of demonic warfare into a common conversation so we can discuss and learn objectively. If people are being set free from demonic influence, and are then learning to live in dependence with no fear of oppression or depression, God’s purposes are likely to have been accomplished.

Results of Overcoming the Enemy

Overcoming the enemy once does not mean he will stop his harassment of us. This is what he is, and what he does. So our posture toward him, both defensively and offensively, needs to become habitual and reflexive. We need to overcome our ignorance of the devices and plans of the enemy, toward us and others, and through dependence on the Lord overcome as frequently as necessary. As part of this process, we will also experience certain spiritual qualities and lessons that can only be revealed this way. Some of these are:

Faith-filled: Overcome the Fear of the Demonic

For most of us, there is a deep-seated fear of things that go bump in the night. As we learn how to turn on the lights, and how to use our night-vision to battle the enemy on his turf, this fear no longer has a grip on us. This area of our lives, this battlefield, also becomes property of our King over which He can rule and reign through us.

Focused: Risk Getting Wounded, Be Wounded, Get Healed

Tied to our fear of the demonic is our fear of getting hurt by the devil. He’s called “enemy” for a reason! He does want to hurt us. But as we become focused on the purposes of God, we learn that Satan can do nothing outside of God’s will for us; He alone is the Great Orchestrator. He alone determines what affects our lives. We may need to adjust our belief system to acknowledge that sometimes God’s will for us is to be wounded. But we now have confidence in our Healer, our Minister, to bring us full restoration in His way and in His time.

Courageous: Overcome the Fear of Making a Mistake

It is perhaps because of our fear of getting hurt, feeling pain or causing others to be hurt that we are often frozen with the fear of making a mistake. However, courage is not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of the fear. Because we have experienced God’s courage toward us, and His faithfulness toward us, we have confidence in His orders, His plan, and His outcome. So we can take the risk, and engage the enemy.

Tenacious: Learning How to Lose

There’s something about losing, regrouping, and trying again and again that can be more gratifying and confidence-building than initial success. We must have the patient endurance and internal motivation that will not deter us from our ultimate goals, whether for ourselves or others. Knowing that God is in control, is providing the leadership and direction for every endeavor, that we are not alone, and that we will ultimately succeed increases our endurance and long-sightedness.

Gracious: Learning How to Win

Our endurance (maintaining dependence) is also built as we successfully overcome the enemy multiple times. For any endeavor, success can be a catalyst for a destructive spiral if we are not diligent to resist the distractions that come from that success: Winning can throw us off our game! Yet we must also be willing and able to accept and even enjoy the honor or recognition that comes from winning. Humility is not rejecting attention, but accepting appropriate recognition by just saying, “Thank you.”

Freedom: For Ourselves and Others

As we overcome the enemy, we experience another aspect of our true identity as Overcomers. This brings additional, growing confidence in our true nature as sons of God, and strengthens our resolve to be available to God to extend that freedom to others as well. With freedom comes responsibility, and as we overcome and experience both the benefits and dangers of warfare, we value both the struggle and the victories more and are willing to risk more for greater victories.

Clarity: Greater Ability to Recognize Other Battlefields of the Flesh and the World System

The more we are able to discern the attacks of the enemy, the more we are able to distinguish them from a flesh flare-up or temptation of the world system. As we enter into His rest, the Lord equips us for each battle (which sometimes occur simultaneously) and provides the instruction and leadership needed. But part of the training is to find that balance between learning and joining Him in each battle, yet depending on His direction by remaining in union with Him spirit to Spirit.

Overcoming the Devil

In the spiritual realm, Satan and his buddies have been defeated. In the supernatural/soulical realm they continue to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives in two ways: 1—by provoking our flesh, showing us where we have wounds so they can be healed, and 2—by providing us with the opportunity to become Overcomers, so we can learn dependence under warfare conditions. This is an opportunity to learn to rule and reign in this lifetime spiritually, soulically and naturally, over the already-conquered ones. The lion who seeks to devour our souls is only released from his cage so that we can learn how to battle him. He is only truly our enemy when we refuse to engage the battle, for it is then not the enemy we are running from, but the Lord.

Adapted from Getting Healed by Dianne Thomas