Friday, April 5, 2019 -
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) This passage is obviously written to Christians, as it was written to the church in Ephesus, which became the core group of believers and home to many church fathers, including the Apostle John, who spent his last days there upon being released from exile on Patmos (the two places are in close proximity).
Yet the obvious reference to a believer’s constant warfare with Satan is ignored by many in the church today. And simply by us refusing to acknowledge the enemy attacks, we give heed to one of the greatest deceptions of the devil. And deception is one of the enemy’s greatest weapons being used against us as believers. The prior verse calls these tactics of Satan “schemes,” which adequately fits!
It is also why a few verses later we are told to “be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” Not just for our protection, but for believers throughout the entire world who are battling Satan’s schemes!
Today I finished reading an excellent book I’d never heard of, by an author I’d never heard of - - in spite of the fact there are more than two million copies in print and it is only one of his 70 books! It is The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson, and it deals with this very issue -- that far too often nowadays believers fail to recognize -- that both psychological and physical ailments may in fact be attacks of Satan and his demons. Aside from one’s salvation, understanding this fact is the first step to effectively battling demon possession. James tells us to submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7). Submitting to God, however, requires confessing our sin and repenting (turning away from it). “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes (renounces) them will find compassion.” (Proverbs 28:13)
Satan still rules the world, and he will attack those he sees a threat to his dominion, and that includes you and me. This is perhaps the most scripturally accurate and balanced book on spiritual warfare I’ve ever read. Satan disguises himself in many deceptive ways (I Corinthians 11:14). And we must be prepared to battle him - - even in our own mind!
Our authority in this regard comes from Christ Himself, Who defeated Satan on Calvary. Anderson notes however, that in Luke 9:1-6, where “He called the twelve together and gave them (the disciples) power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.” (Luke 9:1-2) “They preached the gospel and healed the sick (verse 6); but when the twelve came back, Luke made no mention of them casting out demons,” Anderson says. “Later, a father brought his demon-possessed son to see Jesus saying, ‘I begged your disciples to cast it out, and they could not!’ And Jesus answered and said, ‘You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.’ (Luke 9:41) Jesus rebuked the spirit and healed the boy. In verses 46-47 though, we find that the disciples were in fact full of pride. “Jesus confronted the disciples about several kingdom-killing perversions before appointing seventy others and sending them out on a similar mission. These perversions included self-sufficiency (verses 10-25), being ashamed of Jesus (verses 26-36), unbelief (verses 37-45), pride (verses 46-48), possessiveness (verses 49-50), ministering in the wrong spirit (verses 51-56), false confidences (verses 57-58), and lame excuses (verses 59-62).” The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17) The seventy were ready to go on to the next level of discipleship.
Spiritual warfare should be a major component of discipleship, and it cannot be ignored by Christian counselors as it often is. And more often than not, oppression by Satan and his demons is causing the issues the Christian is dealing with. I encourage you to read this book.