“Satan has no power over you other than what you allow”.
Is that a true statement? I want to share my perspective as a Christian counselor and deliverance minister who has seen the power of demons working in people’s lives. You need to decide what you believe so you can respond correctly.
I pen this with a little trepidation because some popular teachers (whom I respect) espouse this view. However, I wonder how many have been involved in deliverance ministry where mature, committed and knowledgeable believers need to have demons driven out of them?
Many preachers also contend that the only power the devil wields is when we believe his lies. In other words, they picture him as a toothless lion who brings torment by reputation only. Member of this camp argue that knowing the truth alone will set you free. I believe they are sincere, but sincerely misguided in their analysis.
One spiritual giant, Billy Graham, shares the opposite view:
“Never underestimate Satan’s power, and never underestimate his ability to deceive us and make us think he isn’t to be feared. In fact, he even deceives some people into thinking he does not exist! He is not as powerful as God — but he still is a powerful spiritual force who works against God in every way he possibly can.” (Billy Graham)
Power and Authority
We need to distinguish between the terms “power” and “authority”.
- Authority is the right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
- Power is the ability to do something or act in a particular way.
The best combination is authority (the right) and power (the ability). A police officer with a gun has both. A criminal with a gun has power. If the police officer loses his gun, his authority will not help him.
Jesus took back Satan’s authority with his death and resurrection from the grave. Christ shared in our humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— ” (Heb 2:14).
He broke the power of the demonic realm by revoking Satan’s authority. He took back what the enemy had stolen and returned dominion over the earth to man, the original intent for man’s existence since the time of Adam and Eve. Satan has been identified as the “prince of this world” (John 12:31) and the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).
Therefore, Satan and his hordes have lost their authority, but what about the power? I submit that present day reality, supported by New Testament scriptures, confirm that they still have power that extends beyond what believers supposedly “allow”. The scope of this power surpasses simply the deception of believers.
Some doors for demonic torment we open on our own but others our inflicted upon us. Who asks to be raped, abused, rejected or adopted? A greater reality than permission is at work here.
Satan is Like a Lion, but He is not Toothless
There is no indication from 1 Peter 5:8 that the devils have no power. They are looking to devour, and to kill, steal and destroy. This scripture affirms that spiritual warfare, including deliverance ministry, continues to be necessary in this day and age:
- Jesus gave his disciples (including us) power and authority to drive out demons (Matthew 10:11, Luke 10:19)
- Deliverance was one of the signs to follow believers (Mark 16:17). If only knowledge and revelation was necessary, why should one have to engage in this type of activity.
The good news for believers that Christ has given us both authority and the power to implement the victory over the demonic horde. We should not be afraid, rather we are to boldly take back that which which now belongs to God’s children: healing and freedom from demonic torment.
Learn how to wield the weapons of spiritual warfare to take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11). John Wimber, the late founder of the Vineyard Church movement, spells faith as R-I-S-K. You are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37 but you need to take steps of faith and take hold of your inheritance in Christ.
- We are to drive them out. (Mark 16:17)
- We are to discern them. (1 Corinthians 12:10).
- We are to submit to God and resist them (James 4:7).
- We are to bind them up (Matthew 16:19)
To summarize, we contend that the demonic realm has power, but no authority. The church of Christ possesses the power and authority to overtake them and restore what has been stolen.
What Does It Mean For You?
What is the proper response?
You must know that it is never too late to start to learn.
Do not be a victim but do not be deceived and walk in ignorance. God’s people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Many are destroyed because they are blinded to the demonic realm and do not position themselves as warriors.
Check out some reputable resources but be aware. Misinformation and partial truths abound, courtesy of the internet. I recommend Derek Prince, Kim Daniels, Don Dickerman, Peter Horrobin and our own website as good places to start.
Are you excited about the prospect of ministering in deliverance? There is good news: you can learn how to do it effectively. We can help you. Many reputable sources and centers in the Body of Christ stand ready to help train and equip you.
Go through deliverance yourself. Humble yourself and be open to the possibility that victory may include freedom from strongholds in your life. One cannot counsel demons out of people, they must be expelled.
Learn how to wage spiritual warfare over your family and life situations. It should be part of your daily walk. Not the biggest piece but still a component. You ignore it at your own peril.