Christians are exhorted, in James 4:7, to submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee. Great wisdom and direction for sure, but how exactly does one do that?
Let’s begin with a clarification: the devil is not Satan! We understand that Satan is a devil, a demonic spirit who rules over many other devils. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but spiritual forces (note the plural form) of evil in this dark world and the heavenly realm (Ephesians 6:12).
As citizens of the heavenly realm and temporary residents in this fallen world, Christians must understand that we have the power and authority over demonic spirits that are still working to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). Our specific battles are against specific earthly spirits (depression, fear, anger and the like) and not Lucifer himself! The distinction is important so that we do not empower our enemy through wrong understanding.
The bible gives us at least types of directives for our encounters with demons:
- We are to drive them out (Mark 16:17),
- We can bind them (Matthew 16:19) and,
- We are to resist them.
Deliverance ministry entails the driving out of demons and focuses on routing out demonic spirits that are resident in a person’s soul. Once these spirits are gone, the key battle is to be prepared for when they try to return to the house (Matthew 12:43-45).
Binding up demons, done verbally and in faith, renders them temporarily inactive in a person’s life. Loosing the Holy Spirit concurrently allows God to speak life and hope to the afflicted person. A person’s free will can loose the demons into action again so that is why binding be repeatedly done, sometimes for years, to see good fruit come forth.
Discerning Demonic Spirits
The first step to resisting demons is to first of all discern them! It is impossible to fight an opponent if one cannot see him! A blindfolded champion boxer will not fare well against a lesser opponent and will likely end up on the mat. You cannot fight what you cannot see!
Discerning of spirits is a spiritual gift (1 Cor) that God freely gives. If you don’t have it, ask for it, believe that you have received it and start to walk in it.
How do you do that? There are many aspects, but one key is to begin to think about what you are thinking about! Take every thought captive. If you have gone through deliverance and tormenting thoughts of fear, rejection, anger or lust are after you, then it is very likely spirits trying to get you to reopen doors.
That is discernment in action: taking the thoughts captive and recognizing the (likely) source. There are not demons everywhere nor are they behind every problem, but they are much more prevalent than people recognize.
The next step is to replace the ungodly thoughts with a godly thought, and this should ideally include an appropriate scripture. Finally, declare the godly truth out loud and firmly! Verbalization represents the sword of the spirit in action (Eph. 6:17), and it is used to take our stand against the devils schemes! All of the other spiritual armor referenced in this passage are equally valuable and powerful, but I love the sword because I see it vanquishing and resisting the enemy!
The devils hate it when you quote Scripture. The bible declare that our faith comes by hearing the word of God so speaking it out loud is important. Demon spirits cannot read your mind, and they need to hear you for it to function as a sword in this scenario.
Here’s an example of how to apply this:
God has delivered you (sovereignly or through ministry) from fear in the area of finances. Things are going well until an impending sale is lost, or an unexpected expense suddenly looms. You start getting the same thoughts of financial destitution that tormented you before.
Take the thought captive. Recognize the devil of fear trying to return to the house. Declare, “My God will provide all of my needs according to His glorious riches” (or another verse that brings life to your spirit and resists the emotion of fear that wants to overtake you). Thank the Lord for providing all of your needs and move forward!
When you are able to do this consistently, you are in fact resisting the devils that seek to torment you and open or reopen doors for entry into your life.
After deliverance, the battlefield is the mind and only you can wage warfare there. You are able if you understand God’s grace and love and know His Word! Are you willing to engage and get the victory?
If you need help in getting set free from demonic strongholds or additional insights and teachings on how to resist the demonic realm, why don’t you contact us for an initial appointment? We can help you get started!