HOW TO DEFEAT DEMONS
By Rev. Jim and Carolyn Murphy
PART TWO - LEARNING ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE
THE PART THE FLESH PLAYS
This chapter emphasizes that problems in our lives are most certainly not always demonic in their source. While the central theme of this book deals with spiritual warfare, we need to be careful that we don’t automatically blame everything on the devil. That’s very tempting. Then the problems I have are not my fault. I am a victim, not the cause.
No matter how much we like to think of ourselves as
being innocent, truth often points otherwise. The simple truth is that
we must look to all possible sources for the problems in life and learn
to deal with them accordingly.
First, let’s identify the various sources of life’s problems that are not demonic.
We live in a world populated with billions of people. Many, if not most of these people, are to some degree selfish, inconsiderate and wilful. At best many are just thoughtless and unmindful of the effects that their words and deeds have on others. They say and do things that have devastating impact on other people.
A most tragic example of this is drunk drivers and auto accidents. It’s obvious that the person who becomes intoxicated on alcohol or drugs has no intent of driving his or her vehicle onto the street purposefully to kill or injure others. But such thoughtless people do send many to the grave, permanently maim others, and, in general, decrease the quality of life of many thousands every year. These kinds of people cause untold suffering for both believers and unbelievers alike.
Many more examples can be given of problems caused by man. For instance, a selfish, thoughtless spouse/parent can inflict horrible pain and agony on his or her family. A cruel, mean-spirited employer can produce great misery on those whom he employs. The long-term suffering produced by sexual abuse is often indescribable, particularly when it involves children. The list seems endless. (Of course, demonic activity may play a part in these situations but the primary responsibility rests with man).
I have also listed “the natural world” as a source of problems along with man. By “natural” I am referring to the natural causes of circumstances which cause suffering. In this category, not only are there earthquakes, floods, droughts, and so on, but there are various diseases and illnesses that we may categorize as natural. For example, your child comes home from school with the flu virus and the whole household comes down with the flu. A virus caused the flu. That is a natural cause. No demon caused the flu. We live in a fallen world. All of us eventually decline and die. “...it is appointed unto men once to die...” (Heb 9:27 KJV). Cancer, a heart that just quits, or dozens of other natural causes bring death. These then are the “natural” sources of problems and suffering.
Very often people have problems because of their own deeds. This is difficult for many of us to admit, but it’s true. Generally we like to think of ourselves as always right...always the victim, never the cause of our own problems. In order to make this belief system work, we become masters at “blame-shifting” thereby making someone or something else the culprit. Blame-shifting isn’t new. Adam was the first to use it. God asked, “...Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Gen 3:11 NIV). Paraphrasing Adam’s response, he answered, “It’s this woman that you put here with me, it’s her fault...I’m innocent!” We are all still suffering from what Adam did!
Whether or not we blame-shift isn’t the point here. The fact is that we often bring problems down on ourselves because of our own words and deeds. For example, if we speak words in a careless way, or in anger, these words can be like missiles that produce irreversible results and cause great suffering to us.
Under the heading of “self” it seems appropriate also to refer to the irrevocable law of “sowing and reaping.” Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (NIV).
In the southern United States there is a common saying to describe the sinful life style of a wayward young person. To describe such a person’s actions folks say, “He (or she) is sowing his wild oats.” That’s very graphic, isn’t it? Unfortunately, such “wild” oats don’t just fall to the ground and lie there forever...they grow and multiply themselves “thirty, sixty and a hundredfold!” (Mk 4:8). This ungodly sowing reaps a “harvest” which may only manifest itself five, ten, or twenty years later.
Yes, we are forgiven for all our sins...but the consequences of sin will be reaped to the full. King David received forgiveness for his sin with Bathsheba but he did indeed reap the consequences of his sin. David sowed seeds of “family destruction” and reaped a harvest of family destruction from his son Absalom.
God can even be the cause of some of our problems. Before we look to Scripture, let me explain. Often there are things in our life that separate us from God. God doesn’t want that separation, so on occasion He will allow “problems” in our lives that are designed to remove these obstacles that separate us from Him. I call this Divine discipline. Let me give an example from Scripture:
God spoke to Ananias, the Damascus disciple, whom He sent to pray for the blinded Saul. The Lord said, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:16 NIV emphasis added). Obviously, the Apostle Paul, as one of God’s chosen vessels, had Divine discipline in his life. Paul admitted to having pride and the Lord allowed a “problem” to come Paul’s way. “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh...” (II Cor 12:7 NIV).
So we see that some of the “problems” in our life can easily be God’s plan to draw us closer to Him.
Whenever we encounter a difficult situation, we need to be discerning. Maturity in Christ can assist us in finding and pointing out the various sources of our problems. Then we can better counsel, either ourselves or others!
In my years of pastoring, teaching and counselling, I have come to a conclusion regarding human flesh. When the flesh of man decides it wants something - and the something it wants is sinful - it will do anything at its disposal to get what it wants.
The chief means the flesh uses to attain this ungodly goal is to enlist the help of the human will. If the flesh can succeed in getting the will to work for this goal, there is nothing that these two together cannot justify!
Do you want another wife? Do you want a mistress? Do
you want money or property that isn’t yours? Do you want to have the
pastor of your church removed? Do you want to be a deacon or deaconess?
Do you want recognition? Whatever your flesh wants, just name it and
convince your will to help you. It can be yours if you work hard enough
to get it! And the flesh indignantly justifies its sinful actions!
Once a person is caught in this sinful situation and exposed, some may immediately blame it on a demon. Oh yes, a demon may well have played a small part, but the demon isn’t to blame...the person is to blame. I once heard a preacher say that the Ten Commandments were not given to demons ...they were given to people. People sin, demons don’t.
I cannot emphasize enough that most of what church leaders and altar workers deal with is sin, the flesh, and the human will at work in situations. These are the big problems.<
However, the enemy is very crafty. Satan will most certainly send his demons into an already bad situation to make it worse. That is where the wisdom and discernment of the Holy Spirit must help us.
For example, an altar worker may be praying for a man at the end of a service. In sharing the need, the man may tell about a problem something like this: he is a Christian but three years ago he started living outside of marriage with a woman who was an unbeliever. He quit all Christ-centered activities. The relationship broke down and now they have parted. He wants to return to Christ but he is confused, depressed, and doesn’t think he can be truly restored in Christ.
In this case, the source of his problem is his own will and sin which began with his relationship with the unbelieving woman. But, where are these thoughts of confusion, depression, and doubt coming from? The pit of Hell, that’s where. Here the pastor’s or altar worker’s counsel must lovingly reaffirm the sin, the repentance, the forgiveness, the restoration in Christ, and the source of the current thoughts, which is Satan.
This person is not possessed by a demon. But he is certainly being oppressed by one. He is certainly under attack from the demonic realm. Spiritual warfare is certainly necessary. Remember, Satan doesn’t play fair. He will kick a believer when he is down.
In this type of situation there is no need for a formal deliverance. The need is to stand with the believer against the enemy. Use the Scriptures I have listed at the end of this chapter. Point them out to the person in need. Tell him to memorize them. Then counsel him that he must fully reenter into Christian fellowship, read the Word, avoid temptation, and do all the things needed to regain his stability in Christ.
The fact is that most of the cases involving people and demonic activity can, and should be, dealt with through prayer and counsel “at the altar.” Once an insightful worker or pastor discerns demonic oppression or activity, the battle is joined and we should stand with the one for whom we are praying.
In this section I want to address the issue of the evangelist or pastor who encounters one who truly needs deliverance and who is led to take on the demon at that very moment. This is a more extreme case of demonic oppression or possession in the previous section of this chapter. In Part Three of this book I deal with the ideal deliverance procedure. That means taking on the demon(s) on your terms. It is when you pick the time, the place, and the deliverance team.
But what about when the Holy Spirit quickens you to take on a demonic hold in someone at the moment? Notice I said the Holy Spirit tells you to do it. My counsel in that case is, by all means, do it. If there is a spontaneous revelation by the Holy Spirit of a demon at work in a person, and if you are to cast it out...do it now! Don’t wait. Be obedient to the Holy Spirit.
You see, if the Holy Spirit is doing the leading, then the Lord wants it done and it will be accomplished. You don’t need to worry that it wasn’t at the right time, place, or whatever. As you are obedient, God will accomplish His work. We are only responsible for our own obedience. We are not responsible for the results; God is.
Very often, pastors, Christian counselors, and altar workers are dealing with people who are asking for help now. If our counsel is to be effective, it is important to discern the source of the person’s problem. We must not assume anything. We must not assume that the problem presented is demonic. It may be man, natural, self, or even God.
All remaining chapters of this book make the assumption that there are demons involved and that a more formal deliverance is required. In this chapter I am pointing out that, over all, demons are by far the smaller percentage of the cause of people’s problems. Church leaders should be dealing with flesh and sin much more than with demons. Beware of the “demon chaser” mentality!
Prov 12:25 An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (NIV).
Phil 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (NIV).
Col 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (NIV).
On the contrary, they have divine
power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every
pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we
captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV).
Phil 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV).
When dealing with a Christian who has been involved
with a cult, it is very important for him to renounce aloud all cult
involvement. Use the following Scriptures to help him or her see how
much God detests such activity.
Here I am speaking about deliverance as it applies
to habits and situations that are not demonic.
a.From Troubles - Job 5:19 From six calamities he will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you. (NIV).
b. From Disease - Ps 91:3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. (NIV).
Many times I find that Christians need
encouragement. In fact, much of my time as a pastor was spent
encouraging Christians. When things go wrong, or circumstances
overwhelm them, people need encouragement. Here are some of the
Scriptures I use to encourage people.
Often it helps to teach about binding and loosing.
Teach them to bind the lies of the enemy and loose the truth and
blessings of God into a situation.
When people are beaten down, they become timid. Here’s what Paul wrote to the Philippian believers.
Fear is so common. Fear is the enemy of faith. As
believers, there is only one thing the Bible teaches us to fear. We are
to fear God and Him alone. Declaring the Word of God aloud is a good
way to drive fear away. The Bible has much to say to calm the fears of
I John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (NIV).
II Tim 1:7 For God did not give
us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of
Psa 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? (NIV).
Lust is a term that describes all of the various
excessive desires of the flesh. These desires include sexual cravings,
over eating, money, power, depravity and so forth. The Bible addresses
these sinful desires directly.
I John 2:16 For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. (NIV).
Rom 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (NIV).
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV).
II Tim 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (NIV).
The occult is covered in more detail in Chapter
Five. Here are some Scriptures to use with people who are drawn to the
Repentance means to make a change of direction. It
means to stop sinning and start serving God. Repentance is not just a
mental exercise. It produces a change of actions. Many people are sorry
for their sin, but have not repented (not changed direction).
Repentance is the first step toward a right relationship with God.
Luke 13:3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. (NIV).
II Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (NIV).
All Christians are tempted. To be tempted in itself
is not a sin. Jesus was tempted. We sin only if we yield to the
temptation. Jesus knows how powerful temptation is and has made
wonderful provision for us.
James 1:2-3,12 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance...Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (NIV).
This list of problems Christians have is by no means complete. I suggest you add to this list, adding other Scriptures that relate to various other problems you encounter. Keep your list in your Bible for quick reference.
Remember, most of the time when people come to you for help, the main problem is flesh and sin. A need for deliverance from demons will not be necessary.