AUDIO VERSION: YouTube Podbean
How do we defeat demonic strongholds? The apostolic-prophetic intercessors, aka prayer warriors, have a lot to stay on this matter. And we should feel inspired to listen after seeing what lofty titles these people give themselves, right? My, what ego. And yet a quick cruise through social forums like Facebook reveals that Christians love their titles. It’s always amusing when they let us know they’re not just a prophet, but an overseer of prophets. Ah, yes, going for that extra rank. How impressed we’re not. Realize that whenever people are busy clinging to self-exalting titles, they’re losing their grip on any real wisdom. What you’ll get from these demon ousting experts is a whole bunch of made up hoopla about how to identify which spirit is behind your particular problem and which specific stronghold you need to aim your poisonous prayer darts at.
Of course the naming of the spirits ritual is utterly inconsistent. One minute an emotion becomes a “spirit”, the next minute it’s just an emotion. Are you just jealous or is “the spirit of jealousy” harassing you? It depends on how dramatic a mood your helpers are in when they diagnose you. We found one supposed expert on the subject diagnosing America’s spiritual problems. According to her, the whole country is in the grip of two spirits: a religious spirit and an antichrist spirit. And of course the solution is to pray them down by quoting magical verses out of the Christian’s book of incantations—you know, the Bible. These people are essentially practicing witchcraft in the Name of Jesus, but they don’t see it because they’re too busy calling themselves “apostolic-prophetic intercessors” (try saying that fast three times in a row).
So egos and foolishness aside, what should you do when you find yourself stressing over the state the world is in? First, you need to remember that God is in absolute control at all times and that demons can’t do bumpkus without His approval and help. Bad things don’t happen at random down here, they are directed by God and used to accomplish His Divine agenda.
We need to keep a firm grip on the fact that we are God’s servants, not His masters. We should not be rushing to criticize God’s wisdom and choices by telling Him how to run His world or how to manage the angelic creation. Instead, when we find ourselves feeling burdened with a particular concern, we should ask the Holy Spirit to realign us with His priorities. Worrying is not one of God’s priorities for us. He doesn’t want us all tensed up over what the demons are doing, He wants us relaxing in His capable hands, confident that He is on the job. When we find ourselves feeling anxious, it’s time to start thinking about God’s sovereign control, His good Character, and His ability to use evil to enhance good. Trusting God is far more beneficial than trying to order Him about. We should not be attempting to identify particular strongholds or demons, for such a focus is not only ridiculous, it is a complete waste of time. Our prayers do not collapse demonic strongholds because God does not take orders from us. God does what God wants to do, and the sooner we learn to follow Him and stop telling Him what to do, the better.
Do not attempt to engage demons directly. This is dangerous behavior which can result in discipline when God feels you are rebelling against His Authority. The only appropriate position for a Christian to hold in spiritual warfare is that of ducking behind the Holy Spirit’s back. We should never attempt to lead the charge into battle, we should not try to provoke our enemies, and we should not be obsessing over how demons are organized and drawing ridiculous maps regarding their ranks and dispersion. God is extremely jealous and He hates it when His people fixate on any supernatural beings other than Him. We must be very guarded about slipping into a form of idolatry over demons. Focusing on how powerful demons are, what they’re like, and how they move about is not how we should be spending our time. God wants us to focus on Him, and when we really start believing that He is in control of this world, we’ll stop feeling so burdened by what goes on in it.
Why are bad things happening in your family, neighborhood, town, state, or country? Because God wants them to. Are people making wrong spiritual choices? Yes. Are their choices affecting how God is treating them? Yes, but not all trials are a form of discipline. God also uses trials and stresses and demonic harassment to help obedient souls mature in the faith. Don’t rush to try and drive demons away the moment you sense their presence. You can’t drive them away, only God can, and He has allowed them to come near for a reason. Instead of quoting verses and flinging Jesus’ Name about, ask the Holy Spirit to help you learn everything He wants to teach you whenever you start feeling harassed by demons. Realize that you have no power over demons yourself and that God is not going to drive them away until He’s good and ready to do so. Spend your energy focusing on staying aligned with God instead of on identifying strongholds and you’ll end up in a much better place than our apostolic-prophetic interceding friends.
The Futility of Naming Demons
Understanding the Limits of Satan’s Power
Understanding Jesus: Do we have authority over demons?