People, Places, and Things to Avoid
Most people go about their daily lives oblivious to the existence of the millions (and perhaps billions) of extremely evil and dangerous spirit-beings that have access to this world. Therefore, most people have little or no idea of how to avoid them and remain free of their influence, control, or possession.
As the world in general becomes increasingly evil in attitude and behavior, it becomes more important to be aware of people, places, and things to avoid; so that, you do not place yourself in circumstances where there are evil influences.
Resisting and avoiding evil are life choices; either you choose to resist and avoid evil or you choose not to. For an evil spirit to influence, control, or inhabit a person's body, an evil spirit must be given an opportunity through either circumstances beyond a person's control or an open invitation. An open invitation is granted when a person is a willing participant in activities conducive to demonic influence and control, or when someone willingly uses or possesses items through which an evil spirit can manifest its influence.
In order to be proactive in resisting and avoiding evil, you must distance yourself as much as possible from people, things, and activities that are not conducive to righteousness. Moreover, you should be careful not to consciously tolerate, inadvertently entertain, or participate in evil or unrighteous behavior. This chapter contains what I believe to be the kinds of people, places, and things which should be avoided in order to minimize the opportunities available to evil spirits in their attempt to influence, control, or possess a person.
According to the Bible, there are only two religions on earth: The Sovereign God's and Satan's. Therefore, a religious worship system or a religious philosophy of behavior is either guided and regulated by the Sovereign God's laws, percepts, and principles or it is guided or influenced by Satan or other evil spirits.
Because a major source of deception by evil spirits is religion and religious philosophies and practices, any religion, philosophy, or practice in opposition to the Sovereign God's laws, precepts, and principles must be avoided in order to protect yourself from evil influence, control, or possession.
Today, there are thousands of differing professing Christian churches ranging from one extreme to another. There are small personal groups, to arena sized congregations. Some offer a quiet, scholarly intellectual atmosphere, while others offer the noisy frenzy of Pentecostalism. One may choose an ornate cathedral or a humble outdoor tent in which to worship.
There seems to be no end to the choices a person has when seeking a religious experience. However, it is the responsibility of each person who has the Father's holy spirit dwelling within them to carefully study the Bible in order to make informed decisions about whom to put their trust in concerning spiritual matters, especially when we consider the following warning from Christ:
"Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only the ones doing the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many works of power? And I will tell them, I never knew you; depart from me you who practice lawlessness!" (Matt.7: 21-23 Para.). See also Matt.15:3-9; Lk.6:46-49.
Miracles, wonderful works, or the ability to preach, teach, and cast out demons are not necessarily the credentials of a converted mind or a righteous person. Many spiritual leaders who profess to believe in the God of the Bible do supernatural works and are dynamic, charismatic preachers and teachers, but they teach things which are in opposition to the Sovereign Father's truth—their words and works teach lawlessness. See 2.Cor.11:13-15.
Many charismatic preachers who claim to follow Christ and teach the good news message use the casting out of demons, physical healing, and speaking in tongues as entertainment and a way to draw crowds. These types of exhibitions have no biblical basis or support and can, in fact, lead to the demonic influence, control, or possession of the participants. Anyone who has viewed and researched these types of religious exhibitions in the light of the biblical record will readily come to the conclusion that these events are pure entertainment and contain little, if any, truth or substance. See Matt.7:15-23.
Associating with Evil
God's law not only strictly prohibits the worship of other gods but also a close association with individuals practicing forbidden religions and philosophies, as well as the possession and use of their forbidden religious objects. The Creator God instructed national Israel to destroy implements of religious practices which were in opposition to his worship system:
"Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Ex.34:11-14 NIV).
Ancient Israel was prohibited from practicing or tolerating any other religions and were to distance themselves from these religions by purging all objects of worship they found in the land that they were to occupy.
"Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same" (Ex.34:15-16 NIV). See also Deut.7:1-6; 12:1-4.
Solomon and Ancient Israel
Despite God's warnings, King Solomon who the biblical record says was given wisdom above all other men, allowed himself to be influenced by his many wives into thinking he could worship and serve the Creator God while catering to his wives' desires to worship their idols and gods. This false assumption led Solomon to forsake his allegiance to the Creator God who had personally appeared to him twice and resulted in the destruction of national Israel as a unified nation:
"But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the Lord said to the children of Israel, You shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in to you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clung to these in love" (1.Kgs.11: 1-2 KJV).
If you are serious about worshiping and serving the Sovereign God and his son, the Savior of mankind, you cannot participate in other religions or have a close association with them or the things pertaining to these religions.
"And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites" (1.Kgs.11:3-5 KJV).
Solomon's first mistake was having wives forbidden to him under God's law. But, his greatest mistake was allowing himself to become accustomed and familiar with his wives' religions to the point that he began to practice and perpetuate these forbidden religions in Israel.
"And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord , and went not fully after the Lord , as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed to their gods" (1.Kgs.11:6-8 KJV).
Solomon's violation of God's law and his acceptance of his wives' religions, religious structures, and related objects of worship into Israel led him away from God.
"And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared to him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded" (1.Kgs.11:9-10 KJV).
After Solomon's death, the nation of Israel was broken into two distinct nations. Throughout the histories of these two nations, only a few of their kings obeyed God's law. Most flagrantly violated God's law about the practice and close association with forbidden religions and philosophies. See 2.Chron.14:2-4; 1.Kgs.14:21-24.
The history of ancient Israel clearly shows that nations and individuals cannot have a close association with forbidden philosophies, religions, and prohibited religious objects and continue to have a harmonious relationship with the God of the Bible.
If you believe the apostle Paul's warnings to the elect at Corinth about associating with other religions, Satan's ministers, and their teachings, you must also believe that the majority of professing Christian religions are influenced by evil spirits, because most practice things which are in opposition to easily understood biblical concepts and principles:
"What say I then? That the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: you cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils" (1.Cor.10: 19-21 KJV).
The English word fellowship in verse 20 is translated from the Greek word koinonos, which does not mean friendship; it means to have a close association. A large part of the question being discussed by Paul in chapter 10 pertains to how close an association the Sovereign God's elect can have with a religion which is in opposition to his worship system and still maintain a righteous attitude and good relationship with God. Paul answers this question in verse 23:
"I can do all things that are lawful; however, doing these things is not always expedient: Although I can do all the things that are lawful, doing all these things is not always constructive" (1.Cor.10: 23 Para.).
Paul was addressing the problem of eating things sacrificed to idols; however, the principle of avoiding a close association with any religion other than the Sovereign God's is clear. Paul also wrote, "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (1.Thess.5:22). Surely, this would include avoiding participating in religions, religious practices, and religious associations which are in opposition to the Sovereign God's worship system as Paul noted in his second letter to the elect at Corinth:
"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty" (2.Cor.6:14-18 NIV). See also 2.Cor.11:3-4,13-15; Gal.1:6-9; Deut.13:1-5; Jer.23:21-22; Rev.18:1-5.
The practice of communicating and interacting with the dark side of the spirit dimension for any purpose other than what is permitted by God is strictly forbidden. The following are some of the instructions to ancient Israel about communication and interaction with the dark side of the spirit world:
"When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn or do the hateful acts of those nations. There shall not be found among you one that passes his son or daughter through the fire, or a person that uses divination, or an observer of clouds, or a fortune-teller, or a whisperer of spells, or a magic-charmer, or a person who communicates with and questions evil spirits, or a wizard, or a person that communicates with and questions the dead. (Deut.18:9-11 KJV Para.).
All of these various forms of interacting with the spirit realm and evil spirits are strictly forbidden and strongly condemned by the God of the Bible. The practice of communicating and interacting with evil spirits draws people away from truth and into error:
"For all doing these things are an abomination to the Lord your God and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be perfect with the Lord your God. For these nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to observers of times, and to diviners: but as for you, the Lord your God does not allow you to do so" (Deut.18:12-14 KJV Para.).
"You shall not inquire of those who are possessed of evil spirits; and you shall not seek after spiritualists and become defiled by them; I am the Lord your God" (Lev.19:31 KJV Para.). See also 2.Chron. 33:1-25; Isa.8:19-20.
"The person who inquires of people possessed with evil spirits, or inquires of a spiritualist, and seek them as one seeks a whore to fornicate with them, I shall set my face against that person, and cut him off from the midst of his people" (Lev.20:6 KJV Para.).
Witchcraft and Mystical Arts
There are many different and competing forms of witchcraft and other mystical arts. On the surface, some seem to be benign, providing seemingly beneficial results, while others are easily recognized as evil, with the capability of causing great harm.
The vast majority of professing Christians who casually practice witchcraft and other mystical arts do not understand they are interacting with extremely dangerous powers and spirit-beings whose goal is to destroy mankind. The Creator God considered the practice of witchcraft and mystical arts capital crimes and gave the following instructions to ancient Israel:
"You shall not allow a sorceress to live" (Ex.22:18 KJV Para.).
"A man also or woman that has a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them" (Lev.20:27 KJV).
Throughout history, there have been people who have discovered how to use the existence of unseen physical and spiritual power to gain knowledge and insight or to affect the natural and supernatural existence. An account in the Book of Acts shows that during the beginnings of the early church, the Sovereign Father called some individuals to salvation who had once used their knowledge of the physical and spiritual dimensions of existence for the wrong purposes, but they destroyed the books which held this knowledge after they understood their error:
"And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:17-20 KJV).
The context of Acts 19:17-20 shows the apostle Paul working many miracles and exhibiting greater supernatural power than that of the practitioners of mystical arts. Because Paul could demonstrate that his power was not magic and was greater than those who practiced the mystical arts, many believed Paul's message and abandoned their practice of magic and mystical arts.
There is a huge difference between the supernatural works performed by the servants of the Sovereign God, works of natural science, and that which is considered magical and mystical. The magical and mystical are to be avoided because their results are accomplished through an interaction with evil spirits.
INSIGHT AND POWER THROUGH OBJECTS
Many people seek to gain knowledge, insight, or access to spirit energy and power through the use of physical objects, such as tarot cards, ouija boards, pendulums, crystals, animal intestines, potions, tea leaves, graphic and geometric designs and symbols, amulets, and more.
The Creator God communicated with the Levitical priesthood and certain other individuals through the ephod, breastplate, urim, thummin, and teraphim. He also communicated through the use of lots in order to answer questions put to him and to give knowledge, insight, understanding, and instructions to the Israelites. The apostles also made use of lots to determine who would replace Judas. Moreover, the biblical record reveals that not everyone was authorized to use these devices, which were only to be used specifically to communicate with God under the conditions he set forth for their use. See chapter 24 for information about sanctioned objects and their use.
The biblical record shows that spirit power and energy can be accessed and transmitted through objects to affect the physical realm, and whatever God authorizes for use by those who represent him must be used to advance his plan and purpose on earth. However, using objects and rituals which are the product of evil spirits to access the spirit realm, is strictly forbidden by God and is considered by him to be a capital crime, punishable by death. See Lev.20:6, 27; Deut.18:9-14.
The following are several biblical references recording the use of objects through which supernatural works were performed, knowledge was gained, and people were deceived.
Moses and Aaron were authorized to use their staffs as objects through which many supernatural wonders were to be performed in order to carry-out their responsibilities. See Exodus, chapters 4 through 14.
Both of the prophets Elijah and Elisha used Elijah's robe, which seemed to be symbolic of a prophets authority, to access and use spirit-energy to part the waters of the Jordan river, so they could cross over it. See 2.Kgs.2:8-14.
Elisha caused a single pot of oil to continuously produce more oil as a blessing for a widow who was so destitute that her creditors were about to take two sons as indentured servants in order to satisfy her debt. (2 Kings 4:1-7). See also 1.Kgs.17:13-16.
During Christ's Ministry
On one occasion, Jesus used physical objects as a part of the process through which he performed a miraculous healing using spirit power and energy:
"As he went along, he saw a man who was blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Teacher, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, I must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam." So the man went and washed, and came seeing." (Jn.9:1-7 NIV Para.). See also Matt.14:14-21.
During the Gospel Age
Miracles performed by the apostle Paul document that power and energy from the spirit realm can be projected through objects:
"And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought to the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them" (Acts 19:11-12 KJV).
These miracles performed by the apostle Paul reveal the following important things about his contact with the spirit realm:
- The spirit-power to perform these miracles came from God.
- Contact with the spirit realm and its spirit-power came through the use of a physical object.
- Perhaps, the spirit-power to perform these miracles was transmitted through these objects or they were necessary to initiate the flow of spirit-energy to perform the miracle. It may also be that these objects were symbolic of the miracle to follow.
In addition to the special miracles God allowed Paul to perform, the early church was instructed by the apostle James in the method through which sick individuals within the congregations of the elect were to be healed. Notice that this method incorporated the use of prayer in conjunction with an anointing oil:
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him" (Jms.5:14-15 KJV).
Praying for individuals and anointing them with oil for healing is still practiced within many congregations with varying degrees of success.
After Christ's resurrection and the death of Judas who betrayed him, the remaining eleven disciples were together with over a hundred other followers of Christ. During this meeting Peter, stood up and explained that, according to the prophecy in Psalms (Psa.109), a replacement for Judas must be chosen:
"For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his office let another take. Therefore, of these men which have associated with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, to that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which of these two you have chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles" (Acts 1:20-26 KJV Para.).
Notice that it was through the use of lots that a replacement for Judas was chosen. It would have been extremely presumptuous of these men to use lots to choose a replacement for Judas if they had not been authorized to do so. Because they knew they were authorized to use this method, they had the confidence that their answer would come from the Sovereign God through Christ.
The Image of the Beast
In the Book of Revelation, there is a prophecy which seems to be speaking of the leader of a state religion, which is in opposition to the Sovereign God and Christ. This leader has tremendous supernatural power used to deceive people and to discredit the supernatural works done by the Sovereign God's earthly children as they proclaim the good news message of the Kingdom of God and Christ's return:
"And it does great signs and even makes fire to come down out of heaven upon the earth before men. And it deceives those dwelling on the earth, because of the signs which were given to it before the beast; Saying to those on the earth to make an image of the beast who has the wound of the sword and lived. And it was given to it to give a spirit to the image of the Beast, so that the image of the beast could speak, and might cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (Rev.13:13-15 Para.).
This religious leader will issue an edict for those under the control of the Beast to make an image of the Beast for the purpose of worshiping it. It is through his supernatural power that this religious leader will make the image a conduit for an evil spirit or spirits, which will speak through it and cause the death of anyone who will not worship the Beast through this image.
EVIL MANIFESTATIONS THROUGH OBJECTS
Today, many people display pictures, statues, fetishes, graphic designs, and other religious objects in their homes or businesses. On the surface, such things may seem harmless; however, some of these objects and designs are extremely dangerous to a person's well-being, because they were designed to act as gateways or conduits through which the spirit realm can be accessed and evil spirits and their influence can enter this physical realm.
The following two accounts, of which I have personal knowledge, demonstrate the dangers associated with possessing certain objects:
A Loss of Vision
One day, I received a telephone call from a minister with whom I was working. He said that, for no apparent reason, his vision had suddenly begun to rapidly fail after receiving a letter from a former associate. The letter explained the man had started practicing an ancient religion, focused on spiritual exercises enabling practitioners to experience what its followers call "the Light and Sound of God."
Suspecting that he was under attack by a demon, I consulted with another minister who was knowledgeable about the dangers of the occult and the ability of some evil spirits to focus energy through physical objects in order to harm people. Our conclusion was that the letter contained some type of hidden geometric design or symbol through which the demon was causing the vision loss. Once this was known and the appropriate action was taken, the minister's vision returned to normal.
A Magazine and a Face
A woman came to me telling me that she was seeing a face appear in her bedroom, which made her feel uneasy and frightened. Because I knew that she was a person of good character who would not knowingly violate God's laws, precepts, and principles, I asked her if she had brought anything new into her room. The only thing that she could think of was a book with strange symbols in it. I told her to remove the book and rebuke any evil that may have come along with the book. Once she did this, the problem was resolved.
This was a case of a person inadvertently coming into possession of a book, which an evil spirit had influenced someone to publish with geometric symbols that could be used as a gateway through which an evil spirit could manifest itself to unsuspecting people.
Contact with the Spirit Realm
There are many objects, methods, and techniques through which contact can be made with the spirit realm. However, regardless of which is used, all except those specifically set forth by the God of the Bible to be used for his purpose are strictly forbidden and must not be used if a person wants to avoid the possibility of an interaction with an evil spirit.
Likewise, the possession or use of charms, chants, oils, amulets, spells, fetishes, words, potions, geometric designs and symbols, hand gestures, clothing, and any other objects or rituals designed to gain knowledge, insight, or access to spirit-energy and power is strictly forbidden in God's law and must be avoided if you do not want to provide evil spirits with an opportunity to interact with you.
EMOTIONS, ATTITUDES, AND BEHAVIORS
Mankind was created with a whole range of emotions which can easily, if not controlled, adversely impact our attitude and behavior. Because our emotions are difficult to control, we sometimes find ourselves in situations which are in opposition to manifesting godly character and are inconsistent with the righteous lifestyle set forth in the Bible.
Although there are countless situations which can present themselves to a person, the following are specifically noted by the apostle Paul as situations that, if not dealt with in a righteous manner, can provide an opportunity for an evil spirit to attempt to influence a person.
Husbands, Wives, and Sexual Relations
Paul warns husbands and wives not to defraud each other sexually, because this act has the potential to allow Satan to influence a person into thinking and doing things that are not consistent with a righteous attitude and behavior:
"The man should give his wife all that is her right as a married woman, and the wife should do the same for her husband: for a girl who marries no longer has full right to her own body, for her husband then has his rights to it, too; and in the same way the husband no longer has full right to his own body, for it belongs also to his wife. So do not refuse these rights to each other. The only exception to this rule would be the agreement of both husband and wife to refrain from the rights of marriage for a limited time, so that they can give themselves more completely to prayer. Afterwards, they should come together again so that Satan won't be able to tempt them because of their lack of self-control" (1.Cor.7:3-5 TLB).
In his letter to the saints at Corinth, Paul instructs them to forgive the individual who had committed incest and who had repented of his sinful act:
"I wrote to you as I did so that I could find out how far you would go in obeying me. When you forgive anyone, I do too. And whatever I have forgiven (to the extent that this affected me too) has been by Christ's authority, and for your good. A further reason for forgiveness is to keep from being outsmarted by Satan, for we know what he is trying to do" (2.Cor 2:8-11 TLB).
The righteous principle that Paul puts forth is that a person must not harbor ill feelings toward another person no matter what they have done, especially when a person has truly repented of their actions and is seeking forgiveness. To do otherwise violates the principle of godly love and places one in violation of God's law which requires love and concern for other people.
Although you may be the one offended or wronged, your responsibility before God is to have the correct attitude toward the other person and act in a righteous manner. If you do not, you place your salvation in jeopardy. See Mk.11:25-26.
We should all know how very easy it is to wrong or offend another person. Many times, we do not even realize that we have wronged or offended someone, because the offence may be done through ignorance, carelessness, or poor judgment and is unintentional.
To harbor a grudge, hatred, or ill feelings toward a brother or sister in the faith or anyone else is in opposition to God's law concerning a righteous attitude and behavior and must be repented of in order to maintain a harmonious relationship with our heavenly Father and our Savior. (See 1.Jn.2:7-11; 3:15; 4:20). An unforgiving person opens an opportunity for Satan or other evil spirits to influence his or her thinking.
The apostle Paul wrote about forgiveness in relationship to Satan, when he was encouraging the saints at Ephesus to put away their old lifestyle and live righteously:
"Be angry, but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath: Do not give an opportunity to the devil" (Eph.4:26-27 Para.).
After giving this advice, Paul continued to list many unrighteous attitudes and behaviors, which violate God's way of truth. If these unrighteous attitudes and behaviors are not overcome, they will result in a person being punished by the second death from which there is no return.
Clearly, we provide a tremendous opportunity for Satan and other evil spirits to influence us if we are behaving badly. This is why Paul encouraged the saints at Ephesus to bring their lives into harmony with the righteous laws, precepts, and principles to which they had been taught to conform.
The writer to the Hebrews wrote the following which clearly shows that the end result of bitterness is spiritual defilement:
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Heb.12:14-15 KJV).
If you are striving for spiritual maturity, you should resolve interpersonal problems as quickly as possible; so that, you do not allow bitterness in your mind and spirit to provide an opening for evil to influence your life:
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you" (Eph.4:31-32 Para.). See also Matt.5:21-24, 6:14-15; Mk.11:25-26; 1.Jn.5:14-17.
Humans are emotional beings, and each individual expresses their emotions to differing degrees. Some people have the ability to control their emotions rather than letting their emotions control them. Those of us working toward spiritual maturity must strive to control our emotions in order to live in harmony with righteous principles.
PEOPLE, THINGS, AND ACTIVITIES
Today, individuals who are attempting to live a righteous life face essentially the same basic types of problems and must avoid the same things as individuals of the early church.
The following are a number of people, things, and activities which I believe will significantly increase the opportunity for an evil spirit to influence people and should be avoided in order to actively resist evil:
It is impossible not to associate and interact with people during the course of our life, even when practicing a righteous lifestyle. Therefore, the problem becomes one of being a righteous example of God's truth without being influenced by evil attitudes and behaviors. To do this, we must avoid participation and close association with the following:
- Religions and philosophies which violate God's laws, precepts, and principles as set forth in the biblical record
- People whose attitude and behavior is clearly evil and in opposition to godliness
- Constant companionship with people who are engaged in activities which violate God's laws, precepts, and principles as set forth in the Bible
- Business or organizational relationships that promote ideas, concepts, principles or products which violate God's laws, precepts, and principles as set forth in the Bible
The possession or use of the following religious, occult, and magical/mystical objects encourages and promotes evil influence:
- Amulets, charms, and talismans
- Statues or illustrations of saints, demons, angels, and icons
- Shrines dedicated to gods, saints, demons, angels, or mystical entities
- Pendulums, potions, tarot cards, and mystical, graphic geometric designs and symbols
- Astrological charts
- Crystal balls
- Ouija boards
- Placards, papers, scrolls, and books of mystical and magical, chants and words
- Pornography and obscene or hateful music
Participation in the following activities encourages and promotes lifestyles which are in opposition to righteousness and provides opportunities for evil spirits to interact and influence individuals:
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Use of recreational, mind altering drugs
- Seeking to have a religious experience, such as speaking in tongues
- The practice of witchcraft, or mystical or occult arts
- Hypnotic, meditative, or trance-like states which relinquish control of your will
- Uncontrolled emotion, which allows the mind to become dysfunctional
- Participation in religious events, ceremonies, or rituals which are forbidden in the Bible
- Participating in magical or mystical rituals
- Attending events which are not conducive to righteous behavior or lifestyle
- Channeling spirit entities
- Attempting to communicate with the dead through prayer or other means
- Engaging in sexual deviation or erotic dance in which movements have a spiritual meaning or are meant to entice someone into violating God's law
- Use of forbidden objects or rituals designed to access spirit energy and power
- Animal sacrifice to gods, angels, or demons
Although the above lists are not complete, the items noted do give an overview of some of the more obvious people, things, and activities to avoid if you are serious about resisting evil. While it is true that a righteous person must live in this world until Christ returns, it is also true that a righteous person must not tolerate evil and must distance themselves from evil as much as possible in order to set a righteous example and remain righteous.
REMAIN FREE FROM EVIL
In his letter to the elect at Rome the apostle Paul reminds them that they have been set free from the death sentence imposed on them because of their sins (i.e., the violation of God's law) through the sacrifice of Christ, and that they should now remain free from sin through practicing a righteous lifestyle.
What Paul wrote about the avoidance of sin in order to live a righteous lifestyle applies to resisting and avoiding evil influences. It matters little whether an evil influence is the product of evil spirits or evil people, because the result is the same. All evil is in opposition to a righteous attitude and behavior and can lead to undesired interaction with evil spirits, if not resisted or avoided.
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace" (Rom.6:12-14 KJV).
Sin (i.e., violation of God's law) should not rule anyone who has dedicated themselves to the pursuit of godliness. One who is no longer under the law (i.e., its death penalty) by the grace of God should not willingly give themselves over to sinful attitudes, behavior or an evil influence. The Father's grace, which he extends to those he calls to salvation, is not a license to violate his law with impunity:
"What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?" (Rom.6:15-16 KJV).
The English word servants in verse 16 is translated from the Greek word doulos, which is a derivative of the Greek verb deo, which means to bind, i.e., a slave. Doulos means to be in subjection or subserviency.
To avoid becoming influenced by evil, a person with the indwelling of the holy spirit must resist all evil by avoiding attitudes, behaviors, and situations which are in opposition to God's law.
When we are focused on our primary goal of becoming immortal and living forever in our heavenly Father's Kingdom, are actively resisting and avoiding evil, and are engaged in doing the things which will guarantee our success, there is no opportunity for the devil or any other evil spirit to influence our lives.
"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jms.4:7). See also Eph.4:27.
"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret" (Eph.5:11-12 KJV).
Throughout the writings of the apostles, the instruction to be proactive in resisting and avoiding evil in all its forms is shown to be the key to successfully defeating evil influences and maintaining holiness.
By B.L. Cocherell b9w26