The Sovereign God has placed certain limits on evil spirits that prohibit them from destroying all mankind or controlling the minds and bodies of people at will; otherwise, they would have controlled and destroyed all of mankind long ago. Moreover, Satan and all other evil spirits must obey the authority of a person who is legitimately exercising the power over evil spirits that is given to them by their heavenly Father.
Neither Satan nor any other evil spirit has the ability to influence, control, or otherwise force anyone with a sound mind to take a course of action he or she is not willing to take. For someone who has a sound mind to be influenced or controlled by an evil spirit, they would need to put themselves in a situation that compromises their ability to resist. Moreover, the Bible teaches that each individual the Father calls to salvation is totally responsible for their own spiritual success or failure. See Phil. 2:12-16; Eph.4:21-24; Rom.12:1-2, 14:10-12; 2.Cor.5:10.
Worship and service to the Sovereign God and his son, the Savior of mankind, is not a passive experience. The life of a person whom the Sovereign God calls to salvation must be one of growth toward spiritual maturity; therefore, God's children must continually and carefully weigh their attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, choices, and decisions against the empirical standards of righteousness set forth in the Bible. This must be done not only to become spiritually mature but also to have the knowledge needed to know how and when to wield their authority and power effectively in their struggle against evil in this world.
The apostle Peter sums up the attitude and behavior that anyone who is serious about their salvation must have in order to obtain eternal and immortal life in the Kingdom of God:
"For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him shun evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil" (1.Pet.3:10-12 KJV).
Within his instructions to pray for a brother in the faith who is practicing things that are outside the bounds of proper behavior for a righteous person, John writes the following:
"If any man sees his brother sin a sin which is not to death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not to death. There is a sin to death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin and there is a sin that is not to death. We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one does not touch him" (1.Jn.5: 16-18 KJV Para.).
The English word keeps is translated from the Greek word tereo, which means in the context of verse 18, to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon). The English word touch is translated from the Greek word haptomai, which means in the context of verse 18, to attach oneself to, (i.e., to touch in many implied relations).
How do you protect yourself and prevent Satan or any other evil spirit from having an influence in your life? The Apostles James and Paul give the following advice to those who are serious about resisting all evil influence:
"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jms.4:7).
"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 evil in all its forms is shown to be the key to successfully defeating evil influences and maintaining your holiness.
In his letter to the elect at Ephesus, Paul gave them a long list of which attitudes and behaviors to cultivate and which attitudes and behaviors to discard. In the middle of this list, he says, "Neither give place to the devil" (Eph.4:27).
The English word place is translated from the Greek word topos, which seems to primarily mean a spot (general in space, but limited by occupancy); i.e., location (as a position, home, tract, etc.); figuratively, a condition or an opportunity.
In the context in which Paul's instruction is framed, he clearly shows that a person who is righteous should not allow attitudes or behaviors which are inconsistent with a righteous lifestyle to intrude into their life. Clearly, resisting and avoiding unrighteous attitudes and behaviors eliminates the devil's opportunity to influence a person.
After listing many unrighteous attitudes and behaviors to be avoided by the elect at Rome, Paul gave the following instruction and advice to those seeking to secure their salvation:
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light" (Rom.13:12 KJV).
Putting on the armor of light means to prepare to do battle against the forces of evil by having God's word firmly in your mind with the understanding and the faith that you have the authority and power to overcome evil.
WALKING WITH GOD AND RESISTING EVIL
In the following prophecy recorded by the prophet Amos about the Creator God's promised punishment of national Israel for their rebellion and failure to keep their agreement with him, the Creator asks them a question that is still relevant today for all who profess to follow the teachings of the Bible:
"Only you have I known out of all the families on earth; therefore I will punish you for your lawlessness. Can two walk together, except they are in agreement?" (Am.3:2-3 Para.).
The answer to the Creator's question is; no! two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. In order to walk with God, (i.e., live in such a way that you have a harmonious relationship with him), you must live a righteous life of resistance to the evil that permeates this world.
In his letter to the saints at Rome, the apostle Paul wrote the following about the attitude a truly converted person who has the indwelling of the holy spirit, must have toward all evil:
"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good" (Rom.12:9 KJV).
In verse 9, the English word abhor is translated from the Greek word apostugeo, which means to detest utterly. The English word cleave is translated from the Greek word kollao, which means to glue, i.e., (passively or reflexively) to stick.
An important point to consider is that Paul is speaking of evil which violates the precepts and principles of righteousness as set forth in the biblical record; he is not saying to detest the person committing the evil, but to detest the act of evil (i.e., all things that are in opposition to God's laws, precepts, and principles).
When dealing with Satan or any other evil spirit, passive resistance is no resistance at all. There can be no neutral response to evil. Either you accept evil into your life or you resist it. To not resist evil is tacit approval of evil.
For resistance against evil spirits to be effective, you must be armed with the proper knowledge and weapons which will enable you to successfully resist and thwart evil. Resistance must be well thought out and swiftly executed.
Along with the warning to beware of Satan because he is your enemy who must be resisted, the apostle Peter gave us a powerful key to preventing influence from Satan and other evil spirits:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" (1.Pet.5:8-9 KJV).
Although Peter's warning is directed to the Sovereign Father's earthly family of king-priests, he says that these same dangers exist for everyone in the world (Greek: Kasmos). The reality is that the devil (i.e., Satan) will destroy any person, if given the opportunity. But, he especially wants to destroy those whom the Sovereign God has personally called to salvation during the gospel age of salvation.
To prevent Satan or any other evil spirit from having an opportunity to destroy you, resist evil and pay careful attention to how you conduct your life. Make sure your surroundings, your associations, and the various situations in which you find yourself do not place you in jeopardy of being influenced or controlled by Satan or other evil spirits.
In 1 Peter 5, verse 9, the English words resist, steadfast, and faith are translated from the Greek words anthistemi, stereos, and pistis, which respectively mean, to stand against (i.e., to oppose), be solid or stable, and persuasion (i.e., credence; moral conviction of religious truth).
In order to resist the devil as instructed by Peter, you must be well grounded in The Faith. This means that you must be diligently pursuing a righteous lifestyle as set forth in the pages of the Bible. If you are well grounded in The Faith you will be able to resist the Devil and any other evil spirit or evil influence with the assurance that you have the spiritual authority and power to successfully protect yourself from being corrupted by evil.
After the apostle James lists a number of attitudes which are in opposition to righteousness, he notes that these attitudes are the result of the pulls of human nature and gives the following advice:
". . . Therefore he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded" (Jms.4:6-8 KJV Para.).
James sets forth the following seven extremely important principles to which you should pay close attention in order to successfully keep yourself from being influenced or controlled by Satan or other evil spirits:
- God opposes a person who has an arrogant, superior, and disdainful attitude.
- God is gracious toward a person who has a humble attitude.
- A righteous person should live in obedience to God, which means practicing the Sovereign Father's truth and way of truth.
- A righteous person must resist the Devil.
- You must draw near to God if you want God to draw near to you.
- Sin creates a barrier to a harmonious relationship with God; therefore, sin must be eliminated from your life.
- A person who wants to have a harmonious relationship with God cannot vacillate between good and evil.
Be Proactive in Resisting Evil
Both Peter and James clearly make the point that proactive opposition to Satan is necessary in order to make him want to avoid contact with you. Proactive resistance is the opposite of acceptance.
Although knowing there are evil spirits who are intent on influencing, harming, controlling, or possessing the bodies of humans is extremely important, the most important thing to know is how to eliminate the possibility of being influenced or controlled by an evil spirit.
The absolute best way to make sure you do not become influenced, controlled, or possessed by an evil spirit is to be proactive in your resistance to evil and resolved to maintain your righteousness through drawing near to God and the way of life he has instituted for his holy children.
FIGHT TO WIN
At the end of the apostle Paul's warning to Timothy about avoiding the inordinate lusts for the physical things of this world and his encouragement to pursue righteousness, Paul tells Timothy:"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses" (1.Tim.6: 12 KJV).
In verse 12, the first instance of the English word Fight is translated from the Greek word agonizomai, which means to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize). The second time fight is used, it is translated from the Greek word agon, which means a place of assembly (as if led), i.e., (by implication) a contest.
There is nothing casual about Paul's instruction to lay hold on eternal life. Paul's exhortation to "Fight the good fight of faith" is in the context of a person engaged in a contest in which he or she must put forth an extreme effort to win.
Those called to salvation during the gospel age of salvation are in a struggle to overcome their old nature and keep themselves from being corrupted with the evils of this world; so that, they can obtain eternal and immortal life in the Kingdom of God. Winning this fight through faith in the promises of God the Father and Christ guarantees eternal and immortal life in the Kingdom of God. But, losing this fight of faith will lead to the second death in the lake of fire from which there is no return.
The Sovereign Father's earthly children must never forget that evil spirits present a powerful threat to our eternal destiny and that, if we are to overcome this threat, we must fight to win:
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph.6:12 KJV).
The existence of evil spirits was common knowledge to those who were called to salvation during the days of the early church. Paul explains to the Romans that no physical trial or evil spirit is strong enough to overcome the power of God in our life:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom.8:35-39 KJV).
The reason nothing is able to separate a child of God from the love of the Father in Christ is that the love of the Father and Christ is within the child of God through the holy spirit dwelling in us and no outside force can break this bond.
Although a powerful adversary, no evil spirit can control an individual who truly believes and has faith in God the Father, Jesus Christ, and their promises, because that individual has the spiritual power available to them through the holy spirit to overcome all spirit adversaries.
CONFRONTATIONS WITH EVIL SPIRITS
Very few individuals have personal confrontations or conversations with Satan or evil spirits. However, if you do encounter an evil spirit (or an evil influence being projected by an evil spirit) and have prepared yourself to use the available protection and weapons, listed in the Bible, you should be more than able to do battle and be victorious.
No evil spirit is a match for those who believe in the promises of God the Father and Jesus Christ to protect those who trust in them. Evil spirits cannot be victorious over those who have been given and use the power and authority to overcome evil in all its forms.
An Offer of Power and Glory
"And the devil, taking him [Jesus] up to a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to him, All this power will I give you, and the glory of them: for this is delivered to me; and to whomever I will give it. If you will worship me, all shall be yours" (Lk.4:5-8 KJV Para.).
Satan could make this offer because he is the god of this world. He has been in authority over this world from its creation and at the beginning of the Sovereign God's plan for humanity.
"And Jesus answered and said to him, You get behind me, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve." (Lk.4:8 KJV Para.).
As a man having the indwelling of the holy spirit, Jesus exercises his prerogative to resist Satan's offer and refutes Satan's claim to be worthy of worship.
"And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down from here: For it is written, He [the Sovereign God] shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you: And in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone. (Lk.4:9-11 KJV Para.).
Satan appeals to Jesus to prove that he truly is the prophesied Messiah, but Jesus knew who he was and the purpose for which the Sovereign God had sent him to earth¾he had nothing to prove to Satan:
"And Jesus answered him and said, It is said, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. And when the devil had ended all the temptations, he departed from him for a season" (Lk.4:12-13 KJV Para.).
The account of Satan testing Jesus shows that the knowledge of God's truth and a proactive resistance to evil are keys to successfully defeating an evil spirit's attempt to influence you into violating God's law.
A Rebuke to Satan's Influence of Peter
The following event which occurred just before Jesus was betrayed into the hands of the Jewish religious leaders reveals that, when given an opportunity, Satan can and does influence people who are being led to salvation and are being dealt with on a personal level by the Sovereign God and Christ:
"Then he charged his disciples that they should not tell anyone that he was Jesus the Christ. From that time forward Jesus began to show his disciples, how he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes and be killed and be raised again the third day" (Matt.16:20-21 KJV Para.).
After Jesus explains the events which must take place in order for him to fulfill his mission as the Messiah, Peter is influenced by Satan and begins to protest against what Jesus was about to do:
"Then Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from you, Lord: this shall not happen to you. But he turned, and said to Peter, You get behind me, Satan: you are an offence to me: for you are not concerned with the things that are of God, but those that are of men" (Matt.16:22-23 KJV Para.).
What we see happening in verses 22-23 is Peter being influenced by Satan in an attempt to thwart the Sovereign God's plan for the salvation of mankind. This is why Jesus addresses his rebuke to Satan and tells him that what he (Jesus) is doing does not concern him (Satan). Jesus tells Satan that his concern is with those who are not being dealt with by his heavenly Father. In other words, Jesus told Satan to keep his nose out of things that do not concern him and stick to his own business.
There is no doubt that Peter had a deep respect and love for Jesus. However, Peter and most Jews of his day were expecting a Messiah who would deliver them from their physical bondage and restore national Israel as a world power. They were not looking for spiritual enlightenment or for the Messiah to come and sacrifice himself for the sins of humanity. Because Satan knew this, he used his power to project his thoughts and emotions into Peter's mind in order to influence him to attempt to prevent Jesus from the course of action that he was about to take.
Although Peter was selected to work with Jesus in proclaiming the Kingdom of God at that time and in the future, Peter did not have the holy spirit dwelling in him as a son of the Sovereign God's new creation; otherwise, Peter would not have been so easily influenced by Satan.
This account shows that if a person is not clear concerning God's will in a given situation, an evil spirit may take advantage of the situation and influence a person into thinking and doing things that are in opposition to God's will. Moreover, this account shows that a person with the indwelling of the holy spirit, like Jesus, has the authorization to forbid an evil spirit from interfering in the affairs of those with whom the Sovereign God is working.
Joshua the High Priest
At the end of this age and just a few short years before Christ returns, there will be a high priest in Jerusalem and another individual who will be given great power and authority to perform awesome supernatural works and provide a warning to mankind to repent of their evil ways; so that, they can escape the wrath of God which will be coming on all the earth and its inhabitants:
"And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord [Christ] said to Satan, The Lord [Sovereign God] rebuke you Satan; even the Lord that has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" (Zech.3:1-2 KJV Para.).
Satan knows that this high priest is a sinner and does not want him to repent and be forgiven of his sins, become righteous, and to fulfill the destiny for which God has chosen him. Christ who was the Creator God reprimands Satan through the authority of the Sovereign God of all that exists, thereby rendering Satan's accusations ineffective. For a full explanation of the angel of the Lord mentioned in Zechariah 3:1, see chapter 4 of this study.
Harassment by an Evil Spirit
The account of the apostle Paul and others who ministered with him being harassed by a young woman who was possessed by an evil spirit shows that those with God's spirit do not have to tolerate such harassment:
"Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her" (Acts 16:16-18 NIV).
Besides showing that we are not required to abide harassment by evil spirits, this account tells us the following five things:
- Evil spirits recognize the servants of the true God.
- Some evil spirits will harass the elect until they are removed from the person whom they are controlling and possessing.
- Authority to remove evil spirits comes through Christ.
- Paul was able to speak directly to the evil spirit.
- Evil spirits must comply with the legitimate demands of true servants of God the Father and Christ.
Encounters with Evil Spirits
The following are a number of encounters with evil spirits of which I have personal knowledge. These encounters demonstrate that a person does not have to tolerate an intrusion into their life by an evil spirit. These encounters also show that, when the proper action is taken, evil spirits must cease the course of action in which they are engaged.
A College Student Resists Evil
A college student related to me the following encounter he had with an evil spirit who threatened to kill him:
"It was a pretty typical day for me at SJSU. I was trying to get my homework done between classes. The weather was nice and I decided to study in the quad area near the student union.
There were some people milling about in the amphitheater, and sitting here and there were a few groups of students.
One group of students stood out to me as I sat reading an article. They appeared to be mentally disabled, but that was not what stood out. It was one of the students in particular that I got a cold feeling from. He seemed to have zeroed in on me and his eyes and stare were cold. I had a cold feeling come across me, one I felt as a child before¾ a feeling of pure evil. All of a sudden he seemed to realize I had picked up on this and he immediately came over to me and said he was going to kill me.
I can't remember everything he said, but when he said he was going to kill me it was as if someone else was saying it. I then in my mind, rebuked the individual by saying my Master and Savior is greater than yours. Leave me alone. It was amazing. As soon as I finished my thought, he wandered off to rejoin his group."
In this account, a demon recognized a person under God's protection and attempted to frighten him, not knowing that this young man had been taught as a child to resist evil and clearly understood that God is far more powerful than anything he has created. When challenged with a superior authority and power, this demon released his control over the individual.
A Ouija Board and a Demon
A gentleman who had researched a number of biblical topics for me telephoned to ask my advice about a frightening situation stemming from his use of a ouija board. He told me that he and his friends were asking questions and getting answers using the board, but decided it was time to stop playing with it. However, the board would not let them stop. When they asked the board if they could stop, it told them "No."
I advised him to throw the board into the fireplace and burn it. He telephoned later to tell me that he had followed my advice and thrown the board into the fireplace, and that he and his friends had left the house for a short time. But, when they returned and entered the room where they had been using the ouija board, the room was in a shambles and the Bible they kept in the room was now stuck to the wall with the fireplace poker.
Evil spirits are powerful and can be vindictive when they do not get their way. This is yet another reason to never initiate or encourage communication with evil spirits by using seemingly innocent games which have spiritual overtones. These types of games can be used as a tool by evil spirits to influence or possess unsuspecting or careless individuals.
Three Faces of Evil
An elderly lady who attended the same congregation as I told me that, as she was praying beside her bed, three men's faces appeared to her in the room. When she told me the names of the men represented by the faces, I explained to her that these were evil spirits manifesting themselves in the form of actual people. Through discernment, it was obvious to me that these three men were either possessed or highly influenced by evil spirits.
I explained to her how to protect herself from this kind of intrusion.She took my advice and was no longer bothered by these evil spirits.
It was later discovered that these three men had been secretly working to discredit the congregation's leadership, initiate controversy, and generally undermine the congregational unity in order to destroy the congregation and draw a following to themselves.
Grandson and the Neighbor's Boy
When one of my grandsons, who was about six years old at the time, was living with us, he would often play outside with a neighbor's boy who was about the same age. One day, I was outside watching them play and the neighbor's boy began behaving badly, so I told him to stop and reprimanded him for his bad behavior. To this, he replied with the threat that he would get his "big guy" to take care of me. The boy's words seemed rather strange to me, because I was a bit taller and bigger than his step-father, so I wondered who this "big guy" could be.
I related the boy's odd behavior and strange threat to a brother in the faith who had the ability to determine if the boy was influenced by an evil spirit. He told me that the boy was possessed by an evil spirit and that the "big guy" he referred to was a demon, who had once possessed a large man who was a boxer.
Upon learning this, I decided to prevent the demon from harming my grandson through the neighbor's boy and ordered the demon to never be present when my grandson played with the neighbor's boy. After this, the boy always acted like a normal child whenever he was around my grandson.
The biblical examples, the encounters, and the experiences of individuals in this age with evil spirits clearly show that evil spirits only have the power and authority to influence people who are receptive to their influence, and that taking decisive action will end any problem with evil spirits, because once they are challenged by a superior authority and given a legitimate command, they must comply.
A Time Wasting Demon
The most precious possession humans have is their life. The extent of a person's physical life is expressed in time, which is a finite amount of hours, days, months, and years between their birth and their death. Once time has passed, it cannot be recovered; it is gone forever. This is why there are many scriptures which encourage those who are serious about their salvation to use their time wisely. See Psa.90:12; Eph.5:14-17.
Most people must work many hours to supply the necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and clothing, and they have precious few hours left for family life, worship, study, service, and rest.
Evil spirits are eternal and have no need to sustain their existence, because their life is sustained by the Sovereign God's power. Time has no meaning to them, because they are not constrained by time, which only pertains to the physical existence. Because evil spirits hate humans and would kill all of them if they were allowed, the next best thing for some demons is to harm humans by causing them to waste their most precious possession (their life) by using up their time.
One afternoon, a friend called and said that a radio host whom she did not know and had no previous contact had telephoned her and struck up a conversation about some supposedly mutual acquaintances. She said that this man called several times and talked for extended periods of time and knew details about people, places, and events in her life that he should not have known. My friend was puzzled as to why this man would want to call a perfect stranger and engage in long conversations.
I told her I did not know the individual and had no idea why he was calling her. Shortly after our conversation, the same man telephoned me one evening and rambled on and on. It seemed that, every time I would begin to think about a person or an event he would soon engage me in that subject. As the conversation continued, this happened more frequently and the thought occurred to me that this man was possessed by a time wasting demon. Immediately after this thought had cleared my mind, he loudly exclaimed in a surprised tone, "gotta go." These words ended our conversation and neither my friend nor I ever heard from this man again.
My conclusion was that this man was possessed by a time wasting demon, which had the ability to read a person's thoughts in order to waste their time by engaging them in lengthy, frivolous conversations in an attempt to distract them from doing God's will in their lives. If allowed, such a demon will attempt to waste your time and cause division by instigating gossip and controversy.
There are many warnings by the apostles not to waste your time engaging in frivolous conversations that are not constructive and can lead to gossip, controversy, and division. These warnings clearly apply in our age, especially because so many people are influenced or possessed by evil spirits. See Eph. 5:6; 1.Tim.1:4-6, 6:20-21; Titus 3:8-10. Being a courteous listener is one thing, but being duped by an evil spirit into wasting your precious time in meaningless conversation is very different and should not be tolerated.
One Sabbath, while I was speaking before the congregation, I suddenly felt an intense and disturbing presence in the room and noticed a woman quietly entering the back of the meeting room. At that same instant, I noticed an elder abruptly turn to look toward the back of the room. After the worship service had ended, I asked the elder if he had also felt the presence, and he told me that he too had felt it, which is why he turned to see what it was and noticed the woman who had just entered the room.
This event was disturbing, because we had previously forbidden evil spirits from entering our congregational meetings, but we clearly understood that the presence we felt as the woman entered the room was evil. As we discussed this matter, it became apparent that either God had invalidated our command forbidding evil spirits to enter our congregational meetings or the command we gave was lacking an important piece of information.
Understanding that evil spirits only obey the letter of the law and will seek to circumvent commands which are not carefully thought out and inclusive, we found that we had neglected to also forbid evil spirits from projecting their influence into our congregational meeting through individuals under their control. Once we issued this command, this type of encounter never occurred again.
Do Not Fear Evil Spirits
A person with the indwelling of the holy spirit has no reason to fear Satan or any other evil spirit because the Sovereign Father only calls people to salvation during the gospel age whom he knows have the ability to succeed when given the tools for success.
While encouraging Timothy, the apostle Paul mentions three spiritual gifts, which a person is provided at the moment they receive the indwelling of the Father's holy spirit:
"Therefore, I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind [i.e., self-control]" (2.Tim. 1:6-7 KJV Para.).
Verse 7 tells us several things about the spiritual make-up of the Father's newly adopted children.
The English word fear is translated from the Greek word deilia, which means timidity. (i.e., the characteristic of being fearful).
Christ warns that a person who becomes spiritually fearful and timid will not be in his Father's kingdom (Rev.21:7-8). Therefore, it is important to know that this negative characteristic (i.e., emotion) of timidity and fearfulness is absent in those whom the Father places his holy spirit into at their adoption into his family, otherwise one's chance of success would be constantly hampered by this negative emotion.
The English word power in verse 7, is translated from the Greek word dunamis, which especially means miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself). This is the very power through which all things in the spiritual and physical realms were and are created and maintained. A person with the authority to wield this kind of awesome power has nothing to fear from Satan or any other evil spirit.
Also in verse 7, the English phrase sound mind is translated from the Greek word sophronismos, which is derived from the word sophronizo, which means to discipline or correct. Sophronismos, basically means self-control.
Once you have the gift of a spiritually sound mind (i.e., you are in control of yourself) and learn how to use the spiritual tools available to you, as well as the awesome authority and power which resides within you, all you have to do to resist an evil influence or thwart an attack of Satan or any other evil spirit is to properly exercise your authority and power.
Ask for Knowledge and Understanding
God the Father and Jesus Christ have an intense desire for those who are called to salvation to succeed in becoming immortal beings in the Kingdom God. Therefore, powerful spiritual tools have been provided to help those who are called to be successful in overcoming their old nature, becoming spiritually mature, and resisting evil influence and thwarting the attacks of evil spirits.
The apostle John gives the following encouragement regarding the Father's attentiveness to our needs and the confidence that we should have in asking him for help:
"This is the confidence we have in making requests of the Father. If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, we know that he will give us what we request of him" (1.Jn.5:14-15 Para).
Is it the Father's will that you successfully resist evil and be victorious in your battle against evil spirits? Absolutely, it is his will. Therefore, you should take full advantage of the Father's desire for your success and heed the following advice of Christ:
"And I say to you, ask and It shall be given you: seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened" (Matt.7:7-8; Lk.11:9-10 Para.).
Here, Jesus reveals the keys which guarantee the Father will fulfill our legitimate requests. You must put forth the effort to request that the Father give you the things contained in his promises. Immediately following the promise to give to those who ask, seek, and knock, both Matthew and Luke record Jesus' explanation of what will be given through this promise:
"Is there a father that will give his son a stone, when his son asks for bread? If a son shall ask bread of you who is a father, will you give him a stone? or if he asks for a fish, will his father give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will his father offer him a scorpion?" (Matt.7:9-10; Lk.11:11-12 Para.).
When asked for food, will a father who truly loves his child give them harmful things instead of the food that they need to sustain their life? Of course not! If it is within his power to do so, a loving father will give what is needed and more:
"If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy spirit and good things to them that ask him" (Matt.7:11; Lk.11:13). See also Jn.14:13-14, 15:7.
The Father is more than willing to give his children the good things which will help them grow toward spiritual maturity. And he is more than willing to protect us from evil spirits if we will ask for his help and are willing to do our part in resisting evil (See Jms.4:6-8).
The writer to the Hebrews wrote the following, which should give anyone who is serious about their salvation great confidence in their heavenly Father and their Savior's willingness to help in situations concerning their effort to succeeded in their calling to salvation:
"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb.4:13-16 KJV).
The key to acquiring the necessary tools, knowledge, and understanding to resist an evil influence and do battle with evil spirits is to sincerely ask the Father for the tools, knowledge, and understanding. Then, put forth the required effort through study and meditation in the Bible to become familiar with the tools, knowledge, and understanding provided and how to effectively use them.
Although our heavenly Father has provided the spiritually immature person in the faith a certain amount of protection from evil spirits, the expectation of the Father and Christ is that a person will grow toward spiritual maturity and learn how to exercise the authority and power which resides within them in order to remain free of evil influence. The writer to the Hebrews wrote the following about the necessity to grow spiritually and to discern between good and evil:
"For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb.5:13-14 KJV).
Long ago, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to reveal one of the keys to discovering and understanding the many secrets hidden within the scriptures, which includes how to resist and defeat Satan and other evil spirits:
"Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:" (Isa.28:9-10 KJV).
Just as there is a physical growth process from infancy to adulthood, there is a spiritual growth process in the acquisition of spiritual knowledge and understanding. The more you learn and practice what you have learned, the more spiritually skillful and mature you become and the more spiritual knowledge and understanding that can be added to what you already know and understand.
After acquiring a basic understanding of God and his way of life, you can progress toward gaining knowledge and understanding into his more complex teachings. However, to do this, you must be willing to spend time and effort in diligently studying God's word and meditating on what you find there.
Recognizing Good and Evil
In order to avoid an evil influence or thwart an attack by an evil spirit, you must first recognize the threat. In order to recognize a threat, you must first know the difference between good and evil.
Although people in general inherently know, to a certain degree, what is right and wrong in attitude and behavior, all people do not know and understand the biblical definition of right and wrong and good and evil. This is the knowledge and understanding which enables us to recognize spiritual evil. The apostle Paul said the following about those with spiritual discernment:
"But the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. For who knew the mind of the Lord? Who will teach him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1.Cor.2:15-16 Para.).
A truly converted person with the indwelling of the holy spirit has the ability to recognize spiritual things (1.Cor.2:11-12). It is important to understand that this ability must be constantly exercised in your daily life or it will become dormant.
We must exercise and improve spiritual discernment because recognizing evil spirits, evil people, and unrighteous attitudes, behaviors, and situations alerts us to the fact that righteous judgement must be exercised and the appropriate action must be taken in order to thwart evil and maintain our righteousness.
Resisting evil in all its various forms is the perfect strategy for defeating an evil influence or being victorious in a confrontation with an evil spirit. If diligently practiced, resistance guarantees success as noted by the apostle James when he wrote: "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jms.4:7).
By B.L. Cocherell b9w25