Have You Opened a Door to the Enemy?

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Spiritual warfare is a strange concept to our Western minds. Satan has all but convinced us in America that there is no spiritual realm. We are taught that there is no such thing as God, angels, or demons. Our culture says the Bible is a collection of fictitious myths. Of course, Satan is fine with that. Any lie will do.

As long as he can drag us away from God and the truth, that’s all that matters in his eyes.

He just wants to hurt God and hurt people as much as he can before he is eternally punished.

In reality, the Bible is our source of absolute truth. God’s truth sets us free!

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

1 Pet. 5:7-10

Choices Matter

Our life choices have powerful spiritual (and even eternal) consequences. There are only two spiritual authorities, ultimately, that can be in control of our lives:

  • We can invite the Holy Spirit’s authority to have control in our lives.
  • We can go our own way, (which is also Satan’s way). This automatically invites demonic authority into our lives to one degree or another.

We simply can’t afford to play and flirt with the enemy. All the doors of our lives must be fully shut to Satan’s influence and completely open to God’s influence.

Demonic influences only leave when a stronger authority takes over. When the power of Christ Jesus stakes a claim over a person’s life, the demons have no choice but to flee.

This is a spiritual problem that requires a two part spiritual solution.

  1. Get rid of the spiritual poison.
  2. Pour God and His Truth and love in.
Photo by Nashad Abdu on Unsplash

Demonic Possession

Demonic Possession happens to unbelievers. It involves a demon(s) taking control of a person’s mind, motives, and life. According to the Bible, this can manifest as:

  • Sickness and medical issues (Mark 9:14-19).
  • Personality changes, violence, self-harm, strange behavior, and/or superhuman strength (Matthew 8:28).
  • Special knowledge of the future that is not from God (Acts 16:16-18).
  • Depression, and all kinds of evil and violence, including murder (King Saul actually went completely crazy due to an evil spirit that tormented him and tried to kill David many times. Judas was influenced by Satan to betray Jesus, and later realized the magnitude and consequences of what he had done and killed himself.).
  • And other things, as well.

Note – all mental and physical illnesses are not due to demonic possession or oppression. There can certainly be other causes.

But Satan and his demons do have a lot of power in this world. He is the prince of the power of the air. He is able and willing to cause all kinds of suffering— his ultimate goal being to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Sometimes he does this through other means, but demonic activity and influence is one of the tools in his arsenal.

Believers in Christ have the Holy Spirit living in them and are sealed by Him. Disciples of Christ, to my knowledge and understanding, can’t be possessed by a demon because the Holy Spirit possesses us.

But we can grieve the Holy Spirit by choosing to cherish sin in our lives (Eph. 4:30). We can choose to rebel against God, although this should make us sick and we should want to repent immediately and return to our Lord.

We have the ability to break fellowship with God and roll out the red carpet to the enemy, carelessly inviting him into our lives.

Once he gains access to our thought lives, he does whatever he can to try to destroy us and to try to destroy others through us.

Demonic Oppression

Demonic Oppression can happen to believers or unbelievers. A person is influenced by demons in their thoughts. The person does not take her thoughts captive for Christ and allows the demonic lies to fester. This can result in various things like:

  • Depression, despair, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and hopelessness.
  • Intense fear.
  • A feeling of evil, darkness, or doom.
  • Seeing, feeling, or hearing demons or dark figures—in dreams, or even when awake.
  • Physical illness, at times.
  • No appetite for God or His Word.
  • Self-destruction and abuse (cutting, self-harm, suicide, anorexia/bulimia, addictions).
  • Hatred toward others, God, the Word of God, or self.
  • Rage/malice/violence/abuse toward others.
  • Intense desire for sexual perversion, porn, and/or immorality.

Of course, demonic possession or oppression are not the only things that can cause some of the above issues.

All illness and suffering is related to sin being in the world, in general.

We live in a fallen, cursed world—so bad things happen.

  • Sometimes suffering or illness is a direct consequence of my sin or another person’s sin (ie: STDs due to sexual immorality, or the suffering of someone who was hit by a drunk driver). Demons can be involved in tempting us to sin, but they can’t force us to sin. The choice is ours.
  • Sometimes illness and trials are related directly to demonic activity (attack, oppression, or possession). Demonic attack is where demons try to hurt us in some way, but we are not oppressed or possessed—ie: Job.
  • Sometimes trials are spiritual testing.
  • Sometimes trials happen due to persecution for our faith in Christ.
  • Other times, these things are just part of living in this world. There can be medical, genetic, and other environmental causes for physical and mental illnesses.

We need God’s Spirit, His Word, and His wisdom to rightly discern what is happening in each specific situation. I may not always be able to identify the root cause of every illness or suffering.

But I can invite God to show me if there is sin in my life I need to repent from and ask what He wants me to learn in the midst of my suffering. I can close any open doors to the enemy in my life. I can invite Him to use any suffering in my life for His glory and my ultimate good to conform me to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).

Open Doors

THINGS THAT MAY OPEN DOORS TO DEMONIC INFLUENCE

  • The occult – horoscopes, Ouija boards, séances, going to a fortune teller/medium, casting spells, witchcraft, Voodoo, Satanism, paganism, idols, etc… (These things are exploding in popularity in our culture today, unfortunately.)
  • Idolatry – when we worship, serve, trust in, and desire things/people more than we long for God, we are really worshipping demons and receiving their teachings (Deut. 32:16-17).
  • Certain addictive, mind-altering drugs – meth, crack, narcotics, LSD, alcohol, etc…
  • Playing with temptation.
  • Fascination with demons.
  • Obsession with serial killers and mass murderers.
  • Music/media that glorifies evil, killing, abortion, horror, immorality, and sin.
  • Isolating ourselves from other believers.
  • Neglecting time with God, prayer, and scripture reading—starving ourselves of good spiritual food in Christ.
  • Listening to false teaching, lies, or ungodly messages.
  • Fellowshipping with those who are involved in demonic activity.
  • Holding onto sin in our hearts rather than confessing it and turning from it immediately—ie: Scripture teaches us that holding onto anger overnight is a way to give the enemy a stronghold in our lives (Eph. 4:26-27).

Demons are a lot like cockroaches. They are attracted to the stench of sin, wrong thinking, lies, and any kind of evil.

Addictions and unrepentant sin in our lives create an atmosphere where demons feel welcome. They may not have originally caused the mess, but they may be happy to jump in later to try to keep us in spiritual bondage.

THINGS THAT OPEN THE DOOR TO GOD’S DELIVERANCE

  • Repenting from all known sin, turning away from sin to Jesus.
  • Yielding my life to Jesus as the Savior and Lord of my life from this moment on for the rest of my life.
  • Inviting the Holy Spirit to fill me daily.
  • Speaking the truth of God’s love and salvation from the Bible out loud.
  • Singing praise songs to Jesus.
  • Thinking about good things and gratitude toward God. (Phil. 4:8)
  • Resisting Satan coupled with total submission to the Lordship of Christ (James 4:7).
  • Praying for Jesus to bring deliverance to us.
  • Other believers praying for deliverance for a person (it’s best to have at least one Christian who is experienced with this if there is possession or severe oppression going on).
  • Getting rid of any lies and replacing them and rebuilding our lives on God’s truth
  • Putting on the spiritual armor and truth of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-18)

Freedom in Christ

The key is to turn away from the darkness and focus on the Light – Jesus, His glory, His holiness, His truth, His Word, His promises, and His goodness. We praise and thank Him and receive His work on our behalf and His Spirit, He can set us free from sin and demonic oppression/possession.

When the brilliance of the Light and Truth of Christ shines freely in the darkest corners of my life, the cockroaches go scurrying away.

They can’t stand the Light and a soul that has been cleansed of filth. They detest being around gratitude and praise for God. And they hate hearing God’s Word and truth.

When I resist Satan and yield myself to the authority of Jesus, He sets me free.

I don’t have authority over demons or Satan myself apart from the authority of Jesus. I don’t need to talk to them or engage in any interaction. People are much weaker than demons.

Jesus is the one who has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). Demons are required to obey Him. In fact, they tremble before Him. I just need to yield myself to Jesus and declare His Word and His authority over my life in faith.

Note – Every bad thing that happens is not spiritual warfare. Some things are. But not all.

The steps of repentance and submission to Christ are the same for spiritual oppression or for repenting from just plain old sin. Sometimes with severe oppression or possession, we may need experienced believers to pray with us and for us.

PRAY WITH ME

Lord,

Please show us any open doors in our lives today. Help us see if we have invited the enemy in for tea and cookies and that could be why our lives are being ravaged by turmoil. Help us to identify every door the enemy uses to gain access in our lives and shut it tight and lock it.

We purposely and joyfully choose to turn away from every sin, every lie, and every demonic influence that we have allowed in our lives. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship. You are the Prince of Peace. You are the King of kings. We enthrone You, alone, on our hearts as being in control of our lives.

We open every door wide to You. We hold nothing back from You, Jesus. We give you full control.

We declare the authority and victory of Jesus Christ over our lives, marriages, husbands, children, families, and homes. No other authority is welcome any longer.

Amen!

RESOURCES:

What Is Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

What Does the Bible Say about Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org

Why Does God Allow Sickness? by www.gotquestions.org

Freedom from Demon Bondage – CBN

Questions about Angels and Demons by www.gotquestions.org

Ambushing Satan with Song – John Piper about praying for a woman to be delivered from a demon

A friend’s story of demon possession and healing:

Radiant’s story of spiritual oppression due to believing demonic lies that resulted in severe illness, to the point of being almost an invalid.

Radiant’s story of the spiritual healing that is available to each of us in Jesus.

My Demon – about demonic oppression and flirting with the enemy

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life – Satan’s strategies for your marriage and thought life

If you or someone you love may be suffering from demonic possession or oppression, there are some churches that have prayer teams who can pray for you. Of course, you can pray for yourself or for your friend or loved one. But if you need reinforcements, seek a Bible-believing church with an experienced prayer team.

How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life

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If you want to see Satan’s plans for you as a wife and mom and some of the tactics he uses to try to destroy your marriage and family, please read this post!
We MUST take every thought captive for Christ. Spiritual battle takes place in our thoughts and self-talk! The following post was written by Kelsey Shade
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Moms, Satan’s looking for ways to destroy you—and this pretty much outlines his plan, right here. Written in C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters” style, it’s absolutely chilling!

My Dear Wormwood,
I was thrilled to hear you have been making progress with the mother. You have a good lead, from what I hear. She’s feels over-worked, unappreciated, and discouraged? I’m so glad to hear it. If you tread carefully, this can be a great opportunity. With the kids waking her up every hour last night, we already have an advantage. A tired Mom makes for a more emotional Mom, and an emotional Mom is a vulnerable one.

I do have a few tips. First, aim your best efforts at her marriage.

As you know, we cannot do much with a unified marriage. Luckily for us, a cranky and exhausted wife can do wonders to change that. We must convince her that her husband is no longer the friend and ally she first married. Instead, we must reveal every sin and selfish habit, especially drawing attention to his thoughtless actions (mal-intended or not) against her.
Sometimes it’s the less obvious things, things the husband doesn’t even realize, that we can use to offend her the most. When he comes home from work and dumps his things on the counter nearest the door (instead of hanging his coat or putting away his keys), let her think of it as a direct assault on her work as a homekeeper. When he treks mud in with his shoes, let her think it is because he does not love her. Such extremes of thought may seem ridiculous to you or I, but to the exhausted mortal woman, it can seem possible. Your goal is to make her think the husband does not notice, or even better, that he does not care about her efforts at home.
Secondly, do what you can to keep her focused on her troubles and pains. Remind her how much her back aches, how draining the children were all day, and how many undone tasks still beckon her. Do not let her wonder what difficulties her husband faced that day or whether his back might also be aching. Valuing others above oneself is one of those silly, though strangely effective, tactics of the Enemy. If she stops to make him a cup of coffee, the next thing you know she’ll be rubbing his shoulders and flirting with him on the couch. It can progress out of your control if you’re not careful.
Along those lines, be sure the Mother starts to value productivity above everything else. Have her wake up early and work non-stop until bedtime. If the husband relaxes in the evening with an hour of computer gaming, be sure the wife notices the pile of unfolded laundry or unswept floors. Do not let her grab a book and relax alongside her husband. Diligence, often one of the Enemy’s virtues, when overdone can be used to our advantage as well. Convince her that as long as there is a shred of work to be done (and there always is), no one should be resting.

Then, as she folds and sweeps and he sits, you can introduce the sweet bitterness of resentment.

A word of caution here. Remember, the love of a husband can be dangerous to our cause. If he senses her unhappiness, he may begin to help or (even worse) show her affection. This is where previously planted seeds of resentment can be guided into full bloom. Make her think that his displays of affection are because he “only wants one thing”. Do not let her view his help with the dishes (or kisses or cuddling) as having pure motives. If he shows his desire for her, convince her that she is being used, not loved. As we both know, the ultimate Act of Marriage can bond them together in a way that can undo much hard work on our part. Because of this, do not allow her to prioritize that Act on her mental to-do-list. It is in our best interest to keep the wife busy, busy, busy and be sure she’s far too exhausted to consider it by the end of the evening…

If there is any last piece of advice I have for you, Wormwood, it is to keep the Mother looking to her husband or family for her fulfillment and comfort.

We know that the Enemy is always watching and willing to take the burdens of his children, but if we divert the Mother’s attention well enough, this fact can be forgotten. Make her look to her husband for worth and affirmation. Then, when he lets her down (as he is sure to do), she will be ours to torment. Yes, the worst thing that could happen would be for her to turn to Him with her needs and inadequacies. Once she realizes that the Enemy offers a peace that transcends her situation, our work could be utterly compromised.

Your Malevolent Uncle,

Screwtape

by Kelsey Shade

For the entire post, please click here.

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On my Peaceful Wife Blog Facebook page this past week – over 15,000 people saw that post. That is a record by a long shot. After 4 years of blogging, I know ahead of time that certain topics are going to create challenges for me in my personal life. Any time I post about spiritual warfare issues, I have to be ready for anything. The enemy does not like his tactics to be exposed.

This past week, I have had food poisoning along with 3 other health issues being majorly exacerbated. But Tuesday, the day I posted the above post to Facebook, things got interesting:

  • I went to the Franklin Graham prayer rally fine and came home. But when I tried to leave to go pick up my children from school, my power steering fluid was in a big puddle all over the driveway and I couldn’t drive my car. Thankfully. Greg’s parents were able to get our children from school. And they even loaned me a car so I could drive the next two days while my car was in the shop. We were concerned that it might be the rack and pinion which would cost $750 to fix.
  • We had www.peacefulsinglegirl.com, www.peacefulhusband.com, and our new site that is almost finished for peacefulwife.com crash for two days starting on Tuesday. We thought we had lost all of our files. That would have been a bummer.
  • I picked up my car Thursday and had it back in my possession less than an hour and was on my way to get my son from school when I heard a familiar sound from the back right tire. A thumping sound every time the tire spun around. Last spring, twice in a month, I got a piece of metal in a tire and had a severe flat right away. I stopped to check the tire. It was inflated. I picked up my son, then my daughter. Then I inspected the tire, there was another big hunk of metal in the tread. But the tire was not losing pressure so we went to the tire place right away. They fixed the tire in 15 minutes and didn’t even charge me!
  • Greg went by to pay our mechanic friend for my car, but he said it was just a clamp that had come loose on a hose and he didn’t charge us a thing.
  • Thursday night, the help desk got our files for our sites that had gone down. Everything was still there! WOOHOO! So thankful to God! I think that what we saw happening this week will push us to find a different solution for managing our sites that might be a much better thing in the long run, so I am grateful!

I seriously laughed every time something else came up. These were small things. They could have been much worse. Maybe they are not related to what I am sharing in the ministry this week – but I have found that we tend to have weeks like this when I post about spiritual warfare or about exposing strongholds of Satan in our lives. So I was not surprised. I sang a lot of praise songs to God at the top of my lungs. My favorites this week were “Total Praise,” “Agnus Dei,” and “Worthy Is the Lamb.” My goal is to thank God for the good things and to thank and praise Him in the trials. I want to learn to respond to trials with joy – the big ones and the small ones!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

I’m so thankful that God is sovereign, even over Satan, and that Satan can’t do anything to me without God’s permission. And then, when he does attack, my Lord will use even the bad things for my ultimate good and His glory. I see Him doing just that even this week.

Much love to each of you!

RELATED:

For those of you who haven’t seen it, if Valentine’s Day tends to be a sore spot for you, please check out this post, Valentine’s Day Expectations.

 

 

How to Handle Spiritual Strongholds in Marriage

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This is a guest post by Daniel Robertson. He runs the blog God’s Help For Marriage where he shares how couples can have thriving marriages that glorify God.

As an Army Veteran who has been to Iraq I am very familiar with the concept of military strongholds. In fact, while I was deployed I lived in a Forward Operating Base (FOB) which is essentially a modern day stronghold. And while the technology and tactics of war have changed significantly in the last few thousand years, strongholds still serve the same basic purpose.

A stronghold is simply a fortified location that the occupying military force can use to exert influence over the surrounding area. For instance, the FOB I was stationed at was surrounded by concrete walls and guard towers manned by Soldiers with automatic weapons and radios. This made it a relatively safe place for our troops to rest, get food, resupply, get medical attention and all kinds of other important things in between patrols.

Each day, these patrols would go out and exert influence on the area by seizing weapons caches, capturing terrorist leaders, and take out terrorist cells. They would then return to the FOB and get ready to do it all again the next day.

What is a Spiritual Stronghold?

A spiritual stronghold serves a similar purpose for the Enemy.

I would define a spiritual stronghold as a strong place in your soul that demonic forces can use to influence your thoughts and actions.

Please be aware that this is an analogy. In other words,  there isn’t some little fortress in your soul where an army of demons live. Demons can’t take residence in your soul – IF you are a Christian. They also can not force you to do anything. “The Devil made me do it” is not a valid defense. If you sin, it is because you made the decision.

What they can do is lie to you and tempt you. And using spiritual strongholds is probably one of the most effective ways they have of getting you to do what they want.

The scriptural basis for this is Ephesians 4:26-27:

26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

The Greek word for foothold here is topos, which is the same word we get topography from. Literally, it translates as place. Do not give the devil a place to manipulate you from.

How Spiritual Strongholds are Built

Spiritual strongholds are built out of lies. Ever since you were born, the enemy has been working to get you to believe false things about yourself, God, and the world around you. These lies fly in  the face of God’s truth, and when you make decisions based on these false beliefs rather than God’s truth you are acting contrary to God’s perfect design for your life.

As an example, lets say you have  a stronghold built around the concept of self hatred. There are a lot of little lies that feed this stronghold.

  • You’re stupid. You’re ugly.
  • You’re worthless.
  • Nobody loves you.
  • Nobody would notice if you were gone…

These lies are built up slowly over time. They can come from frustrated parents and teachers. Peers at school. Report cards. Perfect looking girls in magazines and TV. You are bombarded with them day in and day out. And the more you believe the lies, the more you act according to them. You dress sloppily. You don’t apply yourself at school or work. These lies become self fulfilling prophecies and you get trapped in a viscous downward spiral.

How Spiritual Strongholds Effect Marriages

I  think you can see by now how these fortresses of lies can impact every area of your life, including your marriage. You say something hurtful to your spouse during an argument at the devil points a finger and says: “What a stupid thing to say, you really are worthless. How could she love you?”

And the stronghold gets stronger. If this is not dealt with, you will make more decisions based on these lies rather than on God’s truth. You will make decisions that will hurt your spouse and could very well destroy your marriage.

How to Tear Down Spiritual Strongholds

If this sounds like a bunch of doom and gloom up to this point, don’t worry. Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin and death. We can be free of the power of these strongholds thanks to the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross.

If strongholds are built of lies and the sinful behavior that reinforces these lies, then they can be destroyed by confronting the lies with God’s truth and repenting of those sins. You are not ugly and stupid. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, created in God’s image, a reflection of His glory. Start acting like a beautiful, intelligent child of God.

Expose your mind to God’s Word. Start proclaiming the truth of how He sees you over yourself. Act as if it is true. If you’ve never given you life to God through faith in the Jesus, do it. It is a requirement if you want to experience the freedom that God promises. Jesus purchased your freedom with His death, and you can access that freedom by receiving His gift.

If you want to learn more about how to build a healthy marriage, download my free report: “The 7 Pillars of a Godly Marriage“.

RELATED:

Replacing the Tapes in My Head

My Demon

What God Says About Me

Stages of This Journey