Power over the Enemy: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds

BOOK: Power over the Enemy: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds
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F
OREWORD FROM
J
OEL
O
STEEN

 

 

 

 

O
NE TIME EARLY IN
Victoria’s and my marriage, I came home late one evening, and for some reason my garage door remote control wouldn’t work. I parked outside and had walked up to the front door when I realized I didn’t have a key to that door. I knocked and waited for Victoria to answer. No response. I knocked again. I knew my wife was home, but she didn’t answer the door. I was puzzled.

As I listened more intently, I heard what seemed to be some unusual banging noises coming from inside our home. I got worried and thought,
What’s going on?
I knocked harder and louder, and in return I heard still more banging.

Now my imagination began to run wild. I thought for sure that a burglar or some intruder was in the house trying to hurt Victoria. In my mind, I could picture the struggle that was going on. A cold sweat enveloped my body, and I knew I had to do something fast. I took off running around the house, trying to find an open window, an open door, some way to get into our house so I could rescue Victoria. I couldn’t find any way in. By now,
I was nearly in a panic. I ran out back, where I found a large log, which I quickly grabbed and lugged around to the front door. I planned to use the log as a battering ram to break down our front door. (I’d seen people do this in Western movies!)

Just as I got to the door and was about to plow through it, Victoria opened the door. She was smiling and happy-go-lucky. Then she saw me, standing there all sweaty, lugging a filthy dirty log. She said, “Joel, what in the world are you doing with that log?”

“Well, I heard all the banging. I thought something was wrong. I was coming to rescue you.”

“I don’t know what you’re going to rescue me from,” Victoria said with a laugh. “I was just upstairs hanging some pictures on the wall.”

I could have saved myself a lot of trouble (and probably saved a few years off my life, too) if I had reminded myself of the biblical truth my father taught over and over again throughout his long ministry: “casting down arguments [imaginations] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Yet it is all too easy in different life situations to slip into assuming the worst, to give in to fear, and to allow your imagination to run wild.

Maybe you get a pain in your side, and the first thought that comes to your mind is,
Oh no! That must be cancer. That’s the same thing my uncle died from.
Before long, your imagination is running wild, and you are seeing yourself in all sorts of negative scenarios. If you believe the enemy’s lie instead of what God says about you, many times your life will be full of fear and anxiety.

Right there, you must stop and make a decision. Are you going to dwell on that lie from the enemy and allow fear to have its way with you, or will you be disciplined in your thought life and do what the Scripture says? The Bible says, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Maybe your business has been a little slow, and in your imagination you’ve already seen it going under. You’ve seen the creditors coming and shutting it down. No, instead, cast down those wrong imaginations and start seeing your business turn around.

Perhaps you’ve been struggling in your marriage, and in your mind you’ve already seen yourself divorced and living single. No, take those thoughts captive, and change what you’re seeing.

Maybe you received a bad report from the doctor, and you’ve already seen your health failing. You’ve practically planned your own funeral. No, quit allowing all those negative imaginations to play destructive games with you. This is war! You must take those thoughts captive, and then cast them out of your thinking patterns.

IF YOU BELIEVE THE ENEMY’S LIE

instead of what God says about you,

many times your life will be full of fear and anxiety.

What’s showing on the screen of your mind? Do you see yourself as strong, happy, healthy, rising to new heights? Or do you see yourself as defeated, failing, always struggling? Get your mind going in the right direction. Develop the habit of staying positive in your thoughts and conversations. Live in faith, not in fear. Make a decision today that you will no longer give in to negative worries and fears, but instead you will think on things that are pure and wholesome and of good report. If you will do your part, God will keep you in perfect peace.

My friend, I trust that this book will help you come to understand that although we have a very real spiritual enemy in this world, Jesus Christ has defeated our foe on the cross and won the victory for us. When our lives are joined to Christ by faith and we are set free from our sins, Jesus’ victory becomes ours and we have power over the enemy. We can put on the full armor of God, resist Satan and his schemes, and win the good fight of faith in all that we do in life.

At the end of every chapter, I have added a short personal reflection. I think you’ll see from my commentary that I can’t agree more with my father’s belief that as we are armed with the Word of God, we have the power to stand in victory and be more than conquerors right where we live—in our homes, our workplaces, and especially in our personal lives.

M
AKE A DECISION TODAY THAT YOU…

THINK ON THINGS THAT ARE PURE

AND WHOLESOME

AND OF GOOD REPORT.

I
NTRODUCTION

W
hen I was boy, I attended a country school and recall having to contend with a bully. That reminds me of a story I heard about another bully in a country school who always took great delight in picking on anyone smaller than him. It was his joy to scare them, beat them, mistreat them, and annoy them in every way that he could. He was known throughout the community as one who bullied everyone whom he could.

One day a wiry little fellow, who had a lot of courage and would fight a wild cat, saw this big bully standing with a pad of paper and writing on it with a pencil. He walked up to the bully and asked, “What are you doing?”

The bully looked down at him and, in his country drawl, said, “I’m making me up a list of the names of everybody in this school that I can whup. I’m writing their names on this piece of paper.”

The wiry little guy got to thinking that perhaps his name was on the bully’s list, so he reached over and bravely said, “Let me see that paper,” then snatched the list out of the bully’s hand. Reading down the list, he finally came to his own name. Bristling with anger, he glared up at the bully and declared, “Why, you have my name on this list! You can’t whup me! What are you doing with my name on this list?”

The big bully just wilted before the daring challenge of the courageous little fellow. He turned pale with fear and said weakly, “Oh, I’ll take your name off.”

This story reminds me that our enemy, the devil, is going around making up a list of every Christian that he can defeat. He knows who is ignorant of their standing and their rights in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he has their names singled out on his list.

We need to boldly face the enemy and say, “I see you have my name on your list. You can’t defeat me! I am washed in the blood of Jesus! I am a new creature in Christ Jesus! I have all power over you. In Jesus’ Name, I can bind and cast out demons. I am more than a conqueror!”

Do you know what Satan will do? He will turn pale and tremble. He will take his eraser and say, “Oh, in that case, I’ll take your name off of my list!”

We need to keep Satan busy wearing out his eraser as he takes believers’ names off of his list! Satan has bullied God’s people long enough!

He has tormented and harassed God’s children because they have not known their rights and privileges in Jesus Christ.

G
OD’S
P
EOPLE
A
RE
D
ESTROYED FOR
L
ACK OF
K
NOWLEDGE

The apostle Paul reminded the believers in Corinth about the power of forgiving one another, “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). The sad thing is that today’s church has become largely ignorant of Satan and his evil principalities and powers. This is why multitudes of Christians are tormented with fears, bound by addictions and sins, and torn by relationship problems. Christians need to learn what God has given them in order to be victorious.

I believe that we are living in the latter days that the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Untold legions of demonic powers have been unleashed upon our children, spouses, churches, workplaces, and nation. False doctrines are being promoted and misleading thousands. Homes are being wrecked. Pastors are under attack, and many are falling. If ever there was an hour when we need to pray for the ministry and all the Body of Christ, it is now.

Satan has bullied God’s people long enough!

God says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Satan is constantly searching to find believers who do not understand who they are as new creatures in Christ Jesus. If you don’t have knowledge about redemptive realities, Satan will steal everything you’ve got, break up your home, destroy all the good dreams that you have, and drag your soul to hell if he can, or you’ll just barely make it in into heaven, but never enjoy life here at all.

We need the biblical knowledge of what we have through the great redemption in Jesus Christ and all that God has provided for us in His Word. Power will come with biblical knowledge! As you become knowledgeable about the true supernatural power of God, you will rise to victory in every area of your life. If you are in ignorance, the enemy can overcome and take advantage of you.

God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. They need to know the Word of God. Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

What is the truth? “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus is the living Truth!

You can be free from fear, from demon powers, from lying, seducing spirits, from sickness, and free from all the power of the enemy.

Jesus is Lord!

THESE ARE INDISPUTABLE FACTS

IN THE LEGAL COURT OF HEAVEN.

K
NOW THE
G
REAT
R
EDEMPTIVE
T
RUTHS

The apostle Paul saw this great need for knowledge, and his prayer for the Ephesian believers was “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:17–18). This knowledge of the Lord Jesus is given by the Holy Spirit. If we do not have the knowledge of who Jesus is, of what He has done for us, and of what took place in the great redemptive plan of God, we are likely prey for the enemy.

In Genesis 3, Satan came into the garden and deceived Eve. She and Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and they fell into sin. The whole human race was plunged into spiritual darkness and death. Adam, who had been given dominion over all creation, gave his dominion over to Satan.

God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). God said that a man would come from the Seed of the woman—Jesus—and bruise the enemy’s head—take the crown of lordship off of Satan. One day that
Seed came to humanity as God promised, confronted the devil, and overcame him with the Word of God.

Jesus did not come to earth to prove that He was Satan’s Lord and conqueror. The Bible tells us that He was already the omnipotent Son of the living God (John 1:1–3). He created and had dominion over all principalities and powers. He was Satan’s master when He came into this world, and through His earthly life He came to demonstrate Satan’s defeat through the Word of God, saying, “It is written” (Luke 4:4).

When Jesus faced the devil, He cast out spirits with His word (Mark 9:25). He said, “Get behind Me, Satan,” which means to “get out of my sight,” and Satan left immediately (Luke 4:8). He said, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity,” and the spirit of infirmity left her (Luke 13:12). He healed the blind, and they could see (Luke 4:18).

Jesus was the absolute master of Satan and every power of the enemy! And He is the picture of what we are as new creatures made in the righteousness of God. We do not have to tolerate the enemy’s attacks on our minds and bodies. Jesus, our example, dominated Satan!

Jesus took on Himself our sin, our sickness, our curse, and our death (Isaiah 53:5). He took it all in body, mind, and spirit! He suffered and died for us, went down into the dark regions of the spirit world, and conquered Satan. He arose as Victor!

We do not know all that happened when Jesus left this earth with our sins, sickness, and curse and went to the pit of hell. We are told in Ephesians 4:8–10: “ ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.’ (Now this, ‘He ascended’—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)” Jesus went down into the lower parts of the earth and led “captivity captive”—He led a train of vanquished, conquered foes.

“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). Jesus disrobed, made naked, and disarmed principalities! In Eastern cultures, when a captain conquered another king and kingdom, he would put the king in chains. Behind him would be a long row of conquered prisoners in chains, whom the captain would lead back to his own domain and king. He led this king in chains, disarmed, and totally defeated. Behind him are
his captains, generals, and all his soldiers. They would be presented to the captain’s king as proof that his foe had been conquered. He has the enemy in chains and all of their armor. He proudly displays all of the spoils.

Jesus is the “captain of [our] salvation” (Hebrews 2:10). He led a train of captives—of vanquished foes—disarmed them, and made a public spectacle of them. Jesus went down into the lower parts of the earth, took from the enemy the lordship of the human race as well as the keys! He bound Satan and all the host of hell and stripped them of their authority, power, and armor. Then, in the spirit world, He led them before all the angels, all the host of heaven, and before the heavenly Father. Jesus paraded them and showed before the entire spirit world that Satan and every demon were conquered.

Jesus is Lord! These are indisputable facts in the legal court of heaven.

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).

This truth will deliver you from fear. It will break Satan’s power and set you free from sin, addictions, bad habits, demonic power, sickness, and all that hurts and destroys! To be free you must know the truth. Jesus makes you free through the truth of His Word. “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Psalm 107:20).

T
HREE
P
OWERFUL
S
PIRITUAL
T
RUTHS
Y
OU
M
UST
K
NOW

You have been delivered from the authority and the power of satanic darkness. You are now in the kingdom of light. The greatest fight Satan is making today is to keep you ignorant of this truth!

Biblical knowledge sets you free. Do not be destroyed for lack of it. There are three phenomenal facts that you must know to be successful in spiritual battle and life.

You must believe you are

the person God says you are.

You must know who you are in the sight of God, man, and the devil. God knows far more about you than you do yourself.

Realize that you are a spirit who is living in a body. One day you will leave the body and live forever with the Lord. It is not your body that sees, feels, hears, talks, and acts, but you on the inside of the body. When you move out, the body cannot see, feel, hear, talk, and act. But you will still be doing these things throughout eternity.

If we do not have the knowledge of who Jesus is, we are likely prey for the enemy.

The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is talking about your spirit. When you put your faith in Jesus, you become a new creation. Old things passed away and behold all things became new. God’s work of grace is in your spirit. This is what the Bible calls “the new birth,” “the washing of regeneration,” and “the new man” (John 3:3; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 4:24).

During the days when I struggled with these things for myself, I constantly read and studied the Bible. One day there came, as it were, a man stepping forth from the pages of Scripture—not a real man, but one I could
see in my spirit. He marched forth in power, endowed with supernatural gifts, was strong and courageous, laid his hands on the sick and they recovered, and set the captives free. Demons trembled as they saw him. He walked as the son of the King, was more than a conqueror, knew no fear, and went forth to deliver mankind from the powers of darkness.

BOOK: Power over the Enemy: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds
3.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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