POWER OVER EVIL SPIRITS
In today's world, the existence of evil spirits is either dismissed or the real and present danger that they pose to humanity is underestimated. The Bible has much to say about these creatures from the spirit world, and it describes them as extremely powerful and dangerous beings that should be dealt with accordingly.
The removal of evil spirits from individuals within whom evil spirits reside and the resisting of an evil spirits' influence are the two primary areas that the elect of God need to be concerned with when dealing with evil spirits. Although there are obviously other areas of concern when dealing with evil spirits, these are the two that are most likely to pertain to the elect of God in their daily lives. From what is recorded in the New Testament, it is clear that there is a distinct difference between the authority of a spiritual leader and a congregational member over evil spirits.
It is important to fully understand that the Father controls, energizes, and sustains all that exists and that nothing can or will exist unless he allows it to exist. This is one reason that evil spirits fear the authority of the Father, Jesus Christ, and those who have been delegated authority over them.
Evil spirits clearly understand the authority that the children of God have and do not have over them. They also understand that God is a God of law and that all things must be done in accordance with his law and within the boundaries of a fixed set of rules. Therefore, when dealing with an evil spirit, one must understand one's authority and the rules that determine how to deal with evil spirits.
How one deals with an evil spirit depends entirely upon the circumstances that surround the situation in which one encounters the spirit.
Removal of Evil Spirits
The removal of evil spirits from individuals by Jesus Christ and those to whom he has delegated this authority is well documented throughout the New Testament (Matt.17:14-18; Mk.16:17-19; Lk.10:17-18). It is also very clear that, unless a person is authorized to remove evil spirits, they place themselves in great danger if they attempt to do so (Acts.19:13-16).
"And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us through your name . . .. Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Lk.10:17-19).
The Elect are Recognized
It is important to know that the elect of God are easily recognized by both good and evil spirits. Two good examples of this, are the accounts concerning the apostle Paul and those who were traveling with him and the seven sons of a priest.
Paul and the Slave Girl
"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).
There are a number of important things to note in this example:
The Seven Sons
"And certain of the wandering Jewish exorcists, decided to use the name of the Lord Jesus in attempting to help those having evil spirits, saying, We exorcise you by Jesus whom Paul preaches. And there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, doing this. But the evil spirit said to them, I know Jesus, and I comprehend Paul, but who are you? And the man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped on them; and overcoming them, he was strong against them, so they fled out of the house naked and wounded" (Acts 19:13-16 Para.).
Here is a very serious warning to anyone who is not called by God and who attempts to use the name of Jesus in dealing with evil spirits. Notice that this evil spirit recognized the authority of Jesus and Paul and it knew that these seven did not have authority over it. This is why it said that it did not know them.
The Congregational Member
Although one's own failings and lustful desires are formidable foes to conquer, the child of God must also be aware that evil spirits present a powerful threat to one's eternal destiny. Paul encouraged the Roman and Ephesian congregations to use God's power and protection in their battle against evil and evil spirits:
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom.12:21 KJV).
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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.6:10-12 KJV). Read also verses 13-18.
The apostles Peter and James warn that evil spirits are trying to destroy the righteous person. Paul shows that the way to be victorious over evil spirits is to resist them and to have faith in God for deliverance:
"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. 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. But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you" (1.Pet.5:6-10 KJV).
"Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you . . ." (Jms.4:7-8 Para.).
The existence of the dark side of the spirit world was common knowledge to those who were called to salvation during the time of the early church. Paul gives an exhortation to the elect at Rome concerning the power of God in one's life, which can overcome physical trials and evil spiritual powers:
"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).
Although they are powerful adversaries, the forces of evil are no match for those who truly believe in the Father and Jesus, because the elect have been given powerful authorizations to remove and control evil spirits. See Rev.12:10-11.
Dealing with Evil Spirits
When it is discovered that there is an evil spirit or evil presence within or associated with a person, or an evil spirit or evil presence is manifesting itself in one's surroundings, the appropriate action is to carefully and thoughtfully assess the situation and decide what action is necessary. The action one takes depends entirely upon the circumstances of the situation. Sometimes no action is required because the circumstances are temporary and will not affect you, your loved ones, or others of the elect of God during or after the encounter.
If it is determined that you must take action, speak or project your thoughts directly to the evil spirit(s). This will reveal to the spirit(s) that you are aware of their presence and that you know that you have authority over them from the Father and Jesus Christ.
The following are some of the authorizations that the Father's elect children have a right to exercise over evil spirits:
A command directed to evil spirit(s) does not need to be lengthy; it just needs to contain what you want done and your authority to command. However, one must be very clear as to what is being commanded, because evil spirits go by the letter of the law in their response to a command. Therefore, you must say exactly what you want to be done or not to be done, and leave nothing to be interpreted by the evil spirit(s).
The statement in which you deliver your command to the evil spirit(s) must contain your authority to command and what you want done, as in the following sample statements:
Fear of Punishment
When Jesus went to the country of the Gergesenes, he was met by two men who were possessed with evil spirits. When the spirits recognized Jesus, they asked him if he had come to punish them before their appointed time? See Matt.8:28-33.
There are many punishments that are reserved for the spirits who rebel against God, and some punishments are more unpleasant than others. This is why these spirits said what they did about being tormented. Evil spirits know that they are going to be punished for their rebellion against God, but they do not want to receive this punishment before it is due. Therefore, a child of God can use this fear of punishment to one's advantage by telling the spirit(s) to obey what you are telling them or you will ask the Father to punish them before their time. See our study about the various punishments of evil spirits.
When dealing with an evil spirit, it does not hurt to remind it that you are a child of God, and that, if it persists in bothering you or fails to adhere to the instruction that you gave it, you will ask the Father to cast it into outer darkness forever. If you use this approach, you should follow through as soon as the opportunity presents itself and tell the Father what you have done and ask him to honor your threat of punishment to the evil spirit(s).
The Bible leaves no doubt that there are hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of spirit-beings that have the ability to exist in both the physical and spirit dimensions. Moreover, the Bible also leaves no doubt that the elect are given certain authorizations to control evil spirits and their influence upon the physical dimension of existence.
It is the responsibility of each of God's elect to be aware of the authority and control that they have been given over these evil spirits and their influence, the dangers involved from communication and interaction with evil spirits, and the responsibility to oppose this real threat to one's salvation and eternal destiny.
It is important to remember that being delegated authority to use the power of the Father's holy spirit is not only a great blessing and privilege, it is also an awesome responsibility that should be taken very seriously. Therefore, it is wise to spend much time in study, prayer, and meditation in order to understand the purpose and use of spiritual gifts and specialized authorizations of power that come from the Father through Jesus Christ.
Study God's Word
A person is not given perfect knowledge and understanding of all the mysteries of God's plan or his laws at the instant they receive the holy spirit. A short review of the apostles' letters to the churches shows that the acquisition of spiritual knowledge and understanding requires much time, effort, study, and prayer:
"The heart of the righteous studies how to answer: but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things" (Pro.15:28 KJV).
"Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God. But shun profane and vain babbling: for they will increase to more ungodliness" (2.Tim.2:15-16 KJV). See also 1.Thes.4:10-12; 2.Pet.3:13-18.
All who have accepted the call of God are admonished to "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." See 1.Thes.5:21; Rom.12:2.
Although the spirit of God imparts knowledge, understanding, discernment, and wisdom; a person must ask the Father for these things, and then follow through with study and meditation on his word:
"Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night" (Psa.1:1-2 KJV). See also Psa.119:15-148; 1.Tim.4:12-16.
Be Christ minded
In order to use spiritual gifts and authorizations wisely, one must know and understand what the will of the Father and Jesus Christ is in each situation in which one finds oneself. Because Jesus Christ knows the will of the Father and is actively carrying out his will in heaven and on the earth, if we know the mind of Christ in a given situation, we also know the will of the Father.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil.2:5 KJV).
One of the primary ways to have the mind of Christ and understand the Father and his will for us is to study what he has caused to be written for our encouragement and edification:
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Eph.5:15-17 KJV). See Col.1:7-10.
The Bible was written primarily for those whom God has called to salvation during this age. Through the things written in this book, we can learn from the experience and teaching of others and gain valuable knowledge, understanding, and inspiration to help us in our daily walk with God. Moreover, we can learn how to use spiritual gifts and authorizations of spiritual power:
"Every scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; So that the man of God may be perfect, fully finished for every good work" (2.Tim.3:16-17 KJV Para.). See also Eph.6:10-17; Heb.4:12.
"Now all these things happened to them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1.Cor.10:11 KJV). See also Psa.19:7; Pro.1:1-7; Dan.12:9-12; Col.1:7-10.
Listen And Obey God's Instructions
Because God speaks to us through his written word, we should study it in order to build a strong foundation of knowledge to help us grow and overcome:
"All who listen to my [Jesus'] instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents, and the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won't collapse, for it is built on a rock. But those who hear my instructions and ignore them are foolish, like a man who builds his house on the sand. For when the rains and floods come, and storm winds beat against his house, it will fall with a mighty crash" (Matt.7:24-27 LBP). See also 1.Tim.6:17-19.
By B.L Cocherell, file b8w14