There is a war raging all around us. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we are fighting against the powers of darkness and evil spiritual forces. 1Peter 5:8 warns us to be vigilant because the devil prowls around like a lion seeking to devour. Ephesians 6:11 tells us to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the devil’s schemes and Ephesians 4:27 warns us to give the devil no opportunity.
As believers, we must understand spiritual warfare and be prepared to fight.
We would be foolish to not understand the havoc that Satan and his minions bring to this world. The good news is that those who are in Christ cannot be possessed. By very definition we belong to Christ. That makes possession impossible. However, unrepented sin leaves an opening for Satan to attack. He will not hesitate to attack with the goals of destroying our faith, our mindset, our bodies, our walk, our testimonies, our ministries, our families and our lives. When Satan finds an opening and attacks a believer this is spiritual oppression. It is a very real problem in the lives of many believers. There is, of course, always a solution in Christ.
Some of the signs of demonic or Satanic oppression include emotional signs such as depression, anxiety or paranoia. Oppression is also often behind a disability to repent and turn from sin. Oppression can cause all sorts addictions including addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, and overeating. Demonic oppression can also be the origin of compulsions to all sorts of ungodly actions. Many of these things can be caused by other factors so the presence of any of these factors alone is not proof of demonic oppression. However, if there is unrepented sin or involvement with the occult, then oppression may be a reality.
The cause of demonic oppression is sin. John 8:34 tells us that when we sin we become slaves to sin. Sometimes the cause is very obvious when a person has become involved with the occult, New Age Religion or eastern mysticism. There are a handful of things that are absolutely an open door to demonic influence. These things include witchcraft, astrology, fortune telling, divination, sorcery and summoning spirits. Things like playing with a Ouija Board or tarot cards may seem harmless, but in reality the danger cannot be overstated, In the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 18:10-12 clearly forbids divination and any manner of trying to contact the dead. 1Corinthians 10:20 warns of the us that pagan religions can bring us into participation with demons.
God wants us to choose him of our own free will. God will not overpower us with his presence, but patiently and eternally calls to us with a quiet voice. In this way the Holy Spirit guides us, without us ever losing our will to choose. The opposite is true of Satan. When someone wants to experience the supernatural and turns to things like seances or Oujii boards…Satan and his demons will put on a diabolical show. They will then proceed with all sorts of destruction in the participant’s life.
Sometimes the sin that opens the door is much less obvious. Scriptures warn us not to go to bed angry lest the devil acquires a foothold. So unresolved anger and bitterness can open a door. Sins that many of us fight with can open this door. Sins like unforgiveness, pride, lust, sensuality, materialism and various addictions to drugs, alcohol or pornography can all be the opening the enemy uses.
Any sin that the Holy Spirit has convicted us of, that we fail to repent of and deal with in our lives, leaves an opening for Satan. This is a very serious matter, He will merrily go about systematically destroying our lives if we allow him the chance.
Sometimes the sin that gives Satan a foothold is very subtle. When we are tried and we fail to keep our eyes on Christ, this lack of focus can cloud our faith. Satan can use any opening to try to plant lies, doubt and confusion in our minds.
Since the cause of demonic oppression is sin, the solution is clear. Recommitting to Christ is the start. Prayer and repentance are the next steps. Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the depth of the sin in your life. Repent of the sin and turn from it. Ask the Spirit to show you the repercussions of the sin and to help you have victory. When we are humble and broken and ask Christ for forgiveness and help he will deliver us. We are more than conquerors through Christ. When we have repented and turned to Christ, Satan’s power in our lives is destroyed. Defeating the power of Satan in our lives is no feat to be tried on our own. When we are humble and submit ourselves to Christ, we will have victory through Christ.
Luke 4:20 tells us that we have authority over all the power of the enemy. James 4:7 tells us that when we submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee. 1 John 4:4 reminds us that Christ is in us and that he is greater than the devil that is in the world. Galatians 5:16 promises us victory over the desires of the flesh when we walk in the Spirit.
The entire book of Romans is full of instruction that helps us defeat Satan and sin and to rebuild as new creations in Christ. Romans 6:6 teaches us that our sinful selves are crucified with Christ and that we are no longer slaves to sin. Romans 6:13 reminds us that we have been brought from death to life and to present our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness.
It is very important to understand that the devil has been scheming to take down God’s people since the beginning. Without Christ, we are in a losing battle. We cannot defeat sin on our own. Living victoriously is not about just willing ourselves to live better. Victory only happens when we are humble before God and admit that in ourselves we are simply sinners and receive Christ and allow him to rebuild our minds and lives from the inside out. In our humility and repentance Christ will deliver us and victory is assured.
Moving forward it is important to renew our minds. Constant prayer makes Satan’s schemes impossible. Learning the scripture leaves us prepared to fight the enemy at every angle.
It is very important to rid our lives of the things that cause us to stumble or any association with the occult. Any occult materials need to be destroyed. If some relationships tend to drag you back into sinful patterns they need to be limited. Replace influences that bring you down with ones that build you up. Replace destructive friendship with fellowship with other believers who can hold you accountable and encourage you. Replace the darkness that spews out of Hollywood and the media with more time in prayer and studying and memorizing scripture. Replace dark music with music that inspires. Singing praise to our Lord is an amazing weapon against the darkness.
Ephesians chapter six paints a very real picture of the battle. It shows us how to combat the enemy by using the full armor of God. These powerful verses encourage us to wear the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, sandals of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (the word of God). When we take up the armor of God, Satan can try as he might, but his schemes will not hurt us.
Demonic oppression is very real. It is an ever present danger. We need to walk humbly, ever mindful of our thoughts, actions and motives. Satan and his demons are capable of some very horrible things. We are to keep our hearts and eyes on Christ. He is our Deliverer and our King.
Looking around it is easy to see Satan appearing to win the war. Children of God often fall for Satan’s lies and live in defeat and sin. However Satan is the father of lies and does not want us ever to grasp that he is already defeated and that the victory is already ours when we are in Christ.
Picture these believers. Their hearts have received Christ. Their eyes are on Christ. They listen for the Holy Spirit and pray. Their lips praise Christ. Their hands serve Christ. Now picture Satan broken and defeated because that is the reality when those who belong to Christ live out their faith.
In our flesh, we are weak, but Romans 8:37 tells us that, in Christ, we are more than conquerors. Satan trembles at the name of Christ. He is powerless when believers walk in Christ and understand the authority they have over him. So let us repent of any sin that binds us, put our eyes on our Savior, renew our hearts and minds, and send Satan and his minions scurrying!