6 – Exercising Spiritual Authority
“18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[f]” Ephesians 6:18 NIV
God gives the believer two strategies in exercising spiritual authority over the enemy. These two strategies are available to every Christ follower
Can a Christian be demon possessed? You’ll never find in the New Testament people arguing over how or where a demon was, but you will find these two approaches when the enemy is involved. I don’t believe that Christians can be possessed by the enemy, because the enemy cannot reside where the Holy Spirit resides, it is clear that believer can be harassed by, influenced, and attacked by the enemy. Since those in the New Testament did not give the model where Christians battled Christians about where or what type of demonic influence was attacking, I don’t find much value in doing so either. When the enemy was recognized, there were two things that the early believers did that we would be wise to learn from. We ought not argue over the tactics of the enemy as much as we need to be clear about how to overcome him. The enemy was either to be cast out or resisted – in both cases, these are fighting terms – and neither should be done apart from the authority in Jesus’ name.
1 – Casting out the enemy
“17 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.” Mark 16:17 NLT
There is authority in the name of Jesus Christ and as a believer, we need to trust in that. This is why we pray “in Jesus’ name.” When we pray “in Jesus’ name,” we are praying in Jesus’ authority, Jesus’ power, Jesus’ character, and Jesus’ strength. When there is demonic influence, we can cast it out “in Jesus’ name.”
Casting out the enemy may have gotten “bad press” over the years because of wild Pentecostal believers and Hollywood movies, the truth is that in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus says that casting out demons in Jesus’ name is a miraculous sign that would accompany believers.
Demonic influence does not need to be theologically analyzed, determined from where they come, or named. When we recognize an evil presence, a believer simply needs to say, “In the name of Jesus Christ, be gone!” and the enemy has to leave. As we prepare for spiritual battle, we need to believe in the power and authority found in the name of Jesus Christ.
In Mark 1:23-27, Jesus rebuked an unclean sprit and commanded that it come out of the man it was tormenting.
In Mark 5:2-20, we see the story of the man who lived among the tombs who Jesus commanded that the unclean spirit come out of, and we seen another instance in Mark 9:25.
During His ministry, Jesus never found it important to debate where the demon came from or where it was. He simply used His authority and the power of His name to gain victory. As Christ followers, we should do likewise. It is only in the power and name of Jesus Christ that we can cast out, or drive out demonic influence. Power is not found in the name of our churches, church leaders, denominations, or our parent’s religion, but in the name of Jesus Christ alone.
2 – Resisting the enemy
“7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NLT
Another type of authority that Jesus made available for the believer is to resist the enemy. Resisting the enemy relates less to a dramatic casting out of the enemy and more to day-to-day combat. We resist the enemy when he attacks and tries to steal the joy of our salvation.
“11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die.” Revelation 12:11 NLT
- By the blood of the lamb
We can overcome the influence and attacks of the enemy “by the blood of the lamb.” Though the enemy will come and try to persuade us to turn from the Lord, it is the blood of Christ that was shed for us that reminds us of the price that was paid.
Value in something is found in the price paid for it.
By the blood of the lamb, we understand what a great price God paid for our lives. Though the enemy whispers in our ear that God cannot use us, that He doesn’t want to use us, and that we are not worthy to approach God, the blood of the lamb helps us to resist the enemy because it reminds us that we can come boldly in the Father’s presence, not because of how great we are, but because of Jesus Christ.
- By the word of their testimony
The next tool that God provides us to resist the enemy is the word of “their testimony.” This helps by reminding us that since God has shown mercy in the past, we can trust Him in the present and for the future.
Knowing and understanding my “testimony” helps me to recognize that although I may not be where I ought to be, I am no longer where I once was. The word of my testimony helps me to remember that because God has been faithful to me, I can trust Him to continue to be faithful. For this reason, it is important to stay in communion with God and to do devotions to help me to identify what God is doing in my life on an ongoing basis. In order to be able to use my testimony, it is important that my relationship with God must be vibrant, alive, current, and active. The hope of the believer is the return of Christ. When we know our testimony and where we come from, it helps us to “resist the enemy.”
Thank You for empowering me with spiritual authority and the strength in Your name to overcome the influence and attacks of the enemy by casting out and resisting him. Holy Spirit I so often forget about the power in the blood and in the words of my testimony. Thank You for reminding me today of who I am in You. Cleanse my hands and my heart to be fully available to serve and follow You with a reckless abandon. In the awesome name of Jesus Christ, amen.