How to completely confuse the devil

I was asked this week about tips on how to remind yourself to tie up demonic forces every day. I answered that it has to become an integral part of our lives, even mixed into our worship, our devotions, the asking of requests, our thanksgiving—everything. If confronting the devil is seen as a to-do item on a prayer list, it’ll only happen during specified times in church services, or only when extremely stressful situations remind us of the need. If that’s the case, there’s not much of a difference between our faith and Christians who don’t even believe in spiritual warfare, and the fruit of our lives will be the same. I know a lot of our own church members who live in this mediocre state.

I often see people in the process of deliverance getting tangled up in old religious ideas. They have a false impression of what freedom in Christ is supposed to be like. They yearn for an emotional high, a sense of elation, and imagine that they’ll always be smiling and quoting the Bible and praying in tongues, and that miracles will instantly appear at their fingertips—kind of like a magical Disney character. This false expectation is so common, I have no doubt that it’s demonic—a hyped up illusion that eventually crashes into to disappointment and anger when it doesn’t come true. They completely forget that daily warfare is not an option, but a lifestyle. It’s just one more reason we keep hammering home the message of thinking faith, and not emotionalism.

When real spiritual warfare is going on, the authority of Jesus’ name is being used, and the power of God’s Spirit goes out to fight and destroy demonic forces according to our faith. This has nothing to do with us “manipulating” God or forcing Him to do what we want. It has everything to do with us obeying His commands. His weapons are meant for us to use according to His will, and He promises to accomplish His will through us as partners—weak, unworthy partners, but still partners. If we don’t use His weapons, we’re opting not to obey, as simple as that. But when we do use them, not only do miracles happen, but we grow closer and closer to God. As we fight darkness, His light floods into us. It’s a powerful way of honoring God while knowing that not one miracle that happens is from ourselves, but all are from Him. And in the middle of the battle is when we really get to know Him, we see a glimpse of His face, hear His voice, feel His arms around us and know without a doubt that we are victorious, safe and protected. It’s not an emotional high, it’s a deeper spiritual wisdom.

New Christians who are learning how to fight for their freedom can either grab this concept and go all the way, or they can take a longer, more painful, confusing route. Fighting halfway is miserable and exhausting. Seeking deliverance as an addition to emotional religious habits doesn’t work. Hoping that your pastor will do all the fighting for you so you can go on with your slightly more cleaned up life, won’t bring complete freedom, and it doesn’t do you any good to complain to God that the process is too hard.

“But when I rebuke the devil, he hits me back even harder! I’m tired of trying and getting attacked over and over!” One truth is important to understand. When you are fully devoted to God, not just in words or emotional wishes, but when the daily choices of what you do, think, and determine show that you are fully devoted to Him, you are hidden in Christ. Satan cannot find you. He can’t drag you down and accuse you anymore. You completely confuse him, and his tactics have no more power. He can be so convinced that he is about to win a huge victory, and at the last minute be left stunned at his defeat. He won’t be able to figure you out because you will be living in such an intense light of God, that he is blinded, and you are hidden.

This week I have seen Satan stunned and defeated and reeling in confusion. It brings me joy, but also a greater fear of how powerful and good our God is. We can’t afford to allow a single day to pass without engaging in God’s war. Don’t do it half-heartedly. Die to everything that is in the way of your total surrender to God, engage in this battle now and let His power hide you in His light.

If you then were raised with Christ, desire those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth. For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then you also shall appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4 MEV

The fastest road to joy

Did you know that children don’t have to be threatened with punishment every day if they have a healthy and loving relationship with their parents? Discipline and punishment is important at appropriate times, but that alone can’t be the driving force that keeps a family together. Smart parents discover quickly that their little ones have an innate joy in pleasing Mom and Dad, which can be nurtured to the point that disciplinary measures rarely need to be harsh, if ever. By the time these kids are teens, an environment of serving their siblings and their parents can become so ingrained and pleasant, that it affects the way they treat everyone around them. Maybe you’ve never seen a family that functioned that way – believe me, it happens when God’s principles of serving one another are practiced daily, and of course it has to begin with the parents.

People balk at the thought of serving, as if it’s a form of oppression or injustice, but serving is a natural response to love. It’s probably because we’ve never seen anything outside of worldly, emotional giving. Godly service knows when to give and when not to give, what to give and what not to give. An example of emotional giving is when you feel so guilty to be driving a car while a homeless man is on crutches, that you empty your wallet every time you see him, and the next guy on the road, and the next… Giving out of guilt is not faith, and Romans 14 says that whatever is not from faith is sin. Spiritual serving listens to God, gives wisely without complaining, and trusts fully that God is pleased.

Interestingly, the same people who give and give out of guilt, can also throw a fit when asked to serve their spouse or be submissive to someone in their church. Guys, if you can’t find joy in loving your wife like Christ loved the church, or ladies, if you hate the verse in Ephesians that tells you to submit to your husbands, you will never know what a real relationship with God is like. It begins with the closest people you know, and it has nothing to do with demeaning yourself or being oppressed. It’s discovering and pursuing the joy of servanthood.

I stand in the cold wintery winds, handing out flyers to passersby, many turn their face away from me and treat me like a pest. I invite people to come for prayer knowing that they look at me with suspicion – who is this American? What does he want with us? What kind of religion is he peddling? But I’m filled with joy because I’m planting seeds of faith, and God promises that I will reap what I plant. I’m even happier knowing that God is happy with me, that He knows how much I want to share Him with others, and that He is preparing the right people to come my way. And He does answer me, but the point is that I find pleasure in making Him happy, even more than just getting answers to prayer. The answers will come, but the happiness I give Him in being obedient is something only I can do.

My relationship with God is built on this pleasure. And knowing that my faith makes Him happy makes me so confident that I become unshakeable. This joy also can manifest in a holy anger, a holy revolt against the devil’s attacks to block others from knowing Him. This seems crazy to the world, but I can be filled with both deep happiness and a holy rage all at the same time. It’s just a reflection of God’s character, and it should become second nature to all of us who are His.

All this is to say: run after the joy of serving. If you give begrudgingly or to impress people, if you serve your spouse or children with hidden resentment that snaps when they don’t respond the way you hope, you’re missing the point. Serve God like a child who finds joy in pleasing his parents, and that alone. Serve with the confidence that He is pleased even if everything seems to be going against you. An innate joy that comes from serving Him was built into us from Creation – that’s what we were made for. Live in that joy and be fulfilled.

Remember the former days, after you were enlightened, in which you endured a great struggle of afflictions. In part you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and afflictions. And in part you became companions of those who were so abused. For you had compassion on me in my chains and joyfully endured the confiscation of your property, knowing that you have in heaven a better and an enduring possession for yourselves. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which will be greatly rewarded. Hebrews 10:32-35, MEV