Victor is considered a spiritual giant among his peers. He is the leader of the over 1,000-member Christian student fellowship on his campus. You wouldn’t have suspected it except he told you, yet Victor was afraid of having anything to do with demonic powers. Things like witches or satanic powers gave him a fright. And since at the fellowship it was rare for him to have anything to do with this kind of power encounters, he was okay. That was until last month when we asked him to join a team for a short term outreach to the interiors of Botswana. When he learnt of the level of dark powers that exist in this place, all his worst fears returned. The fear was terrible and real. Victor nearly dropped out mid-way into the trip if not for the help of more matured team members.
There are many who like Victor are hindered from active participation in world evangelisation because of the fear of confronting the dark powers of Satan. One thing that is true for most unreached peoples (even in seemingly civilized settings) is that there are powerful satanic strongholds in operation holding these peoples bound. And for us to be effective in world evangelism we cannot afford to be ignorant of spiritual warfare.
There are two extremes the devil loves to drag believers into when it comes to spiritual warfare. He either wants us to be so over-impressed by his powers until we are bound with fear or to believe that we can afford to ignore him. There are those who would have us believe the devil is to be ignored. They say we should only talk of our Lord and all will be well. But Satan will not ignore us just because we ignore him. Jesus did not ignore the devil. The gospel is filled with his frequent encounters with demons and evil spirits. Jesus dealt effectively with demonic powers and so must we who seek to be like him.
Fear is the one of the most effective fiery darts of the enemy with which he hinders most of people from dethroning his stronghold among the nations. You see you cannot walk in fear and win over Satan. I believe that it is because of how crucial this truth is that the Bible contains more than 365 instructions to ‘Fear not’. This is an important command from Jesus Christ, our Commander-in-Chief – ‘Fear not.’
Our eyes must be opened to see fear as an enemy. The devil is using his spirit of fear to render many feeble today. Fear brings bondage (Hebrew 2:15). Some are walking in the fear of death or some other phobia. Others are just generally fearful and they think this is normal. No, the righteous are called to be bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1). There is no reason why we should be bound by fear.
‘For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father’ Romans 8:15 (KJV)
We can walk in boldness and free from fear because we know that we belong to him and he promised never to leave us nor forsake us. We must resist fear because it opens us up to the attack of the enemy. A friend of mine had begun suffering from a strange ailment for 2 years after an encounter he had. He had met a witch who scared him so much that he was overwhelmed with fear. And soon after this, the ailment began. When we prayed and resisted the devil together the ailment stopped. I point this out because it was my friend’s yielding to fear that opened the door to this demonic attack. There is no witch or demon that has authority over a believer. But when we are controlled by his spirit of fear, we open up ourselves to his attacks. We must resist fear because it is a weapon of the enemy and does not come from our Father.
‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
To be effective in spiritual warfare we need to understand and be convinced of our authority in Christ. To walk in fear is to demonstrate that we do not understand our authority of the powers of hell.
If we are born-again then Christ has given us his authority over all the works of Satan and his demons. Through his glorious victory at Calvary, Jesus has authority over all the powers of hell.
‘and having spoiled principalities and powers, he (Jesus) made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it’ Colossians 2: 15 (KJV)
Through the cross, our Lord defeated the devil and all his cohorts and took the keys of hell and death from them. That is why it written;
God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11(NLT)
It is based on this victorious authority that Jesus commissions every believer to go win the world for him …
‘And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen’ Matthew 28:18-20
When we are born into God’s family, Christ by his Spirit lives in us and has given us his authority to be sons of God (John 1:12). This is why Romans 8:15 says we have received the Spirit of adoption. When you are adopted into a family you receive the name of that family. And with that name you are get to use whatever authority that family has. We too have been given the authority of the mighty name of Jesus. So when we come against the devil in spiritual warfare we do not come in our own power but in the delegated authority of Jesus Christ. This is what makes the enemy tremble.
When Jesus said to his disciples;
‘Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you’ (Luke 10:19 KJV),
he was also talking to every believer. Our authority is derived from the authority that Jesus, who lives in us has over the devil. That is why it is written
‘Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (Satan)’. 1 John 4:4
We do not go against the devil in our name but in the name of Jesus. When we resist them (the demons, for Satan’s works are carried out by a host of them) in that name they have no choice but to obey. It has nothing to do with how strong we think we are, if has to do with the authority of him in whose name we come. In Togo, where I used to be, we had traffic wardens to control traffic. Now if that same man was to attempt to do that without his uniform he would be run down by one of the vehicles. But in his uniform he presented the entire power of the state and to mess with him is to mess with the Togolese authority.
So arise and shake off fear and begin to resist the devil in the mighty name of Jesus until you have enforced the Lordship of Jesus over every remaining unreached people group on earth. You can no longer afford to throw up your hands in hopelessness. You have been given authority. Use it! Angels will not resist Satan for you if you do not use your authority. God is calling you to resist him and he will flee. Can you see the enemy’s works in you and around you? Stand up now and fight for your life, your loved ones, your nation and all the nations around you. This is war!