On Facebook, I joined a group many years ago about prophecy, where people shared about dreams and supernatural encounters. Ultimately, the group was designed to help people who have experienced a vision or encounter that has left them confused receive interpretation and guidance. Ideally, people responding were to provide Christian feedback to those posting a dream, vision, or encounter. Yesterday for the first time in ages, one of the posts from that page popped up on my news feed.
This particular post was about a demonic encounter a lady had while trying to nap. In her encounter, she reported being physically attacked and choked by two evil spirits. The episode left her shaken and her throat hurting. During the attack, she called out to God to help her and the spirits instantly stopped and left. With her throat hurting, she continued praying and fell asleep. When she awoke the second time, all the pain in her throat was gone, but she reported feeling physically sick and believed she was experiencing spiritual warfare complications.
Obviously, not every person experiences a demonic attack to the level this lady reported. What was disturbing about the entire posting wasn't what the lady experienced, but how fellow Christians responded to her. Five people replied to her post before I saw it. After me, another seven also commented. Sadly, with the exception of my comment, the majority of replies initiated from a Performance-Based Mentality instead of a Gospel-Based Mentality. It made me realize the degree to which Christians have become ingrained in the depths of wrong theology. Our human nature thrives on our ability to do works for salvation. Yet the finished works of Jesus are completely contrary to a performance based mentality.
Here are just a few examples of the comments/advice given to the lady seeking understanding or a word from the Lord on what happened to her and what it might all mean, as well as asking for prayer.
WOW! I sat and stared at the comment list and thought to myself, "there was a time when bad teaching like this was fed to me in at least two different churches." My heart broke for the countless Believers trapped in false dogmatic mindsets where their spiritual protection, deliverance, or salvation rests primarily upon their own shoulders and works. Jesus might have gotten them in Heaven's door, but now they have to work to stay there and keep the enemy from causing them to fall.
Read the above list again, only this time see where the focus or faith is really placed. Too many Christians believe they must do this or that, pray just right, close a doorway, break a curse, cut a soul-tie, call for an elder, use oil, use holy water, carry a physical cross, plead the blood, and even use Jesus' name in order to experience spiritual deliverance and freedom. Sadly, too many Believers honestly think there's this HUGE "To-Do/To-Don't Do List" to perform before they achieve their desired results. They look to everything and everyone but the Author and Perfecter of their faith. It's all so reminiscent of the Seven Sons of Sceva in Acts chapter 19.
For the record, I'm not dismissing the power of the blood of Jesus, for by it we are completely delivered from our sins and raised above all the enemy to sit with Christ in the Heavenlies (Ephesians 2), neither am I underestimating the power in the name of Jesus for Believers. But, there is little power in "Pleading the Blood" of Jesus over your home like it's some sort of talisman you can pour out to cover you to keep the enemy from seeing you. Scripture clearly teaches all who walk with the Lord will suffer persecution, trials, and tribulations. There is even less power in using Jesus' name without an intimate relationship with the Lord, as the sons of Sceva learned. There is only power when you abide (rest, live, and move) in Christ.
The overall theme of the Seven Sons was they had head-knowledge of Jesus (knew who He was). They had even seen the power of Jesus operating through the Apostle Paul. They knew and believed Jesus' name held power, but their understanding was extremely limited by one major problem. Sceva's sons were not genuine Believers. They had never been reborn and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Seven Sons had no true faith in Jesus in spite of their knowledge of Him, His name, or His power. Thus, the Sons of Sceva had no authority backing up their words or actions when they used the name of Jesus to cast out demons. The results were disastrous for them and should be taken as a warning to all who would advise anyone dealing with demonic activity to invoke the name or power of Jesus without first making ensuring the person using Jesus' name had been born again and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Without the Lord as one's personal savior and indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, no amount of using Jesus' name, pleading His blood, or anything else will deliver you from evil. Often times, such actions without salvation result in evil spirits physically harming people, which happened to Sceva's sons. Other times, evil gives an illusion to acquiesce to human behavior, words, or rituals to reinforce the false belief in self: one's ability to do something to rid himself/herself of evil's presence. This is often seen in pagan rituals, but can happen to anyone at any time not operating from genuine salvation in harmony with the Holy Spirit's leading. The enemy's goal is to convince Believers to put their faith in their own actions, words, and ability to "spiritually" fight. Unfortunately, the moment anyone falls for the lie there is strength in self or self-efforts, that is the moment he/she is defeated.
To be continued in part 2.
An Alaskan Author, Prospector, Homeschool Teacher, Ordained Minister,
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