Self-effort is the foundation of a Performance-Based religions, and out of its root stems many fears, inadequacies, judgments, and vain repetitions of religious prayers and actions. The reality is too few Christians even recognize the difference between a Grace-Based and a Performance-Based mentality within church teachings. While in the human mind, the difference between a foundation in self-effort and a position of Grace-alone cannot be clearly distinguished in most people. It is only when "push comes to shove" (during times of trial) that the fruits of these different systems are finally exposed. The various responses to the demonic encounter in part 1 clearly demonstrated the difference between these two opposing systems of operation, with most believers offering advice unknowingly from a self-effort point of view.
Examining the physical actions resulting from a performance-based mentality in other religions, Christians often call these actions "witchcraft." Perhaps it's easier to look externally at a pagan ritual, reciting a magic incantations, or talisman and recognize the placement of faith as wrong. It's easy to see a "witchcraft" label when it isn't being disguised by Christian terminology or symbols. But, throw in the name of Jesus, His blood, a cross, holy water, or repeated scripture to ward off the enemy, and many Christians wrongly assume it's biblical to perform these Christian witchcraft rituals.
When we advise others to perform an action like "pleading the blood" or praying a specific verse repeatedly, we are in essence telling them to rely on self-effort for protection. Seriously, how much more blood can be pleaded for you than all Jesus' blood poured out on the cross? His blood has eternally pleaded for everyone who will believe, and He is at the Father's right hand making intercession for you right this very moment. You don't receive extra protection because you "pleaded the blood" over your home, and another Christian received less protection because he believed and rested in God's promise of protection. All Christians are eternally safe in Christ. The enemy has no power over Believers except what may be given to him in ignorance. Re-read James 4:7 or the Gospels for direction if you need the enemy to leave. You don't receive extra deliverance from evil because you said the right prayer, the right number of times. In fact, Jesus called this type of behavior "vain repetitions" and spoke against it. All Christians receive the same amount of deliverance from ALL evil via their new nature upon the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. God our loving Father never plays favorites with His children. All of His promises are "Yes and Amen" in Christ Jesus. You have equal access to all spiritual blessings by faith alone and not on your own merit or effort.
Believers don't need to wear a crucifix for protection; the symbol itself does nothing to ward off evil. A Bible under your bed or pillow won't do you any good if its words have not been sown into your heart by the Author. Believers don't get to command Heaven's angels to deal with vast spiritual problems, nor do they have the right to rebuke principalities and powers over entire continents or cities because they think they can. We never read of Peter, John, Paul or the other apostles performing such an actions. Neither did Jesus. If the servant is not greater than His master, what makes you believe you have more authority than they? A Performance-Based mentality is what is causing these misconceptions and false teachings. It lies and twists the scriptures to "empower" people falsely. It encourages Believers to depend upon the strength of their own arm instead of resting solely upon the Grace of God. Ultimately, it leaves them hanging and helpless to deal with real spiritual problems.
The only way out of a Performance-Based mentality is through Grace. Christians usually like to say they accept Grace, but many of them are literally working for their salvation or working to maintain it but just won't admit it that way. What we need is to cultivate a Grace-Based Mentality of the Gospel where Believers know they cannot add to Jesus' works by their efforts. Believers cannot help God's keep His promises. God is faithful all by Himself to keep His promises. Additionally, nothing Christians do can subtract from Jesus' work. Even when Believers are unfaithful, Jesus remains faithful (2Timothy 2:13) to perform the good work He began in them. (Philippians 1:6).
No matter how we color or label it, any time we are depending or relying upon ourselves, we are not relying on Grace. The Truth of the Gospel of Grace preached throughout the New Testament states simply, Jesus did it all. Jesus does it all, and Jesus will forever do it all.
When you rest in the finished works of Jesus and your new identity in Him, there is no need for any self-effort. You do not experience spiritual warfare in the sense of you being required to complete a "To-Do or Don't Do List" to avoid being attacked by the enemy or to obtain "protection." As you rest in the promises of God, you operate from a place of peace and strength that are supernaturally imparted to you. When necessary, you can speak or move knowing the all authority was given to Jesus, and He, dwelling inside of you, has your back. Unlike Sceva's sons, you are a Believer. The demons openly admitted to knowing Jesus and Paul. They know those who truly belong to the Lord because the Lord is in us and with us.
That's why we never read about a demon physically attacking Peter, John, or Paul. I'm not counting the thorn in the flesh given to Paul to keep him humble because he was walking in resurrection power daily. I'm talking about the the kind of attack the lady in part 1 reported. The apostles were major leaders of the church, big targets of the enemy, far more than most Christians today. Yet, they did not experience demonic attacks on this level, and neither should we, not because of who we are, but because of who Christ is in us. This is the knowledge that stems from the foundation of the Grace-Based mentality the apostles lived and taught. It's the knowledge many Christians need today: to know Christ, your identity in Christ, and trust in Christ's finished works alone.
Our strength and authority come solely from the Lord. Do not rely upon an religious ritual or work to deliver or save you. The enemy has no power over a Believer in Christ. Satan tries to get people to jump through hoops, use religious ways to deal with him, and seek comfort in acts we can do. Yet, in reality, when we focus on Satan or seek to defend or protect ourselves by our own strength, we only empower the enemy in our lives. Our attention should be 100% focused on Jesus. Believers need to know His word and promises. Only there we can find rest, knowing Jesus protects us from every evil. In fact, Jesus prayed specifically for God to deliver you from Satan in John chapter 17. A prayer that was fully affirmed by God, I might add.
Nothing can touch a Believer that God doesn't allow. If your Heavenly Father has allowed something to come into your life, then it is for your good and being used to refine your faith. Even if you don't understand it and especially when it's painful, trust in God's character and promises. Do not lean on your own strength or understanding to deal with the situation.
An Alaskan Author, Prospector, Homeschool Teacher, Ordained Minister,
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