Today we live in a world where all hell seems to have broken loose. Depending on your age and what era you were raised in, everyone seems to agree that things today, are much worse, morally, politically, and more importantly and especially, spiritually, than they were even 20 years ago. In fact, lately, some of the best-selling books that are coming out are scandalously anti-Biblical, and yet these authors are claiming to be Christians! There is one book that claims there is no hell, and that all people, whether they are saved or not, are going to heaven! Are we currently living in the days when the very elect are deceived and being deceived? What is going on in our evangelical churches? Are pastors not even aware of the great need to teach the saints how to discern what is evil and what is not?
For many years, some churches have slid into a too comfortable theology and have not even been teaching about the existence of hell. It is no wonder that they have left such a huge void and vacancy that Satan has little resistance. While it is important to maintain a sense of humility and love toward others, there is much more to teaching of the Word. Many sermons today offer far too much personal opinion, and not enough of the powerful Word of God. We are to be thoroughly equipped in the Word of God:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Are we “rightly dividing the Word of Truth?” If all we are doing is offering personal opinions, or spouting the opinions of so-called learned men, then we will have no power. The weapons we need to fight against Satanic attacks can only come from the Word of God. An open mind and a mind set on the things of this world, or even intellectualism, leave us wide open to Satan’s attacks. This is also what opens the door to Satan. Is it any wonder that people are not aware of his clever devices? You can only discern Satan’s devices if you have a working knowledge of the Bible. In other words, the best thing you can do is learn to be narrow minded when it comes to believing and living by the many truths in the Bible. Don’t let people mock you if you are narrow minded. These are the same people who stand for nothing and believe anything. They will never help you in your walk as a Christian, but they will more than likely only lead you astray. Look at this important verse:
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2 Peter 2:19
Satan uses people to lead us astray. We must judge everything that a person says by the fruits in their life, and this includes ministers, authors of books, TV evangelists, and so on. People who deceive will often be the ones you trust, and the ones you think are the least likely to deceive you. That’s always been the game plan, and the very nature of deceit. In discerning whether a person is deceived or not, ask yourself some questions about them. Are they committed to the Lord Jesus Christ? Are they humbly trying to serve Him? Are they open to hearing the truths of the Bible? How do they respond if you gently challenge them with Scriptural admonition? Do they truly hear and respond appropriately, with understanding, to the truths in the Bible? Are they teachable? If they just want to be argumentative, then that is a good indication that they are not really open to the things of God. Jesus advises in Matthew 7:15-20:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Another way we open the door to oppression is if we haven’t renounced the hidden things of darkness. These can be things in our past or even things in our present life right now. Anything to do with the supernatural that is not based on Biblical principle or is endorsed by the Bible is evil and must be shunned and avoided at all costs. This would include horoscopes, Ouija boards, tea leaves, séances, and anything to do with black magic, or paranormal involvements. It may have to do with objects that are connected to black magic or other hedonistic rituals. It could even be certain types of music, posters, books, literature, drug paraphernalia, and some movies that deal with evil situations. Any of these things will open a door to spiritual oppression from Satan and his demons. This has been the testimony of many an unsuspecting person, who later discovered that they had to renounce these things in order to be free of Satanic visitation. Look at what Scripture says about it:
But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2
There may be sexual sins that need to be dealt with, and repented of. There may be instances of dishonesty and deceit, lying to others or stealing what doesn’t belong to us. Satan will use anything he can, and then accuse us and fill us with guilty feelings. We must do what the Holy Spirit instructs us, in order to close any door of our past that we have left open, simply by not repenting for evil deeds we may have done.
During my youth, I got involved in drugs just to fit in with some friends. I also had a curiosity about certain cults. I dabbled in deceptively evil things that I thought were fun, not realizing there would be serious consequences later on. I went to movies that had an evil premise; and I listened to music with anti-godly lyrics that in many cases, encouraged evil and shunned the things of God. I read cult books that I should have avoided altogether. Finally, within a year of living this ungodly lifestyle, it all came crashing down, and I suffered with a nervous breakdown. That same year, however, I ended up going to Bible School and this is where my healing journey began. In fact, it was life-changing. I am living proof of the love and power of God, and how deliverance is not only possible, but is inescapable when God gets ahold of you!
But for many years, even after the Lord delivered me and miraculously changed my life, I suffered with depression and stress related problems. I now know that it goes back to the days where I dabbled in this dark world of the occult and drugs. I thought that it was genetic, since depression and stress-related issues went back to my ancestry. I even wondered if it had to with my Irish roots and some of the “good luck” mantras we believed would stave off superstitions that had been passed down through the generations. Then I thought that perhaps I was feeling depressed because I seemed to lack direction in my life. If I just had a good job, I would find a sense of purpose and would no longer feel depressed or worried. It wasn’t that I didn’t read the Bible or pray. I spent many hours reading and researching the Bible and then writing down my findings in the form of articles (these articles are included in some of my other books). When I moved to the city, I sought out Christian counsellors to help me. They couldn’t seem to find an answer that worked for me. I even went to a well-known Christian psychiatrist, but he just prescribed pills that made me sick. So I thought that maybe I should consider moving out of the city to some other city where the weather was warmer. Maybe then I could go out more, and I wouldn’t suffer with this depression. That never worked out since I couldn’t afford to and I didn’t have close family in another city. Then I thought maybe I should just move back home, to a small, rural community where I had been raised. But there wouldn’t be much choice of jobs, or any future writing jobs in a small town. So the answer to my problems eluded me, and not even the medical profession and trained professionals were able to really help me. It would take many more years to discover the root cause of the depression and anxiety I was suffering with.
Some things did help, like getting a good paying job working for the railway. I met some life-time friends there, one of whom I later married. I started getting involved in a good church and Bible Study. It helped to share my burdens with others, and have them support me through prayer. I wasn’t so isolated. Depression and anxiety seem to breed in isolation, so at least, for a time, it wasn’t as severe as when I was alone, not knowing anyone in the city. During this time, I went back to a psychiatrist, who sent me to a very helpful self-help group. I was able to climb out of the pit of depression I was in with the help of the group. Then eventually I started setting some definite goals in life. I wanted to be a writer, and a good one. So I enrolled in university, worked hard, and obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English. From working full time and going to night school, I reached a critical point in my health. In addition to the hard work, I had also been stocked, assaulted and sexually harassed at work. I had to take a year off from work to recuperate from severe burn out, and I was also suffering from an anxiety disorder. Once again, I started searching for answers to help me with the severe anxiety attacks I was suffering with.
Later, after I got married to a wonderful Christian man, I completed my education and obtained a Bachelor of Education degree. Then, about ten years later, I started writing books in earnest. My husband and I had moved out to a beautiful resort town north of the city. Still, I was suffering with anxiety and mild depression. A few years earlier, I had read some excellent books on the subject of anxiety attacks, and I had been helped. I simply followed the formula the doctor had suggested, and talked myself into putting one foot ahead of the other and moving forward rather than be afraid to move forward in case I had a severe and debilitating anxiety attack. But one day, everything changed for me. It was the beginning of a revelation, and the very purpose of writing this book. It all began one day while I was driving in the country on my way to the city. I had only been driving for about ten minutes or so, and I began to experience an anxiety attack (which didn’t affect my driving). I wondered if I should turn around and go back home. As I was debating, something inside of me rebelled, and I decided to keep going. For one thing, I didn’t want to miss out on the day, since I noticed how beautiful it was with the sun shining, the green summer fields, waves of trees and neat looking farmyards. It was a blue summer sky with little wisps of white clouds. I recognized God’s handiwork everywhere, and I really was enjoying the drive. I felt frustrated that I was feeling this anxiety when I’d far rather be enjoying the day that God had provided. So I prayed.
Not all prayers are the same. I wasn’t praying formally and pleading to God to deliver me from this anxiety, and then hope for the best. I had been taught another way to pray, as well. The Holy Spirit had taught me to pray with authority, which is when you take His Word, quote it and speak to the problem. Some may call it a prayer of faith; others may call it a strategic warfare prayer. I said a warfare prayer and spoke to the problem. I am not exaggerating, but when I spoke directly to the problem, suddenly a great truth became clear to me. I realized that the panic attack was not a physiological problem at all, but I was being attacked by the evil one, Satan. So I started quoting Scripture out loud. in the car. I quoted the following verse because I had memorized it and knew it by heart:
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
Then I rebuked the devil according to the authority Jesus gave me to do so (Luke 10:19), and within moments, I had no more anxiety. I was so happy I began praising the Lord. It was as if the anxiety problem were never there in the first place, and I was filled with a triumphant sort of peace. This is the first time this had happened to me during a panic attack. Before this, I had started to believe that there was really no hope for curing anxiety attacks. I thought, Isn’t that clever, to make me think that the source of this (anxiety problem) is me and that I’ll likely never be free of it. I even started to believe that I was born with it, but Satan is a liar (John 8:44).
Looking back on this experience, I had often wondered why I hadn’t recognized that I was being attacked by Satan, long before this. I had been a Christian all of my life, and I knew about spiritual warfare. I knew my Bible well, and I thought I would be able to discern when Satan is involved in something. But I hadn’t realized how cunning and subtle he is. Of course, it’s not going to be obvious that it’s him. That’s his whole strategy and game plan, to trick us and blind us to the truth. Isn’t that what he’s doing to millions upon millions of unsuspecting souls who are not yet saved? This is what it says about it in the Bible:
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 2 Corinthians 4:3
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 Corinthians 4:4
If he’s blinded the minds of the unsaved, how much more is he going to try and blind us, his formidable foes, from seeing the truth? That’s why I mentioned before the importance of knowing Scripture. This is our only defense and weapon against the wiles of Satan.
In the next chapter, we’re going to look at who Satan targets the most, and why, and what can be done about it.