#797. HOW TO EVICT DEMONIC POWERS PART 1 (20/4/23)
This week, we are excited to continue our nine-week series, 'Praying Together,' exploring the transformative power and profound significance of communal prayer. Based on the teachings of Mike Betts and his book and course, 'The Prayers of Many,' our series aims to deepen our understanding and practice of praying together as a community.
In this week's devotionals, we will draw upon the powerful analogy of eviction to illustrate how we can actively engage in limiting and ultimately stopping the negative and destructive forces of demonic powers.
‘‘For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Summary: Demonic powers establish strongholds in our thinking, which are broken down through the power of truth.
To watch this devotional please go to:
Today and tomorrow, I want to look at how are we to fight against demonic powers. How can we extend God’s Kingdom and shrink the kingdom of darkness? This is a massive subject, and the words of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 are very helpful.
WAGE WAR APPROPRIATELY
‘For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does…’
As we have discussed in previous studies, we live in a world that is under the control of the devil and his dark forces. However, we are not powerless in this battle. We are called to 'wage war,' but it is essential that we do so in a way that is informed by God.
It’s easy to ‘wage war as the world does’: Fighting against evil through violence, debate, or self-sufficient effort may seem like viable options, but they will not bring about true victory. To achieve spiritual victory, we must use spiritual means. It is crucial that we approach this battle in an appropriate and effective way.
THE WEAPONS WE FIGHT WITH
‘…The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world…’
God wants us to understand and use the weapons that He gives to us. These weapons, we are told, ‘have divine power to demolish strongholds’; God-given weapons unleash God’s power and can break through in the most hopeless situations.
‘…They have divine power to demolish strongholds….’
In his book Demolishing Strongholds - effective strategies for spiritual warfare - David Devenish writes of strongholds:
‘Ancient fortified cities in Old Testament times were built with a wall around the outside… Such walls were strong enough to keep out all but the most determined invader, but the inhabitants would also build a secondary defence in the centre of the city in the shape of a tower. This was called a 'stronghold', and could be defended by just a few soldiers, so that if an attack came, the people of the city could crowd in for protection, confident that the tower could be easily defended…I believe that many people come to Christ, give their lives to Him, and in that sense the outer wall of their life is taken. However, the stronghold is not taken and that stronghold represents a way of thinking from before the time they were saved. It will have been influenced by their culture, their past sins, their upbringing, experiences and events that have happened to them. In other words, they are Christians, but in their deepest thinking, they are still influenced by strongholds of the enemy.’ (Dave Devenish. Demolishing Strongholds)
THE WEAPON OF TRUTH
‘…We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge…’
We ‘demolish strongholds’ through truth. The ‘strongholds’ that Paul refers to here are not physical fortresses or castles, but rather spiritual barriers that hinder people from knowing God. These could be things like false beliefs, unhealthy thought patterns, or sinful behaviours that people have become trapped in. Applying biblical teaching is powerful to set people free. In church community, we teach scriptural truth in many settings. To use the analogy of eviction that we’ve been considering this week, Satan’s power over us is broken as we evict his lies through God-given truth.
The truth is to be applied in a prayerful and confessional fashion. When lies enter our minds, we need to ‘take them captive’ - notice them and declare them to be lies. Declare, “It is a lie that…. and I reject it in Jesus name.”
I would encourage you to memorise scripture or find an appropriate truth and declare it, “I confess that …. is true.”
David Devenish gives this example from his experience of breaking strongholds in people’s thinking:
‘As a further illustration of differing ways of looking at things, I would like to mention something that happened to me in India. A Christian couple approached and asked me to pray for them, because they couldn't have children. Normally I don't tend to ask the details, but on this occasion I asked the wife what the problem was, half expecting a detailed gynaecological history. Her response was that when she was a teenager, she had killed a cobra, and because of that, she was now unable to have children. It had never occurred to me with my western perspective that in the superstitious traditions of that area, a girl in puberty must not kill a cobra but must allow a man to do so on her behalf. Otherwise, it is believed, she will never have children. So I prayed for her to be released from the influence of the powers of superstition in her life, and when I went back two years later she already had a baby, and there was another on the way. She and her husband are now small-group leaders in the church there…’ (Dave Devenish. Demolishing Strongholds)
Paul reminds us that we can take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ, thereby preventing Satan from influencing our thinking. Through the power of truth, we can demolish spiritual strongholds and live in freedom.
Like David, when confronted by Goliath, we need to ensure that our ‘bag’ is full of stones - truth - that we can put into our sling and launch at the enemy's head and watch him fall! We see Jesus doing this when confronted by Satan in the desert:
‘Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said if you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’’ (Matthew 4:1-4)
Jesus was not spared from this universal human experience of temptation and demonic assault. In fact, all three of the synoptic gospels detail the account when Jesus was tempted by the devil while he was in the wilderness and He used truth to ‘Demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God’.
THE WEAPON OF PRAYER
Prayer is closely linked to truth. Praying the truth has great power. Throughout Jesus’ ministry and that of the early church, we see that prayer can drive out demons and overcome the power of the evil one. We will look at prayer against the demonic in more detail tomorrow.
PRAYING WITH AND COUNSELLING OTHERS
This principle of breaking strongholds through rejecting lies, confessing and praying truth is the basis of counselling. We help others to overcome Satan in their lives as we listen and help them to recognise, take every thought captive and break down strongholds.
Let’s use the divine weapon of truth in order to break down demonic strongholds in our thinking. Let’s trust in ‘the sword of the Spirit’ - God’s word - to do its work. Let’s do this in our lives and those who come to us for help. If we are involved in any form of ministry leadership, let’s employ God’s weapons that have divine power to demolish strongholds.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
During this series, we will be using the 'Prayers of Many' course by Mike Betts.
I encourage you to buy a copy of the book from: https://prayersofmany.org/book#buybook
If you need assistance in buying a book please send an email to the church office and we will happily purchase you a copy.
Please download the course handbook from: