In a previous episode, we looked at how we can make agreements with evil that bind us. Today I talk about how to break those agreements. I also share some thoughts about how to resist evil by addressing evil spirits that may be assaulting you. Jesus has given us the weaponry to be successful in warfare. Your words and your will are your weapons.
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Okay, let’s dive in to spiritual warfare.
Warfare move # 2 is simply “Resist.”
James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
How can James says this? How can James say that if we resist the devil he will flee from us.
The principle is authority. Evil has to submit to the children of God when we resist evil in the authority of Jesus.
Q: Okay, so how? How do we resist the devil?
The same way Jesus did—by verbal confrontation.
How do you resist the devil? The same way Jesus did. With words and with your will.
You need to know that you have weapons [pause] and you need to know how to use those weapons.
What are your weapons? your words and… your will.
your words and… your will are your weaponry.
Exercising your will and speaking out loud has efficacy in the spiritual realm. IOW, it affects things. When you use your will and your words, you can change things.
And as a child of God, you have been granted the power to bind evil spirits, that is to command them to cease their work.
To command them to cease their work of assaulting you.
Jesus binds evil spirits on a regular basis in the gospels. He doesn’t make a big deal about this—it’s just part of living life in a world at war.
To follow him is to likewise begin using your authority to bind evil spirits that are assaulting you.
Now, when it comes to verbally confronting evil spirits, it is very helpful to know the particular spirit you are dealing with, to identify it, to know it’s name.
Q: How are you supposed to know that?
Well, evil spirits operate in their realm of assignment. Let me repeat that. Evil spirits operate in their realm of assignment.
IOW, A deaf and mute spirit operates to cause deafness and muteness.
A spirit of lust incites you to lust. A spirit of envy stirs up envy.
It’s a simple equation: you will know them by their fruit.
Evil spirits are identifiable by their fruit. If you are feeling massive discouragement, you’re probably being attacked by a spirit of discouragement.
If you are experiencing a profound sense of self-doubt—you can’t seem to shake it and it won’t go away—you are probably being assaulted by a spirit of self-doubt.
Spirits operate in their realm of assignment.
The job of a spirit of fear is to make you afraid. That is its assignment.
When a spirit of fear comes at you, the fruit of that spirit is that you will feel afraid. You’ll feel the sensation of fear.
You identify spirits by the fruit that they produce.
And by fruit I mean the felt sense in your body.
Q: Are you feeling a massive sense of fear that seems to be disproportionate to the situation at hand? You’re probably being assaulted by a spirit of fear.
The job—the assignment—of a spirit of fear is to make you feel afraid.
Q: What is the felt sense in your body? Are you feeling hatred inside? Are you feeling envy inside?
Now, it’s important to note that a spirit of envy does not care whether you are being envied or whether you are doing the envying. Its job is to incite envy. That is its name.
A spirit of contempt is the same: it matters little whether the contempt is coming from you or directed at you. The job of the spirit of contempt is to foment contempt.
A spirit of lust could care less whether you are lusting after someone or someone is lusting after you. Its job is to evoke lust in you and around you.
This is important because it is usually easier to know when you are envying another than when you are being envied.
You may not feel any envy inside and still be under the assault of the spirit of envy… because another person is envying you.
Once you get clear about the spirit that is assaulting you, then you can command the spirit to cease its operation.
Unless you deal with evil spirits directly, they usually don’t go away. You have to turn and confront these spirits directly. This is what Jesus models for us over and over in the gospels.
For example, in Mark 9 we read that “When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
Jesus identifies the spirit as the spirit of deafness and muteness—that is its name, its assignment is to cause deafness and muteness… and then he addresses the spirit directly (by name) and commands it to cease its assault on this man.
Again, in Luke 4, Jesus has just rebuked an evil spirit and it says, “All the people were amazed by Jesus and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!”
Warfare is about giving orders to evil spirits. [pause]
You instruct them in the name and authority of Jesus to cease their work.
The kingdom of darkness—the agents of the kingdom of darkness—respond to the name of Jesus, the authority of Jesus.
The essence of resisting evil is bringing the authority of Christ against it.
And you do that with your words and with your will. Your words and your will matter… a lot.
To resist the devil is to use your words and your will to bring the fullness of the work of Christ—his death, resurrection, and ascension—against whatever spirit is tormenting you.
So, when I am being assaulted by a spirit of fear, here’s what I do. I address it directly by saying,
Spirit of fear, I bring the fullness of the work of Christ—his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension—against you. In the authority of Jesus, I bind you from operating in my heart. You have no rightful claim over me and I command you to cease your assault and depart.
Done. Doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just like Jesus—identify the spirit, command it to cease its assault.
Now, when you start taking this category seriously and begin to consider addressing a spirit, you may find yourself asking God to make the evil spirit cease its assault.
But when it comes to addressing evil spirits, you have to do it. God usually doesn’t do it for you.
When I began resisting evil in my own life, I would be able to identify the spirit, but then I would pray to God and ask God to make the spirit stop its assault on me.
But remember one purpose of our time on earth is training: God is restoring us to our place of dominion over the earth.
IOW, just like any earthly father, your heavenly father doesn’t want to do things for you that you can do for yourself.
Why? Because it’s not honoring to you.
God is in the process of growing us up—that’s called fathering and mothering. God is fathering and mothering us into maturity.
And a maturing son or daughter of God is in the process of learning how to use their words and will to give orders to the forces of the kingdom of darkness.
So, this is not prayer. You are not praying to God… you are speaking to evil.
Put another way: you are living into the authority God has given you by giving instructions to evil to cease this particular line of attack.
Now, when it comes to doing warfare with evil spirits, it is really important to know your story.
Q: Why? Because the spirits that routinely come against you are not randomly assigned to you. You will find that they have a certain fitted-ness with your story.
Dan Allender puts it this way, “Know your story, and you will know your spirits.”
Know your story and you will know what kind of spirits have assaulted you in the past and you will know what kind of spirits to expect in the future.
The warfare directed against you will often have a kind of fitted-ness to your story.
Q: What does this mean?
Well, the past and the present are not nearly as different as we tend to think.
Your present struggles will give you clues about what spirits have assaulted you in the past.
So, let’s say you struggle with a sense of not belonging. You try to make friends and form close relationships but something always happens and you end up feeling excluded and like you just don’t belong.
That may be because you have been pursued by a spirit of exclusion your whole life. A spirit of Not Belonging.
Or it may be that you have relationship troubles because as people get to know you they begin to envy something beautiful about you and that turns them against you.
And so it may be that your sense of Not Belonging is actually far more the fruit of a spirit of envy.
I don’t know your story. I just know that your story will give you clues about the warfare set against you.
Q: How do you know what spirits have been assigned to torment you? Look at your story.
Look at the places of shame, heartbreak, betrayal, temptation, trauma, and abuse in your life… and you will get a sense of what spirits are assigned to you.
For example, what routinely gets you into trouble in your life? What provokes the most turmoil in your relationships?
Knowing your story will prove very helpful in dealing with accusations as well.
Q: How do the accusations that routinely land in your heart have a kind of fitted-ness to your story?
Accusations do not spring out of thin air—they take root at a particular time and place in your story, usually a moment of intense shame, heartbreak, betrayal, or powerlessness.
Likewise, the spirits that assault you are not random.
Q: Why is one person hounded by a spirit of financial fear—they’ve battled financial fear their whole life, and another person is hounded by lust?
Q: Might it have something to do with their respective stories?
Look closely enough at the story of Person A and you will see when the spirit of financial fear entered his or her life.
Now, last, Warfare Move # 3 — Break Agreements with Evil.
If you want a refresher on this whole category of agreements with Evil, I recommend going back and listening to Episode 43.
Because I’m not going to explain right now what I mean by agreements with evil and how we come to make them. Right now, my aim is to explain how to break them.
As you move toward breaking an agreement, it is important to include your limbic system—which is another way of saying your heart.
IOW, it is important to break the agreement in the context of the story in which the agreement was made.
Suppose you are bound by the agreement, “When men are in trouble, they will always lie to get out of it.”
Well, you didn’t make that agreement when you were sitting on your couch watching a nature documentary. You made it when you witnessed your father lying to his attorney during the divorce with your Mom. Agreements are made in stories.
So you need to enter the particular story where that agreement was made. You can’t break agreements apart from narrative.
Because agreements are always made in particular stories of heartache, particular moments of immense betrayal, particular times of profound powerlessness.
And you have to get close to those moments—close to those stories—to break the agreements that were made during them.
When it comes to breaking agreements, it’s important to understand that agreements are kept in place by two agents—you (the one who agreed) and evil (the one who deceived you).
Dan Allender points out that when it comes to agreements it is just as true to say “I hold this as mine” as it is to say “I’m held by this.”
Who keeps agreements in place? You or the kingdom of darkness? Both of you.
Let’s say you’ve made an agreement with “I’m alone in this world. There is no one to help me when I really need it.”
That agreement is kept in place by two agents—you (the one who agreed with it) and evil (the one who seduced you into believing it).
Here’s the point: When you move toward breaking an agreement you must address the complicity of your heart by renouncing your decision to agree and you must address the evil spirit(s) that hold you in bondage to the agreement by rebuking them.
Let me say that again.
Breaking agreements requires you to
Renounce your decision to agree.
Rebuke the spirits who are making sure this agreement stays intact.
You break an agreement by speaking out loud to evil.
You are addressing evil, not God. This is not prayer.
The reason I mention this is because I’ve watched people start talking to God as they are trying to break an agreement.
You’re talking to the wrong person. You did not make the agreement with God.
You have to address the kingdom of darkness.
So, speaking out loud to evil:
Confess. Name the agreement that you made in the context of a particular story. Acknowledge that you functionally signed your name to this particular agreement. So, for example, “I confess that when I was 12 years old, I made an agreement with the simple sentence, ‘I’m too sensitive.’” You are naming the agreement that you made… and naming it in the context of a story.
Second, use your words and your will to break it. Speaking out loud to the kingdom of darkness, simply say, “In the authority of Jesus, I break this agreement. I reject it, utterly. I banish its hold on my heart and life. I tear up this contract. I renounce it.” Whatever language you want to use to break the agreement. You are using your words and your will to change your position on something.
Third, use your words and your will to send whatever spirits are holding the agreement in place to Jesus for judgement. ”In the name of Jesus, I send whatever spirit(s) responsible for this agreement to Jesus for judgment.”
So, Confess, Break, Send. Confess the agreement, break the agreement, send the spirits to their judgment.
Q: Now, you may be thinking, “Can it really be that easy?”
Because the agreement has been there so long and because it has had such a hold on us we think that breaking the agreement will require a lot of energy and time.
It’s not the case.
A simple verbal contract—one that has held you in bondage for years—can be broken with a few sentences.
Before concluding, let me say that as you begin to engage in spiritual warfare—as you begin to fight back—you may find that nothing happens after the first fight.
Don’t let that discourage you. Keep at it.
You will hear things like, “This is ridiculous. You’re not really accomplishing anything.”
And you can just respond with, “No, I’m going to keep at this until I see some results. I’m not going to strive. I’m not going to sweat, but calmly, assuredly, through the work of Christ—I’m not yielding. I’m going to stay with this thing until it gets done.”
Don’t lose heart!
Remember, you are in training. You are in the process of becoming a warrior.
It is a process.
You will be more skilled at warfare in two months and in one year and in five years than you are today. That doesn’t mean you’re blowing it today, it means you are in process. You are learning.