Pray Against False Teachings and Negative Spirits

I think whenever we’re uncomfortable with a particular teaching or action, it behooves us to dig into the scriptures and pray for wisdom on the matter.  Sometimes you run into individuals with gifts of discernment and other apparent spiritual gifts, but mixed into those gifts are murky behaviors that are inconsistent with the fruit of the Spirit.  Pray about it.  For sure there are EGRs in our life that can make us uncomfortable, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.  Sometimes certain people can cause uneasiness in our spirit and there’s often good reason for that.

There was one such person in my life, who was once a part of our community.  This person would speak many flattering words into individuals and even pray for them, but often exhibited strange behaviors and I never felt comfortable with them around.   It took me several months to figure out where they were coming from.  After much prayer and reading scripture I came upon a passage about a slave-girl with a spirit of divination, mentioned in Acts chapter 16 that kept crying out and saying of Paul and Silas, “these men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” The girl followed them around with this mantra for many days, and the NASB says that “Paul was greatly annoyed.” He then turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.

There are a few things to be mindful of in this passage.  Paul and Silas are in Philippi, a Hellenistic society known for polytheism.  In the original Greek, “the Most High God” is Theos Hypsistos, which to many Jews would have meant the one true God of Israel, but to the largely pagan society they were in, many would have interpreted that to be Zeus or some other god.  In any case, the term implies that there may be other gods, even if they are lower than Theos Hypsistos.

We need to be careful not to allow murky practices into our lives where we can inadvertently bring in traditions of the occult into our faith.  Anything that would take away any glory from the one true God is something to avoid.  That includes spiritual gifts on people that imply they are given by any other power than Christ Jesus and His Spirit.   Certainly, any teaching contrary to the bible should be corrected immediately.

I believe the spirit of the pagan Theos Hypsistos is still lingering in our society today and we need to be wary of it.  Spiritual discernment takes time.  This was true for even Paul, which is why it took many days before Paul cast out the spirit in the slave-girl.  Once you have determined a specific, negative spiritual presence over someone, I’m not suggesting you turn around and yell “in the name of Jesus, come out!” to their face, as Paul did.  I do know some that operate this way, but with the person in my community I was troubled by, I simply began to pray quietly over them–that God would start removing whatever spirit of negativity was residing in that person so that it would not affect our community.  Immediately following that prayer, a giant battle began to occur within that person .  At that point, I was ready to come around to support them, but they ended up leaving our community.

I’ve learned that prayer is the best way to deal with such encounters.  Whether it’s an EGR God has brought into your life to grow you, or you need to pray for protection over your people against a negative spirit, prayer is always the place to start.

Want to be Lifted up?

Take a moment to ask God to search your heart and reveal anything that needs to be confessed or healed.  As God reveals these thing to you, humbly confess them and ask Him to renew a right spirit within you by a refilling of his Holy Spirit.

This exercise is important for me to do on a regular basis if I want to continue to grow in my walk with God, because the condition of my heart will affect my ability to spiritually mature.  Even if I’ve memorized all the holy scriptures and have been used to perform great feats for the Kingdom in the past, I can still have a hardened heart today, causing me to stop growing or even regress spiritually.   In fact, what I did yesterday, whether I sinned big time or served God, is not as important as the condition of my heart right now in terms of how God can use me today.  James 4:10 (NIV) says “humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.”

I pray and hope that you will lifted up today!

Prepare to Pray

When I’ve spent a good part of my day in prayer, the very next morning, I wake up feeling a bit depressed and insecure.  This is something I now recognize as a spiritual attack.  For nearly five years now, I’ve started my mornings with prayer by thanking God, then going into scripture before anything else.  Don’t give Satan or his demons an opportunity to get at you before you’ve put up your spiritual defenses and armed yourself with God’s word—especially when you’ve been engaging the heavenly realms.

Preacher and theologian Guy H. King said “no one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it.”  My mother, a theologian in her own right recently quipped “you know the devil is very interested in what we are praying.”  In the book of Job when God asks Satan what he’s been up to, Satan replies by telling God that he’s back ”from roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

As Satan is roaming around looking for Christians to trip up, I believe he is lurking about trying to listen for prayers of saints and to send his demons to thwart those prayers.  In my community, his most effective tactic seems to busyness.   Many of my friends and myself included, will become so engrossed in work and daily activities that we won’t have time for prayer.  This is why we need to make prayer a priority.

For the next 120 days, I have committed to gathering for prayer every Sunday evening with friends.  I encourage you to recruit friends and commit to gathering once a week for 40 days just to pray.  I can’t imagine anyone believing that they don’t need prayer.  If you need help with where to begin, I suggest you pray in the way Paul encourages Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV) “first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority.”  Then as Paul writes in Ephesians 6:18 (NIV) “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

 

Effulgence

What do you spend your time doing?

Are you living this moment to reflect God’s glory?

What are you really good at, and what do you love to do?

Are you using your talents and passions to reflect God’s glory?

What are your goals, dreams and aspirations?

Are you pursuing a vision to reflect God’s glory?

Why do you exist?

Do you reflect God’s glory?

God’s Mystery is Merciful

This is an excerpt taken from a personal journal entry I made about a decade ago:

God is mysterious. His precise will for your life often cannot be discerned until it happens. He opens the door to a place we think He’s leading us, then an invisible sinkhole in the road brings us somewhere that could not have been imagined. You wonder, what was the point in taking me in circles on a road that did not need to be traveled? So you retrace your steps to search for an object lesson to be learned from your journey. Praying for wisdom, you humbly ask God for answers.  God answers “who are you to question my methods? Haven’t I blessed you beyond what you’ve asked and even imagined? It will be revealed when it is revealed.”

This journal entry speaks to me today because it reveals how much I have changed.  Today, I know that it is better to walk in God’s will than to understand it.  It’s a more merciful place.  Ten years ago, had I known all the answers to God’s mysterious will, I would have skipped all the challenging levels as in a video game cheat and there would have been no growth in character.

Blessed be His name!