THE ENEMY’S POTENTIAL


by Neil Anderson

 

April 12
 
Matthew 12:29 
How can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man?
 
Another common misconception of the spiritual world is that some problems are psychological and some are spiritual. This misconception implies a division between the human soul and spirit, which does not exist. There is no inner conflict which is not psychological, because there is never a time when your mind, emotions and will are not involved. Similarly, there is no problem which is not spiritual. There is no time when God is not present or when it is safe for you to take off the armor of God. The tendency is to polarize into a deliverance ministry, ignoring the realities of the physical realm, or a psychotherapeutic ministry, ignoring the spiritual realm.
 
Dr. Paul Hiebert, a missions specialist, contends that, as long as believers accept a two-tier worldview with God confined to the supernatural and the natural world operating for all practical purposes according to autonomous scientific laws, Christianity will continue to be a secularizing force in the world. If your worldview does not recognize the activity of the god of this world in human problems, it is at best incomplete and at worst a distortion of reality.
 
Another misconception is that Christian aren’t subject to demon activity . The prevailing belief among evangelicals today is that Christians cannot be severely oppressed by demons. Even the suggestion that demonic influence can be part of the problem often prompts the hasty disclaimer, “Impossible! I’m a Christian!”
 
Nothing has done greater damage to diagnosing spiritual problems than this untruth. If Satan can’t touch the church, why are we instructed to put on the armor of God, to resist the devil, to stand firm, and to be alert? If we aren’t susceptible to being wounded or trapped by Satan, why does Paul describe our relationship to the powers of darkness as a wrestling match? Those who deny the enemy’s potential for destruction are the most vulnerable to it.
 
Prayer: Father, I don’t want to be ignorant in matters of the spiritual world. Remove all blinders from my eyes so I may see clearly and share the truth with others.
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4 replies

  1. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
    Hebrews 4:11-13

    I believe this scripture implies a division between soul and spirit, and so doesn’t it contradict what Neil is saying. I agree with most of what he says, but I believe that division between soul and spirit is exactly why Christians CAN be oppressed by evil spiritual forces. That sentence is not clear or is implying something I am not seeing.

    • No I don’t believe there is a contradiction here. Neil is here referring to the fact that the mind and soul are always engaged just as the The Lord is always present in the spirit of a Believer. Therefore problems in life will have two aspects, physical and spiritual and not to think that the source of a particular problem must be one or the other.

      Hebrews 4:12 is set in a different context. The soul is the life-force of a person different from the spirit. This makes sense when we think of the fact that all will be resurrected to life (the soul) but those who do not believe in God will be in hell and separated from God forever, spiritually dead.
      Also in view here is the conviction that the Word (the sword) brings, death of the sinner and the birth of the Believer in Christ. The Word is alive and pierces us deeply, no one can hide anything that the Word through God cannot reveal.

      Christians can be oppressed because they do not properly comprehend the power they possess through Christ. Jesus has already defeated Satan, we need only call upon His power at will as God’s adopted children to throw off the yoke of Satan and his demonic horde. That being said, too many do not understand the power they have in and through Christ, or simply refuse to believe, thereby leaving themselves open to attack. This is why James says we are to resist the devil and he will flee…he CAN be defeated because we have access to the One who already defeated him.

      God bless Joanne
      Greg

      • I believe that if there is a physical aspect at work, there is a spiritual counterpart involved. In that context, I agree that there is never one without the other and utilizing the tools God has given us to use should insure protection against spiritual forces. However we, as fallen creatures we have inherited the fallen flesh of Adam and while our spirit is completely made alive in Messiah, Yeshua, we continue to struggle with the temptations of the flesh and contend with damage to the body inherited by our first parents, the weakness of the flesh which must be sanctified and resurrected to achieve perfection equal to that of the spirit. Inherited mutated DNA passed down to each physical body by our physical parents maintains that there are physical defects that can only be altered by the renewing of the mind and the final death of the flesh. When Paul spoke in Phillipians of his friend that was sick to the point of death, he gave no reference to him having a spiritual issue, but a physical one of which God had mercy and allowed him to live. but Paul who was the author of instructions on spiritual protection, spoke of his brokenness should this man die. Certainly if it was God who healed him, the spiritual intervened, but nothing indicated God removed an evil spirit that was causing him sickness. So in fact, Epaphroditus, as Paul indicates, rather than being persecuted by people, was persecuted to the point of death with sickness which he suffered for the work of Messiah.

        25 But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger and minister to my need; 26 because he was longing for you all and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you. 29 Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; 30 because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me. Phillipians 2: 25-29

        I work with people who struggle with suffering illness of the flesh and mind who are reborn spirits in Jesus. For some reason – most likely the refining to gold the soul must endure – the heat comes from physical ailments. I am one of those that has suffered tremendously in the flesh which is why I work in this ministry. I’ve been chided by well meaning Brothers and Sisters (as have many of my ministry) that I 1) didn’t have enough faith because by Yeshua’s stripes we are healed; and 2) must be demonically oppressed. I endured several attempts through deliverance ministries to send these “demons” back to outer darkness where they could not torment me further; believed with all my heart Jesus would heal me through those who were gifted healers and through healing prayer services,and yet the pain and illness continued even as I was spirit filled and was gifted spiritually in teaching and tongues. God has brought me healing – some through medication and surgery; and some I believe purely spiritual from His hand in His mercy for the good of the ministry I serve. So this rumination of how the spiritual interacts with the physical (including the soul) is very personal to me and I have sought the answers for my people. I believe I suffered to be able to relate to those who do and to bring about the passion I have for what I do.

        I thank you always for your friendship, and your love as my Brother, Greg. I remain your Sister in Yeshua, Joanne

        • This is only a slightly different context than what I said, and I agree completely with you. Not all things will be healed in some people for whatever reason.

          No one should ever tell another they are not being healed because they don’t believe enough or lack faith, that is nonsense. I knew a woman that was one of the most spirit filled, nicest people I ever met, she died relatively young from cancer.

          God bless you in your ministry sister
          Greg

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