There are some Christians who are obsessed with the devil. Their lives are wrapped up in what he’s doing – not in what Jesus did. But frankly, they are in the minority. Most Christians I know don’t give satan a second thought. In fact, according to a Barna poll, the majority of people in the US who call themselves Christians do not believe in the devil or the Holy Spirit. It is to that I must speak.
I came to know Jesus by direct revelation. I was delivered from the world of the occult and demons because Jesus Himself appeared to me – or rather, He took me to Himself in heaven. I do not say that lightly – it is the absolute truth before God.
My battle to be free of demons was real. The confrontation to demand my full release was not a fantasy. And since that time nearly 32 years ago, that battle has continued in the lives God has brought to me to help deliver from their evil grip. They have made it clear, both in invisible action and visible confrontation, that if they could destroy me utterly, they would. They have tried, and only by God’s mercy, they have failed. But the battle has never ceased.
The Holy Spirit is a real Person. He has comforted and instructed me from the beginning. I dare not engage satanic forces without Jesus’ authority or the power of the Holy Spirit. After all, Jesus cast out demons – and commanded us to do the same.
We stand on the cusp of one of the greatest outpourings of demonic forces in history. And where does the church stand in this country? If the statistics are our indicator, then it appears we are powerless, denying that demons and the devil are even real – or if they are, so what? Just accentuate the positive.
Why should we be concerned? Because the occult is permeating everything around us: TV, movies, music, games, and education. Now, if you don’t believe in the Bible, or just the portions you like, you can stop reading now. But if you do believe in the whole Bible as God’s Word, then you understand that not only is all occult practice (little or big) forbidden, but also that the occult world is owned by demonic spirits, and that practicing the occult results in oppression and often demonization. That means that an increasing number of kids and adults who come to church have this influence. And we aren’t prepared to deal with it. Frankly, we don’t know how.
I have been fishing around the Internet lately in Christian “apologetic” groups. They seem to be made up of the same “like-minded” people who deny ritual abuse and the dangers of the occult, the same ones who have labored so diligently to silence the voices of those who sound the warning cry. Many of these people are the same ones who have, in effect, wiped out the playing field. With the exception of perhaps Neil Anderson, author of the Bondage Breakers, and a handful of tiny ministries, the standard that opposed occultism and its influence has been taken down and shredded. Call it a preemptive strike to ensure the church is powerless and helpless against what is coming.
I am not suggesting we should obsess over the devil. I certainly don’t. But ignore his plan at your own peril. (1 Peter 5:8)
It was common for the New Testament church and leaders to be confronted with demons and the occult. (Acts 8:18-24, Acts 14; 11-14, acts 16:16-18, etc.) Jesus said this would be part of our work. (Mark 16:17-18). If you truly live a Spirit-filled life, you will confront this. And if you minister to broken, addicted people, this may also be part of it.
Instead of equipping and preparing believers to do so, the new wave of Christian intellectuals and apologetic elitists are not only downplaying – sometimes even denying – the existence of the demonic kingdom, they are determined to minimize, criticize and dismiss anyone or anything that promotes the need for “spiritual warfare.”
If our battle, as Paul said, is not against flesh and blood, but against powers, principalities and spiritual wickedness in high places, (Eph. 6:12) then the war is not against philosophies, principles, and secular worldviews in high places. We are fighting an intelligent, invisible army. Even the Archangel Michael contended with their warlords. (Daniel 10:13) These real demons and princes of hell did not go away in the New Testament. They are firmly entrenched against us NOW.
And the tragedy is, their strategy has been to get believers to ignore them, deny their existence, dismiss their weapons and compromise our congregations with occultic cancers. And they have succeeded with barely a protest from the Christian world at large. Once the doors of compromise were opened through the media, music and literature and Christians stopped being concerned about Harry Potter, Halloween, Buffy, psychic hotlines and a host of other occult influences, we surrendered more territory than you can imagine. That’s why Wicca is the fastest growing religion among youth: We denied the seriousness of both occult powers and the need for God’s power in our lives, and the inherent recognition of the supernatural as real and needed by youth and in youth was dismissed – and a whole generation of kids began following the only options left to them – the occult, witchcraft and satanic practices.
In denying the reality of the devil and ignoring him, we’ve played into his hands perfectly. Because the devil, if you ignore him, will be as quiet as a church mouse. He won’t disturb your peace as long as you don’t disturb him. But if you once shine the light of truth on our compromises, you will see him as plain as day – and you will have his full attention. And you had better be armored to fight when you do.
Demonic armies are like spiritual “sleeper cells”- they are among us – hidden in our compromises, our false security and our powerless Christian walks. They avoid obvious “September 11” type strikes. All their poison is coated in honey. And they ridicule, along with those Christian intellectual elitists, anyone who says they are real, or try to expose them. We’re our own Tokyo Rose.
So what do we do? We must wake up adults and equip our youth and children. The greatest preparation we can give our kids is the Power of God and His Anointing to storm hell’s gates. We must teach them “not to be ignorant of satan’s devices”; we must give them basic bootcamp on the enemy’s ways. Then we must make them recognize the war for the lost and bound – that we are not called to be comfortable and happy, but each is called to the fight to redeem the lost.
We must make them know their purpose, and the Power of God to fulfill it. We must make them proactive, reactive, and scrappy little soldiers ready and willing to take the world on for Jesus and to defeat the “sleeper cells” of spiritual compromise in our midst and in the world.
We have a long way to go. To fail to try is to insure our defeat by default, and we will remain an emasculated and irrelevant social club rather than the mighty army God has called us to be.
Dr. Gregory Reid