Monday, May 14, 2012

Ten Steps to Overcoming Negative Spiritual Influences

The first step in overcoming negative spiritual influences in our lives is turning to Jesus for help.  If you followed the advice at the end of the last post, you've already taken that step. 

Did you?  

Was your prayer addressed to Jesus?  Or was it just an instinctive cry for help directed nowhere specifically?  A knee-jerk reaction to pain? 

Either way, it's a good start.  But asking Jesus, specifically and on purpose, is the most effective way to begin your journey to freedom.  If you ask Him, you'll be better prepared  to receive His answer and act on His wise counsel when it comes. 

Jesus is the only solution to the great problem of evil.  His death on the cross and his triumphant resurrection won the war with evil once and for all, but He waits for us to ask Him how we can appropriate that victory for ourselves.  What we do when He answers us is where the rubber meets the road.  It's where spiritual freedom begins.

Meanwhile, here's a short list of steps to freedom in Christ.  Some of them you will probably need help with when you're just beginning to learn how to fight spiritual battles.  Don't be shy about asking for support and counsel from people you feel will understand the situation.  Look for those people in churches, or among your Christian friends or relatives.  God gives us Himself through each other:

1.  First, recognize the problem and its source.  Satan hides.  As long as we don’t notice what he’s up to, he can get away with anything.

2.  Make sure you have sold out to Jesus.  If He is not Lord in your life, Satan will be.

3.  Renounce any areas of bondage.  Then announce to the devil, firmly and authoritatively, your allegiance to the Lord.

4.  Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with His power.  If you belong to Jesus, the Holy Spirit is present in you, but you can ask for a deeper filling, or a deeper level of His involvement in your life.

5.  Rebuke the enemy.  Speak directly to him in the authority Christ has given you.  “In Jesus’ name, by the power of His blood, I command you (spirit of anger, fear, lust), to leave.”

6.  Read the Psalms.  Many of these poems are powerful verbal weapons against the attacks of Satan.  Where the Psalms speak of our “enemies,” think “Satan.” Read the Psalms aloud, when possible, in the presence of the Enemy, and let God prepare a table of victory there, declaring His approval and protection of you. (Psalm 23:5)

7.  Memorize other Scriptures so thoroughly that you can quote them when you're under attack. Until you have Scriptures embedded in your heart through memorization, keep a Bible handy so you can open it and read whenever you need to.  Billy Graham keeps an open Bible in every room in his house, so he can easily read a few verses as he walks through his home.  God's Word is a sword--the only weapon we have in spiritual warfare.  It's amazing how quickly the enemy disappears when Scriptures are quoted in his face.

8.  Praise in prayer or song.  Listen to praise music.  Satan doesn’t like to hear God glorified, so he doesn’t stick around when you begin to worship and declare God’s greatness.

9.  Pray for others. Intercession is another thing the Enemy doesn’t like.  If you habitually allow his disturbances to become a call to prayer, he’ll quit disturbing you.

10.  Seek help from Christians who have had experience with spiritual warfare.  God has provided for our freedom, but He often wants to help us find it though other believers, who can encourage us and come alongside us in specific prayer ministry. 

May God bless you as you move into a deeper experience of the freedom and joy He longs for you to experience.  Please comment on this blog series.  Share your own experiences with spiritual warfare, if you'd like.  Ask questions or suggest ideas for further discussion.  I'd love to be interactive on this topic.

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