By Phil Scovell
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Since I was young, everybody, I was taught, had to have a
life's verse. So, over the years, I picked out many different
verses and claimed them as my own. None ever seemed to fit
perfectly but at least, bless God, I had one at any given time.
Somehow I felt more spiritual, too, just knowing I had a life's
verse to quote. The problem was, every time I heard a new verse
that someone quoted as their life's verse, generally a guest
speaker in church, a missionary, or special speaker during Bible
college chapel services, I found myself switching. Besides,
their verse always sounded so much better. After all, you must
have a good life's verse. You don't want to have one that makes
you sound like a nut or unspiritual.
One day, many years ago, I was reading the bible and a verse
jumped out at me. That was it! My life's verse. "And ye are
complete in Him which is the head of all principality and power,"
(Colossians 2:10). That had to be it. After all, I was totally
blind and this verse just said, I was complete in Christ. I
knew, from my theological upbringing, this meant I was
spiritually complete in Him so that had to be it. I mean, I was
saved, born again, so I was complete in Him. So what if I was
blind physically; I could see spiritually, couldn't I? That's
all that counts. Right? I rejoiced in my new found life's verse
and began using it as such immediately.
The nice thing about my new life's verse is that it fit all
my personal letters to people as I signed them, "Complete In
Him," and my signature. I had never in my life seen anybody sign
their letters that way nor had anybody ever used this verse, in
my hearing, as their life verse. So I was satisfied; I finally
had one to which no one else on the earth could lay claim or so
it seemed. Maybe I should copyright it so no body else could use
my life's verse.
A good thirty years have passed since I selected my life's
verse. It has always felt good but it felt more like a mitten
than a glove, if you know what I mean, and there was something
that didn't seem exactly right about it. After all, I was
complete, spiritually speaking, in Christ but there was one
little teeny weeny problem; I was blind. If Hank Hanegraaff and
John Macarthur were right, and God really didn't bother much with
doing miracles these days, well, then, shoot, I most likely was
going to be blind until the Lord returned. So, I circumvented,
bypassed, evaded, and understated the literal interpretation of
my favorite Bible verse, my life's Bible verse, by explaining how
complete I am spiritually in Christ. In other words, I
spiritualized the verse to make it applicable to my
interpretation. No body in their right mind would ever question
my interpretation; not even Brother Hank or Brother John. I kept
shoving the inconsistency aside, that is, until very recently
when the Holy Spirit finally put me out of my misery, sort of
speak, and revealed the true meaning and application of the
Nearly every night, I pray through some spiritual warfare
prayers concerning demonic activity that may, or may not, be in
my house or which has come against my household. This is
necessary, especially if you are an intercessor. Many times,
when praying intercessory warfare prayers for people, whether you
know it or not, the demonic activity in that person's life can
connect with you as an intercessor. Their burdens, during the
intercessory prayer time, can become your burdens; especially
based upon the type of intercessor you may be. Quite often these
burdens of others can be associated with demonic lies and in some
cases, based upon how the lie was planted in their life in the
first place, there is definite presence of demonic influence and
personification. In a Christians life? Of course. Where in
Scripture does it say the devil left our Lord alone after the
experience of His forty day fast in the wilderness? Luke's
Gospel records that Satan left our Lord for a season following
all the temptations he brought against him. (See Luke 4:13).
For a season? Does this mean the devil planned on coming back
after Jesus told him to get lost? What do you think Satan was
trying to do when Jesus was on the cross? Kill Him maybe? bust
God's eternal salvitic plan wide open? Destroy the Lord of glory
so he, Satan, could become lord of the universe and thereby force
people to worship him instead of the true Lord Jesus? What about
the woman in the synagogue with the spirit of infirmity? Jesus
said she had been bound for eighteen years by Satan. did you
hear it? By Satan. Read it for yourself in Luke 13:11-16 if you
doubt it or have forgotten. Let me hasten to state that this
passage does not mean that all physical infirmities are demonic
but it likewise does not mean they are Godly either. Stop and
think about that for a moment. Furthermore, this in no way
implies that Christians are demon possessed. The point is,
however, demons love pestering God's saints. If you think that
you are exempt from demonic influence because you are a
Christian, then you are being fooled by the master deceiver and
you are thinking exactly what he wants you to think.
As I said, I normally spend time praying certain warfare
prayers before going to bed each night over myself and my
household, because I carry the most spiritual authority over my
family and descendants, and I include a number of other related
things which I won't take time to mention now. Concerning
intercessory prayer, my warfare prayers also include those for
whom I have done intercession and for reasons already mentioned.
Along these lines, therefore, I was praying a warfare prayer
one night and quoting, along with a whole bunch of other
authority passages, Colossians 2:10; my life's verse. Why?
Because of the second part of the verse that says, "Which is the
head of all principality and power." This obviously means, of
course, Jesus Christ is the head of, not only all good angelic
beings, but evil forces as well. We easily and conveniently
remember that Jesus is the head of all that is good and holy but
we somehow fail to remember He, Jesus the Christ, is still the
head of even the demonic forces. We somehow seem to transfer
authority of the demonic realm over to Satan, theologically
speaking, without even realizing it. He, Satan, is only the
chief fallen angel of all the fallen angels; the true Lord Jesus
Christ is the chief Shepherd. According to 1 Peter 3:22, Jesus
Christ is seated at the right hand of God; angels, authorities,
and powers being subject to Him.
Paul used the exact same Greek word for "angels" in 2
Corinthians 12:7 when he said a "messenger" from Satan had been
sent to him. If Paul wasn't exempt from demonic influence, what
makes you think we are? Furthermore, Paul said this evil
messenger had been sent to "buffet" him. This word means to
strike repeatedly. Fortunately, Paul wasn't about to give up or
give in to this demonic warfare because he knew Satan was out
numbered. Paul also knew Satan was subject to Christ and
therefore, due to covenant principals and biblical confirmation,
the demonics were subject to him, Paul, in and through the name
Let's go one step further. I am sure you know that Romans
8:16-17 says we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.
This means, if you know anything about Biblical covenants at all,
whatever we have is God's and whatever He has is our's. So, when
Colossians 2:10 says we are complete in Him, meaning Christ, who
is the head of all principality and power, we share joint access
to this spiritual authority. It actually means much more than
this but let's stick with this aspect of the verse for now.
A quick read through of Ephesians chapter 6 reveals that we
not only war against spiritual forces but these forces of
darkness are structured similar to military ranking. Satan is
the rank of general, sort of speak, or stated another way, the
chief fallen angel. I could easily state a dozen passages of
Scripture which list the various demonic ranks but rather than
doing that, let me remind you that the Bible says, in Colossians
2:10, that Jesus Christ is the head of all principality and
power. Furthermore, Jesus Himself said, just before His
ascension, that all power in Heaven and in earth was given unto
Him, (Matthew 28:18). Likewise, according to 1 John 3:8, Jesus
came to destroy the works of the devil. This means, therefore,
we are joint heirs of this authority over demonic forces
according to Romans 8:16-17 as previously stated.
It might be worth mentioning, at this point, that we only
experience the efficacious power of this authority when submitted
to our joint heir relationship with Christ. For example, if you
are a parent, and God bless you if you are, you have authority
over your children. If you allow your children to saw the legs
off your dinning room table, break your windows, carve their
initials into your hardwood floors, and punch holes in your walls
when they get angry, then they will continue doing so and they
will do a whole lot more than that. Since you have authority
over them, at the very least, you can make them subject to you
and your authority for the wrong they do. If you don't make them
subject to you, they soon will determine that they can do
whatever they wish as you stand around ringing your hands saying,
"Oh, what am I going to do." As I used to tell my children over
the years, if they don't want to obey me, some day they will obey
society because even society has certain rules we all must live
by. If we don't obey the rules of society, the government
exercises authority over us whether we like it or not. To
simplify this even more, I used to tell my children it was like
paying your phone bill. If I don't pay my phone bill, they will
eventually turn my phone off. Some of us, and I include myself
here, need to cut the devil's phone off because he has been
running up our bill and we have just been sitting around and
You begin by exercising your authority by first, understanding
that you have God given authority, secondly, by exercising the
authority in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thirdly, by
standing firm. Yes, but you say, "How is this really done? I
mean, how do we apply it?" Let's talk about that and see what
the Bible says.
I. Biblical Association And Confirmation
The first thing we do is become associated with Bible
documentation on the subject. You would be wise to take a
concordance and read over every passage associated with the devil
and evil spirits or unclean spirits. If you want a good bird's
eye view, just read the four Gospels for starters.
To more quickly help you recognize the passages which define
our authority, below is a list to which you should commit to
memory, or at the very least, have a list handy to which you can
refer when praying or when confronted by demonic influence. I'll
have more to say, following these verses, about their application
in prayer and exercising authority.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions,
and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any
means hurt you.
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of
them openly, triumphing over them in it.
1 John 3:8
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth
from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was
manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given
unto me in heaven and in earth.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are
the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God,
and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him,
that we may be also glorified together.
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and
set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above
all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every
name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that
which is to come.
1 Peter 3:22
Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels
and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and
whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and
whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every
tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt
condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and
their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name
shall they cast out devils.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out
devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power
and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the
devils are subject unto us through thy name.
If you have a Strong's concordance, I suggest taking each of
these verses and looking up nearly every word, comparing them to
other passages, so you can get a good feel for the meaning of
each verse. If you don't, some well meaning Christian will talk
you right out of your Biblical authority and you won't even need
a demon to help bring confusion to this subject. Some doubting
Christians are very good at confusing this topic with devil
hunting. Some disbelievers of Biblical authority even have large
radio and TV ministries. So make up your mind if you are going
to believe God's promises and stand on them or say they died out
with the last apostle; whoever he was. If these verses, and many
others, are no longer applicable, then we are left defenseless.
Unless, of course, Jesus feels sorry for us on occasion and
decides to help out once and a great while.
Complete In Him.
Since I began talking about my life's verse, Colossians
2:10, I thought I would point out what the Lord showed me
concerning how complete we are in Him before I talk about the
application of His authority in our daily lives.
As I was praying one night, confessing most of the above
verses as the bases for my authority, I quoted, out loud I might
add, my life's verse and stopped suddenly when I heard the Holy
Spirit speaking to me. I honestly cannot tell you what He said
as a word for word translation because, as is so often the case
in my life, He gave me a single impression that carried with it a
complete communication. Simply stated, I realized I was complete
in my authority over the demonic realm because Christ was the
"Head" of all principality and power, that is, good and evil
principalities and powers. What the Lord told me also made all
the other passage dovetail together with astounding clarity.
Thus, my life's verse became instantly and incredibly powerful to
me in the area of spiritual authority.
The Greek word for "head" in Colossians 2:10 means exactly
that; the head. You could easily say it means the beginning, the
top, the first, the chief but it is the position by which
everything else follows. A railroad train is a good example of
this because the engine comes first and all the other cars must
follow. Why? Because they have no power or authority of their
own. Their power comes from the engine which is the head of the
train. Thus, they must follow the head. Literally this means,
therefore, the true Lord Jesus Christ is the head over the
demonic realm, that is, over all fallen angels, and the holy
angels as well. If you doubt this concept, you will find it
impossible to exercise any authority over the demonic realm with
It is the word "complete" in this verse that fascinates me
the most because it is the same word in Ephesians 5:18 where we
are commanded to be "filled" with the Holy Spirit. The Greek
word means to be liberally supplied, abundance, to fill to the
brim, or to be finished. Since Colossians 2:10, without any
doubt, is in reference to Christ being the Head, or Chief, of all
dominions, regardless whether they be in the natural realm or the
spiritual, we can take satisfaction in knowing we are joint
heirs of this same dominion. It is in our Lord's Holy name,
however, that we are able to exercise and share this authority
II. Exercising Power And Authority
Biblical authority has already been establish by Christ and
The application of that authority is done verbally. We have the
devil tempting our Lord in the wilderness and how our Lord
responded as our prime example of exactly how that spiritual
authority is executed in the natural realm. (See Luke 4:1-13)
If you read over that passage carefully, you will notice the
devil uses Scripture to try and deceive our Lord. The devil's
application of the Word of God, however, is always twisted and
off balance of the real truth. The only method our Lord Jesus
Christ used, however, to exercise authority over the devil was
the Word of God. Therefore, Jesus is our example of exactly how
it is done. We either exercise spiritual authority over the
demonic realm as Jesus did or we don't.
Illustration #1 Exercising Biblical Authority.
We used to have a big old friendly dog by the name of
Raleigh. He was a 100 pound golden retriever. He loved playing
ball, especially with my kids, because he had a trick he loved to
play. He'd swallow the ball. Not literally, but he would hold
it so far back in his jaws, the kids couldn't get it away from
him. If dogs can laugh, I know he did.
One day I was in my office working at my desk. My daughter
was bouncing a small rubber ball around and getting Raleigh to
catch it. Finally, Raleigh pulled his famous trick on her and
refused to cough up the ball. Gretchen came over to my chair,
she was about ten years old at the time, and said, "Dad, Raleigh
won't give up the ball again. Tell him to give it back to me."
I said, "Gretchen, just yell at him, calling his name, and
tell him to drop the ball."
She said, "That won't work."
I said, "Sure it will. Just try it."
She tried and of course Raleigh just laughed at her and kept
the ball. Gretchen complained. I realized then what the problem
was; Raleigh wasn't afraid of my daughter because she didn't know
how much authority she had over him. I turn around in my chair
and said, at about 150 decibels, "Raleigh, drop the ball!" He
dropped it immediately. But you say, "What if the dog wouldn't
have coughed up the ball? Oh, that's easy to answer. I would
have gotten out of my chair and taken it from him and returned it
to my daughter. Why, and how, could I do that? Because I knew I
had the authority and the power to do exactly that. Did I ever
have to physically take the ball away from my dog? Of course,
and many times. He wasn't stupid. He knew if I was too lazy to
get out of my chair and grab his collar and too afraid he might
bite me and too worried about him slobbering all over me as I
stuck my hand down his throat to pry the ball out of his jaws, he
could keep the ball from me all day long. However, I never once
doubted I could take the ball away from him. Why? Because I
knew I had authority over him. He knew this, too, of course, but
being a playful dog who loved playing games, he sometimes tested
my authority over him.
Demons love to play games, too. If we listen to them, they
will lie to us even more. When they see us react favorably to
their lies, they increase their activity to see if we will react
even more. If they can get us to sin in the process, so much the
Illustration #2 Exercising Biblical Authority.
A pastor friend of mine and I were discussing the subject
one day of biblical authority. He used his father, now a retired
police officer, as an example. During his thirty some years on
the force, his father, of course, arrested a number of criminals.
We have all watched enough television to know what happens during
an arrest of some dangerous person. The cop yells, "Freeze!
Police!;" He, I'm sure you have noticed, doesn't whisper it or
suggest it or say, "Please," and "thank you." He does, however,
put a tremendous amount of force behind the spoken words. How
can he do that? Because he has the authority. What authority?
Before answering that question, consider another example of
authority; again using a police officer.
Illustration #3 Exercising Biblical Authority.
Years ago there used to be a popular police show called
Hawaii 5 o. Reruns are still often played today and I still
enjoy watching them.
One night the show opened with an elderly couple driving
their car. They were tourists. They had gotten lost and pulled
over at a park where some kids were playing, they thought, and
decided they would ask these kids for directions. Today we would
call these sort of kids, gang bangers, but back then we called
them hoods and thugs or juvenile delinquents.
The elderly man climbed out of his car and walked over to
the group of teenagers and began asking them for directions.
They immediately began harassing the older man, poking fun at
him, pushing him around, and even threatening him with a gun.
The gun went off and the man fell. The wife screamed and the
Just then, a cop from Hawaii 5 o, who was driving by,
skidded to a stop and leaped out of his police car. He'd seen
what had happened and he turn and faced the fleeing hoods and
drew his weapon. He yelled, "Halt. Police," a couple of times
but the teenagers kept running. Finally, the officer yelled
"Halt or I'll shoot." The teenagers kept running. The officer
discharged his weapon and brought down the felon who had shot and
nearly killed the elderly man who had just stop to ask for
Do we really have spiritual authority as Christians or
should we even be messing around with such things? I have
already proved, with the verses already quoted, that we do in
fact have this authority, it is Biblical, and it is in and
through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the Lord Jesus
Christ has given us this authority through His name, I suggest
that the Lord intends for us to use it just as the police officer
has the authority to use his weapon. In other words, it is his
weapon that gives him authority. The same is true for the
Christian. Our weapon is the sword of the Spirit, (I.E. The
Word of God).
Warning! Don't Be Fooled.
In Bible college, I had a wonderful Bible teacher who taught
most of the doctrine classes. He was in his mid sixties at the
time and had been in ministry all his adult life. I considered
him then, and now, to be a great man of God.
One day we were studying the subject of Satan. The
professor told a story about a man in the ministry he knew many
years ago. This man decided to become involved in warring
against Satan. His heart was likely in the right place but the
truth is, the Lord Jesus has already won the war for us, "Who
hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated
us into the kingdom of his dear Son," (Colossians 1:13): "And
having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them
openly, triumphing over them in it," (Colossians 2:15). This
literally means that the Lord Jesus Christ disarmed the demonic
world in our behalf and literally celebrated victory over them
publicly in the spiritual realm. As Jesus did against Satan, we
simply confirm God's Word when Satan tries to distort the truth.
We, therefore, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, speak the
truth and since it is God's Word, it is the same as if Jesus
Christ said it Himself. We don't need to add to God's Word,
therefore, in any way; we simply need to confess it and live it.
My doctrines professor did not detail exactly what it was
that his friend went out to do, other than war against Satan, but
needless to say, he must have gone about it in the wrong way
because the poor man became demonized. This means he was
mentally and emotionally tormented as a direct result of whatever
it was in which he had been involved. He wasn't crazy, he wasn't
mentally ill, and he wasn't insane. The Bible professor not only
knew little about such things but refused to believe in what he
did know as a Christian. All this man needed was deliverance and
instruction on his Biblical authority over the demonic realm to
be set free. The man called his best friend and asked him to
come over right away. When my professor arrived, the man
confessed he needed help and between the two of them, they
apparently agreed he needed to be committed to a mental
institution. We were literally told in class that day, following
this story, "If you leave the devil alone, he will leave you
alone." The unspoken inference also being that a Christian
messing around with demons is going to become mentally ill. It
sounds great and wonderful and it even sounds Biblical but it is
a grand daddy lie from the grand daddy of all lies. Let me put
it to you this way. Satan is never going to leave you alone
until you realize your authority over him and exercise that
authority given to you by Jesus Christ. Even then, he's going to
send his messengers around once and awhile to test to see if you
still believe in this Biblical authority you claim to have over
him and if Satan doesn't send them around, Jesus will.
"Jesus? What do you mean, Jesus? Jesus doesn't use demons
for anything, does He?"
See? You have already forgotten that Jesus Christ is the head
over all principality and power. If this is true, and it is,
then Jesus is even the head over the demonic realm and He will,
in fact, use demons for His honor and glory.
"Naw," you say, "that isn't true, is it? Give me just one
If you don't get anything else out of this booklet, please
remember this one thing. The true Lord Jesus Christ, the King of
glory, the only begotten Son of God, uses Satan for His own
purposes. If you have ever read the Bible from cover to cover at
least one time, you would have to agree this is true. If you
have trouble accepting this as true, and you haven't read the
bible through at least once, just read the 22 chapters of the
book of Revelation. It will be very clear, following your
reading, that God is using Satan as a tool to bring honor and
glory to Himself; Christ the King.
Are you still in doubt? Try reading the book of Job and
find out what happened to him. Satan came before God, we are
told, and God asked him what he was doing these days. "Oh, just
messing around, walking up and down in the earth and fooling
around" or at least that's about what it sounds like Satan says
when you read it. It is what is said next that blows me away.
It was God who pointed Job out to Satan and literally let Satan
Now, I hear someone saying, "But that was the Old
Testament." Yes, it was, and thank God we have even a better
covenant with God today through the true Lord Jesus Christ. Now,
when Satan or his demons come against us, we have all the
authority of the true Lord Jesus Christ to back us up. Job did
not yet have Christ as His Mediator.
To shed more light on the subject of our Lord's authority
and use of the demonic realm even for His honor and glory, take
time to also read 1 Samuel chapters 16 and 19. King Saul had
violated our Lord's command through the prophet Samuel. These
two chapters clearly state that Jehovah God removed his Holy
Spirit from the King and sent him an evil spirit. If you look up
the Hebrew word for "trouble" in these passages, you will
discover that it means to terrify. King Saul was literally
terrified at times by an evil spirit sent to him from God
Himself. Today, doctors call this extreme anxiety and the
anxiety episodes that occur in this manner are labeled as panic
attacks. I am not suggesting that every panic attack or every
anxiety episode is demonic in nature but it is also wise not to
leave God out of a healing process.
The Success And Failure Rate.
How often will this authority be successful? "Above all,
taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench
all the fiery darts of the wicked," (Ephesians 6:16). Believe it
or not, the word for "all" in this verse means all. Yes, we can
quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Jesus has done His
work; now it is time for us to do our's. Go back and read the
verse again because it says "You will be able to quench all the
fiery darts of the wicked." It does not say, God the Father, or
Christ the Lord, or the Holy Spirit will quench all the fiery
darts but instead it says you will.
I would like to specifically point out that the shield of
faith is a defensive weapon and not an offensive. This means, it
is not your faith you use to defeat the demonic attacks; faith is
where you stand. In other words, faith is what you believe and
what you believe is either based upon the promises of God or it
is based upon your fears and doubts and worries and concerns and
circumstances and situations. So which is it going to be?
When I have taught on this subject before, I have literally
had Spirit filled, tongue talking Charismatic Christians tell me,
"Well, I have tried this before and it doesn't work." Note the
word, "tried." This means, once I have questioned them, they
tried it for awhile and it didn't work. Read Ephesians 6 again,
when you get time, and try and figure out where it says we are
free to remove the whole armor of God at any time or whenever we
feel like it. In short, trying won't cut it; only a life
dedicated to living it will quench all the fiery darts of the
wicked. If you plan on just trying to exercise your authority
occasionally, forget it; it won't work that way and Satan is
going to eat your relationship with God for lunch.
Why It Fails
Before you start feeling helpless, unworthy, spiritually
unbalanced, or doubtful, let me make a confession. I have failed
at maintaining my spiritual authority hundreds of times. Even
though I believe all I have said thus far, I found it extremely
difficult to believe it actually would work for me. Why did I
have this doubt? Satan had conveniently planted a number of lies
in my thoughts through past events. Every time I tried
exercising my spiritual authority, it seemed to be working for
awhile and then all of the sudden, the pressure would build up,
the bottom would fall out and the wheels would come off my
relationship with the Lord. I am not referring to the committing
of sin but just a sudden disconnect as though I were no longer
able to touch God.
Generally, when the devil wants to pester us, he tampers and
fiddles with circumstances in our life. It can be a marriage
relationship, an employment situation, conflict through family,
friends and relatives, stress, sickness and disease, a struggle
with finances, or just about anything else. Once worry is
achieved, it is much easier for doubt to conceive. Doubt results
in fear and fear blocks faith. We know the theology in our head
but cannot feel it in our heart. At this point, the devil can
now throw his fiery darts of pain and strike home where it hurts
The Deceitfulness Of Sin.
"But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest
any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin,"
The Greek word for "harden" in this verse literally means to
harden and to make obstinate or stubborn.
the Greek word for "deceitfulness" is no more complicated
than the word for "harden." However, when used in connection
with sin, we discover something about Satan that perhaps we have
never understood before.
For a Christian, sin committed and quickly confessed is just
as quickly forgiven. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9). Then why does the guilt feeling
of any given sin continually return? Why do we feel we must ask
God's forgiveness again when we know we were already forgiven the
first time we made our confession of sin to Him? Maybe we really
didn't mean it the first time or the third time or the two
hundredth time? Why, in some cases, do we begin to doubt we were
really forgiven at all? Why, in many cases, do we begin to doubt
His forgiveness, rationalizing, if we had really been forgiven,
the guilt would not return? We believe God's Word, don't we?
Then why are we being tortured with the memory of this sin? Is
it just a matter of will power? If we ask for His forgiveness
the right number of times, will it then go away?
The answer to these questions is due to the fiery dart of
the deceitfulness of sin. It you read Hebrews 3:13 carefully,
you will discover it is not the committing of sin itself that
hardens the heart but rather the deceitfulness of sin. Simply
stated, we are tricked by the devil into reliving the memory over
and over again because he has lied to us at the original point.
We must find a way of exposing the lie, allowing the true Lord
Jesus to speak His truth into the situation, and then we will be
healed and guilt will never return and will be replaced with
Illustration #4 Tricked By The Devil.
I committed a sin at the age of 14 which I prefer not to
detail. I new it was sin, however, and confessed it to the Lord
and knew I was forgiven and made righteous. Unfortunately, the
memory of this sin returned time and time again throughout the
rest of my life. I was 50 years old before I was set free.
the devil had planted a lie in that event when I was 14
years of age which I believed but didn't know I believed. One
day, while praying with a friend, this memory came to mind. I
told my friend about it and we prayed for God's truth and light
to reveal the nature and cause for this memory being so painful.
The Lord quietly revealed to me, as we prayed, that I had been
deceived and that a demon had planted a lie in this event which I
believed would for ever keep me from the ministry.
The Lord then did two things. First, the Lord Jesus Christ
spoke His truth into my heart and showed me that I was believing
a lie; about this sin keeping me from the ministry and God's
perfect will for my life. Secondly, when I prayed and asked the
Lord why I committed such a sin when I knew it was wrong in the
first place, He said, "You were deceived." The split second
these two revelations were made known to me, I was instantly
healed. How do I know? Because the memory no longer bothers me
and no matter how many times I return to the memory, I have
nothing but peace and calmness. What occurred then? A demonic
lie which I had believed for 36 years was exposed by God's Light,
and when I saw the demonic lie as Jesus saw it, I could no longer
be deceived by it and was set free. Where there is no legal
ground, demons cannot stay. That is, when there is no lie,
demons have no right to remain. Remove the lies and the demons
have no legal right to remain and their accusations will bounce
off of you like a rubber ball thrown against a brick wall.
III. Standing Firm
If you read Ephesians 6:10-18, you will discovered the term
"stand" is used in reference to a soldier and is used several
times. I have always felt this odd because a soldier, I thought,
was a combatant ever moving forward, that is, advancing and
making forward progress. The spiritual soldier in Ephesians
chapter 6, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be encouraged to go
anywhere. If you examine the words for "stand" and "withstand"
used in the passage, you will discover the meaning is one holding
ground, standing firm, set in his ways, and rooted in place.
Again, I suggest, it is a strange way to fight a battle.
When reminded that the Lord Jesus has already won the battle
for us, the picture of Ephesians chapter 6 changes dramatically.
The emphasis is putting on the whole armor of God in order that
we might be able to stand against all the whiles of the devil.
The Greek word for wiles is (methodeia) and is where we obtain
our English word for (methods). This, in and of itself, is an
incredible revelation. Stop and think about it. The devil, now
that he has been thoroughly exposed, defeated, and laughed at by
the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, has nothing left but
trickery, deceit, lies, duplicity, craftiness, misrepresentation,
fakery, imitation, sneakiness, accusation, falsehood,
intimidation, manipulation, and impersonation. All of these are
the devil's "methods" because he has no power or authority
outside his own realm and we have been translated out of that
realm of darkness into the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
The Key Is Recognition
Jesus said that he had given us the keys to the kingdom of
Heaven, (See Matthew 16:19). Keys are for unlocking things, that
is, for opening things which are locked. Exercising God given
authority over the demonic realm begins with recognizing the
power given to us by using God's keys.
Illustration #5 Unlocking The Door.
We live in an area where it is necessary to keep your doors
locked. One day I was seated out on the back step with our dogs.
My wife came to the back door, opened it, and asked me a
question. I answered her and when she closed the door, she
locked it and walked away. I didn't hear the click of the latch
or I would have started pounding on the door and yelling. A few
minutes later, however, I realized I was locked outdoors. The
back door is so far away from our living room and other areas of
the house, it would have taken a miracle for her to have heard
me. Since I had my keys with me, I simply unlocked the gate of
the dog run, relocked it behind me, and strolled around the house
until I arrived at the front door. Again, using my keys, I
unlocked the front door, startling my wife, and told her what
had happened. She did not remember locking the back door on me.
The best way of "standing" against the devil is making
certain that you carry your keys around with you at all times.
Knowing God's Word and what it says about the spiritual authority
we have is the key (no pun intended) and that key will always
keep us from being locked out of God's will for our lives.
Illustration #6 Automatic Locks
Long before we owned a car with automatic locks, I taught my
children to always lock doors. This has backfired more than once
on me when I have been outdoors and my kids have locked me out
just as my wife did.
One afternoon I was in my office between our house and
garage. My breezeway has been finished off as a two room office.
My youngest son came out and said he was going to get something
out of the garage. He must have been about 8 years old at the
time. I said, ok, and he unlocked the door and walked into the
garage. I wondered, at the time, if he would remember to lock
the garage when returning. My office had thousands of dollars of
recording equipment and ham radio gear in it so I not only had
many locks on my doors but I had a motion detector which ran all
night, or whenever we were gone, and alarms on each window that
put up a racket if the windows were even slightly jiggled. My
son came back into my office and I heard him deliberately turn
around to lock the door behind him. It was automatic for him.
Few Christians today live their lives with automatic locks
on their hearts. If we did, the devil would find it much more
difficult to break in. Memorizing God's Word and reciting it
over and over again till it becomes automatic is the most
powerful form of spiritual authority we have.
Illustration #7 It's My Mom And Not A Mouse
My first grandson was a little over 2 years old when his mom
got a job working at Chucky Cheese. For those who don't know,
Chucky Cheese is a kids restaurant with all sorts of things for
kids to do. Lots of birthday parties for children are scheduled
at Chucky Cheese. I personally hate going there for their
birthday parties because you can't hear a thing with all the
noise the kids are making. I'm a typical grandpa it would seem.
Well, my little grandson, he isn't so little now, had never
been to Chucky Cheese and he frankly did not even know his mom
worked there. One night, we took him to the restaurant to eat.
Gretchen, my daughter, often got to put on the Chucky Cheese
mouse costume and come out to play with all the children. She
really enjoyed that part of her job, too.
The night we took her little boy to the restaurant, was the
night she was dressed up as the mouse. Little Everett, her son,
watched in fascination as the life sized mouse walked around
waving at all the children. One of the Chucky Cheese rules is
that the mouse is not allowed to talk. There was literally no
way, therefore, my grandson could have known this mouse was his
mom. As he sat and ate and watched the mouse walking around, he
stopped eating, pointed a finger at the mouse across the room and
said, "Mom," and went back to eating. To this day, I cannot
figure out how he knew that costumed mouse was his mother.
I realize this is a silly story but it illustrates the
innate spirituality every born again believer has. Right along
with this innate spirituality comes spiritual authority. We
often do not use it because we have not been taught what it is
and how it is to be used. If we trained ourselves with the
spiritual and Biblical authority with which we are spiritually
born, the devil would not pay nearly as much attention to us as
he does. Learn to recognize the wiles of the devil and you won't
be fooled in to thinking he is something other than what he is.
Faithfulness Is A Necessity
Here in Colorado, woodpeckers can become a big destructive
problem. They love pecking around on the sides of homes until
they break through the siding so they can build their nest.
While writing this booklet, two woodpeckers decided they
wanted to live in my house. They began tapping their powerful
little beaks all up and down the north side of my house until
they discovered a place they thought worked best for them. In
the mean time, each of us in the family took turns going outdoors
and scaring them away. It seemed to do little good because every
morning, they returned to their work. They made it quite
apparent they were here to stay.
We have a large deck on the back of our home. Fortunately
for me, the woodpeckers picked a spot on the corner of the house
right where one of our doors was located which allowed direct
access to the deck and to that very corner of the house. Every
time I heard the tapping, which, by the way, sounds like someone
with a hammer pounding on the side of your house at 6 o'clock in
the morning on your bedroom wall, I would sneak out on the deck
with my white cane and swing it around the corner of the house.
No, I never made contact but I did startle them and they would
instantly fly away. Did they return? Of course. Did I sneak
out on my deck with my trusty white cane to scare them away? You
bet. However, it eventually worked. After several days of me
sneaking up on them and scaring them away, they decided my home
wasn't a good place to build a nest.
So it is with the devil and his fallen angels we call
demons. They act and behave exactly like woodpeckers wanting to
build a nest in your home; your house; your life. If you do not
shoo them away with the Sword of the Holy Spirit, the Word of
God, they are going to keep coming back until they build a
comfortable home in your life. At that point, they will be able
to dwell with you and pester and annoy you perpetually. Take my
word for it; once they build a nest in your life, it is much more
difficult to get them to leave. Why? They've built a nest and
think they have the right to live there. You, on the other hand,
have allowed them to move into your life by giving ground, or
place, to them so they think they can live in your life
permanently. You have to use God's Word to tell them otherwise
and you must keep telling them until they are frightened away.
The Problem With Deliverance
One reason why many Christian shy away from anything demonic
is what they have seen on TV or heard about in a so-called
"Deliverance" meeting. It is true that God does give some people
the gift of discerning unclean spirits and casting them out just
as the disciples did. If you recall, however, the disciples
missed it once and awhile and Jesus had to bail them out because
of their unbelief, (See Matthew 17:14-21). The biggest problem
with this form of deliverance ministry is the failure to discover
the original lie which has given a demon, or demons, the
spiritual right to influence a Christians life in the first
We all remember the story Jesus told of the man of whom the
demon was cast out and return to his house with seven more wicked
and evil spirits than before, (See Matthew 12:43-45). This could
only occur under two circumstances. First, the man was not born
again. Secondly, if it were a Christian and there was a
deliverance performed, that is, a demon cast out, but the reason
for that demon being there in the first place was not spiritually
determined and Biblically resolved, the unclean spirit would have
ever right in the world to return and to afflict that person
Take my experience as an example. Earlier I told the story
of a demon who had planted a lie in an earlier event of my life
when I was 14 years of age. For 36 years he was able to torment
me with guilt, shame, and the fear that I would never be able to
fully serve the Lord with my life do to my sin. Let me state
that a demon was able to plant this lie in my life because I was
involved with sin at the time but this is not always the case.
For example, let's say a person was molested at 4 years of
age by an adult. Did the 4 year old commit sin? the answer is,
of course, no. Since the adult involved in this case was
committing sin, would you now say it was possible an unclean
spirit, a demon, might have been present at the time? Let's, for
argument's sake, say the opposite was true. Let's say there was
no demon present during this nefarious act of sexual perversion.
However, the adult, in attempt to protect themselves from a
criminal act, told the child that it was all their fault and that
no one would believe them anyway. Is that true? Of course not.
In no way was that 4 year old child to blame for anything that
occurred. If no demon was present, therefore, why has this
little child grown up with so-called psychological problems that
never seem to go away? The answer is simple. A lie was planted
in the event which the child, by no fault of their own, believed
to be true. Could this wrong thinking, over a period of years,
create the atmosphere whereby a demon could legally operate
within this person's life? The answer is obviously, yes. Even
if the person were saved at a young age? Yes! Even if the
person became a pastor or missionary or a Sunday School teacher
or the president of a bible college? Yes!
The Apostle Paul reminded us "Neither give place to the
devil,) (Ephesians 4:27). If you harbor thoughts of
worthlessness, inferiority, insignificance, stupidity,
unworthiness, mediocrity, and failure for very long, some demon
is going to take notice because all these things I just mentioned
are not the supernatural nature of a born again Believer. To
even consider such for very long, without replacing the thoughts,
renewing the mind, (See Romans 12:1-2), with what God says in His
Word, is giving place to the devil. Additionally, as mentioned
before, Hebrews 3:13 makes it absolutely clear that hardness
comes through the "deceitfulness of sin" and not through the sin
committed. The problem is generally being unable to discover the
lie based thinking and this is where an intercessor is helpful.
If you look up the word for "intercession" in a standard
dictionary, you get a simple definition such as to intervene or
to mediate, or to entreat in favor for another. This most
certainly is intercession but it is so much more than that, it
would take volumes to explain.
The best book I have read on the topic is by Dutch Sheets
and is simply called "Intercessory Prayer." You can find it
listed on the internet or it can be purchased through his church
in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He also has a set of tapes by the
same title which likewise are the best I have ever heard on the
topic. His website is WWW.dutchsheets.ORG.
I was called by God to be an intercessor before I ever left
the Baptist church or spoke in tongues. In fact, when I was
praying one night and the Lord told me He had called me to be an
intercessor, I said, "What is that?" I knew the definition of
the word, of course, but I had no idea of the spiritual
application. Four months later, the Lord began to show me the
truth about intercessory prayer.
Over the years, I have learned there are many different
aspects, or types, of intercessory prayer. I know some have been
called to pray for nations. I know some who do nothing but pray
spiritual warfare prayers. In my case, for example, I am called
to pray for individual Christians. In my times of prayer,
therefore, I have prayed for people I know and for people whom I
have never met. I have prayed for Christians in nearly every
country in the world and I have prayed for Christians in my own
household, town, state, and country. My prayers, however, are
centered upon the Body of Christ and individuals specifically.
My intercessory ministry largely focuses on praying with one
person at a time and together in a room or over the telephone
under certain situations. My overall ministry is based upon
three Bible verses:
Jesus said: "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree
on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be
done for them of my Father which is in heaven,"
"Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God,"
"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a
crown of glory that fadeth not away,"
(1 Peter 5:4).
My call to intercessory prayer works in two ways. First, I
pray for people. Secondly, I pray with people. This is
generally conducted on a one-on-one bases. The goal of any given
intercessory prayer session is to find out what is disturbing a
person the most and then locating the memory event which is
linked to what they are feeling now in order to discover any lie
or misinterpretation of the event that is present at that time.
When this is done, the Holy Spirit speaks the truth of the Lord
Jesus Christ to them concerning what we have found through prayer
and they are healed. If a demon is present, he leaves since he
has no more legal ground to stay and that person is forever
healed from that painful emotional trauma.
At this point, people often wonder if it is really just that
simple. The answer is yes. As easy as it is for you to be born
again by calling upon the name of the Lord for your salvation,
the same is true concerning emotional healing. Some ask "Will it
last?" The answer is again, yes.
Illustration #8 A Broken Arm Healed
Years ago, my oldest son, he was probably 6 years old at the
time, wanted to learn to ride an old bicycle a friend had given
him. One Sunday afternoon, he was leaning the large bicycle
against a tree in the front yard, climbing the tree, dropping
down on to the seat, and then pushing himself away from the tree;
allowing the bike to coast down hill a few feet. Then he would
repeat the process. During one downhill excursion, he fell off
and broke his arm. We took him to the hospital and they set the
broken bone and put his arm in a plaster cast.
A few weeks later, the cast was removed. Why? First, his
arm didn't hurt any longer because it was healed. Furthermore,
the cast was discarded because he had no more use for it. So it
is with healing broken hearts and wounded emotions. When the
original memory event is discovered through the leading of the
Holy Spirit in intercessory prayer, the true Lord Jesus is asked
to expose the lie and when He does, you are healed and pain is
replaced with peace and calmness. The painful emotions are
discarded because they no longer are needed and healing has
replaced the pain the wounded emotions once brought.
You are going to find most pastors and churches do not
embrace these concepts. Most non-charismatics believe since the
devil is defeated, let sleeping dogs lie. Charismatics largely
believe, "Well, let's cast the thing out and it will be done;
never to return. Unfortunately, this approach leaves out
discovering the root cause, or legal right, the demon has being
there in the first place. The problem with the first idea is
that the devil is in no way asleep. Defeated? Yes, but he is
clearly not lying around napping. The problem with the second
concept, casting out the demon, is Scriptural and a part of our
God ordained Scriptural authority. However, the problem is the
return of the demon if the legal right to his presence in the
person's life isn't first removed.
Where We Go From Here
We begin by learning the Word of God and with a special
focus upon the teaching of our Biblical and spiritual authority
until it becomes second nature. Learning to type is a good
example. At first, we hunt and peck but eventually it becomes
automatic and natural and we never have to look or hunt for the
keys. Then with those God given spiritual keys, once learned, we
are able to identify, by faith, all the wiles of the devil and to
lock the door or to quench all the fiery darts of the devil.
The application of God's Word is using His Word to counter
the devil as we walk and live in the name of the true Lord Jesus
Christ. The way this is actually accomplished is by taking a
stand, that is, marking off a designated place, and with the
whole armor of God, cutting the devil down to size with the Sword
of the Spirit. If you will note again, the armed soldier in
Ephesians Chapter 6, wasn't moving. He was in a fixed position
and standing firm. His active weapons were the Word of God,
called the Sword of the Spirit, and prayer.
Where We Stand
Finally, this all hinges on how intimate your relationship
is with the true Lord Jesus Christ. The problem is, the devil is
working at fracturing that relationship by circumstances and
situations and problems and worries and concerns and a lot of
other things as well. We get close and intimate with God through
prayer. Get on your knees and spend time with God. If you don't
know how to pray, just get on your knees, or sit in a chair, in a
quiet place and wait upon the Lord. Let your thoughts become His
thoughts, that is, tell him exactly how you feel. This is not
for His benefit; it is for you. He already knows but He wants
you to share it with Him. Exchanging your thoughts for His does
not mean you begin by sinking into a meditative state of mind
either. It simply means you are transferring to the Lord all of
your pain and problems and asking Him to carry the burdens for
you. In return, He will become closer and His Words give life
and become real and functional and they will give birth in your
life. As you begin walking through life by the power of His Word
through prayer, the completeness of your spiritual authority will
become a matter of every day life.
Finally, if you need help identifying those areas which are
hindering you, including lies that have been planted, often
without your knowledge, find an intercessor that knows how to
pray to help you identify these areas. Soon you will be walking
in His light and you will see what the Lord Sees and the darkness
will no longer frighten you.
End Of Document
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