A few brief suggestions for attitude and action may be added here in condensed form, for the guidance of any who are seeking freedom from the enemy's power:
Again it may be said:--
The standing on Romans 6: 11 means the attitude of the believer reckoning himself "dead unto sin . . in Christ Jesus." It is a declaration of death--a gulf of death--to evil spirits as well as sin; to evil spirits working in, through, for, instead of, or in conjunction with the man.
To resist the enemy on the ground of the blood of Christ, means wielding the weapon of the finished work of Christ, by faith; i.e., His death for sin, freeing the trusting believer from the guilt of sin; His death to sin on the Cross and the believer's death with Him, freeing the man from the power of sin, and His death victory on Calvary freeing the believer from the power of Satan.
A condensed form of the principles, and conditions for deliverance from the deception and possession of evil spirits in any degree, may be given as follows:--
In another brief form a summary of the steps to deliverance may be given as follows:--
Hindrances to deliverance from deception and possession may again be given here briefly, as:--
Some hints on overcoming passivity of mind, are as follows:--
Col. 3: The possession by the enemy now slowly weakens as the ground which he held is steadily refused, and given up. The Deceiver fought long to obtain the ground, and the believer may have to fight a long time ere he is fully set free.note 34 The weakening of the possession, too, is according to the degree in which the ground is removed, and if the man does not meanwhile give more ground to the foe. This makes the deliverance gradual, it is true, but in most cases the snare may have been gradually woven about him for many years. Film after film may have slowly come upon the mind,note 35 preparing for the deception of after years.
Col. 4: Following the steady attitude of the refusal of the ground, light begins to break in, with the discovery of the "excuses" the enemy is making to hide the true location. For the persistent endeavour is to make the man believe that the manifestations are due to some other cause. The chief excuses over the manifestation of possession centre around the suggestions, "it is divine," "natural," "physical," or else temperament, circumstances, others' wrong doing,note 36 etc., in order to cover or hide the ground which is held. But as the excuses are recognized, the believer resists them, and calls the excuses by the right name of Satan's lies.
After getting rid of the counterfeits of the Divine workings, the difficult stage is the recognizing and getting free from the counterfeits of the man himself.note 37 As the "excuses" or lies are recognized the believer becomes more acute in detection, and less ready to accept the "natural" and "physical" causes as true explanations, without examination and certainty, e.g., if he "cannot bear" to hear, or speak about a person, he asks Why? If an attack on a certain point does not cease, he asks Why?
The truth is, a believer cannot bear things because of attack through possession, and he cannot do things because of possession.note 38
Naming the "attack" is a great factor for victory. For example, an attack may be made to hinder, then the believer must be on guard against all hindrances, seen and unseen, which the Hinderer is placing in his way; it may be to make him impatient, then he must be on guard over all things liable to test his patience. The sooner the attack is recognized and named, the quicker the weapon can be called into use to destroy it.
It may be a flood of accusations of wrong doing, which need to be recognized, or tested as to their truth. When the Accuser charges the believer with some specific wrong over a certain thing, and he surrenders that thing to God, if the accusationnote 39 does not then pass away, it shows that it is not the true ground for the accusation, but some other cause hidden from view. The believer should then seek light from God upon the hidden causes according to John 3: 21; and refuse the cause of the accusation without knowing what it is, saying, "I refuse the cause of this attack, whatever it is, and I trust the Lord to destroy it." But often, when the believer is charged with being wrong over a certain thing, and it is fought off again and again in this way, it does not pass away. Then the true cause of the attack is possession, and not a "thing" at all. The matter to be fought is possession as a whole.
The true location of the deceiving spirit will often be found in an opposite direction to the apparent one, for they know they are being exposed, and dislodged, and so they vigorously ply an attack upon some other place to divert attention.note 40
Col. 5:note 41 THE EFFECT OF THESE PRECEDING STEPS CAN NOW BE SEEN. The symptoms slowly pass away, and the believer, coming back to normal conditions, finds his faculties usable, and his thoughts once more under the control of his volition. It is a spiritual resurrection from a Satanic burial.
Now the one who is being freed must be on guard not to think it is final victory, or that the deceiving spirit has been fully dislodged because the manifestations have ceased; nor must he think that, when the intruder has been "cast out," in cases where casting out is possible and successful, that he is completely delivered, if there are no actual manifestations. It is necessary to watch and pray as never before. The evil spirit has been exposed, the soul has been undeceived; but the deeper the deception the longer is the time for the film of Satan upon the mind to be removed,note 42 and the passivity of the various faculties, of spirit, soul or body, to be destroyed. To be "undeceived," does not always mean to be fully delivered. The believer must therefore beware of the snare of ceasing the fight against possession when ease comes.note 43
It is here that the believer needs to know himself, so as to be able to judge of the extent of his liberation; and this he does by having a clear criterion of his true normal condition, so as to detect whether he is above it, and therefore strained beyond his normal poise and measure, or below it, and therefore less capable in all the departments of his being.
For these reasons it is essential and indispensable for full deliverance from the power of evil spirits, that a believer know the standard of his normal condition, and with this gauge before him, can judge of his degree of deliverance, physically, intellectually, and spiritually, so as to fight through with steady volition and faith, until every faculty is free, and he stands a liberated man in the liberty wherewith Christ has made him free.
As he judges himself by this criterion he may say, "Things are not the same as they were," and he then fights through by prayer to his normal condition. The deceiving spirits will suggest all kinds of excuses to stop the man's advance to freedom; e.g., if he is forty years of age, they will suggest that the "mind cannot be as vigorous as at twenty"; or "overwork" is the cause of his being below what he should be, but he must not accept reasons which appear to be "natural," IF HE HAS BEEN A SUBJECT OF POSSESSION.note 44 Let the believer know the highest measure of grace whereunto he has attained, for spirit, soul and body, and resist all attempts of the powers of darkness to keep him below it at any time.note 45 If he is vigilant he will know that the lying spirits will endeavour to deceive him about it, and he must resist their lies.
Some practical ways of keeping the mind in its normal working condition, may be briefly suggested as follows:--
(a) ATTITUDE TO THE PAST. There should be no "regrets," or brooding over things done or undone. This is an ordinary operation of the mind in thinking over the past, entangled into an evil kind of thinking which is generally described as "brooding."note 46 The believer must earn to discern for himself when he is simply "thinking," or being drawn into a state of "regretting" or brooding. For victory in the life, there must be victory in regard to the past, with all its failures. The good of the past causes no trouble to the mind, but only the real or supposed evil. This should be dealt with by dealing with God, on the ground of 1 John 1: 7, and thus the believer be delivered from it.
In regaining the normal working of the mind, it needs first to be brought into action, and then into balanced action. This is very difficult, and at times impossible, whilst there is evil spirit possession. Possession must therefore pass away before balanced working is restored. This principle applies to every faculty.
(b) THE ATTITUDE TO THE FUTURE. The same may be said in the action of the mind in regard to the future. It is lawful to think of the past and think of the future, so long as the evil state of "brooding," brought about by sin, or Satan, is not yielded to.
(c) THE ATTITUDE TO EVIL SPIRITS. They must not be permitted to interfere, by the believer seeing to it that no new ground is given to them, either for possession, or interference.
(d) THE ATTITUDE TO THE PRESENT MOMENT. This should be a steady concentration of mind upon the duties of the moment, keeping it in active readiness for use as occasion requires. This does not mean ceaseless activity, for activity of the mind so that it is never at rest, can be a symptom of possession.note 47
The believer must understand that the regaining of the facile use of the faculties, and the maintainance of the mind in healthy condition, after passive surrender to evil spirits, will mean a steady fight with the powers of darkness, which will require the use of the weapons of warfare given in the Word of God, as tried and proved by experience. Weapons, for instance, such as the truth in the text "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof," for resisting brooding over the past, or torturing pictures of the future; "Resist the devil and he will flee from you," when the pressure of the enemy is severe; and other "fighting" texts, which will prove truly to be the "sword of the Spirit" to thrust at the enemy, in the evil day of his onslaught upon the escaping believer.
(e) THE STEADY ATTITUDE OR ACTION OF THE WILL. In keeping the mind in normal working condition, free from the interference of the enemy, the believer should maintain the attitude of the will steadily set; i.e., "I will that my mind shall not be passive; "I will to have full control of, and to use my faculties;" "I will to recognize everything that comes from demon-possession;" all of which declares the CHOICE of the man, rather than his determination to do these things. The powers of darkness are not affected by mere determination--i.e., resolve--but they are rendered powerless by the act of volition definitely choosing, in the strength given of God, to stand against them.
Col. 6: The believer now finds the following results in experience. He has clear vision in the light of God, of the enemy's workings, without fear; a clear mind, intelligently in exercise in all its actions; a calm decision of the will, with a strong pure spirit in resisting, without hesitation, all he sees to be of the Adversary. Instead of acceptance of the enemy's workings, there is an established attitude of refusal; instead of a lie in the mind there is truth; instead of ignorance there is knowledge.
The delivered believer now has a deep longing for the deliverance of others he sees to be in the net of the fowler; acute insight into the devil's true character in his bitter enmity to Christ and His redeemed; past perplexities in spiritual experiences are now clearly understood, and the Adversary detected where it was little thought he had a place; the undeceived one now seeing with astonishment the "naturalness" of his supernatural workings. This man is never off guard now, but always alert, watching against the powers of darkness, whilst relying upon the strength of God, and there is a manifest development of resisting power against the wicked spirits attacking him in the heavenly places, instead of the weak and passive attitude of the past, which enabled them to hinder or mislead him.
The steps to deliverance which have been given, deal with the PRACTICAL ASPECT OF THE BELIEVER'S ACTIONS. On the Divine side, the victory has been won, and Satan and his deceiving spirits have been conquered, but the actual liberation of the believer demands his ACTIVE COOPERATION WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, and the steady exercise of his volition, choosing freedom instead of bondage, and the normal use of every faculty of his being, set at liberty from the bondage of the enemy.
"He that doeth the truth cometh to the light" (John 3: 21) said the Lord. Evil spirits hate scrutiny, and so work under cover with deception and lies. The believer must come to the light of God for His light upon all spiritual experiences, as well as all other departments of the life, if he is to "cast off the works of darkness" (Rom. 13: 12) and put on the armour of God- -the armour of light.
The Blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin, if we walk in the light; but the light must shine in for the soul to walk in it. The evil spirits can be cast out in the Name of the Lord Jesus, but the GROUND THEY HAVE GAINED CAN ONLY BE REMOVED BY THE INTELLIGENT CHOICE OF THE WILL REFUSING the ground given to them, and appropriating the deliverance by death with Christ on Calvary.