Demonic oppression is an issue that many individuals face – whether they are a Christian, a religious person of any faith or someone who doesn’t ascribe to any particular religious teaching at all. Demonic harassment is common to man. This harassment may be in the form of being influenced by the demonic realm or it may be through the act of oppression by demonic forces.
Our viewpoint will be that of oppression rather than the lesser form of influence. It is important for us to realize that spiritual bondage (demonic oppression) can and is often brought upon us by our own actions or inaction. By this I mean that on occasion we may have opened a doorway to demonic influence and oppression by engaging in occult activity or harboring personal sin. Oppression can overtake us as a result of our inaction. We can leave ourselves unprotected spiritually by not remaining in close relationship with our Savior and Lord through prayer and applying his word in our lives. In other words, we have become less vigilant in our pursuit of God and deepening our relationship with the One who secured our redemption.
If we are to reclaim our relationship with God and restore a biblical foundation for our lives we must first, confess any personal sin we may have burdened ourselves with and repent of each violation so we may experience God’s restoration. This step is of paramount importance if we are to regain our proper place as an heir with Christ.
The sin of unforgiveness may be in our life and as a result we greatly limit God’s ability to act on our behalf (2 Corinthians 2:9-11). We may have become disobedient to God and His Word. We may have become rebellious (1 Samuel 15:23) in our attitude and allowed the enemy to gain a foothold in our lives. We may have unresolved anger and bitterness (Ephesians 4:26-27). These sins of the flesh strip us of God’s protection leaving us in a state of spiritual vulnerability. In order for us to experience God’s protection we must renew our commitment to Him.
This process allows us to be free of anything that would hinder God’s work in our lives. Our goal is to arrive at a place where the enemy does not have an opportunity to gain an advantage over us. In short, we offer him no opportunity to have a foothold in our lives. He is rendered ineffectual and can no longer defeat us spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, or physically. We have denied him access to our lives in each of these areas. Now – this does not mean that he will not attempt to subvert or oppress us and cause us to doubt our relationship with our Savior or to cause us pain in any of these areas of our lives. He will not likely give up easily, but if we remain faithful and in relationship with our Father the enemy will ultimately be defeated. We have that promise in Revelation 20:2-3, 10.
Satan and his demonic hosts are rendered ineffectual when we receive Christ as our Savior and embrace His work on the cross for our redemption. His shed blood on our behalf is further evidence that we are no longer under the penalty of sin and separation. By accepting Jesus’ gift of salvation we are no longer under condemnation, but we are made new in Christ and set free to live without the bonds of sin. As we fully experience the freedom that only Jesus can provide, we are no longer captives of sin and the law (Romans 6:5-10, 14; 7:4-6; Colossians 2:15). Therefore, Satan and his demonic hosts have no power in our lives because we are free of sin and the damning aspect of the law. Jesus has set us free indeed!
Our ability to overcome the enemy is tethered to the realization that we operate in our rightful position in Christ. We must recognize that we have been purchased by Jesus’ submission to the Father and His work on the cross for our redemption. This act – the shedding of Jesus’ blood – not only redeems us, but it brings us into right relationship with the father. We are now His and the enemy cannot snatch us from God’s hand (John 10:27-29). As believers in Christ we are under the Father’s protection and our safety comes when we operate in the Truth of His Word.
Our rightful position in Christ affords us these blessings:
- We are beyond condemnation (Romans 8:1)
- We are delivered from the law of sin (Romans 7:6)
- We are near to God (Ephesians 2:13)
- We are delivered from the power of evil (Colossians 1:13)
- We are a member of His Kingdom (Colossians 1:13)
- We are justified (Romans 5:1)
- We are perfect (Hebrews 10:14)
- We have been adopted (Romans 8:15)
- We have access to God at any moment (Ephesians 2:18)
- We are part of His priesthood (1 Peter 2:5)
- We will never be abandoned (Hebrews 13:5)
- We have an inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)
- We are a member of His body (1 Corinthians 12:13)
- We possess every spiritual blessing possible (Ephesians 1:3)
These scriptures form the foundation for our authority over the enemy (Satan and his hosts). Matthew 28:18 tells us that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore He alone is able to commission others with authority to do His Father’s will. Luke 9:1 is particularly instructive to our understanding of this truth in that it offers us insight into Jesus’ dispensing of His authority. He (Jesus) called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to cure diseases. Since Jesus is the only one who has the authority, He is the only one who can truly give it to another – the disciples in this case, and to us in the broader sense that we are now His disciples for this age.
The basis for our authority lies in the fact that we are in Christ and we have been redeemed by His work on the cross. Therefore we have a legal basis for our authority – authority in Christ is our legal right. Jesus said, Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you (Luke 10:19). We have authority in Christ and He is praying for us to be effective disciples (John 17:8-11, 20).
By submitting ourselves to God and exercising our authority in the name of Jesus we are more powerful than the enemy. 1 John 4:4 tells us that He (Jesus) who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. This realization is foundational to our ability to exercise authority over the enemy and experience God’s freedom.
Operating in Faith
Our faith is essential to our being able to stand against the workings of the enemy. God’s Word states that our faith is strengthened by hearing (understanding and applying) its teachings and allowing those precepts to become grounded in our lives (Romans 10:17). Hebrews 11:6 states, And without faith it is impossible to please Him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
If we exercise our faith in Christ and humbly ask His help, He will hear our plea and act on our behalf. God rewards us with His response to our need when we seek Him and ask for His intervention. Faith is a spiritual force. Faith in God is our response to God's Word which moves Him to act.
Through faith we can know we have the answer to our prayer before we see anything change in the natural order (1 John 5:14, 15). Jesus said, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mk 11:24). God expects us, even commands us, to believe that our petitions are answered by God at the moment we make them. His answer may be yes, no, or wait – that is, we need to wait upon Him and His timing or the likelihood we need to undergo some spiritual house-cleaning of our own before He acts. When we pray in faith according to His Word He is moved to act and deliver us from spiritual bondage.
Binding Our Oppressor – the Strong Man
Our authority is given through Christ. We must be in relationship with Him before we can expect to reap the freedom from oppression that we so desire. We must remember that it is Jesus who is binding the strong man, Satan, and plundering his house. It is not of our doing – we are the conduit for Jesus to do His work in our lives.
Jesus shows He has the power and the authority to do just that. Jesus came with the authority of heaven to defeat and destroy the works of Satan, and to rescue valuable things--people--from the strong man’s house. If we are to become totally free from spiritual oppression we must attack its source. We speak with the authority rightly given us by Jesus to bind the strong man and plunder his house – to restore our liberty in Christ and retake the land (2 Chron. 7:14) previously taken by the enemy. Our methodology in securing this freedom is through prayer and praise.
Prayer – Praise
Prayer is vital for our deliverance form the evil one. It must be consistent, intense, and strategic. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 exhorts us to pray without ceasing – to pray constantly. We are to remain in a constant, consistent, state of prayer. Prayer can be a strong tower for those in spiritual upheaval (Luke 22:31-32).
Our prayer is to be intense. We must remain vigilant (1 Peter 5:8). Guarding our heart is another aspect of remaining pure and realizing God’s grace flowing through us (Proverbs 4:23). Luke 18:1-8 gives us an illustration regarding our need to persevere in prayer – to not give up. To increase our intensity, to not loose heart!
Strategy is a must when one faces the enemy. Our prayers need to employ sound strategy if we are to overcome the evil one. Strategic prayer is to faithfully align oneself under His authority to speak and to do His will. Strategic prayer is essential prayer that is necessary to conduct war, accomplish an objective, and destroy the enemy and his devices.
Another key element to obtain our victory over the enemy is praise. The scriptures tell us that God inhabits the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3). We cannot get any closer to God than when we praise Him! In other words, God “dwells” in the atmosphere of His praise. When genuine authentic praise is offered to God, Satan’s oppressive wiles are rendered ineffective. Praise is an expression of faith, and a declaration of victory! It declares that we believe God is with us and is in control of the outcome of all our circumstances (Romans 8:28). When we praise God and His glorious attributes the enemy flees. Praise is the ultimate act of resistance (James 4:7).
There are numerous scriptures that we can effectively use to defeat the oppression of the enemy. We have mentioned several already. Ephesians 6:10-20 is often used to prepare the field of battle between the believer and Satan. Utilizing the armor of God is primary to our being able to defeat our enemy and his demonic hordes. We must recognize that we are in a spiritual battle for our eternal future and our only hope is God and His saving grace exemplified through Jesus Christ. We have no power or ability of our own to nullify the actions of the enemy – we are totally dependent on God and the authority given us through Christ. It is only through the Name of Jesus that we have victory! Not in our own personal power/authority, but through Jesus and Him alone.
God has made provision for us to battle the enemy by providing us with the needed armament to defeat our foe. Ephesians 6:14-18 mentions the weaponry, both offensive and defensive, to defeat the demonic realm. We are to gird our loins with God’s Truth (v.14) and put on the breastplate of righteousness. We are to shod (to prepare) our feet with the Gospel. In other words, we are to (prepare) “put ourselves in readiness, to get ready, to make ready beforehand for a specific purpose – that is to share the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus has paid it all (v.15). These provisions thus far are offensive in nature. The shield of faith (v. 16) with which we quench the enemy’s fiery darts is defensive in nature – whereas, the helmet of salvation (v.17) and the sword of the Spirit are used offensively and defensively. Verse 18 says we are to pray at all times in the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Prayer is, in my view, the most potent of all our weaponry. It is often overlooked when we mention our armament, but God has made it essential for our deliverance. We are to intercede for the saints – our brethren – so they might be bold in presenting the Gospel.
Our presentation of the Gospel is often accompanied by sharing our personal testimony of how God has brought us to salvation. Revelation 12:11 tells us that we can effectively defeat our enemy by sharing our testimony with others. They have conquered him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony . . . We cannot underestimate the power released by sharing our testimony in conjunction with the Gospel. When they are used together God can affect His purposes for our good.
Luke 4:18 tells where Jesus opened the scriptures and read; The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives . . . to set at liberty those who are oppressed. Jesus came to set us free and release us from bondage (oppression). It is by His authority that we have the capability to do likewise. It is through His favor and authority that we are commissioned to set the captive free and reign in victory (John 8:36).
God has given us His Word to perfect us and provide us with a guide to live abundantly. He has also provided us with the ability to seek Him in prayer so we might remain in relationship with Him. Our boldness is founded in Christ Jesus; it is not of ourselves, but in Him alone. We must speak God’s Truth and pray for our release with confidence in the One who came to deliver us from the bonds of oppression (Acts 10:38).
Our victory comes from God and His work in our lives through His Spirit. We must walk in total obedience to His will and fortify our lives by putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20). Satan does not have authority over the believer in Christ when we live in obedience to our God. He is limited! 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 encourages us in the fight, For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ . . .
May God be ever present with you and deliver you from the spiritual bondage of the enemy. Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14a).