How do we discern the effects of witchcraft? We must not be oblivious to the schemes of Satan, assuming that the practice of witchcraft is only used among primitive peoples in far away places. Paul confirms in Ephesians 6:12 the need for us to be proactive in our fight with forces of darkness. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Therefore, let's examine some of the characteristic symptoms that occur when a spiritual battle like witchcraft affects a Christian or a church.
1. When a Christian is under an assault of witchcraft and curses, he becomes increasingly disoriented or confused; he might even become clumsy. Satan wants to cloud his vision, thus stopping him from reaching his destiny in God. Thus, the individual under attack cannot connect with his spiritual vision; his motivation is either gone or lacking.
2. When one is targeted by curses, he will feel emotionally drained or debilitated. Those who have been the object of spiritual curses will carry a darkness, a cloud, in their countenance. The back of their neck is tight; a band of oppression around their head manifests as a headache. The person might assume he is sick, but it is not the flu. It is witchcraft.
3. Often, the curses released from witchcraft will arouse a number of inordinate fears which will plague the mind. The theater of the individual's imagination will be targeted: At center stage, grotesque images will flash. The individual will be further drained by lack of deep or restful sleep.
4. When curses are aimed at a congregation, inter-church relationships will experience constant problems, distracting the body of Christ from its primary focus and calling. Irritation levels will be high; patience will be low.
People will be more likely to complain about one another. Gossip and backbiting will increase proportionately. Rebellion against church leaders will seem justified and the temptation to withdraw from fellowship will be strong.
It is vital to note that any or all of these symptoms may be evident and the cause may not be witchcraft. However, once we ascertain that we are truly fighting a spiritual enemy, victory is near.
Putting On Christ
To win this battle, we must understand why the Lord allows evil in the first place. From the beginning, God's plan has been to create man in His image. To facilitate His eternal purpose, the Lord accommodates evil to bring forth godly character in us.
In other words, we would never ascend to the heights of Christlike love, which loves even one's adversary, without there being actual enemies to perfect our love.
God cannot establish within us a pure heart and a steadfast spirit without allowing genuine temptations and actual obstacles that must be overcome. The reason the Lord even tolerates evil in the world is to produce a righteousness within us that not only withstands the assault of evil but grows stronger and brighter in the midst of it.
Therefore, to deal with witchcraft, we must understand that the Lord's primary objective is not the removal of wickedness from society, but the transformation of our hearts to Christlikeness.
Let's look again at the symptoms that accompany the assault of witchcraft and apply the principle of transformation.
1. How do we break the effect of curses and confusion that blocks our vision?
We bless those who curse us. Even if we do not know specifically who is directing a curse toward us, we pray a blessing on them. In other words, we ask God to bless them with the same blessing we have experienced in our repentance and coming to Christ. We bless and curse not.
This is vital. Too many Christians become bitter and angry in the conflict. If we descend into hatefulness, we have already lost the battle against witchcraft. We must cooperate with God in turning what was meant for evil into a greater good within us. This is why we bless those who would curse us: It is not only for their sakes but to preserve our own soul from its natural response toward hatred.
While silent prayer is certainly an acceptable form of communication with God, it is our experience that audible prayer is both more forceful and effective with regard to spiritual warfare. A typical example of a prayer against witchcraft and curses would be the following:
Heavenly Father, You know the battle which is coming against me/us. I pray that You would forgive those who are serving the devil. Lord, I know You said that those who bless us, You would bless, and those who curse us, You would curse. Yet, Father, these people are already under Your curse.
Therefore, I pray that You would pour out Your redemptive blessings-those very blessings which shatter darkness with light, that overcome evil with good, that bring hope to the hopeless and life to the dead. And I ask these things, Heavenly Father, that You might fulfill the redemptive purposes You revealed in Your Son, Jesus Christ, and satisfy the longing of Your heart. Amen.
2. How do we throw off the power of debilitation and oppression?
We put on the mantle of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
The church is, by biblical definition, the house of the Lord, the temple of God. The purpose of the temple was not to "house" God, for even the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. The temple was created to offer worship to the Almighty and to provide a place of access for us in God's habitation. Thus, the Holy Spirit unites us so that we can provide a living temple where we offer continual worship to God. The battle against us seeks to keep us from that purpose.
If you are under an assault of witchcraft, begin to listen to praise tapes in your home or car. Sing along with them, letting your heart reach to the Lord. Build a buffer of worship around your soul. Become thankful for all that God has given you. The Scripture says we "enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise" (Ps. 100:4).
3. How do we overcome fear?
The Scripture tells us that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a disciplined or sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).
Satan is a liar and the father of lies. The devil cannot tell the truth. No matter what Satan tells you, it is not the truth but a perversion of truth. Jesus also said that Satan is a murderer. Whenever we believe the devil instead of God, the quality of our life proportionally declines; something in us dies and it dies because we believed a lie. Therefore, we must stop listening to Satan and simply do what the Lord tells us to do.
You ask, "But what if I get hurt?" Being a Christian is not a guarantee that we will not be hurt. Peter tells us, "Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose" (1 Peter 4:1). It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world; it is quite another to hear Him tell us, "Come, follow Me" (Luke 18:22). The fears that bind us are often the result of the wavering, unresolved condition of our will. Once we decide to truly follow Christ, the bondage of fear can be overcome.
Where then, you ask, is the divine antidote or the place of immunity? The Lord never promised us immunity from pain. There will be times when we hurt. Yet, through the love of Christ our inner person will not be injured. Jesus said we would be "delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all on account of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish" (Luke 21:16-18).
God's promise is not to keep us from conflict, but to be with us in conflict. Though we are put to death, every part of our lives shall experience resurrection: "not a hair . . . will perish." Indeed, part of our weaponry against the threats of Satan is our knowledge that death cannot hold us. The devil cannot torment us with the fear of dying if we know that death is but a meeting with God and our departure from earth is but an arrival in heaven.
Let us once again pray: Lord God, forgive me for my fears. I confess that I have been seeking to save my life when You, in fact, have called me to lose it for Your sake. By the power of Your Spirit, I renounce fear. God has not given me a spirit of fear! Father, I submit to the vision and courage of Your Son, Jesus, that I might live in accordance with Your will no matter what the cost.
I also pray for others in the body of Christ who might be struggling against inordinate fears and frightening imaginations. In the name of Jesus, I bind the spirit of fear and I pray that, according to Your promise, You will deliver Your people from all their fears. In Jesus' name. Amen.
4. To end the assault against the congregation- the constant irritations, division and strife among brethren-we must expose the work of the devil. Thousands of churches have gained the upper hand in their battle against darkness by simply recognizing that people are not our real enemy; the devil is. Fathers, mothers, pastors, intercessors and Christian workers of all kinds must possess this basic knowledge of spiritual warfare and the willingness to exercise authority.
When the enemy seeks to bring us to a place of contention or division with one or more people, we must discern this satanic activity as a plot to keep us all from a blessing that God intended for us. Thus, we must turn quickly to intercession for that person or church.
This prayer posture must expand beyond our immediate church relationships into the citywide body of Christ. We are our brother's keeper. We must recognize, if we are to be effective in resisting the enemy, the church will have to become a house of prayer.
Lord, we ask You to grant us the gift of discernment. Forgive us for judging one another and for failing to see the work of the enemy who seeks to divide us. Father, we submit to the mind of Christ, we ask for His perception, that we would have insight into what You are doing in the church.
Lord, we also ask for boldness to defend one another from the voice of accusation and suspicion. Help us, Lord, to pray when we hear a rumor, to stand in the gap when we see a fault, to become a house of prayer for the church in this city. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Re-printed from www.frangipane.org. Used by permission.