You’re in the Army Now.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”                         Luke 10:19

A woman at our church was telling me about some tragic circumstances in her family, and the family members that didn’t have the benefit of the faith that was sustaining her. As two other women came up, she asked for prayer, as she would soon be joining her family for a few days. Rather than say, I suggested we all pray together on the spot, not only because there’s power in agreement, but because when I say “I’ll be praying for you,” I often forget or get sidetracked.

We joined hands and prayed that our sister would be strengthened, for God’s angels to surround her on her travels, that those needing God would be drawn to her, and that the LORD would guide conversations, giving her the right words to say. As I thought of the spiritual vulnerability of her unbelieving relatives, I asked the LORD to bind every demon away from the family.

After we had prayed and exchanged hugs, one of the other women took me aside and said sternly, “We are not allowed to bind demons here.”

I’m afraid I gave her a blank look. Not just because I hadn’t “bound demons,” (I had asked the LORD to.) but also because I had never sensed from the preaching there that we aren’t to engage in spiritual warfare.*

As I was processing what she had said, she continued, “If you read the gospels, you will see that they are very clear about that.” Again, stunned silence. I had been “reading the gospels” for over fifty years, and had seen otherwise.

“That’s a charismatic doctrine,” she concluded, as if that were the final nail in the coffin.

She spoke with such an air of authority that I simply said, “Well, I’ve come to a different conclusion, so I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.” (See “Mud Wrestling,” June 15, 2018.) This time she was the one at a loss for words, and as the conversation was fizzling, I smiled, said “Have a good day,” and walked away.

This wasn’t the first time someone has said to me, “Scripture clearly tells us…” and gone on to state an opinion that contradicts what I know is biblical. Sometimes the subject is not worth arguing about. But since I consider spiritual warfare of major importance, especially in these times, I think it’s worth while to examine what Scripture does tell us on the subject. When confronted with the enemy of our souls, should we roll over and play dead, or do we fight back? – More importantly, are we able to fight back and win?

In our own power, absolutely not. But when the One with the power over death and hell is backing us up, we have no reason to be intimidated.

So, how much authority are we talking about?  According to Matthew 28:19 Jesus told His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” [emphasis mine] I’m sure that comes as no surprise to most of you. But has He shared that authority with His followers?

When Jesus sent the Twelve out to preach the kingdom, He gave them authority to drive out demons. (Matthew 10:1, Mark 6:7, Luke 9:1) In case we begin to think that those twelve were the only ones Jesus gave that authority to, there’s another account in Luke 10, where at least once He sent out seventy others (some translations say seventy-two). They were all given authority over the enemy, as well.

“The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.'” (Luke 10:17)

Their statement is backed up by the words of Jesus Himself.

“He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the demons are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.'” (Luke 10:18-20)

Please note: That last statement does not negate our authority as believers, it is a statement of priorities. Too many people get so excited about fighting demons that they get out of balance and lose sight of the fact that salvation and the promise of eternal life is by far the greatest blessing. I suspect that these fanatics are a major reason some believers back away from spiritual warfare altogether.

I have yet to find a Scripture saying that the original believers were the only ones endowed with Jesus’ authority. On the contrary, I see in the Great Commission that all of His teachings extend to believers everywhere, and in every era:

“Then Jesus came to [the Eleven] and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. [emphasis mine] And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Everything. Jesus didn’t add,  “… except for that thing about demons, they won’t be able to do that stuff.”

If we obey everything that Jesus commanded, we have no scriptural reason to doubt that we can resist demons. The danger comes when in some way (such as pride or disobedience) we forget our dependence on Him and step out from under His authority.

If we do that, all bets are off. [Acts 19:13-17]

Prayer: LORD, what a blessing to know that You are for us, not against us! Help us to remain in You, so that nothing will hinder You from using us in any way You desire. In Jesus’ name, amen.

* I spoke about this with my Sunday school teacher after class. He said that if any of the pastors had heard me pray that day, none of them would have batted an eye. So apparently the woman was misinformed.

 

37 thoughts on “You’re in the Army Now.

  1. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil. Yes- we can fight or resist Satan only in Gods strength.
    I hope that other lady would be at least curious as to why you disagreed with her and seek to know the truth about this. Reminds me that we have to be clear and thorough with what scripture says and that can only happen if we spend time with our Bible. Good on you for standing up.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. If I’ve heard Luke 10:18-20 before, I certainly don’t recall the power I felt in my spirit when I read it just now. It’s so easy to focus on Christ’s love and sacrifice that I sometimes forget the mighty victor he is! This offers a lot to meditate on. Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m SO glad God gave you that Scripture. Yes, we do focus on His love and sacrifice – so our names could be written in the Book of Life, as Jesus said was most important – but we need to know the victory He gives us, too, lest Satan intimidate us and render us ineffective.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Hi Anne, I hear the term “that isn’t scriptural” being used quite often but very seldom with the supporting scriptures being provided. And even if the alleged supporting scriptures are provided, are they truly in the proper context and applicable to the Church etc, are not always so easily ascertained. Personally, I think you handled that quite well. Requesting a followup sermon or teachings on the subject might be beneficial. Grace and blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like your suggestion, Bruce, but I’m pretty sure all the sermons and Sunday school lessons are on specific books of the Bible, taken one chapter a week, in order. So, I guess we’ll come to those passages at one time or another. I might mention it to the leadership, anyway. Thanks for your encouragement.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Actually, I am very disappointed with the Sunday School teacher here – this woman must not only be corrected regarding the nonsense she believes (and she has most likely been fooled by the enemy – if she is not willingly and deliberately working for him!) but also must she be notified that she is not permitted to prevent sincere followers of JESUS from effectively assisting a sister in gaining a victory via spiritual warfare against the devil!!!

    It would have been a catastrophe had this wicked woman not come across a prayer warrior like you but if she had tried to manipulate or intimidate someone who’s spiritual foundation isn’t as strong as yours… well done for defending OUR LORD and telling her off!

    But the elders and the leadership of your church need to understand that they MUST take this seriously.
    This is an attempt to compromise, defile and infiltrate the church.
    That’s how it starts and the next thing is that the pastor or one of the leaders will be tempted to commit a sexual sin and if he should fall, this church will be rendered ineffective for quite some time and will be under secret, false rulership, considering that this Sunday School Teacher didn’t seem to see the need to take any action, it may already be so…!!?!

    The enemy is always using the same schemes and what happened with you is one of them.

    If you want my opinion, you need to watch this woman very closely and also need to be watchful and vigilant and very observant regarding what is going on in your church!

    Me, I would challenge them more than you did and would probably leave them if they didn’t put this severe error of doctrine right publicly… but as you know, I have because of my history absolute ZERO tolerance for satanic beliefs, methods or agents…

    Also, you personally will have to be careful, because if she truly is an agent, you will be attacked and then, you need to be in a church where they not only know the truth, but also how to help you!

    Thank you so much for sharing about this crucial topic and GOD bless you for what you have done for HIM in that situation, for your sister who needed the prayers and for spreading the truth by writing about it.

    I pray that HE will protect you from the fiery darts of the wicked and that HE may reward you abundantly for your work in his vineyard! In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your passionate response, Eva.
      Believe me, if this had been a Sunday school teacher, or someone with any kind of authority in the church, or if she had “corrected” me publicly, I would have taken a few more steps. But she is just a lady who attends, and I haven’t seen her at Sunday school or any of the women’s events. As I mentioned in my footnote, I did speak with one of the Sunday school teachers, who told me the pastor and elders would not have had any problem with what I prayed. As it was, the other woman praying with us was the pastor’s wife, and SHE didn’t try to “correct” me. Come to think of it, I’ve prayed that way on a Sunday evening at the prayer meeting in front of a couple hundred people, (after the pastor asked me to pray) and he didn’t have any complaints. I’m not at all worried about the church I’m going to now. I see the LORD’s hand in most everything that goes on here. But thanks again for your encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was saying that I wish the Sunday School Teacher had publicly corrected the lady who told you off/ or the error she was in… but hopefully, GOD or someone else will.
        So glad to read that the sister you prayed for appreciated it and keeps binding the devil with success.
        Hallelujah!!
        GOD is great and always wins against the enemy.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Oh, got it. Actually, the Sunday school teacher asked who it was, and I declined to say – didn’t want to be a tattle-tale. But now that I think about what you said – that she may discourage someone else in the future – maybe I will, so he can have a chat with her if the Lord leads. I’d hate to see confusion about such things muddy the waters. Thanks again, sister.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I appreciate (and share!) your attitude about not wanting to be a snitch, I feel the same way and I do my best not to gossip at all – recently, I refused to tell my manager who left our workplace early – and he was furious, but I think he also understood where I was coming from 😉
        But this is something else, at least do I think so, it is GOD who needs to be defended and a matter of HIS doctrine which needs to be put right…
        I am actually very pleased and relieved to hear that the Sunday School Teacher asked about who it was and this speaks for the leadership of the church, he or she seems to care enough not to let anyone run around and confuse the congregation and she surely should not!

        The instructions about this in Matthew 18 come to mind – after all, SHE offended YOU and tried to convince you of a heresy!

        Matthew 18: 15-17
        15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
        16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
        17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

        Anyhow, I am still proud of you and I am sure so is HE.

        GOD bless you!

        Liked by 2 people

    3. That Matthew 18 passage has always been so helpful. It was in the handbook of the Christian school where I used to serve on the board, and at another school where I taught. I’m afraid it wasn’t always adhered to, but at least people knew the principals and hopefully made an effort to apply them. I honestly believe the lady who called me aside was convinced in her own mind that she knew best, and I give her credit for “correcting” me privately.

      Like

      1. I can see how kind and compassionate and forgiving you are and how much thought you are putting into not hurting this lady.
        If you are right and she meant well (which I doubt!), wouldn’t it be the best for her if she had all the opportunities she could get to learn OUR FATHER’s truth?
        Me, I learned that HE never, ever wants me to give up or leave people alone when they are wrong.
        HE put many “hopeless cases” in my life and propels me to try to tell them the truth over and over and over again.
        I personally don’t think any of them will change a yota in their belief systems, but I am very sure that HE wants me to keep trying… only HE knows why.

        Even if it’s completely hopeless and she will never change her mind, at least you have done your best to try and show her the way home…
        ???
        Your call.
        Being polite and quiet does not always equal being kind.

        When it comes to affairs of the devil, you’ll have guessed that I personally am convinced that the entire church needs to speak up more and that everyone needs to do whatever they can to stop him.

        I will keep looking out for your posts, perhaps we will all soon read about your progress in evangelism within the church ☺️
        GOD bless you.
        GOD bless you!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I am that lady that Ann prayed for that day. When i met her for coffee weeks later, she asked me if i had been offended by her prayer. Absolutely not. I appreciated it so much because i knew what we would we face once we got to Chicago.
    Yesterday i had yet another family issue with my son. I did not hesitate to pray God bind and rebuke satan in Your name. Guess what ? He did.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. “We arent allowed to bind demons here” – this statement got me. What i just see to this is that whenever we are fighting spiritual warfare, we should always fight it with the mindset that we had already won the battle and we won by our testimonies and by his blood. whenever we fight we fight in victory.
    But according to the lady who said they dont bind demons, i think you really need to explain some things to her and not just leave her that way with that same mindset. Paul acknowledge our battles are not of the physical but of the spiritual which invloves the demons itself, principalities and powers, rulers of this world.
    And Jesus himself assured us of our victory saying whatever we bind on earth shall be bind in heaven while whatever we loose on earth will also be loose in heaven. Time doesnt permit me to write as much as i can but i believe this little piece of mine would go a long way.

    Thanks for this awesome post, seriously i love it. God bless.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful feedback. You are not the only one who felt that I should have taken a little more time to try to point her in the right direction. You could be right. I was trying to avoid getting into a pointless argument with her (see my piece, “Mud Wrestling” https://wordpress.com/post/seekingdivineperspective.com/114 ), but in this instance I might have discussed it a little more before concluding that she’s not going to change her mind. Now that I have talked to someone in authority and know that the church stands with me on this, I will go ahead and (prayerfully) speak to her.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. powerful stuff Ann and I might add one of the most fun verses to preach. “I saw Satan fall like Lightning! We can hit you can point at the ground and make noises. You joke about their being two hits. God hitting Lucifer and Satan hitting the ground. Anyway. Powerful and important, God redeemed us and gave us authority!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Excellent post! You remind me of my wife who is the greatest prayer warrior I know, and helped sustain me in many times of discouragement as a pastor. It sounds like you are in a good and Christ-honoring fellowship and I pray it grows mightily and continues to be blessed in His Holy Name. Keep on keeping on with the power of the Holy Spirit among you all. Blessings to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Church has become such a show that most church people don’t know what church really is anymore!

    The book of Acts has no Amen at the end of it…..

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great Post. I like this part: “In our own power, absolutely not. But when the One with the power over death and hell is backing us up, we have no reason to be intimidated.”

    Liked by 1 person

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