There are a number of Christian authors who came into Christianity from atheism or agnosticism, as they sought to study the Holy Bible in an attempt to prove it wrong, and Christianity as false. As I recall, C.S. Lewis was one as is Josh McDowell (please kindly correct me if these name are wrong). As they willingly studied the Bible, they became convicted of the truth of the Bible and of the life and Godhood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The same is true for my wife, who attended Church for weddings, funeral and to keep people happy, but when she offered to accompany and willingly attend with me, she found each messages speaking to her and she soon accepted Christ as her Lord and Saviour as Jesus revealed Himself to her during a service closing prayer.
When we willingly submit, we open ourselves to the influences of the relevant spiritual authorities. Christians need to be aware that if we begin to study the enemy, we too can be led to that side, and Satan, master deceiver and father of all lies (John 8:44), knows he does not need to get us with both feet in his territory, to claim us as his. After all, he knows what the Lord requires of us:
“‘… you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength….” (Mark 12:30).
“…. For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve'” (Luke 4:8).
“Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life'” (John 8:12)
No, to win, Satan does not need to win us over 100%, he only needs to sow the seeds of doubt, and when that doubt take root, when we take the doubt into our heart, we are lost. Jesus warned his disciples of the problem of doubt saying:
“….’Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen'” (Matthew 21:21).
“‘ Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him’“ (Mark 11:23).
Doubt, cancels faith. With doubt in our minds and hearts, we render ourselves impotent against the enemy, and we are defeated. Jude 1:20-23 tell us how we ought to live, and especially gives guidance on those who doubt – we are to have mercy on them. Why? Because they are incapable of saving themselves.
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 1:20-23).
For many years I underwent regular deliverance sessions and after one session I decided I needed to know my enemy. I recognised that I was at war, but unlike a trained soldier, I had no idea what my enemy looked like! As my deliverance leader owned a Christian bookshop, I went to her and told her what I wanted, and left with a copy of each book on deliverance she had. As I talked with her, I made it very clear that all the books needed to be Christian and focussed on the Deliverance Ministry. I did not want to read any books about the enemy only, just about how to overcome him and recognise him. This turned out to be the right way to do it.
Sometime later after reading all the books, I told her I wanted to pray deliverance prayers regularly, so as to keep myself “clean.” When I said this, I got a big, No! Doing that, making a special regular prayer session just on deliverance, was like having a service just for the enemy! The enemy desperately wants attention and my good idea was going to give them precisely that! Instead, she recommended that we occasionally attach deliverance prayers to our normal prayers, as and when led. That way, our focus is on God 100% all the time. You see how easy it is for the enemy to deceive us into doing something which seems good and proper, but gives the glory to the enemy, rather than God? That is how subtle deception is, and can be.
For a Christian simply to willingly study the enemy, as the enemy, is to lose and give them the attention they so seek. Studying them as a soldier, simply to be able to recognise them is different, but it must only be from recognised and authoritative Christian sources. Even so, Paul warns about this in Second Corinthians 3:18, for the enemy knows that we will become that which we focussed upon, be that good, or evil:
“But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord Spirit.”
What Paul is telling us here is that if we behold evil, then evil will eventually have dominion and control over us as we change to be like the evil we behold. But is we look to the Lord and behold His Glory, then surely we will be changed into His image.
In essence, the only way a Christian can be defeated is by our ignorance or complacency – i.e. we don’t ever think it can happen to us. It can, and it does and the churches are full of those who have fallen under demonic bondage and sit in ignorance of their fatal condition.
The demonic “religious” spirit, when operating in churches, can have disastrous consequences, especially when linked with the controlling sprits of Jezebel and Ahab, who conquer by fear. What often seems to be good and proper “religious” idea, is just sugar and bible coated deception, aimed to divide the church, and overcome Godly leaders. Similarly, what is known as Charismatic witchcraft, (which has nothing to do with the Christian Charismatic Movement), is based on dreams and vision and false prophecies – all from demonic spirits. When this takes hold in a church, anyone who opposes them is attacked for being non-Christian and non-biblical and they are crushed and forced out.
In Matthew 16:19 Jesus said to His disciples, and to us as His spiritual followers, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” What we need to understand here is that under the influence of the enemy, deceived Christians can start praying against their leaders and against their Church, binding and loosing that which ought not to be so, and is against God’s plans. If intercession prayer is based on demonic or demonically influenced manipulation and control, the effects are akin to witchcraft and black magic, yet are executed from inside the church, possibly with full church approval and sanction.
This is how deception works, subtly. As Satan said to Eve, “Woman, did God really tell you that you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). First sow the doubt… did God really tell you??
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 tell us that “the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ..” but if we are ignorant of the supernatural and our spiritual gifts, we will be contaminated by the enemy and overcome. 1 Corinthians 14:1 urges us to “ … desire spiritual things, but rather that you may prophesy” something which many Christians even today, just cannot accept as biblical, for yes it does say ” desire spiritual things….. that you may prophesy.” Why? Because, as John 4:24 clearly says “God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” If Christians we have no spiritual gifts, how can they worship Him in “spirit” and ‘truth”?
Yes, as contamination has set in, many in the church have even set themselves up as self appointed “cult watchers”, effectively becoming fault-finders who have made it their sworn duty and responsibility to ensure that nothing cultish or demonic ever enter their church; and they are willing to pull down any perceived enemy with lies, gossip, slander, manipulation, criticism, judgementalism, coercion and any and all other satanic and demonic means at their disposal.
Be warned and do not study the darkness. A Christian’s role is only associated with the light and with developing a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Christianity is relational and our relationship is to be with Jesus. As soon as light arrives, darkness leaves. In essence, the definition of darkness is the absence of light.
I have been given some good and timely advice over the years which I enormously appreciate. I pray you can benefit from mine, for the sake of His Kingdom. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.