Spirit & Truth # 191
By Rev. Greg Smith
Years ago, one of my children had an imaginary friend. Most children have one at some point, but this friend, whom she called Anxiax, did more than simply play invisible ponies. We began to worry about our three-year-old’s imaginary friend when she described in vivid detail all the ways he told her that she could murder her parents. One night when I was praying over my sleeping little girl, the Lord revealed to me that Anxiax was no imaginary friend. He was nothing less than a demon that had been plaguing my child. I prayed for her, claimed authority over the demon through Jesus’ name, and cast it out. With a flutter, it left the room. I began to sing praises to God, and immediately the room was filled with a presence of light and peace. How do I know this wasn’t just my imagination? After that night, my three-year-old never mentioned Anxiax again.
Sometimes Satan comes at God’s people with overt attacks like this one. In Matthew 8:28-34, Jesus came into direct confrontation with demons outside the town of Gadara. Jesus did not argue or debate with them. He did not give them time to make a case for their right to possess the terrified demoniacs. In this encounter, Matthew only records one word that Jesus spoke. He told them, “Go!” From time to time, life puts us face to face with pure evil, an overt manifestation of the devil’s intentions. When you see obvious evil, it’s not hard to identify it as such. In Luke 10:18-20, Jesus gave his followers authority over demons. All you need to do is claim that authority and put a stop to the works of the devil.
Frequently the attacks are less overt. Often the enemy of your soul will come against you in more subtle ways. In Matthew 8:23-27, the devil tried to catch Jesus while He was sleeping. Just as he tried to take Jesus’ life before the appointed time by manipulating King Herod’s attack on the children of Bethlehem, Satan had also tried to preempt the atonement by prompting the crowds to attempt to stone Jesus. Here again, the devil inspired the wind and waves to misbehave and make an attempt on Jesus’ life. How can I say that this storm was demonically inspired? Jesus rebuked them. You don’t rebuke something that’s inanimate, that has no capacity to understand and obey. When he rebuked the storm, it obeyed his command. This shows that there had been a spirit behind the storm. Here’s where we need discernment, not only to identify the overt onslaughts of the enemy, but to see the more subtle attacks for what they actually are.
Whether we encounter direct and overt evil, or whether we face the more understated schemes of the deceiver, the Christian needs to remember his authority. By the power of Jesus’ name, speak to the wind and the waves, and command them to be still. Speak to the tumult in your life, and don’t allow it to have power over you. Jesus said to his disciples, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Don’t be afraid to face the enemy. Instead, have faith. Remember your rights as a Christian. Remember your authority, and claim your power. Don’t forget that Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).”