Spiritual Discernment & Deliverance
By Renee Handtke
Have you had a nightmare that woke you up and you knew something evil was present? Ever been been gripped by a paralyzing fear? Has there been times where your mind was suddenly bombarded with thoughts like, “you are going to . . . get in a car accident . . . . be attacked . . . become sick . . . lose your job . . . have no money. . . or. . . overwhelmed by a bad relationship?” When this happens, what in the world is going on? This simply doesn’t make logical sense! It’s absurd!
But, is it?
There is an unseen spiritual fight that strikes against us. Maybe you are familiar with the term “spiritual warfare” or you are coming to the realization of this. Either way, we need to be aware of the devil’s schemes. Not ignorant of Satan’s devices but aggressively standing firm in God’s truth to engage in this unseen spiritual fight effectively.
What I love about the Bible is that there are numerous stories revealing what is taking place in the realm of the spirit. God has made sure we would have the tools necessary to engage this demonic force without fear or failure.
Why did Jesus appear? What was His mission?
You may be thinking, “He came to save the lost.” Or, “He redeems the sinner.” True, but consider this
. . .The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3:8
What keeps people in bondage had to be destroyed. The destruction of this demonic grip is a fundamental part of what Jesus came to do and has instructed us to do as well. Because of this, spiritual warfare that delivers people and gives them such freedom, will always contribute to the undoing of Satan’s demonic rule.
We win, the devil loses!!!
The question then becomes, “how do I fight against these nightmares, fears, attacks, or thoughts that bombard my mind?” Every time we worship, pray, intercede, or teach, we are undoing the lies of our enemy and establishing the truth that Jesus rules supremely.
God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. 2 Tim 1:7
Here are a few practical ways to do this. As we study the Gospels, we can observe how evil spirits can be forced to leave:
1. By the command of faith (Mk 1:25; 9:25)
- Jesus (rebuking him): Be quiet, and come out of him now!
- Jesus noticed that a crowd had gathered around them now. He issued a command to the unclean spirit. Jesus: Listen up, you no-talking, no-hearing demon. I Myself am ordering you to come out of him now. Come out, and don’t ever come back.
2. Laying on of hands (Lk 4:40-41)
- By this time, it’s just before nightfall, and as the sun sets, groups of families, friends, and bystanders come until a huge crowd has gathered. Each group has brought along family members or friends who are sick with any number of diseases. One by one, Jesus lays His hands on them and heals them. On several occasions, demonic spirits are expelled from these people, after shouting at Jesus, “You are the Son of God!” Jesus always rebukes them and tells them to be quiet. They know He is the Anointed One, but He doesn’t want to be acclaimed in this way.
3. Anointing with oil (Mk 6:12-13)
- And so His disciples went out into the countryside, preaching the changed life as Jesus had taught them, casting out unclean spirits and anointing the sick with oil to heal them
4. By exposure to Jesus’ authority (Mk 5:6-7; 9:20)
- When this man saw Jesus coming in the distance, he ran to Him and fell to his knees in front of Him. Jesus started commanding the unclean spirit. Jesus: Come out of that man, you wicked spirit! Unclean Spirit (shouting): What’s this all about, Jesus, Son of the Most High? In the name of God, I beg You—don’t torture me!
- They brought the boy toward Jesus; but as soon as He drew near, the spirit took control of the boy and threw him on the ground, where he rolled, foaming at the mouth.
5. Through a verbal expression of faith (Mt 15:28; Mk 7:29)
- Jesus—whose ancestors included Ruth and Rahab—spoke with kindness and insight. Jesus: Woman, you have great faith. And your request is done. And her daughter was healed, right then and from then on.
- Jesus (smiling and nodding): This is a wise saying. Go back home. Your daughter is free of the spirit that troubled her.
6. Prayer and fasting (Mt 17:19-21)
- Later, when they were away from the crowds, the disciples asked Jesus why they hadn’t been able to drive out the demon themselves. Jesus: Because you have so little faith. I tell you this: if you had even a faint spark of faith, even faith as tiny as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and because of your faith, the mountain would move. If you had just a sliver of faith, you
would find nothing impossible. But this kind is not realized except through much prayer and fasting.
In order to help our understanding of what the Bible teaches in this area, consider the following questions with your microchurch. Discussing these passages will shed light into how we can use the Word of God as part of our weaponry.
1. If Satan is defeated and Christ has all authority, shouldn’t we just forget about the devil? Does God bind the devil or do we? Mat. 16:19
2. What about spiritual protection? Is everything that happens to me or my family simply allowed by God? Or is there something I need to do?
3. Have you been able to recognize a demonic attack against you? If so, what did you do?
4. What does it mean to walk in true spiritual authority? Can just anyone cast out evil spirits or is something else required? Acts 19:13-16