Breaking the Bondage of a Passive Spirit
I want to again discuss our need, as Christians, to exercise spiritual
authority. The fact is, if we do not use the authority of Christ daily
in our lives, no matter how hard we try, we will always be harassed by
the demonic realm. And while prayer and repentance are irreplaceable
stages of deliverance, they may simply not be enough if complicating
your freedom is a unclean spirit. In truth, you may actually need to
face your enemy and, in the context of your repentance, command that
spirit to depart from you.
Indeed, we have accepted the idea that God wants us to tolerate
oppression instead of conquer it. Fear, self-pity, anger, immoral
thoughts or fleshly lusts will not go away by themselves. Your mind
must be renewed through repentance and the knowledge of God's word, and
if there is demonic activity exploiting your sin nature, that enemy
must be confronted in the authority of Jesus' name.
You say, "I don't have a problem with an evil spirit; my battle is with
sin." I agree, your frequent failure in a particular area might
genuinely be rooted in the carnal attitudes of your old nature.
However, if you have repeatedly repented and still cannot find lasting
freedom, perhaps the issue is a combination of your sin and the devil's
manipulation of that sin. You see, the real power behind your iniquity
is often demonic in nature.
Even if you've embraced true repentance and found spiritual freedom,
there is a time when the enemy tries to re-enter your life. Recall
that Jesus warned, "Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it
passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it.
Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came' " (Matt
Jesus tells us that, even if we have had a genuine deliverance from the
hand of God, a time may still come when that "unclean spirit" seeks to
return to the "house from which" it came. The "house" it seeks to
re-enter is the darkness created by your pre-repentance thought-life,
and the way it seeks to access your soul is to masquerade as your
Jesus further warns that, when the unclean spirit comes back and finds
our souls unguarded, it comes with "seven other spirits more wicked
than itself" (Matt 12:45). First, the enemy will infiltrate your mind,
seeking to plant a thought or seed an idea in your soul. Then, he will
attempt to water that seed with a corresponding temptation. As soon
as we discern the ungodliness of this thought, we can turn and take
authority over it. However, if we fail to use our authority,if we sit
down inside and allow it to grow, the enemy will then approach with a
full scale invasion. Jesus says, "the last state of that man becomes
worse than the first" (vs 45).
At the first stage of Satan's counterattack, we must use our authority
in Christ and capture those initial, invasive thoughts. Do not let
them multiply. Do not allow them to dwell in your soul for even a
moment. Whether you are fighting fear, lusts, anger or any other sin
with its corresponding demonic strongman, you are in a war for your
soul and the primary battleground is your mind. To win, in the midst of
all you do, you must guard your heart and mind from the enemy. To do
this, we must exercise spiritual authority.
Pursue Your Enemies
God has called us to war. He, in fact, has anointed us with the power
of His Holy Spirit. Our prayers are arrows in the heart of our King's
enemies. Jesus has given us authority over all the power of the enemy
(Lk 10:19). Yet, the authority of the Lord is not just for guard duty
or defensive maneuvers. The Holy Spirit desires that, as we follow
Christ, we take the battle to the enemy as well. In that same Psalm
where David sings that he can "bend a bow of bronze," he also says, "I
pursued my enemies and overtook them, and I did not turn back until
they were consumed" (Ps 18: 37).
Let's make this clear: David was first a worshiper of God. He didn't
pursue his enemies without first pursuing God. However, when the Lord
led him into war, he thoroughly defeated his foes. Unfortunately, I know
many Christians today do not pursue their enemies. They would rather secure
a little temporary relief than obtain an anointing in God that equips them
as a warrior. The moment they finally receive a little peace, immediately
they begin to beat their swords back into plow shears. They quit.
I will tell you a solemn truth: we either pursue our enemies or our
enemies will pursue us. We must develop Christ's attitude toward
evil. He came that He "might destroy the works of the devil" ( 1Jn
3:8). The Bible says, "hate evil, you who love the Lord" (Ps 97:10).
There can be no neutral ground.
Indeed, the Holy Spirit is looking for something in us that, like
David, pursues our enemy until he is consumed. We are discussing
spiritual authority and possessing an aggressive attitude of heart that
causes us to grow into mature Christlikeness. Jesus could live with
and forgive human failure, but He never allowed evil spirits to
influence His life. He was aggressive toward His spiritual enemies.
Future Victories And Present Attitudes
There is a story in the Old Testament that captures well my concern
with the effects of a passive spirit. Elisha the prophet was about to
die and Joash, king of Israel, came and, in an unusual show of
affection, wept over the man of God. Adding to the intrigue, the king
then spoke the very words Elisha uttered to Elijah in the last hours of
Elijah's life: "My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its
horsemen!" (2 Ki 13:14).
It is possible that the king sought some special power or
gift-anointing from the prophet before he died. Elisha, in fact,
accommodates the king, yet he tests him, ordering the king to take a
bow and arrows. He then told Joash, "Put your hand on the bow."
Elisha then laid his hands on top of the king's hands. He said, "Open
the window toward the east," and Joash opened it. Then Elisha said,
"Shoot!" And he shot. Elisha then proclaimed: "The LORD'S arrow of
victory, even the arrow of victory over Aram; for you will defeat the
Arameans at Aphek until you have destroyed them" (2 Ki 13:15-17).
God was going to honor the efforts of Joash. The king had recognized
the Lord's anointing on His servant. He had come to receive, by
impartation, the prophet's blessing as it pertained to the need in his
life. Elisha actually "laid his hands on the king's hands" (vs 16).
Yet, one more test was required. Elisha said, "Take the arrows," and
he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, "Strike the ground,"
and he struck it three times and stopped. So the man of God was angry
with him and said, "You should have stuck five or six times, then you
would have struck Aram until you would have destroyed it. But now you
shall strike Aram only three times" (2 Ki 13:18-19).
Elisha was angered by the passive spirit in King Joash. The prophet
knew Joash did not possess the perseverance to pursue his enemies until
he fully conquered them. Joash could possibly have been a great king.
Yet Elisha's anger burned at the king's passive approach to God's
promises: ultimately, many Israelites would die in the future raids of
the Arameans because Joash would only defeat them three times.
Elisha's anger actually mirrors the Lord's displeasure toward the
laziness of His people today.
You may argue, "God is love. Jesus would never be angry." I beg to differ.
Consider the Lord's word to the church in Laodicea, a church that was overly
concerned with its own comfort and passive in its attitude toward spiritual
realities. Jesus said, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot;
I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither
hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth" (Rev 3:15-16).
Jesus would rather we were hot or cold than lukewarm. Does He still
love those He rebukes? Of course, but He calls us to change our
attitudes. It's not that passivity or laziness are such terrible sins,
like murder or adultery. It is simply that such attitudes create an
psychological prison around a believer that actually holds us hostage
to our other sins.
In our world, the spiritual passivity and indifference of God's people
is one of the most difficult things for the Lord to accept. Indeed, we
are daily threatened by the potential of serious terrorist attacks or
the advance of perversion in our cultures, yet so many Christians
remain prayerless and inactive. This is in spite of the Lord's promise
that if we will come before Him, humbling ourselves in earnest prayer,
He will empower us to pursue our enemies and defeat them. But instead
of seeking God's face on behalf of the lost, too many of us are
immobilized by the grip of a passive spirit.
The Lord is not pleased with our spiritual laziness. Elisha could see
that King Joash was a quitter just by the unaggressive way he struck
the arrows. I'm not talking about the level of our energy, but the
level of fire in our obedience. Today many nations are at a
crossroads: demonic initiatives have been successfully advanced that
not only decriminalize sodomy, but seek to legitimize the union of
homosexuals as another form of marriage. In many states and nations,
homosexuals are already allowed to adopt and raise innocent children,
and we are too passive to rise against this outrage!
Jesus gave us His authority to "make disciples of all the nations"
(Matt 28:19). Our authority is not limited to our prayers against
evil; God will help our efforts against wickedness as well. In America
we have been asked not only to pray for our nation, but to take
action. That action might be as simple (and important) as writing our
senators and congressmen ( www.afa.net ) telling them that we are
against gay marriages. Or our actions might be to reach out to someone
confused and deceived about their sexuality and seek to bring them
healing. But if we pray and do nothing more, we might actually lose
the soul of our nation, and I am not only discussing the USA, but many
other nations as well. Our defeat might come, not because God's help
wasn't available, but because we saw the advance of evil and did
Beloved, God has given us authority, He has given us the weapons of our
warfare to help us, but we need to get up and fight. We need to repent
of a passive spirit and stand with Christ's authority in this day of
war and battle.
For maximum benefit, pray this prayer out loud :
Lord God, I thank You that You have given me authority over all the power of the enemy.
Forgive me for allowing my voice to remain silent and my will immobilized by a passive spirit. I realize to be an overcomer I must pursue my enemy until he is consumed. You have given me authority over the plans and works of evil. You have created me to be a minister of Your righteousness. You have filled me with Your Holy Spirit and with fire. This day I confront, renounce, and take authority over, the power of the enemy. I break the bondage of a passive spirit, in Jesus' name.
The other night I just happened to look up these definitions:
APATHY, COMPLACENCY and SOMNOLENCE
Etymology: Greek apatheia, from apathEs without feeling,
1 : lack of feeling or emotion : IMPASSIVENESS
2 : lack of interest or concern : INDIFFERENCE
Main Entry: in·dif·fer·ence Function: noun
1 : the quality, state, or fact of being indifferent
INDIFFERENT - regarded as neither good nor bad
1 : marked by impartiality : UNBIASED
2 a : that does not matter one way or the other
b : of no importance or value one way or the other
3 a : marked by no special liking for or dislike of something
b : marked by a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for something :
ie: indifferent to suffering and poverty>
4 : being neither excessive nor inadequate : MODERATE <hills of indifferent size>
5 a : being neither good nor bad : MEDIOCRE <does indifferent work>
b : being neither right nor wrong
6 : characterized by lack of active quality : NEUTRAL
7 a : not differentiated b : capable of development in more than one direction;
especially : not yet embryologically determined - in·dif·fer·ent·ly adverb
synonyms INDIFFERENT, UNCONCERNED, INCURIOUS, ALOOF, DETACHED, DISINTERESTED ,mean not showing or feeling interest. INDIFFERENT implies neutrality of attitude from lack of inclination, preference, or prejudice <indifferent to the dictates of fashion>. UNCONCERNED
suggests a lack of sensitivity or regard for others' needs or troubles
<unconcerned about the homeless>. INCURIOUS implies an inability to take a
normal interest due to dullness of mind or to self-centeredness <incurious about the world>.
ALOOF suggests a cool reserve arising from a sense of superiority or disdain
for inferiors or from shyness
DETACHED implies an objective attitude achieved through absence of prejudice or selfishness
DISINTERESTED implies a circumstantial freedom from concern for personal or especially financial advantage that enables one to judge or advise without bias
Main Entry: im·pas·sive
1 a archaic : unsusceptible to pain b : unsusceptible to physical feeling :
INSENSIBLE c : unsusceptible to or destitute of emotion : APATHETIC
2 : giving no sign of feeling or emotion : EXPRESSIONLESS
synonyms IMPASSIVE, STOIC, PHLEGMATIC, APATHETIC, STOLID mean unresponsive to something that might normally excite interest or emotion. IMPASSIVE stresses the absence of any external sign of emotion in action or facial expression <met the news with an impassive look>.
STOIC implies an apparent indifference to pleasure or especially to pain often as a
matter of principle or self-discipline <was resolutely stoic even in adversity>.
PHLEGMATIC implies a temperament or constitution hard to arouse
<a phlegmatic man unmoved by tears>.