Pinkie’s burned down.
It was a dark place. So dark, in fact that children trembled at the thought of it. Wicked things happened at Pinkie’s that scarred the lives of everyone associated with it. Its presence had ravaged lives in the community for decades.
When Pastors Charles and Beverly Burchett found out what was going on there, they knew they had to act. Their hearts were broken for the many who had been afflicted there. They also knew this was a spiritual battle, not a human one. Experienced in spiritual warfare and with the authority of their position in the community and the compassion of God in their hearts, they drove to that cauldron of wickedness, sat outside and prayed. They prayed and worshipped God for hours—until they felt that burden lift. Then they went home.
The next morning, they heard that it had burned down, the temple of debauchery was gone! No one was there, so no one was hurt. It was never rebuilt. And the spiritual atmosphere in that community began to change—for the good!
In Luke 10:19 -20 (NIV), Jesus told the disciples, “I have given you authority to trample snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing shall harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” If you read the book of Acts, you will quickly see evidence that what Jesus told them was true. You’ll also read about the seven sons of Sceva, who tried to cast an evil spirit out of a man in Jesus’ name and who were beaten to a pulp (Acts 19:14-16). The sons of Sceva did not walk in God’s authority, so their efforts resulted in disaster.
Since God does want us, as His people, to overcome all the power of the enemy, let’s look at some key factors that determine our effectiveness.
1. Ensure proper alignment. In Matthew 18:18-20, Jesus reveals that unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ ensures His presence. His presence ensures victory in every situation. When we walk in agreement with God’s Word and other believers, anything we ask for will be done—including binding and loosing in the heavenly realm.
2. Repent quickly. Our sins and iniquities separate us from God (Is. 59:2); but I John 1:9 tells us, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” If we hold on to sin, we are separating ourselves from God and leaving ourselves open to the attacks of the enemy. But when we confess our sins, we are purified and can stand in the righteousness of Christ.
3. Forgive promptly. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus discloses another huge key: We must forgive others, to be forgiven ourselves. Unforgiveness toward others is sin in and of itself. But it also impacts whether God will forgive our sins. Like a lamb that wanders away from the shepherd and becomes prey to hungry predators; unforgiveness leaves us prey to our enemy, the roaring lion, who is looking for someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8).
4. Know God’s Word. Ephesians 6:10-17 tells us to put on the full armor of God so we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. The Word of God is a critical component of every piece of that armor: revealing truth, giving us understanding of righteousness, explaining the gospel of peace, bolstering our faith, confirming our salvation and providing us the weapon of our spiritual warfare— the sword of the Spirit! Jesus, Himself, demonstrates how powerful that sword is in Matthew 4:1-11, as He defeats everything Satan throws at Him by declaring the Word of God. Read it daily, sing it, memorize it, pray it. It is effective for the pulling down of strongholds!
5. Get God’s strategy. In 2 Samuel 5, the Philistines came to attack Israel, twice. Each time David asked the Lord if he should fight them. Not every battle is yours. The Lord told David yes and then gave him the strategy for battle. Even though the enemy was the same and the location was the same, God’s strategy for each situation was different. As David obeyed the Lord, God gave him victory!
6. Understand success. In Ezekiel 33, God gives the prophet a message for the people of Israel. In verse 9 (NLT), God says, “if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself.” It is very clear from this verse that the success of the prophet was solely based on his obedience, not the visible outcome. Sometimes God will show us the result of our prayers and acts of obedience. Sometimes we are just a part of a larger battle, and we don’t see immediate results. Other times the impact is hidden from us completely. But the principle seen in Ezekiel is still true today. Our success is in our obedience. God is responsible for everything else, and He can be trusted.
Spiritual battles are raging all around us. There are battles for individual souls, battles to keep wickedness out of areas, battles to retake ground the enemy controls, battles of the mind and more. In the midst of the battle, you must remember we do not battle flesh and blood, but principalities, powers and evil spirits in the heavenly realm. The goal of our battles is the salvation of the lost. Never lose sight of that!
Dr. Jodie Chiricosta is vice president of Somebody Cares America/International. She teaches and consults on a variety of Christian living and leadership topics and is a host of the Charisma podcast, “Her God Story.”