What is a Spiritual Attack?
Over the years there have been many films made in which one of the main characters is a ghost or spirit who does not realise that they are actually dead, for example Sixth Sense. Usually the story is told in such a way that the audience does not realise either and the fact that they are actually a ghost or spirit is the twist in the tale. Unfortunately the majority of the human race is living out a similar scenario in real life. Most people think that they are simply a flesh and blood body that has thoughts, feelings and emotions. There are many that have a morbid fascination with the spiritual world but they think it relates to ghosts and people talking to them from the other side. The Bible teaches us that the reality is somewhat different from these general perceptions.
There is a spiritual world all around us and we are affected by and interact in it whether we realise it or not. God is a Spirit, a fact we hear about in the second verse of the Bible.
“The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)
Before his death Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us and when he died he committed his spirit to God (not his body or soul).
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46)
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30)
Humans consist of spirit, soul and body. The body is the physical flesh and blood part and the soul is the mind, will and emotions. It is our spirit that is the eternal part of us and our spirit that interacts in the spiritual world, even if we are not aware of it. Unfortunately the spiritual world is also inhabited by Satan and his demons and unclean spirits; these are the beings that attack us spiritually. The good news is that Satan and his entourage have already been defeated by Jesus’ death on the cross and Christians have full authority over them in the name of Jesus. The bad news is that most Christians have little or no awareness of the spiritual world or their authority and are therefore ‘sitting ducks’.
There are four main ways that you can be spiritually attacked.
1. From within.
Demons and unclean spirits do not have a physical body and therefore need to dwell within a person. Jesus spent a lot of time casting demons and unclean spirits out of people (deliverance), in fact he spent as much time delivering people as he did healing them. Unfortunately many people, including Christians, are walking around with demons or unclean spirits inside of them. Most of these are what the experts call ‘low level’ and they would mainly operate by talking to you and making suggestions to encourage you to do things that are bad for you. People will normally be totally unaware of their existence and think that it is just random thoughts that come into their head. Sometimes they have a specific mandate, for example a ‘spirit of fear’ will put ideas in your head that cause you to worry or become afraid, it feeds off your fear. Others feed off unforgiveness, anger, envy or resentment. They will wind you up by pointing out all the things that you should be getting annoyed about, often resulting in loss of control. Alternately they will encourage your temptation. Unfortunately, because they live within you, they are always with you and can attack at any time. They also have the added advantage of knowing your weaknesses.
Many people will argue that a Christian cannot have a demon or unclean spirit within them. They believe that once you are saved and become born again, demons cannot live on the inside of you. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will literally come in and enter in on the inside of your human spirit at the moment of your conversion with Jesus. As a result of our bodies now becoming the temple of the Holy Spirit, they believe that there is no way that a demon or a group of demons can enter in on the inside of your body. This does appear to be a very logical argument. However, what they are missing is the fact that the Bible tells us that we have three, distinct, separate parts to our being. We have a body, a soul and a spirit. The Holy Spirit is living and dwelling in your human spirit, but He is not living up in your soul or body area. The bible does not say that a demon cannot live within a Christian and any Christian that is involved in the deliverance ministry will tell you that they can. In many cases they are there before a person becomes a Christian and remain there if not dealt with.
Casting out of these spirits is known as ‘deliverance’ and unfortunately it is largely ignored by the modern church, which is not justifiable considering that so much of Jesus’ ministry was taken up by it. After his resurrection and before his ascension, Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples included the command to ‘drive out demons’.
You can silence and/or bind these spirits in the name of Jesus. However if you think that you have a more serious problem I would advise you to seek help. I will shortly be uploading a more detailed section on deliverance, but I can highly recommend Ellel Ministries as a good place to seek help. www.ellelministries.org
2. From the outside.
The Bible tells us that Satan prowls around looking to cause trouble.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
The Enemy is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to steal, kill or destroy. He goes to and fro across the earth (see Job) looking for an open door or inroad into someone’s life. If he sees an opportunity he will seize it instantly. He can enter you and cause you to do something that you might not normally do (Satan entered Judas when he betrayed Jesus) but he will normally work by suggesting or encouraging you to do something, maybe putting an idea in your head. He speaks to you in the spiritual world, but your spirit hears it and this can result in you being influenced and acting upon his suggestion. This is why you will sometimes do something that is completely out of character. Have you ever done something that you later regretted and then thought:-
“I don’t even know why I did that, what on earth was I thinking?”
These types of incidences are often referred to as 'a moment of madness’. Unfortunately they often have serious consequences and do a lot of damage. This is why it is so important to be self-controlled and alert. However, the good news is that if we resist the devil he will flee from us. (James 4:7).
3. Through other people.
You may or may not have problems with the above, but unfortunately many people around you will have. Satan can use these people to attack you. Often it is through the use of other people that he can do the most harm. He can cause them to attack you in a variety of ways:
• Verbal abuse
• Physical abuse
• Sexual abuse
• Emotional abuse
• Undermine your position at work.
• Turn friends against you
• Spread rumours about you
• Encourage you to do something that you know you shouldn’t.
• Discourage your dream.
The list is variable and endless. Even if you manage to make your own life watertight he can attack you by attacking those close to you. For example, your approach to your married life may be completely watertight but if Satan sees your marriage as a target (maybe because you are involved in a Christian project that is proving successful) and your spouse has a weakness, Satan will be straight in there.
This is why it can sometimes seem like everyone is against you. If Satan really wants to take you down he will usually be able to find several people around you to help him. Often it will be someone close to you. Remember Judas, he was one of the inner circle, the chosen twelve, surely the last place where a betrayal would come from! If you are a mover and a shaker, someone that is prepared to step out for Jesus, it is almost guaranteed that someone close to you will betray you.
4. Actual demonic manifestation
Fortunately this is rare, but it is possible for demons to manifest in the physical world. This may be through strange things happening around you, for example noises or furniture moving, or even apparitions. This is rare in what is known as the western Christian countries because the prayers of the Christian churches hold a lot of this back, but overseas missionaries often encounter this.
This maybe be frightening initially but it is very simple to deal with....you have all the power you need in the name of Jesus. Simply speak the name of Jesus to whatever is happening, tell it to stop it and leave. If you do have an attack of this kind you must be really worrying Satan for some reason, which must mean that you have the strength and faith inside you to send him packing in the name of Jesus. Sometimes he will let rip at your family (Nicky Cruz tells of an incident in his book One Holy Fire, where after a very successful Christian rally Satan had a go at his family) but again, don’t worry, just let rip back with the name of Jesus and tell them to do the same.