"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." [2 Co 10:4]."
Many churches in the United States are trying to win a spiritual battle using earthly, carnal weapons. As a result, we are not making an impact for Christ in our marriages, families, communities, and nation. If we want to tear down the demonic strongholds that have been built in the lives of men and women today, we must use the proper weapons, which are prayer, fasting, the Word, and holy living.
I try to avoid American shopping malls like the plague. I do this, not because I have a fear of crowds or dislike mankind, but in order to guard against the inevitable depression that descends upon me whenever I venture out into the public arena and observe what has become of our society and our young people in general. Because my daughter was in need of a new dress for Easter, I found myself in the dreaded shopping mall over the weekend, and once more, I was appalled at what I observed. Not surprisingly, I sank into a 24-hour depression shortly thereafter. My husband got off easy; he only walked away with a headache.
As we walked throughout the mall, we saw young boys sporting Mohawk haircuts in lovely fluorescent shades of green, pink, and blue. Men and women everywhere were plastered with tattoos all over their bodies. The boys looked like war-torn refugees in their baggy, ripped clothing, and the girls who didn’t embrace this particular style were dressed like prostitutes. The parents of these young people didn’t look much better. To make matters worse, what has commonly been accepted as ‘music’ today could be heard blaring over every speaker in the different stores we walked into. I felt like I had entered the portals of Hell. What distressed me more than the clothing, the tattoos, and the music, however, was the look of death that I saw on so many faces. People were dead though they lived. When I looked into their faces, I saw no life; only a dead, empty person looking back at me, and this tore at my heart. As we exited the mall, my husband said to me, "I feel like I’ve just lived through the Night of the Living Dead," and I could not have agreed more.
That night, as I sat before the Lord in prayer, I poured out my heart to Him. I was deeply troubled in my spirit and simply could not erase that look of death which I saw plastered on so many young faces at that mall. "Lord," I asked. "How is the Church supposed to make an impact for Christ, when the rot, filth, and pollution of the American culture are tearing down everything that godly parents are trying to build and instill in their children? When we open up our mouths to speak to our children of Christ, His Truth, and His Kingdom, we are like men who whisper to their fellow men while standing in front of Niagara Falls. Our voices are not heard, and our young people eventually become swept away by the current of the American culture. Where is the Church’s impact on these men and women? Why are they not being reached?"
After sitting quietly before the Lord, eventually His answer came. He didn’t send an angel to me; nor did I hear Him speak in an audible voice. What came to me was a revelation that burned within my heart, as the Holy Spirit brought back to my remembrance Saint Paul’s instructions to the Corinthian church over 2,000 years ago. The revelation was this: the weapons that Christ has given to His Church are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. If we aren’t making an impact for Christ in the United States, it is because we are fighting with the wrong weapons.
Spiritual warfare isn’t something that people like to talk about today. In our modern world, we have become very sophisticated, with many of us no longer believing in such ‘silly’ things as demons, devils, and spiritual battles. But if we are going to make an impact for Christ in these last days (which are becoming more and more demonic), not only must we open our eyes to this truth, but we must be willing to use the weapons given to us by Christ to overcome those demonic powers.
In the days of the early Church, the Lord’s people prayed, fasted, gathered together every single day to study the Word, and lived holy and consecrated lives before God. As a result, people came to Christ by the thousands. Bodies were healed. The dead were raised. The demon possessed were set free. The blind received their sight, and the lame were able to walk. The power of Satan was broken and destroyed over and over again in the lives of men, women, and young people who had been his lifelong captives. Hell trembled, and its power over cities and villages was shattered without the use of modern technology. There was no television in those days. There were no radios, computers, or even a printing press. All the Church had in those days were the weapons given to them by Christ which had power to demolish strongholds in their families, communities, and nation - the weapons of prayer, fasting, the Word, and holy living. The Church used these weapons. As a result, thousands fled from the darkness and came to the Light.
Today, so much of the world has infiltrated the Church of Jesus Christ in the United States that one is hard-pressed to find a difference between those who profess to be in the Light and those who have flatly rejected that Light. Churches are now relying on gimmicks and worldly ways in order to make an impact for Christ, and it just isn’t working. Rock concerts, skits, videos. Watered down messages, entertainment, programs, buildings, and money. And all the while that look of death can still be seen on the faces of millions of Americans who are not being reached for Christ.
As I sat in the Lord’s presence, His Spirit revealed to my heart that the Church is trying to fight a spiritual battle using earthly weapons, and this is why we continue to suffer defeat when it comes to making an impact for Christ. If we want to see the power of God destroy the work of the devil in the lives of our marriages, our children, our communities, and our nation, then we have to get back to the old-fashioned way of doing battle. We must return to prayer, fasting, the Word, and living holy lives that are living examples of Christ in this world.
In the Book of Acts, we read about a Jewish priest named Sceva who had seven sons. These seven sons were attempting to exorcize demons from people in their own strength, rather than in the power of Christ. When attempting to deliver a person from the power of Satan, they would boldly speak to the demon and say, "In the Name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." One day, to their absolute surprise, the evil spirit decided to answer these men. "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on these seven sons, overpowered them, and gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. These seven men knew nothing of God’s power because they weren’t tapping into it in their daily lives. And yet, they tried to walk in that same power and command demons using that power, when they didn’t even possess it. In the end, they were defeated.
Satan knows those who walk in the power of God. He knows those who are mighty contenders for the Faith. He knew who Jesus was, and he knew who Paul was. But who were these seven religious, game-playing rookies?
Satan doesn’t tremble before a "Christian" rap group trying to make an impact for Christ in the lives of American youth. Truth be told, he sees no ‘weapon’ in this feeble endeavor. But he does tremble before the grandmother who has made prayer and fasting a part of her life, as she cries out to God night and day to deliver her family members from the power of darkness. This is the individual he fears, because this individual ‘gets it.’ This individual has discovered the only weapons that are capable of tearing down the strongholds which he has built in the lives of men.
Jesus was able to overcome the power of Satan because prayer and fasting were a normal part of His earthly life. The same could be said of the Apostle Paul and other leaders in the Christian community. They used the weapons which had been given to them for the tearing down of Satanic strongholds in other men’s lives. As a result, battles for Christ were won and men were set free from the darkness. As long as the Christian community in the United States refuses to fight the evil one using the weapons which Christ has given to us, and instead, insists on using the earthly weapons of gimmicks, technology, money, programs, buildings, and worldly ways, we will continue to suffer the same defeat and humiliation suffered by the seven sons of Sceva.
Just taking a child to Mass once a week isn’t going to cut it. There are many parents who faithfully took their children to Mass once a week, only to see the rot of the American culture tear down in their children everything they lovingly tried to build. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The battle that we are in is a spiritual battle, not an earthly one. If we desire to win this spiritual battle, we can only do so using spiritual weapons. Anything less than this is a deception.
After this weekend’s harrowing experience at the mall, my husband and I have made up our minds that one day a week from now until we leave this world is going to be set aside for prayer and fasting. We’re sick and tired of seeing what the evil one is doing to our children, our communities, our nation, and yes....even the Church. The things that we in the Christian community are relying upon to preserve our children for Christ are not working. But we are convinced that prayer and fasting - the time-honored, old-fashioned weapons which were used by the Early Church to tear down demonic, spiritual strongholds - will do what no book, video, concert, program, or amount of money can do.
Over 2,000 years ago, Christ’s disciples attempted to cast out a demon in the life of a young boy, but the demon could not be expelled. The boy’s father begged Jesus to cast the demon out, explaining to Him that His disciples were not able to do so. Christ commanded the demon to leave, and the young boy was set free. Later on, His disciples asked Him why they were unable to drive out the demon. "This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting," was our Lord’s response. It’s time for us to pick up these weapons once more. The earth is crying out to Christ, "I brought my sons and daughters to Your disciples to be set free from the power of Satan, but they could not do it." And why can’t we do it? Because the spiritual strongholds that are destroying our marriages, children, communities, nation, and even many in the Church, can only be torn down through prayer and fasting.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. In faithfulness to us, Christ has made these weapons available to us today. Let’s wake up, brothers and sisters, and by the grace of Almighty God...
...let’s use them.
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