Satan is oppressing many of God’s people today, just as he oppressed the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter in New Testament times. Demon “oppression” and “possession” are just as real today and perhaps even more prevalent as during Christ's ministry on earth.
When a believer is oppressed, it is an outward result of Satan attacking his mind or body and sometimes both. A true believer can be oppressed mentally or physically and not be possessed by unclean spirits. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, demonic forces can oppress you, but not possess you because the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in the same spiritual house with demons.
It is time for the church of Jesus Christ to recognize the demonic oppression that is coming against God’s people, confront Satan and his evil forces, and take authority over them just as Jesus did in His ministry. Satan is illegally exercising dominion over believers, tormenting their minds and afflicting their bodies.
Satan wants you to accept depression as if there is nothing you can do about it. He wants you to be depressed and stay depressed, so that you will be unable to fulfill God’s purpose and plan for your life.
To successfully overcome depression, you must learn to stop it the moment it attacks your mind. You must recognize that the thoughts which you allow to remain in your heart and mind are what causes your depression--not your negative circumstances. None of the circumstances you are facing or ever will face can cause you to be depressed. It is your response to your problems that determines whether or not you will be depressed. You do not have to ever be depressed again! God's Word has promised:
No temptation (trial) has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted (tried) beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted (tried), he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV)
This is God’s guarantee against depression.
SETTING YOUR MIND FOR VICTORY
Some believers are depressed because of past failures. Satan brings up their past sins and uses these thoughts against them. Some people are depressed because of guilt over bad habits, temptations, and sins they have been unable to overcome. They have struggled to be free, but when they continue to fail, their hearts and minds are filled with guilt.
Many Christians today are frustrated, worried, and depressed over financial problems. They have overdue bills and other commitments they are unable to pay because their income is insufficient to meet their basic needs.
Others are deeply distraught and depressed concerning their marriage relationship. There are those who have unsaved spouses and there is no peace or harmony in their home. Some have mates who have left them for someone else or have asked for a divorce. Others feel their spouse no longer loves or appreciates them. Some are living in abusive situations.
On the job, there are thousands of Christians who are depressed.
Perplexity! Stress! Fear! Worry! Hopelessness! Despair! Discouragement! Defeat! These negative forces permeate our society. But in the midst of these negative forces, believers do not have to become victims of depression!
Regardless of the things which are coming upon this earth, regardless of the trials, circumstances, and attacks of Satan upon your mind, you do not have to become depressed like the people of the world who are living in spiritual darkness.
You must recognize depression for what it is--a major strategy of Satan. Satan is using depression in an attempt to stop the progress believers are making in pushing back the forces of darkness in the nations of the world. We are not talking about depression that results from a physical condition--such as a lack of serotonin. We are talking about an all-out attack of spiritual and emotional depression that is rampant in the Body of Christ.
There are multiplied thousands of Christians today who have failed to recognize depression as an attack of Satan.
A VICTORIOUS MIND
Jesus paid the price so you can have a one-hundred percent victorious mind. Satan no longer has power over you. He does not have power to make you sin. He cannot control your mind, thoughts, will, and emotions. He has no power whatsoever over you except what you allow him to have.
Sadly, Satan is creating havoc in the hearts and minds of many believers who do not know that they can have power over his attacks. They are in a constant state of turmoil. They are continually being bombarded with fear, worry, doubt, and confusion, yet they do not understand that it is Satan who is attacking them.
Many believers are being tempted with carnal desires and lusts of the flesh. A fierce battle is raging within them. Satan has a vice-like grip on their minds and they are unable to be free of his tormenting spirits. As a result, their minds are filled with fear, guilt, and condemnation. They are living a defeated life.
Many believers are victims of depression. They are gripped with a sense of hopelessness, frustration, and despair.
A NEW MIND
Paul referred to the battle that takes place in your heart and mind. He told the Romans:
For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (Romans 7:22-23, NIV)
In these verses, Paul was speaking of the carnal desires of the flesh which war against the mind and try to make it a slave to the sins of the old carnal nature.
Paul continues by explaining that through Christ you have been set free from this old nature with its sinful desires, thoughts, and attitudes. You are now empowered to serve God with your mind and heart:
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:24-25)
Then Paul explains how sin has been deprived of its power over you.
THE ISSUES OF LIFE
If a man’s heart and mind are filled continually with evil thoughts, lusts of the flesh, carnal desires, and wicked imaginations, he will be a weak and defeated believer.
On the other hand, if a man’s heart and mind are filled with good thoughts--God’s Word, faith, and the power of the Holy Spirit--he will be strong and victorious.
Since the heart is the center of man’s existence, the innermost being from where all the issues of life flow forth, it is vitally important that you make every possible effort to continually protect it from the enemy.
You are warned: “Keep your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23, AMP). The springs of life mean all the issues--everything pertaining to your life.
Your mind is Satan’s major point of attack and it is here where the war must be fought and won. The war you are fighting is not against flesh and blood. It is not a battle fought with your mental abilities,
AS YOU THINK IN YOUR HEART
Jesus taught the multitudes that it is possible to sin in their heart and mind even before the sin is manifested outwardly. He said, "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).
It is in man’s heart--his innermost being--where sin is conceived. It was in Satan’s heart that sin originated. His heart was lifted up because of his beauty:
Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. (Ezekiel 28:17).
It was in his heart that Satan exalted himself above God:
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:13-14).
GOING TO THE ROOT CAUSE
Your battles are not with family members, your husband or wife, your employer, fellow workers, or any individual. You battles are not with sickness and disease--cancer, high blood pressure, heart trouble, or diabetes. Your battles are not the problems you are facing on your job or in your finances.
You must go beyond the surface to the root cause of your battles. In prayer, you must go deep into the spirit realm and identify the real enemy--the evil spirits that are at work in your circumstances.
Spiritual warfare is not just a theory. It is a reality! Although you cannot see it with your natural eyes, this war you are fighting against Satan is just as real as the wars taking place in the natural world that are being fought with tanks, airplanes, missiles, and guns. Your battles are just as real as the actual battles fought and won by Israel in the land of Canaan.
ENFORCING THE VICTORY
It is in your mind where Satan is unleashing his all-out war. The war you are fighting is not against flesh and blood. It is not a mental battle fought through the power of positive thinking, head knowledge, psychological techniques, or your limited mental abilities. It is a spiritual battle in your mind which must be fought and won in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Satan's strategy is to bombard your mind with fiery darts of unbelief, fear, worry, confusion, temptation, depression, oppression, and deception. He will try to fill your mind with evil desires and lusts of the flesh. Anxiety, fear, defeat, and discouragement concerning the circumstances in your life are all mental tactics that result in a heart filled with hopelessness and despair.
But Satan’s power over your mind can been broken! God has made total provision so you can be victorious in every battle, just as He did for the nation of Israel. Israel had all the power they needed to overcome their enemies and claim their inheritance. As you prepare to fulfill your divine destiny, God has provided you with everything you need also.
WHERE SIN IS CONCEIVED
It is in man’s heart–his innermost being–where sin is conceived. It was in Satan’s heart that sin originated. His “heart” was lifted up because of his beauty (Ezekiel 28:17). It was in his “heart” that he exalted himself above God (Isaiah 14:13-14). The sin of Ananias and Sapphira originated in their hearts (Acts 5:3).
The Greek word for "heart" is kardia, which includes man’s entire mental and moral activity–the inner man. The heart and mind are linked and are where the emotions, desires, perceptions, thoughts, understanding, reasoning powers, conscience, intentions, will, and imagination reside.
What is in a man’s heart and mind determines what he is. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus told the Pharisees:
THE MAIN BATTLEFIELD
Throughout the ages, the heart has been referred to as a source of virtue, love, and intelligence. Many ancient cultures, including the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Greeks assert that the heart is the primary organ responsible for influencing and directing emotions and decision-making. Similar perspectives are found in many religions.
Even with these traditions and plentiful metaphors such as "I love you with all my heart", most of us have been taught that the heart is just a muscle that pumps blood and maintains circulation. Neuroscientists have discovered exciting information about the heart, however, that reveals it is far more complex. Scientists have found that the heart has its own independent nervous system–a complex system referred to as "the brain in the heart." There are at least forty thousand neurons (nerve cells) in the heart–as many as are found in various sub-cortical centers of the brain.
ACHIEVING A MINDSET FOR DESTINY
We are eliminating major obstacles that will hinder you from reaching your destiny. Last month you learned how the words you speak can lead to unbelief, fear, and disobedience and abort your divine destiny.
During April, we will spend the entire month focusing on one huge obstacle--the major battlefield where most spiritual attacks occur--your mind and heart. Your victory in all the other areas of spiritual warfare depends on the outcome of this battle.
The major battlefield where Satan wages war against you is in your heart and mind–at the very center of your being–where your moral, spiritual, and mental abilities are located. As you will learn during this month, your heart and mind are intricately related. Satan attacks you at your most vulnerable point where your thoughts originate, where you receive God’s Word, and where your will, emotions, desires, and mental abilities are located.
BEHIND AND BEFORE
During this past month, we have learned about hindrances that kept Israel from fulfilling their destiny. The same barriers will prevent you from entering into your own inheritance. Satan will try to...
-tempt you to murmur against God.
-cause you to rebel against God.
-create fear and unbelief by your own words.
-cause you to reject God’s Word.
-cause you to reject God’s will and follow your own plan.
-abort your spiritual vision and destiny as you speak negative words of defeat.
During this past month, God has brought you to a new level of spiritual knowledge regarding your tongue. You now recognize the great power of your tongue, and you have scriptural and practical strategies to control it so that you do not talk yourself into doubt, fear, and rebellion.
God has set an amazing destiny before you and is saying, “Go up and possess it!” Your spiritual destiny is in your hands. You have a choice regarding what is behind and before you...
-You can choose to obey God, control the words out of your mouth, and fulfill your destiny...
GOD'S WORDS IN YOUR MOUTH
The Word of God in your mouth is alive with the power of God. Paul said, “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power–making it active, operative, energizing and effective” (Hebrews 4:12, AMP).
God is bringing you into a new dimension of authority where your words, spoken with authority and invested in the promises of God, will enable you to successfully confront and conquer every stronghold of the enemy. God’s Words in your mouth are life. As you speak the promises of God with His authority, you are speaking supernatural life into your circumstances.
You may be facing a serious physical condition such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or a painful chronic illness. Regardless of how you may feel physically, do not fall into Satan’s trap of speaking negative words of fear, doubt, and unbelief. You cannot live by how you feel. You must live by faith. Instead of continually talking about how you feel and the doctor’s negative reports, begin to speak the Word according to God’s promises.
Speak God’s promise that, “He was wounded for our transgressions,
IT WILL BE DONE
When you speak the Word of God in power and authority, it will break through every barrier the enemy has built and pull down the strongholds of evil powers and principalities that are operating over your home, community, city, and nation. This is why it is important to control your tongue and speak God's Word instead of negative and sinful words.
As you take authority over your tongue, God will give you words of wisdom and knowledge beyond your natural understanding. You will have a new boldness in speaking the Word of God. You will speak the Word and see miracles: Blind eyes will open, cripples will walk, and all types of sickness and disease will be healed. You will speak the Word and demons will flee.
The Word of God coming out of your mouth will break the darkest satanic strongholds. The Word in your mouth will be the weapon which will enable you to overcome Satan and his horde of demons.
When Jesus spoke words in the power and authority of His Father, there was absolutely no margin for error, no faltering, no wondering. He spoke and it was done! Today, as you speak the Word in the power and authority, there is absolutely no margin for error.
ABIDING IN CHRIST
If you are to speak God’s Word in a new dimension of authority, then you must spend time with Jesus Christ, the Living Word. Wait upon Him for His direction concerning what you are to say and do each day. Allow the powerful resurrection life that is within Him to flow through your entire being. Draw your life from Him. It is the life contained within the written Word that will quicken you and empower you to go beyond your own human limitations.
Get into the Word of God and fill your heart and mind with it until it comes alive within you. Jesus said that if we are vitally united to Him and His Words are our hearts, then we can ask anything and it will be done: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7).
Life and death are in the power of your tongue. As you bring your tongue under control of the Holy Spirit and enter into a new dimension of spiritual authority, you will be able to successfully confront the enemy.
SPEAKING THE WORD
We have meditated on many powerful scriptural strategies for dealing with the tongue. Controlling your tongue is important because God wants to bring you into a new dimension of authority where you are speaking His Word and His supernatural power is released through the words He gives you to speak.
Jesus spoke words directed by the Father with the authority of God--and His words were powerful. Every word He spoke was fulfilled. There was absolutely no margin for error, no faltering, no wondering. He spoke and it was done. This was the key to releasing God's supernatural power in His ministry.
Jesus was sent by God, anointed by the Holy Spirit, and given authority to speak and act in God's stead, to speak His Words, and to do His will: “...God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). Jesus declared:
...I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. (John 12:49-50)
PROMISES, PRAYERS, THOUGHTS, AND PURPOSE
Yesterday we reviewed some questions to ask and verses to consider before speaking.
Today we will look at some promises to claim in regards to your tongue, some prayers to pray, some things to think upon, and an important purpose to establish.
Claim these promises:
Hear; For I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. (Proverbs 8:6-8)
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
Pray these prayers:
BEFORE YOU SPEAK
David asked the Lord, "Set a watch , O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips' (Psalm 141:3). This is a good prayer for all believers to pray.
We have reviewed many scriptures that will help you control your tongue. Today we want to consider some practical guidelines. Before you speak, ask these questions.
-Will what I am about to say bring glory to God? -Is it the truth?
-Is it fair to all concerned?
-Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
-Will it edify others (result in goodwill and better friendships)?
-Have I talked to the person I am talking about?
-Is what I am saying a fact that needs to be shared or is it based on rumors and does not
really need to be said?
-Is it absolutely necessary that I share this?
THE POWER OF PRAISE
There is tremendous power in praise. When you are tempted to complain, transform your complaint into praise to God.
Let your mouth be filled with praise to God:
My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord; and let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever. (Psalms 145:21)
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand. (Psalms 149:6)
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever; with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. (Psalms 89:1)
I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yea, I will praise Him among the multitude. (Psalms 109:30)
My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes. (Psalms 119:171)
Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. (Psalms 63:3) ..and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips. (Psalms 63:5)
Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honor all the day. (Psalms 71:8)
REFORMING YOUR TONGUE
You can reform your tongue! Start by pattering your conversation after Jesus.
Jesus spoke gracious words:
And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth, And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? (Luke 4:22)
Jesus spoke words of authority:
And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority and not as the scribes. (Mark 1:22)
There was no guile (sinful speaking) found in His mouth:
Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to him that judgeth righteously. (1 Peter 2:22-23)
You can choose to speak:
Words of wisdom:
CONTROLLING YOUR TONGUE
As you have learned, scriptures confirm that your tongue can be controlled. But you must take the initiative to control your own tongue. The following verses all indicate actions you must take:
For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. (1Peter 3:10)
...Speak evil of no man...(Titus 3:2)
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have...
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ... (Philippians 1:27)
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor...(Ephesians 4:22-25)
DEALING WITH AN EVIL REPORT
The ten spies gave an evil report and it resulted in Israel turning back into the wilderness. Here is how to recognize an evil report, discern the motives behind it, and stop it when you are confronted by it.
Recognizing an evil report.
-It will raise questions about the motives or actions of others. -It will discredit spiritual leadership.
-It will cause division and strife.
-It always focuses on the negative.
-The person will create curiosity. They may say "You won't believe what I heard."
-They will claim to have access to inside information.
-They may disguise it as a request for counsel. "I need your opinion on a matter."
-An evil report can come in the form of a prayer request which shares gossip as it is given. -An evil report is often shared as a concern. The person says, "I am deeply concerned about this."