Get your Bible ready and unearth how to overcome the Strongman.
Some people contacted me privately and said my article was not based on the completed work of God through grace, but that I was advocating that people can only be saved through works.
These people are spiritually lazy. This has to be admitted and confronted because if they had taken the time to read in context what I was saying and then go back and STUDY their Bibles, they would not argue against the subject; in fact, they would have come up with more arguments FOR the topic and worked more on their salvation.
What does the Bible say about grace and works?
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” [Ephesians 2:8-9] and we see this written by the same author in Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Since you did nothing to redeem yourself from sin and could not have worked to please God enough to save yourself, what work are you supposed to do to earn “your own salvation”?
In my previous article, I explained this quite clearly. You will agree with me that the children of Israel did nothing to get delivered from Egypt, except put the Blood of the Lamb on their door-posts and lintels and then pack their bags and walk away from the land of their bondage.
But when they get to the Promised Land, they are the ones whom God gave the assignment of driving out the inhabitants of the land. While God promised to help them (Exodus 23:23), He also commissioned them to get the job done (Numbers 33:52).
This is akin to your redemption from sin. You did nothing to get born of the Spirit except believe and accept Jesus as your Saviour. But after this, you have some work to do. It was your spirit that was born again, not your soul (John 3:3). Your soul needs to be redeemed as well and this comes from you through co-operating with God.
Someone wrote to me and complained, but “this is too much work!”
I replied and asked, is it:
too much work to get rid of looking to lust?
too much work to get rid of careless living?
too much work to forgive your offender?
too much work to stop being covetous?
too much work to stop cheating on your spouse?
too much work to stop depending on yourself?
too much work to stop causing division among brethren through slander?
too much work to stop lying?
too much work to stop falsely accusing God (blasphemy)?
too much work to stop filthy communication and cussing?
too much work to be submissive to authority?
You are supposed to work on these things yourself. God will not force you to stop looking at a woman’s curves and committing fornication with her in your heart. God will not forcefully close your mouth from overeating and stuffing yourself to death. God will not slap your face because you have bitterness towards your brother or sister. God will not glue your mouth together to prevent you from slanders, and so forth.
God will not do all these for you; you have to consciously do these things yourself. Where you have unrepented lust in your life, you are to admit the problem and ask Him to help you get rid of it. Where you have unforgiveness, you are to deliberately forgive through your obedience to His Word, “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:26)
Psychologists agree that a common set of thoughts do form a belief, a belief system creates a character and a combination of characters make the personality while a personality acts in certain ways.
But what happens when a person is constantly doing things that are against his will (Luke 13:11, Luke 8:43)? What if someone continues to have a personality who regularly sexually molesting her while asleep? What if someone keeps having alcohol problems unintentionally? What if a person can’t help his eating habits and keeps eating at every opportunity and he’s getting fatter and sickly?
Have you seen or heard about those who are seriously overweight and completely bedridden? What about those who just can’t stop wearing tattoos or undergoing cosmetic surgeries for every part of their body? While these may be extremes, the lesser versions are in the same category, especially when it is against your will. It is like a rape of your soul.
Sealed and Protected Houses
I want to get a bit deeper on these things. This also deals with one of the most misused passages in the Bible: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” [2 Corinthians 10:3-5]
The perception of what this Scripture means is what most people build their faith and hope upon instead of the understanding. They want to fight against the Princes of Persia and the Princes of Greece (Daniel 10:20), destroy spiritual wickedness in high places and take on the might of Satan and the hosts of darkness. Many have injured themselves and made a shipwreck of their lives dabbling in things they do not know nor understand (1 Timothy 1:18-19 & 2 Peter 3:16).
What is this perception? It is perceived that the strongholds they need to pull down are in some galaxy beyond the blue clouds. This is probably because they read in Daniel where the Prince of Persia withstood Gabriel when he was sent to deliver a message to Daniel. This is far from the truth because you have to take what Paul was saying in context.
To understand in context, you need to ask and answer some questions from the SAME Scripture in verse 5:
These things happen in your soul. I dealt with these in Spiritual Guerrilla Warfare. Your imaginations are exercised in your mind, your knowledge of God is challenged in and through your intellect while your thoughts are processed in emotions and mind.
Verse 5 is a continuation of verse 4 and must be seen in the same context. Since this is the case, you need to ask another question: Where is the stronghold located?
Jesus answered this question. He said, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.” [Luke 11:24]
The unclean spirit or demon that left a man was living in a house in that man. So, that leads deeper into this matter to ask another question: Where is this house in the man who was the host?
Then you have the Scriptures informing us: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.” [John 2:19-21]
Two more questions and you will have a clearer understanding of these questions and mystery that have been kept secret from the foundations of the world (Romans 16:25-26). Where did the devil want to rule but God said, “Impossible”?
“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 14:14]
Last question: Where is the Kingdom of God?
“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” [Luke 17:21]
Let us fill in the gaps of the jigsaw puzzle now.
God sits and reigns from His Temple in His Kingdom. In this heaven of God, He sits on a throne and is worshipped by glorious and powerful angels. Then Jesus comes and says, don’t run helter-skelter looking for the kingdom of God, because it is formed within you.
Jesus also says within a human being is a house, which can be occupied by a demon and this demon is known as the strong man. When this strong man is in full control, the man, who is the host is imprisoned in his own house. A typical example of this is in the case of the Demoniac of Gadara (Luke 8:30). In fact, in 2 Samuel 22:45-46, David called them strangers!
The temple of God is within you and the demons seek to enthrone themselves there. This temple of God within you has doors or gates for sections, just as the description of the tabernacle expressed at the time of Moses in the Old Testament.
Then we see God, through Jesus Christ, speaking and addressing a resistance: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.” [Psalms 24:7-10]
Why is this?
It is agreed that you have some work to do in getting rid of lusts, unforgiveness, covetousness, lying, slander, false accusation, blasphemy, filthy communication, lewdness, alcoholism, attraction of evil or bad luck, and so forth; terrible habits that are forming your personality. But what happens when you try and try but keep failing and your life is like one endless roller-coaster?
Since you have not lost complete control of yourself as in the case of the demoniac of Gadara, it can only mean one thing: you have a demon occupying the house within. This demon manifests itself by making you to uncontrollably eat or have illicit sex or see dreams/visions (false prophecies) or to have an infirmity (disease or disability), and so forth.
The fact that you have tried to stop doing these things repeatedly means that you are grappling with something much more powerful than you can handle. It is overwhelming your ability of self-control, hence making you lose control to do those things you would not do under normal circumstances. Why is this? It is because the demon has you under his control.
Jesus reveals, “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” [Luke 11:21-22]
You must take note that the strong man is not just living anywhere in the house but the palace, hence the gates and doors (Psalm 24:7). Then the “stronger than he” who can overcome him has to overcome and seize the armour of the strong man for total victory.
This is what Paul meant by “pulling down strongholds”. Remember that we established that the imaginations, knowledge and thoughts are expressed in the soul. This is where the stronghold is built as well. This is where your deliverance will be decided, too.
You must be aware that a palace would not just be a lose place and the fact that the Lord reveals to us that the strong man is armed should give us much further insight. The palace has fences, is well-protected and that with reinforced secured doors!
In essence, if the palace is not taken and the strong man overthrown, you will not overcome that terrible habit. In truth, the demons are terrified of being ejected from their stronghold and will rather resist and fight than easily give up. This is because, without a house, they are in torment. They need a host to alleviate their suffering or torment; they get tormented in the “dry places”. These spirits walk and work in children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2).
But, there is a mysterious key that can help unlock the gates of the palace and take on the strong man. This is what is often missed from Paul’s teaching on this subject. Without the use of this key, the strong man may be temporarily restricted in his activities, but he will remain firmly in control.
Jesus said, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.” Before these gates and doors are opened for an assault on the strong man and his comrades, you must do something. It is contained in the Word of God.
“And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” [2 Corinthians 10:6]
The presence of the demon in your soul is an act of disobedience to God, but God has resources within your grasp to avenge or judge this disobedience, YOUR obedience has to be fulfilled first. But what are you to obey? Obey the Word of God. You are to examine yourself of any disobedience to the Word of God (Psalms 26:2 and 1 Corinthians 11:28).
If you are sincere, the Holy Spirit will be there to help you. He will reveal things in your life that you are doing, which may be acts of disobedience to God. Your obedience to the Word is the key that unlocks the strong doors.
When you have repented of those things and your act of obedience is completed, that is, walking in obedience to God, then you are ready to tear down the stronghold of the strong man and take back what belongs to you.
Even at this point, with the palace gates and doors firmly locked against you, you have become a huge threat to the strong man due to your obedience before God. Your obedience will turn you into a “stronger than he”, lining you up in readiness to mount an assault with the assured victory.
Breaking Down The Ancient Doors
Now that you have strengthened yourself through submission in obeying God’s Word, God will now work in you through the power of His Word.
“Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.” [Psalms 44:5]
“Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me. Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places.” [2 Samuel 22:45-46]
If you feel weak to get this done by yourself, then get a prayer partner whom you are sure is living right (you don’t need a so-called pulpit superstar) and kick the strangers out of the palace!
God expects you to stand strong and tall and begin to make your declaration, like you read Him doing in Psalms 24 when He stood before ancient doors and gates. You cannot entertain fear because fear has torment (1 John 4:18).
Declare boldly: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates [of my soul housing the demon of …. (name the problem e.g. lust)]; and be you lift up, you everlasting doors [of my soul housing the demon of …. (mention-the-problem)]; and the King of glory shall come in. I bind the spirit of lust (mention-the-problem) with chains of iron and fetters of iron, according to the judgement written; I plead against you with pestilence and with the Blood of the Lamb and I rain upon you and all the bands that are with you an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, the Consuming Fire of the Holy Spirit and brimstone. Come out! Get out of my life and return no more! I renounce all agreements with you, with Hell and with death. I declare that my soul is joined with the Spirit of Christ and I have become one with Christ! I believe, therefore, I declare boldly like a lion!”
This declaration is a combination of different Scriptures: Psalms 24:7, 149:8, Ezekiel 38:22, Hebrew 12:24, Romans 10:10, Proverbs 28:1. You can create your own with different Scripture combinations, in a way that addresses your particular circumstance and is comfortable for you.
Occupy Till He Comes!
The King of glory to come is the Word of God. Do you know what will happen when you boldly make declarations like this?
“Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places.” [2 Samuel 22:46]
What is happening is that through God you are pushing down your enemies and through the authority of His name you are treading them under that rise up against you (Psalms 44:5).
This is what it means to pull down a stronghold, cast down imaginations and every high thing that is exalting itself against the knowledge of God in YOUR life. As you continue to live in obedience to God, you will increasingly become a greater threat to the kingdom of darkness.
“Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.” [Psalms 60:12]
You must also remember that Jesus warned, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.” [Luke 11:24] You must watch and pray to prevent that principal spirit coming back.
Otherwise, “And when he (spirit of lust or that problem) comes, he finds it swept and in order. Then he goes, and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” [Luke 11:25-26]
When you have done this, then you are ready to fight against the Princes of Persia and the Princes of Greece (Daniel 10:20). If not, you are just wasting your time and energy and fighting as one beating the air.”
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My Brother, God bless you richly for all your God inpsired and well articulated articles..I have been battling with the flesh and emotional instablity for a long time and have sought for help by praying all to no avail.
Last week, I went on a sincere three-day fast without what to pray for but God had mercy on his daughter and I stumbled on messages on righteousness, Godliness, sanctification and others..So that was my major prayer..I felt different during the fast and even started preaching to my friends and strangers to give their lives to Christ..But I became terribly ill shortly and recovered after medications and prayers.I really love God and covenanted every part of my body to Christ @ midnight on the 29th of august after some fervent prayer..I was that sincere, I asked for strength not to fall or faint..The strength came no doubt but the devil started with my dreams..strange dreams like never before..I saw myself been raped and molested by fiercely looking and angry creatures..I saw myself gasping for breath and calling Jesus.
I woke up really pained and asking Jesus why this should happen to me after all the prayers and committments.Then I was led to open my Bible and God took me straight to Luke 11 vs 24, 25..I was convinced but still didn’t understand the full interpretation.
Thank you for the in-depth expanation..I sincerely long to be a girl after God’s heart..am tired of been a slave to the devil.If you intend to post my comment, kindly hide my email address.
Lest I forget, I got the link to the blog from the unsurest of places so it’s that God is everywhere..he truly wants us to come to sincere repentance.
Thank you Brother John for this Godly inspired teaching. After my last 40 days fast conducted with other brothers and sisters, I just feel unable (since then) to go for another fast, even one day, and even my dream life has been attaqued making me unable to remember my dreams. Through this teaching, I realize that there is a strongman that needs to be cast out.
I am grateful to have stumbled on your site as I was searching help for someone else.
May our Lord and Savior be glorified, and may He uses you more for the Kingdom.
Stay blessed always in HIM.
dear brother John ,
thanks so much for yr articles, is very useful, I have been experiencing sexual feelings in my dreams, once a whiles. it is always appear in a form like i am about to write exams and something will prevent me from writing it, either I will be sitting holding the exams paper not knowing what to write, cos I will be having some sensational sexual feelings and i will be concentrating on it or on my way to the exams room, i will be preoccupied by doing something irrelevant and all of the sudden i will experience that sexual feeling.
I have been having this dream for years for more than 20 years. initially I thought it was my mind. i don’t see anybody sleeping with me in my dream. But I know there is something wrong.
I am a born again christian now, I preach the gospel, at least I have in dept knowledge about the word, I have been doing denunciations, I know the power of the Holy spirit. and also the power of the strong man,
yet this thing keeps coming, the maximum it take to appear is six months, but most times every two to three month I will experience it.
Anytime it comes, I know there’s something wrong some where in my Christian life. I have been asking God to search within me, I feel like I shd stop propagating the gospel, cos I myself am not worthy, but I cannot stop, cos is my calling. but this issue is a bother, I will be grateful if you can help me with some wisdom and revelation.
I thank God that finally I get a solution, I HV done all that is needed but to no avail, more grace n wisdom to u brother John, let me go n do d same