The following are some of the ways we can combat and overcome eight specific areas of Satan’s attack through witchcraft.
1. Overcoming Discouragement
Discouragement never comes from God. He is the author of faith and the source of hope which never disappoints. Although God does discipline us when we need it, He never does so by afflicting us with discouragement. When James describes the wisdom that comes from above, he does not list discouragement as one of the characteristics: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17). Discouragement is the very opposite of love, joy, peace and other attributes of the Holy Spirit’s fruit (see Galatians 5:22-23).
We must learn to quickly and instinctively reject discouragement, giving it no place in our thoughts. We must tenaciously resist it, taking every thought captive to obey Christ (see II Corinthians 10:3). Discouragement must never be allowed to dictate our course. Faith is the fruit of the Spirit and the shield of our armor that counters discouragement. If we begin to get discouraged, it is because we have dropped our shield. We need to pick it back up!
2. Overcoming Confusion
“God is not the author of confusion” (see I Corinthians 14:33 KJV), so we can know for certain that when confusion strikes, it is not coming from Him. In the military, confusion is one of the primary elements of battle that a soldier is trained to handle. Since nothing will ever go exactly as planned, there will rarely be a battle where there is no confusion. The same is true in spiritual warfare.
The disciplined soldier who understands this aspect of warfare learns to use the confusion to his own advantage. He does not let it increase his discouragement, but begins to anticipate it, looking for an opportunity to gain an advantage over the enemy. We must learn to expect confusion as part of the battle and not be surprised or affected by it. Our resolve to stand and fight will quickly dispel this aspect of the attack.
3. Overcoming Depression God told Cain the most effective remedy for depression:
Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen [the ancient expression for depression]? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouch- ing at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:6-7).
Depression is usually the result of allowing discouragement and confusion to cause us to drift from our basic spiritual disciplines, such as reading the Word, pray- ing, fellowshipping, and so on. Picking them up again with resolve will almost always start to reverse the downward spiral.
4. Overcoming a Loss of Vision
This attack can also be turned to our advantage and used as an opportunity. When we begin to lose our vision, we must commit ourselves to strengthening our vision more than ever. We need to sink our roots deeper and establish our purpose even more firmly upon the Word of God. When God begins to lead us into a purpose, we should record how He speaks to us. By searching all the Scriptures and reviewing the ways He has led us in the past, we will even more firmly establish His leading.
Above all, we must hold our course! We should not change our direction until we can clearly see the new course. In World War I, one of the most effective tactics of the enemy was to lay a smokescreen in front of allied battleship convoys. As the convoy entered the smoke, visibility was lost. The ships would start turning at any perceived sound or whim with the resulting collisions sinking more ships than the enemy torpedoes did.
The allies finally developed a simple strategy to thwart this tactic against their vision: When in the smoke, every ship was to hold its previous course without deviation. By doing so, they discovered that they would soon all sail out the other side into clear air. The same strategy will enable us to more quickly escape whatever is clouding our vision. When we lose our vision, we need to just hold our course and keep going forward. We will soon break out into the clear.
5. Overcoming Disorientation
As an instrument flight instructor, the first thing I had to teach a student pilot was that he must not trust his feelings when experiencing restricted visibility while flying on instruments. If a pilot tries to fly by his feelings when in instrument conditions, he will quickly lose control of the plane.
Even when flying perfectly straight and level through the clouds, it can begin to feel like the plane is turning. If the pilot reacts to this feeling, he will begin to turn in order to counteract this supposed drift, causing the plane to veer off course or possibly even turn the plane upside down. In a test conducted by the FAA, a group of pilots without previous instrument training were flown into instrument conditions.
Every one of them lost control of their planes because they tried to rely on their feelings for guidance. The same is true of immature Christians who enter spiritual conditions with reduced visibility or “spiritual clouds.”
They usually try to rely on their feelings for guidance and therefore lose control. The “instruments” we have been given to walk by are found in the Bible. We do not walk by feelings but by faith in the sure testimony of the Word of God. The Word of God will keep us oriented and on course if we put our trust in it, even when our feelings may be telling us to do otherwise.
6. Overcoming Withdrawal
In the Persian Gulf War, the majority of casualties were either reserves or civilian. The safest place to be in the war was on the front line. This has been true in most modern wars, and it is true in spiritual warfare as well. When we are being pressed in a battle, we cannot call a time-out. On the frontline, we cannot ask the enemy to stop the battle because we have a headache or want to take a break. When we are on the frontline, we know the dangers and do not let our guards down.
All Christians are on the frontline every day whether we like it or not. It is when we start to consider ourselves a “civilian” and not a soldier that we will be the most vulnerable to his attack. A Christian is never in the reserves.
However, there are times of reprieve from conflict because seldom do battles continually rage along the entire front. However, when we know we are on the front, even our breaks are taken with vigilance, realizing that a fresh attack can come at any time. Christians must never remove their spiritual armor or lose their vigilance. In times of warfare, there are occasions when strategic retreat is necessary.
At times, we over commit ourselves spiritually and must draw back—but that is not the same as withdrawing from the battle. Even when we have over committed ourselves, retreat should be a last resort, for an army in retreat is in its most vulnerable condition. If at all possible, we should at least try to hold our ground until our position can be strengthened.
Even when we discover that in a certain matter we have acted presumptuously, without being commissioned by God, we must not quit—we should repent. There is a difference between quitting and stopping because of repentance. The first is defeat; the latter is an adjustment that will always result in further victories. Repentance comes because of the truth that sets us free; defeat will result in spiritual bondage to the power of the enemy.
7. Overcoming Despair
In Genesis 2:18, the Lord said that it was not good for man to be alone. We are social creatures, and when we withdraw from fellowship, we usually sink into the deepest pit of hopelessness—despair. At this point in the downward spiral, we must return to fellowship and get help in reversing the slide or else we will be defeated.
As simple as this may seem, it is the remedy. Even though fellow believers can be the source of the enemy’s attack on us, we must never run away from the church. We should run to it and work out our problems until they are resolved.
8. Overcoming Defeat
Even if Satan’s stings of witchcraft have brought such devastation to our lives that we are temporarily defeated, we must see that God can still bring us to ultimate victory. Paul commented to the Corinthians that he had been “struck down, but not destroyed” (see II Corinthians 4:9). At one point, Paul faced such severe attacks that he “despaired even of life” (see II Corinthians 1:8), but through it all he learned that the secret of regaining victory was not in trusting in himself but in “God who raises the dead” (see II Corinthians 1:9).
Paul wrote, “but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57). “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Defeat is not an option in Christ. We will gain victory in that which He has called us to do. The only way we can be defeated is to quit.
Witchcraft is basically the practice of cursing others. This cursing does not just come through cults or black magic arts, but can even come through those who love us and have good intentions and are trying to manipulate us. Using manipulation or control is a form of witchcraft, regardless of who does it.
The mother who manipulates her son or daughter into marrying her choice has done it through witchcraft, and such relationships usually have to be held together through manipulation and control.
The prayer group that uses prayers to expose others is gossiping for the sake of manipulation. This is not genuine prayer—it is witchcraft. Much of what is written in the name of Christian journalism purportedly as an attempt to keep the church informed is gossip, used to manipulate or gain influence over others— this, too, is witchcraft.
When spiritual leaders use manipulation, hype, or control to build their churches or ministries, they are operating in a counterfeit spiritual authority equivalent to witchcraft. Much of what is taught in business schools is a form of manipulation or control that is witchcraft. Many of the strategies the church has borrowed from secular journalism and the business world have brought witchcraft into the camp, and it must be removed if we are to be free to accomplish our purpose for this hour.
Many of the “yokes” and human expectations that we face have some form of manipulation and witchcraft attached to them. The enemy wants to establish these strongholds to conflict with the calling of God in our lives.
However, this is not a license to disregard the expectations of our parents, teachers, employers, and so forth. We were known by the Lord before we were born, and many of the influences in our lives have been placed there to help steer us toward our purposes in Him.
However, some of the yokes and expectations that well-intentioned parents, teachers, or coaches put on us must be cast off. Yokes that are placed on us that are not from the Lord will become clear as we come to know our callings and purposes in Him, for the truth will set us free.
The only yoke that we must take is the Lord’s yoke. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (see Matthew 11:30). When we take His yoke, we find rest and refreshment instead of the pressure and discouragement that comes from white witchcraft.
Pressure tactics and manipulation are subtle forms of witchcraft that can have just as much power as the black magic arts. White and black witchcraft may be different branches, but they have the same root and the same deadly poison.
Regretfully, when unstable people recognize the dangers of being subject to charismatic or white witchcraft, they will often distort this principle in order to rebel against God’s ordained authority over their lives.
King Saul is a personification of one who was ordained by God but fell from his place of true spiritual authority to operate in counterfeit spiritual authority. King David, on the other hand, is a personification of true spiritual authority. How did David react to Saul? He was willing to serve in the house of Saul until Saul chased him away. Even then he never retaliated, rebelled or tried to undermine Saul’s authority, but chose instead to honour him as “the Lord’s anointed” (see I Samuel 24:10).
We need to learn from David’s example. Even though he was called to take Saul’s place, he never lifted his hand against Saul. David determined that if God had really called him to be the next king, then God would have to be the one to establish him.
David overcame evil with good by demonstrating the exact opposite of the manipulative or control spirits that had come against him. Had David manipulated his way into the kingdom, he would have almost certainly fallen to witchcraft just like Saul. However, David was of a different spirit.
Those who are the target of any form of witchcraft will usually feel the sequence of stings previously listed. If we react to the attack properly, we will not only be free of its influence ourselves, but we can also help to free those who have use witchcraft. The manipulation and control spirits gain entrance through fear.
Those who are fearful, insecure, and so obsessed with controlling others that they use evil influence, will take a demonstration of “perfect love” (see I John 4:18) to cast out these fears. Jesus commanded us to “bless those who curse you” (see Matthew 5:44). Paul said that we are not to return evil for evil; we are to overcome evil with good (see Romans 12:19-21).
When we discover that we are the target of witchcraft, retaliation is not the answer. In fact, that is the very thing the enemy would have us do, for it multiplies the evil we are trying to cast out. Satan will not cast out Satan; witchcraft will not cast out witchcraft.
We must pray for those who are praying against us and bless those who are cursing us. This does not mean we are to bless what they are doing, but we must pray that they are delivered from the fears and hatred that motivates them. Pray for your attackers to have a revelation of the perfect love of God. Our greatest victory is in winning those who are in the enemy’s grip, not just in afflicting them back.
Another source of witchcraft that can be one of the most unexpected causes of discouragement, confusion, depression, loss of vision, disorientation, and despair is ourselves!
When we use manipulation, hype, or control on others, we open ourselves to the consequences. Before we look at others to find the source, we should first look at ourselves. Again, Satan cannot cast out Satan; we will not be able to cast witchcraft out of others if we are using it ourselves.
Most who have been subject to witchcraft have tried to combat it in the flesh actually using the same spirit. When we do that, it gains a foothold in our own lives that must be broken before we will have the authority to deliver others.
Witchcraft is a serious offense that God will not continue to tolerate in the church. His intent is to bring down every form and manifestation of witchcraft that has ensnared His people. After we have been freed from this terrible evil, we will also be free to walk in the unprecedented power that can only be entrusted to those who walk in true spiritual authority.
Excerpted from Overcoming Witchcraft, Combating Spiritual Strongholds Series, Rick Joyner © copyright 1996, 2010, published by Morning Star Publications
Image Credit: Heavens Call