Rejecting Superstition

In order to become a real threat to hell and a real help to others, we must be loosed from the distracting nature of superstition and learn how to engage in true spiritual warfare. In the introduction to this book, I presented a caution about our approach to spiritual warfare and warned against the extremes of both skepticism and superstition. I now want to focus on avoiding superstitious thinking that can keep you from overcoming the enemy.

Before I go any further, I want to be clear. It is not my intent to be dismissive of demonic activity. My goal is to keep you from becoming bound to superstitious thinking that can make you fearful of casting out or confronting demons. If you can understand the liberating truth I seek to present here, you will approach spiritual warfare with the peace of God and not become inordinately concerned about demonic activity.

This is about becoming a threat to the enemy—defeating him. To become that threat, we must consciously avoid superstitions that make us paranoid about being influenced by demons.

What kinds of superstitions am I talking about? While doing my research for this book, I read a lot of material, carefully studied the Scriptures, and spoke with several people. Through those conversations and materials, I discovered many people were living in fear of demons despite their vast “knowledge” of Scripture. They were fixated on “rules” to keep demons from “attaching” themselves to them.

They had been told that they should pray when walking into buildings so demons wouldn’t latch onto them and then to pray when leaving so no demons would follow them home. In a few extreme instances some even came to believe that they should pray before loading every web page they visited lest a demon jump off the page and into their lives. They even feared rebuking demonic spirits lest they jump onto them.

They were constantly on guard. If they got angry, they’d pray against the demon of anger that may have entered their lives. If they came into contact with a drug addict, they believed that if they didn’t rebuke the demon they might become its next victim. If they accidentally touched a trinket from the occult, they’d think they had opened a door for an evil spirit to torment them.

Instead of living in the light of Christ, these believers were tediously working to counter every possible assault that could arise from almost any possible scenario. Though they were trying to remain vigilant against demonic attack, they were actually giving demons too much of their time and living in bondage to fear instead of in the freedom Jesus purchased for us on the cross.

This isn’t how we are supposed to live as followers of Christ. Of course, the Bible tells us to “be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). So we should guard against temptation and opening doors that would give the devil legal access to influence our lives. For many of us, this means there are certain places we should not go. And obviously we should not participate in occult rituals. But greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world (1 John 4:4)! There is a difference between vigilance and paranoia. Vigilance in spiritual warfare is rooted in confidence in God and His Word and the authority we have in Him. Paranoia is rooted in fear. Vigilance is offensive; paranoia is defensive.

If you allow yourself to become paranoid about demons, you’ll constantly be looking around for demonic stalkers. We don’t see Jesus worrying about demons, and we don’t see the disciples living in that kind of fear. In fact, the apostle Paul allowed a demon-possessed girl to follow him around for several days before finally casting the demon out of her. And when he did cast it out, he took only an instant to do so.

“On one occasion, as we went to the place of prayer, a servant girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’ She did this for many days. But becoming greatly troubled, Paul turned to the spirit and said, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out at that moment - Acts 16:16–18, MEV

Whenever you form a belief or embrace a concept, ask yourself this: Does this idea help me better live the lifestyle of Christ that we see reflected in Scripture? If it doesn’t, don’t embrace it. I want to see you operate in the authority that has been given to you through Christ.