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How to Respond to Spiritual Attacks

How to Respond to Spiritual Attacks

Last week we looked at several ways Satan and his demons attack us. When we are spiritually attacked, it is imperative that we respond Biblically to the proper enemy and not fight people.

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

How can we resist the devil? We can walk faithfully and obediently in the Light as Christ is in the Light. That will effectively resist the devil, but it won’t keep him from roaring about us. In spite of our resistance, this Scripture tells us we will experience suffering in this world that the devil creates directly through lies and indirectly through other people’s sin.

King David experienced suffering from the consequences of his own sin as well as from the sin of others. He was attacked by many people who were acting like the devil. He wrote the following psalm that describes how he resisted evil.

Psalm 62:1-8 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

We can read about the attack that inspired this psalm in 2 Samuel 15-17. David was enduring a revolt that was led by his own son, Absalom. The Bible says nothing about this being an attack of Satan; however, we know who instigates family problems, rebellion, gossip, and hatred—not God. Nevertheless, from David’s experience, we can learn why it happened and how to respond to an evil attack.

David said many were against him. His enemies sought his life. They saw him as a weak wall that could be easily toppled. Their plan was to remove him from the throne, so they were telling lies about him to get public support. As a result, some of the people praised David to his face but spoke against him behind his back. There were some who were loyal to him and others who were going after Absalom. In spite of what was being done and said about him, David did not retaliate, but remained silent and waited patiently for the Lord’s action and instruction.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

David’s advisors encouraged him to fight back. But David knew that the proper response was to wait patiently on the Lord, who was his salvation. David realized that God was working out His will in his life! God had placed David on the throne and God could keep him there or take him off. It was up to God. David wasn’t waiting on the Lord to come to him, He was waiting for the Lord to act. David didn’t know what God was going to do, but he knew that God would be just.

When we wait patiently on the Lord, we are not waiting on Him to arrive; He is always with us. We should wait patiently for God to act, even though His timing may not be as we desire. If you are in the midst of a spiritual attack in your life, you can rest assured that the Lord is with you, you can hide in Him because He is your refuge. In order to survive an attack, we must “wait patiently" and not be moved by the forces of evil.

Exodus 14:13-14 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Things continued to get worse. David’s throne was stolen by his own flesh and blood. His servants and followers abandoned him and he had to flee Jerusalem. He was mocked and jeered as he traveled. In spite of all this, David said, “My hope is in God”. David saw the Lord as a refuge, a safe place. In addition, David did something else while he waited patiently on God. While his enemies were prevailing, David walked prayerfully with God.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Many times attacks from our enemy will draw us closer to God. Part of God’s plan in allowing a satanic attack is for our discipline and correction. God disciplines those He loves and we become more intimate with Him and more like Jesus. Like Jesus, we learn obedience through what we suffer.

Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

This rebellion from David’s own son was the consequence of several sinful choices David made in the past. Although David was a man after God’s own heart, he was also a sinner. In addition to committing adultery and murder, David had more than one wife and several concubines, which was against God’s will. And this caused conflicts, jealousy, and strife in his house.

The strife was passed on to David’s children, especially the sons. One son, Amnon, raped Tamar, Absalom’s sister and David took no action. David showed favoritism with his children which added to the jealousy and conflict. All this left the door wide open for satanic attacks in David’s family and eventually upon his kingdom.

Now David was suffering the consequences of his sin. Instead of running from God, David walked prayerfully with God! He used this occasion to confess and repent and trust God. He faithfully rested in God’s love, protection, redemption, and decision.

Satan may use another person to attack us. When that happens (and it often does), Jesus instructed us to walk prayerfully by showing love to that person who acts like an enemy.

Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

In order to properly respond to an attack from our enemy, we must wait patiently and walk prayerfully, and also worship passionately.

John 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

Worshipping the Lord during the enemy’s attack may not be easy but it is necessary to defeat Satan. Worship is not just praising the Lord but also sacrificing your life to the Lord.

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

David worshipped by saying, “He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”  Notice the phrase “I shall not be shaken”. David was not being obstinate. He was declaring that he would not quit worshipping and trusting God.

In spite of all he was going through, David worshipped the Lord. David did not look to himself for the answer. His advisors were no help. He didn’t seek vengeance. He knew where to find deliverance, strength, and refuge—in THE LORD. David was silent about fears, doubts, complaints, and speaking about his enemies, but he was not silent about his faith in God. He proclaimed, “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”

David used this time of suffering in his life to proclaim his faith and encourage others. David gave God praise, honor, and glory during the attacks he faced!

There are many people who face an evil attack and trust in the Lord at first. But when things intensify, they lose faith. To remain faithful when things get extremely difficult, wait patiently on the Lord; seek refuge in Christ and walk prayerfully with Him; and worship passionately until the attack is over.

If you have faith in God, you CAN worship Him passionately in the midst of an evil attack. Worship has the effect of driving out Satan. Satan wants us to worship him. And when we grumble, complain, gossip, get angry, seek revenge, and hurt others, we indeed are worshipping Satan. But if we worship and obey God, Satan’s effects on us are diminished.

After David waited patiently on the Lord, walked prayerfully with Him in repentance, and worshipped the Lord passionately, the Lord led him to organize a counterattack that was successful in defeating his enemies.

Likewise, after we have waited patiently on the Lord, walked prayerfully with Him in repentance, and worshipped the Lord passionately, we are ready to wage war properly against Satan in the Name of Jesus.

How do we do that? Apart from Jesus, we are no match for Satan and his demons. And there is no formula that we can follow, but there is direction and information in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit must be our guide during every encounter with evil.

First of all, the Lord is the One who rebukes Satan. He has the power and authority to do this. That is why there is power in the Name of Jesus. We are to use His Name when speaking to evil spirits. Before He came to earth and was given the name Jesus, the LORD was the name He used.

Zechariah 3:2 And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”

Jude 1:9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The LORD rebuke you.”  

After demonstrating His authority over Satan and his demons, Jesus gave His disciples authority over Satan and his demons.

Luke 10:17-20 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Just before He ascended into Heaven, Jesus gave baptized believers authority over demons.

Mark 16:15-18 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

This authority over evil spirits in Jesus’ Name was put into action by the first century church.

Acts 5:16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Acts 8:6-8 And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.

Acts 16:18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

On the other hand, those, who are not baptized believers and without the Holy Spirit, have no authority or power over evil spirits.

Acts 19:11-20 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

If you are a baptized believer and filled with the Holy Spirit, you have nothing to fear from Satan and his demons. Jesus has given us authority to do His will and speak in His Name. When we command evil spirits to do something in Jesus’ Name, they have to obey Jesus. It is Jesus who rebukes and defeats Satan and his demons—not us.

John 14:12-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

There is no question that our enemy will mount an attack against us. However, we are no longer ignorant, we are not afraid, and we know how to respond when he does attack. We will wait patiently for the Lord to deliver; walk prayerfully in repentance and obedience; worship passionately while under attack; and wage war properly in Jesus Name.

However, if you have never made Jesus your Lord and Savior, you have no defense or offense against the attacks of Satan. In fact, you are his slave. Jesus came to deliver you from this bondage to Satan. If you want free from Satan, publicly confess Jesus as the Son of God who atoned for your sin on the cross. Repent of your sin; that is, turn from obeying Satan and dedicate your life to obeying Jesus. You begin obeying Jesus by dying to your old life in a water baptism. Then you will be born again of the Holy Spirit, who will give you discernment and power over evil.