Sunday, 29 April 2018

Overcoming Witchcraft Part || The Stinger

By Rick Joyner

The attacks of witchcraft come in a series
of stings. The successive stings are meant
to hit the very places where we have been
weakened by the previous stings. In this
way they build upon each other until the
cumulative effect overwhelms the target.
The stings of witchcraft usually come in the
following order:

1. Discouragement
2. Confusion
3. Depression
4. Loss of Vision
5. Disorientation
6. Withdrawal
7. Despair
8. Defeat

This process can happen quickly, as it did
with Elijah, but it usually works more slowly,
which makes it even more difficult to discern.
However, if we know the enemy’s schemes
we will not continue to be subject to them.
When these symptoms begin to make inroads
into our lives, we must resist the enemy until he flees. If we do not resist him, we will be the ones fleeing, just like Elijah.


The source of witchcraft used against us
may not be the obvious satanic cults or New
Age operatives. It can come from wellmeaning,
though deceived, Christians who
are, in effect, praying against us instead of
for us. These misguided prayers have power,
because whatever is released on earth is
released in heaven, and whatever is bound
on earth is bound in heaven. If intercession is
motivated by a spirit of control or manipulation,
it is witchcraft, and its power is just as
real as that of black magic.

Other sources of charismatic witchcraft
can be things such as gossip, political
maneuvering, and jealousy; and they can
have an effect on us whether we allow
ourselves to be manipulated by them or
not. For example, consider the result if we
refuse to be manipulated by someone who
has a control spirit, but allow ourselves
to become resentful or bitter toward that
person. In such a case, the enemy has still
caused us to fall, and the discouragement,
disorientation, and depression will come
upon us just as surely as if we had submitted
to the control spirit.

We are defeated by the enemy when he
can get us to respond in any spirit other
than the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is love, joy,
peace, and so forth (see Galatians 5:22-23).  The enemy’s strategy is to cause us to depart
from the fruit of the Holy Spirit and try to
combat him on his own terms. Satan cannot
cast out Satan; resentment will never cast out
Jezebel—it will only increase her power.

That is why the basic strategy we must
use to begin freeing ourselves from the
power of witchcraft is to “bless those who
curse us” (see Luke 6:28). This does not
mean that we bless their works, but that we
pray for them and not against them. If the
enemy can get us to retaliate, he will then
have us using the same spirit, and we will
have multiplied the very evil we were trying
to cast out.

We are not warring against flesh and
blood, and the weapons of our warfare are
not carnal but spiritual. When we begin to
pray blessings upon the people who are
attacking us, then the evil power of control
and manipulation is broken over both them
and us. We must not return evil for evil, but
we must “overcome evil with good” (see
Romans 12:21).

Discerning the Stings of Witchcraft

Sting 1—DISCOURAGEMENT

Everyone gets discouraged at times, and
it can be for many different reasons, so this is
not always the result of witchcraft being used
against us. However, if we become subject to increasing discouragement for no apparent
reason, witchcraft should be considered as
a possible source. When your difficulties
seem insurmountable and you want to give
up, even though matters are really not any
worse than usual, you are probably coming
under spiritual attack. The enemy’s attempt
to afflict you with discouragement is meant
to weaken you for the next level of attack,
which is:

Sting 2—CONFUSION

Again, we must look for a general and
increasing “spirit of confusion” for which
there is no apparent reason. Here we begin
to lose our clarity as to what we have been
called to do, which of course will weaken
our resolve. This confusion is meant to
compound our discouragement, making
us even weaker and more vulnerable to
further attack, which will usually come in
the form of:

Sting 3—DEPRESSION

This is a deeper problem than simple
discouragement. It is an unshakable dread
that comes as a result of the combined effect
of discouragement and confusion, along with
a general negligence in spiritual disciplines
that have usually slipped in by this time.
This will become an increasingly prevalent
problem in the last days, and we must gain
victory over it. If we do not, it will quickly
lead to the next sting:

Sting 4—LOSS OF VISION

This is the goal of the previous stings,
and it works to increase their effect. Here
we begin to doubt that God has called us to
the task in the first place. The only way that
we can sail through the storm of confusion
is to hold our course, but we cannot hold
our course if we do not know where we are
going. We will not try to hold our course
if we begin to think it was wrong for us to
ever pursue our vision in the first place. Such
a loss in vision will lead to our drifting in
circles at the time when we most need to
“make straight paths for your feet” (see
Hebrews 12:13). This sets us up for the
next level of assault:

Sting 5—DISORIENTATION

The combined result of depression,
confusion, and loss of vision is usually
disorientation. By this time, not only have
we forgotten the course we are supposed
to be holding, but we have even lost our
ability to read the compass. The Scriptures
will no longer speak to us, and it is a
struggle to trust the Lord’s voice or receive
much encouragement from even the most
anointed teaching or preaching. This is the
point of spiritual incapacitation, the inability
to function, which results in:

Sting 6—WITHDRAWAL

When disorientation sets in, it is tempting
to withdraw or retreat from our purpose in the ministry, our fellowship with the rest
of the church, and often from our families
and others we are close to. Withdrawal will
result in:

Sting 7—DESPAIR

Withdrawal from the battle leads quickly
to hopelessness and despair. Without hope
we can easily be taken out by the enemy,
either through temptation, sickness, or
death. Science has proven that when hope
is removed, even the most healthy person
will quickly deteriorate and die. But with
hope, men and women have lived long past
the point when a normal body should have
quit. Despair will always lead to:

Sting 8—DEFEAT

The enemy’s purpose is to weaken us
so that we begin to fall further and further
behind—then we can be picked off more easily.
In Scripture, the Amalekites were typical
of Satan and his hordes. It was the practice
of the Amalekites to attack the weak and the
defenseless. As the camp of Israel crossed
the wilderness, the Amalekites picked off
the loners or stragglers who fell behind the
rest of the camp.

This is what the enemy seeks to do
through witchcraft. He seeks to weaken
believers so that they will begin to fall behind
the rest of the camp and become easy prey.
This is why Israel was told that there would be perpetual war with the Amalekites. When
Israel’s kings were commanded to fight them,
they were also commanded to utterly destroy
them and not take any spoil. We have a
perpetual war against Satan, and we cannot
take any prisoners. Neither can we use that
which is his in the service of God.

King Saul disobeyed this command. He
kept Agag alive, king of the Amalekites,
and kept some of the spoil “to sacrifice it
to the Lord” (see I Samuel 15:15). This
represented a failure of the most foolish
kind for one called to lead God’s people.
In those days, keeping a rival king alive
after a battle was only done for one of two
reasons: to make him an ally or a slave. Saul
foolishly thought that he could make the
one who personified Satan himself into an
ally or a slave.

It was no accident that it was an
Amalekite who killed Saul and carried the
news of Saul’s death to David. This Amalekite
thought that the news would be pleasing to
David, but David was discerning and had him
killed (see II Samuel 1:1-16). If we do not
obey the Lord and utterly destroy the enemy
we battle, he will end up finishing us off.
There can be no alliance with the enemy;
he and his hordes must be utterly destroyed.
Neither let us be foolish enough to think that
we can use the enemy as our slave; in his
guile he will quickly turn the tables.

Witchcraft is being used against the
church. Many who have failed to recognize
it have been defeated—losing their vision,
their ministry, their families, and even their
lives. This is not sensationalism; it is fact.
Paul said that we do not wrestle against
flesh and blood but against principalities
and powers (see Ephesians 6:12). Wrestling
is the closest form of combat. The enemy
is going to fight, and he is going to wrestle
with us. If we decide we are just not going
to fight, we will get pinned!

As Christians, we have no option as to
whether or not we are going to do spiritual
warfare—if we want to survive, we must fight.
How do we combat this witchcraft? We must
first look at the basic principle of spiritual
warfare required for every victory.

The Road to Victory

In Revelation 12:11, we see that the saints
overcome Satan:
1. By the blood of the Lamb,
2. by the word of their testimony, and
3. by loving not their lives even
unto death.

We overcome by the blood of the Lamb
as we take our stand on what He has already
accomplished for us through the cross. The
victory has already been won, and there is
no way we can lose, if we abide in Him.

The word of our testimony is the
Scriptures. Every time the enemy challenged
Jesus, He simply responded with Scripture,
countering the enemy’s temptation with
God’s truth. The Word of God is “the sword
of the Spirit” (see Ephesians 6:17). With
the sword, we can deflect the blows from his
deceptive words, as well as attack him. Of all
the pieces of armor we are commanded to
use, the sword is the only offensive weapon
(see Ephesians 6:10-18).

That they “did not love their lives to
the death” (see Revelation 12:11 NKJV),
is the utter commitment to follow Him
regardless of the price. We are called to take
up our crosses daily, to do all things for the
sake of the gospel, and to no longer live for
ourselves but for Him. To the degree that
we remain in self-centeredness, we will be
vulnerable to the enemy’s attack. When we
have reckoned ourselves dead to this world,
as crucified with Christ, then the enemy no
longer has any access to us because he has
no more access to Him. What can be done to
a dead person? It is impossible for the dead
to be offended, tempted, fearful, depressed,
or to be continually looking for the easy
way out, since they have already paid the
ultimate price.

All of these—the blood of the Lamb,
the word of our testimony, and a commitment
to lay down our lives, are required for spiritual victory. Anything less will fail
to bring a complete victory. We may make
occasional, halting advances, but we will
sooner or later be pushed back. However,
it is clear that at the end of the age an army
of believers will be raised up who will not
settle for occasional advances—they have
committed themselves to the fight and will
not stop until there is the total victory. “The
earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains”
(see Psalm 24:1). Until the earth has been
completely recovered from the domain of
Satan, our fight is not over.

No one will fight to win if they do not
believe victory is possible. Many teachings
have been promulgated that declare the
church’s defeat before Christ’s return. Yet
the whole prophetic testimony of Scripture
is that the Lord, the church, and the truth
are going to prevail. Satan is indeed being
cast down to the earth, bringing with him
a time of trouble like the world has never
known before—but we will still win!

Isaiah 14:16-17 says that when we see
Satan, we are going to marvel at the pitiful
nature of the one who caused so much
trouble! The Lord, who lives within the very
least of the saints, is much greater than the
combined power of all antichrists. These
times are not to be feared—this will be our
finest hour! As Isaiah 60:1-2 declares, when
darkness is covering the earth, the glory of the Lord will be appearing on His people.
The darkness will just make His glory upon
us appear that much brighter. We must start
fighting in order to win, giving no more
ground to the enemy, and taking back what
he has usurped.

To effectively combat witchcraft, we
must determine that we are going to resist
Satan until he flees from us. Our goal is
more than just driving the enemy out of
our own lives; we then must pursue him
until he is driven out of others in whom he
has established a stronghold. 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 crouching
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, praying,
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 civilians. 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 overcommit ourselves spiritually and
must draw back—but that is not the same as
withdrawing from the battle. Even when we
have overcommitted 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.

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