I knew I was free. Although the demons still had the ability to harass my mind and body, they no longer controlled me. Jesus Christ lived within me and promised to protect and restore me. When or how he would do this no longer concerned me; I just knew he would as I followed him.
I cried my relief?I had found the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Now I could fight back using the weaponry supplied by God: prayer and Scripture. I belonged to Jesus Christ now, and in time the demons' harassment would cease.
I kept my second appointment, too, a meeting with the Episcopal bishop. After I told him my story, I said, "I was wondering if you could counsel me on how to make these spirits go away. I understand I'm in for a real battle."
"Being a Christian is more about developing a relationship with God than making demons go away. Here's the name of a church near your home. Introduce yourself there, join a Bible study, and attend the services. You'll be just fine."
I shook his hand feeling a long way from "just fine" but knowing my life had changed. Thank God.
Jesus Christ delivered me?just not how I originally expected. Rather than a sudden relief, the demons lost their hold as others prayerfully interceded for me and as I applied God's Word to my life, prayed, worshiped, read the Bible, helped others, and walked by faith.
But it was a struggle. Daily I strained to differentiate what was of God and what was of Satan. I typed Scripture verses on cards and carried them with me to remind myself of what was true.
I marveled at the changes in my life. Four Christmases ago, I was unable to prepare a meal, complete a thought, or make a living without the permission of malevolent forces. Now I had a Christian counseling practice, a new house, new friends, and God's presence in my home.
I sought opportunities to speak openly about what God had done in my life?at church groups and in my counseling. In 1993, Dr. Gordon Lewis of Denver Seminary asked me to present my testimony to his class, "Christianity and the Occult."
"My rejection of God and denial of evil left me vulnerable to a lie of Satan," I began. "Namely, that my mind, emotions, and body were my personal domain, and nothing of a spiritual nature could influence me without my permission. I denied the sovereignty of God and was ignorant of his enemy, Satan?his character, capabilities, and designs on my life."
After I told my story, there were a barrage of questions. A woman in the back of the room spoke. "I'm a missionary in Lithuania, and what you describe would have stunned me before entering the mission field. But since being overseas, I'm more aware of demonic influences. Many foreign cultures encourage participation in occult rituals."
"Yes, and as our culture grows more accepting, I'm sure we'll see an increase here too. In fact, aren't we already?"
"First, pray for the person deceived as well as for guidance for yourself. Second, share the love of Christ. Nothing in New Age thinking or the occult replicates the love of Christ, and underneath the sophisticated words and philosophies lives an empty heart and a cold, restless spirit. Remember that the battle is for the heart and the mind. Third, present the gospel, but try not to be argumentative. Sprinkle your conversation with Scripture. Fourth, if someone relates a supernatural experience, try not to minimize or discredit it; rather, tell that person that you also believe in an unseen universe but that not every spirit is from God. Teach what you know to be true.
"Lastly, remember that God prepares hearts to hear the gospel. One plants a seed and another reaps. We don't know how God will use us, but he does command us to preach the good news."
I closed the session by saying, "God saved us from the work of Satan and ourselves, and though I think it's important to understand how Satan attempts to destroy our faith in God, the Bible tells us to keep our attention on Jesus Christ and his Word. As we love and obey him, his righteousness shines in us and he delivers us from harm's way. Jesus wants us to draw close to him when we are afraid or attacked by the Adversary. During these times, call on Jesus Christ. He's waiting to hear from you."
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