Respecting the Terms of Engagement

In the classic book “Needless Casualties of War”, well-known prophet John Paul Jackson shared about a time when there was a spate of problems in people’s lives who were coming to him for counseling. Women were at the verge of miscarriages, children in terrible rebellion, broken marriages, unexplained diseases and sudden illnesses, and even loss of life. So John Paul was perplexed by what was happening and went to seek the Lord about it. The Lord answered him by giving him a dream.

In the dream, he saw a night sky and a huge luminous moon that filled the horizon. Then he saw leaders, standing on circular platforms, pointing to the moon and shouting at it, urging others to follow them. As their crowds grew, their platforms would rise higher, some to precarious heights. Then the leaders, who each had a hatchet, waved it around and hurled it at the moon. Of course, those hatchets simply fell into the darkness.

After some time, these leaders got tired and eventually fell asleep on their platforms. Then undetected, dark figures dropped off the moon’s surface, crawled up the pillars that were holding these platforms and began attacking these leaders with extreme viciousness and soon, blood-curdling cries came from these leaders for their families, their children and their ministries. They were devastated. Then the Lord spoke to John Paul and said: “To attack principalities and powers over a geographical area is as useless as throwing hatchets at the moon and it leaves you open to unforeseen and unperceived attacks.”

John Paul then called these people who had these terrible problems and found that each one of them had been involved in coming against the principalities over their geographical locations. He told them that if they’d repent of this presumptive behaviour, that God would intervene in their situation and in all the cases where there was repentance, their problems were reversed and God restored to them the blessings or healed them.

What these people and leaders failed to understand was – when you hit an angry man, he’ll hit you back, and hard. They failed to recognise the nature of the enemy’s vindictiveness to retaliate with great fierceness. It’s not our business or in our assignment to rail and attack principalities and powers. You cannot taunt the devil and not expect repercussions. When we enter into that kind of spiritual warfare, it exposes us to the demonic and there can be terrible backlashes. It’s an extremely dangerous practice.

During the early days of the Charismatic Movement, many Christians began to discover that Satan and demons were not a myth but that they were real. Many jumped on the bandwagon and wow, did we go into overdrive. Suddenly there were demons behind every bush and over everyone’s shoulder. Christians were trying to cast out demons from every tree and rock. So we went to an extreme and paid too much attention to the demonic. We didn’t observe the proper rules of engagement and the fallout from that has been huge. The other extreme of course is a complete denial of their existence and that all our problems really are emotional, or psychosomatic.

The key is balance, which is to keep our eyes on Jesus and our focus upon Him. We should be tracking what the Father is doing, rather than be reactive to what the devil is doing. But be that as it may, as and when demons do appear, we do what the Bible commands – we deal with them by casting them out. Let’s focus on the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom and we’ll do well.


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