From the Fast
We’ve recently discussed the significance of fasting and the bearing that it has on spiritual discernment and strength. Without doubt, fasting will become increasingly vital to the faith and perseverance of believers as demonic activity increases in the earth. Throughout scripture, earnest prayer and fasting was, perhaps, the most effective measure against the forces of spiritual wickedness and deception.
In the most intense and trying times of persecution and tribulation, many great followers of God turned to fasting. Moses fasted for 40 days before going into the mountains to receive the commandments of God (Deuteronomy 9:9). Elijah fasted during his escape from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:7-8). Esther fasted to save her people from death (Esther 4:15-16). Daniel fasted for his people in Babylon, and received many of the most powerful prophecies in scripture (Daniel 1, 10), and finally, Jesus fasted in the wilderness before beginning His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:1-2).
These examples are not only endless but also reveal that fasting is critical for the people of God during times of great trouble or purpose. In these moments, many of those who fasted became keenly aware of the spiritual world around them and were able to be protected from it. Jesus dealt, directly, with Satan. Moses spoke, directly, with God. Daniel was enabled to speak directly, on several occasions, with an angel of the Lord who provided him even further insight into the spiritual activity surrounding him. Today, we should remember that fasting is no less important than is was then, and as always, we are deeply involved in a spiritual world and war.
Ephesians 6:10-12 10**Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. **11*Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Ephesians not only reminds us that that we are at war with a spiritual world, but it instructs us on the best ways to prepare and defend against spiritual powers, including the devil himself.
Ephesians 6:18-20 18**Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; **19**And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, **20*For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
As expected, we should always be in prayer, even if it is simply to express our gratitude to the Father. But in addition to prayer, we should be making supplication to Him. Supplication is more than general communication with our Heavenly Father; it means to make earnest and humble requests unto God and to do so in recognition of our desperate need for His spiritual guidance. By mentioning both prayer and supplication, Paul also is highlighting the importance with which we should regard spiritual strength and discernment—we should be begging God for it.
Today’s Christians must honestly answer the question of whether they regard the spiritual world with the level of importance that they should? We must ask ourselves if we are earnestly and consistently pleading with God to reveal the wiles and snares of the enemy or if are we taking the spiritual forces around us for granted. Scripture also advises us that we must be sober and vigilant in our daily walk, on guard against deception and attack from the kingdom of darkness.
1 Peter 5:8 8*Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
With these things in mind, let us pray, fast and make supplication to Lord with a strong desire to discern the spirits at work in the world around us. Just as the angel of the Lord informed Daniel of the times, seasons and spiritual activity surrounding Him, God desires to do the same with us.
Our Spiritual Awareness
Today, people, including Christians are less fearful of the spiritual world than they are fascinated with it.
It is quite amazing how willing Christians are to participate in and celebrate demonic activities while believing they’ll have no effect. To entertain demons and be amused by devils is to be dismissive, if not willfully ignorant, of the real threat they pose. In what way does it make sense to make light of beings whose sole purpose is to condemn you to hell, unless you’re not truly convicted about their threat or significance or danger?
In other ways, we minimize the threat of demonic forces by the colloquialization of them. When people casually say they are exercising, fighting or dealing with their demons in reference to general problems, they are underrating their real danger to our spiritual safety and security. Through such disregard of the spiritual world and even the scriptures which admonish us to be highly aware of it, we risk becoming desensitized to demons in disguise and others basically revealing themselves in plain sight.
Believers should not be afraid to proceed with caution or express a level of seriousness when it comes to spiritual things. It is not embarrassing or shameful, weird or hokey to be on heightened alert around things that are overtly demonic. The feeling of shame, itself, is inspired by Satan to get you to let your guard down. While we shouldn’t be fearful, we also shouldn’t behave as if the kingdom of darkness should be taken casually. Most importantly, we need to recognize that demons desperately desire to influence mankind, manipulate them and possess them straight into hell.
Matthew 12:43-45 43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
So, in prayer and supplication, let us draw on every available resource from God to discern the ways of Satan and prevent his deception from having power over us.