And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. (Acts 16:16-18)
Paul was on his way to prayer and was met by this demon possessed girl on a daily basis. He faced a “prophetic voice” that was trying to speak into his life. Perhaps we can call it flattery, but the enemy was speaking to him with more than mere words. There was a spirit who was backing that word. It was demonic; meaning it was energized by demonic forces. This gave it a power to make an effect beyond just normal speaking. What happened? Paul was worn out, grieved, annoyed and made indignant by this demon’s antics.
As this went on for a number of days, Paul discerned that this was more than a mere woman’s voice — it was a demon talking to him. Think of the enormity of that fact. This was a brazen move on the part of the enemy. He came face to face with Paul day after day. Perhaps the demon’s strategy was to keep talking to Paul, through this young woman, until he got an ear from Him. He was relentless. He was going to break Paul or Paul was going to break him. This was a confrontation.
The devil will likewise test all people that God is using to advance His Kingdom. He is working to hinder the working of God. He wants to interrupt our devotional life and get us distracted from God. He lures us with thoughts and words. He entices us with sounds and images. He will use whatever or whomever he can to turn our eyes off Jesus and get them on something or someone else. Finally, Paul discerned what was happening. It was a moment of illumination. God jerked the cover back and revealed the face of the enemy. What happened?
But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
Paul was in a place spiritually where he could simply speak the word and the demon came out. God is no respecter of persons. The saints can deal with demonic forces, as necessary, just as did Paul. What’s the alternative? Allow the enemy to take over our lives? God forbid!
Sometimes we don’t need to argue with the devil — we need to REBUKE him (as Paul did). There are some thoughts that come into our minds that we should not bother entertaining; they need to be rebuked. Don’t ponder them. Cast them down! Bring the thoughts into captivity. If they are contrary to God and His word they are coming from the enemy and need to be rebuked.
The Enemy at Work
Where is the enemy working to bring down the saints? Is it flattery from a coworker of the opposite sex? Rebuke it! Cast that thought down. Is there a temptation to sin coming from somebody? Is the enemy using someone to “stir you up” to sin as did Jezebel her husband Ahab? Rebuke their words and them if necessary! Paul had to do it. And we should do it, when necessary. Paul refused to allow anyone or anything to come between him and God. He was not about to allow the enemy to continue vexing him. Paul was no novice. He knew the seriousness of the enemies plan. Satan plays for keeps. We are in a mortal warfare.
“Seeing” the Enemy at Work
Sometimes God has to open our eyes and minds about things to allow us to see them for what they truly are. Once our mind thinks rightly about something — we will act. Sometimes this is what is at issue. We simply don’t see something for what it truly is. Sometimes it is a person. We don’t see them for what they truly are. Some people are messengers from the enemy to try to trip us up; to scandalize us.
When we see something rightly we will do what Paul did and look to God for the power to overcome what we are facing. The first step is to “want to.” But our mind and our feelings (our opinion) have to line up with what’s right. If not, we will not want to act. We will just go on listening to and tolerating the enemy until he has sucked us into his scheme. We must be sober and discerning. Not everything that praises us is of God. It could be the bait on the hook that the Devil wants to use to reel us in.