Saturday, October 24, 2009

Overcoming Spiritual Witchcraft, Part 2

The last several weeks during a weekly class we have been taking a look at "Overcoming Spiritual Witchcraft," and in order to know how to overcome we must first understand what "spiritual witchcraft" is and how it operates.  Our focus has not been on the blatant occultic witchcraft that operates in the realm of the world-at-large, but at the religious-type witchcraft that unfortunately operates within many of today's congregations and ministries.

Some has asked, "why do you call it witchcraft?"  And, the answer is quite simple, actually, and is based out of the Word of God.  Consider these passages, (we will look at other passages in future posts):

1 Samuel 15:23 (New King James Version)

 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
      And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
      Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
      He also has rejected you from being king.”
This passage provides some foundational understanding for our topic of concern.  Here we clearly see that  "Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft."  The word "rebellion" comes from a root word that means "to be contentious, rebellious, refractory, disobedient towards or rebellious against."  Which is, according to this passage, equated to 'divination, witchcraft, the practice of divination or being of "false prophets." Such behavior is completely forbidden/prohibited by the Word of God.

Please take note (and this will become increasingly important as we grow in understanding of spiritual witchcraft) that witchcraft is linked to divination which is "the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means."  It is to "discover by guesswork or intuition, or to have supernatural or magical insight into future events or situations" - by a source other than the Spirit of God. Such discovery or insights are completely forbidden by the Lord and His Word.

For confirmation on this assertion, consider these passages:

Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (New International Version)

9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God. 14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.
Secondly, linked to "spiritual witchcraft" is stubbornness which is as iniquity and idolatry.

Sometimes, we have a tendency to excuse stubbornness as just the way some folks are. . . but God defines it in far different terms.  The Hebrew word for stubbornness is "patsar" (H6484) and means "to press, push, be insolent, display pushing (arrogance, presumption)." Not a very pretty picture, to say the least, and this is equated to iniquity which means trouble, wickedness, sorrow, idolatry, trouble of iniquity, wickedness (from an unused root perhaps meaning properly, to pant (hence, to exert oneself, usually in vain.  And if that is not bad enough. Stubbornness is equated to idolatry, which reveals the worship or practice of idolatry, idols, and often points to "family idol - a kind of idol used in household shrine or worship."

In both scenarios of rebellion-witchcraft, and stubbornness- iniquity and idolatry, there appears to be a link to determining to do things our own way, apart from submission to God or His delegated authorities, and to dangers connected to generational patterns that pass down through family lines.  Certainly these things can manifest in the realm of clear expressions of blatant witchcraft as seen in the occultic religious practices (i.e. Wiccan, Satanism, various forms of paganism, etc.).  However, for our purposes, we need to expand our understanding to see that these can easily operate within the church when we lean into forms, lifeless traditions, and activities that "look good" but come out of an attitude or heart that is not truly seeking the Lord, but going through the motions out of religious obligation, or of willful disobedience, self-will, stiff-necked stubbornness, or other forms of hidden rebellious attitudes and actions. Unfortunately, it is fairly easy to learn how to "look good" on the outside while concealing heart attitudes that are far from God.

While these things do not automatically equate to operating in spiritual witchcraft (it may simply be immaturity or ignorance), it certainly does throw up some serious warning signs that need to be addressed by repentance and humble submission to the Lord. Therefore, it is important that we remember the words of

1 Corinthians 10:11-13 (New King James Version)

11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
For our discussions, let's consider this:

When we replace obedience to the Voice of the Lord, His Word both Logos and Rhema, with religious practices and forms of worship, and justify our actions of disobedience, for any reason, we open ourselves up to the powers of darkness operating in and through our lives as witchcraft, iniquity, and idolatry.

Through these blogs, please know that it is my utmost desire that we all come into greater measures of freedom from the snares of the enemy so that we might be effective vessels in the hand of the Lord to advance His Kingdom and push back the forces of darkness.

Let's discuss so that we might all come to greater measures of freedom in the Lord as instruments of His grace and power in the world today.

Many Blessings!