God wants us to grow in prayer, faith and authority. God wants to do something good in your life. Not only in your life, but in my life too. And in the lives of people everywhere.
God spoke to Adam and said to have dominion over the earth and everything in it. We are supposed to exercise authority. We may have limited spheres of authority over our fellow human beings in certain contexts, by divine arrangement, but in general the authority we are given is not so that we can make people do what we want. However we are all to exercise authority over the rotten works of the devil and the evil spirits that execute Satan's perverse and hurtful works.
"Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (Luke 10:19)
Was this authority given only to the twelve apostles while the rest of us were supposed to get beaten up by Satan, or to cower in fear because there are spiritual enemies out there that seek our destruction? No, all the promises of God in Jesus Christ are "Yes" and "Amen" (2 Corinthians 1:20), meaning that if you abide in Jesus through submission to His Word and Spirit, you can expect God to do according to His Word.
The Bible says to all believers in the book of James, "Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
This implies that there are times when the devil or one of his representatives – demons – will come near to you in an attempt to oppress, harass, seduce, tempt or hurt you. What you and I need to do when this happens is firstly to "submit to God". This means to surrender to God, to do His will, to humble ourselves and really listen obediently to His Word. Don't expect deliverance from Satan if you secretly want sin in some area of your life. The second thing we have to do is "resist the devil" which doesn't mean simply to toughen up and become a punching bag, but rather to take steps of active resistance – and command Satan's forces to leave you in the name of Jesus. Like Jesus, we can and ought to take up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the spoken Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). This is how Jesus overcame Satan in the wilderness and it is a model for us also.
God placed Jesus "far above all principalities and powers" – see Ephesians 1:21 but the amazing thing it goes on to say in the book of Ephesians chapter 2 is that "we are seated together with Him in heavenly places".
"and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come." (Ephesians 1:20b, 21)
"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, " (Ephesians 2:4-6)
We don't necessarily see ourselves as being with Jesus in heaven right now but it is not so much "heaven" as "heavenly places" which I take to be the spiritual realm. We are with Jesus in the spiritual realm in a place far above all the demonic powers. That is real when you abide in Jesus, when you submit to God, and when you resist the devil. It loses its shine when you disobey God, disbelieve or doubt his Word, and as a result live in defeat.
This obviously points to the fact that Jesus has also given us authority over snakes and scorpions as we abide in Him.
A big part of faith – the Christian faith we are supposed to have – is to walk with God in submission to His Spirit. When we do that, our spirits are energized and charged and we are enabled to do exploits through the power of God. We CAN cast out demons of all types as we encounter them in our work of establishing the Kingdom of God in people and places. Since a lot of sickness is caused and reinforced by demons, this knowledge can help a great deal when it comes to ministering healing.
We need to have our minds renewed by the Word of God and we ought to take some time daily to think about the wonderful promises of God. Meditating on them is very conducive to the development of real and living faith – and this is the only kind of faith that will ever move any mountains or obstacles for us in life.
I wonder just what will be possible for us as believers if we will take this seriously and give it a go. After all, you only live one life. You cannot experience all the possibilities of this life. We may as well stick to the best option, which is to submit to God and see what God can do if He shines through our life. This will happen if we submit to God.
What Does Submitting to God Involve?
Submitting to God involves a whole lot more than keeping our noses clean so to speak, staying out of gross and wicked sins that we might be tempted with from time to time. It means more than being a nice person.
Submitting to God means, amongst other things, pressing on with a certain kind of spiritual violence against your own natural programming to KEEP ON PRAYING. It helps a great deal when you pray in tongues, which is just one of the many powerful weapons God gave us in order to help us pray unceasingly. Of course, we can't pray in tongues all the time and fulfil our daily responsibilities with ease. We might be able to pray in tongues a good deal more than we currently think possible, however,. The advantage of praying in tongues is that you will start praying powerful spirit-led prayers the content of which goes beyond what your mind knows to pray about. You could be praying about anything that the Holy Spirit wants you to pray about, in ways only He knows to pray. That is powerful, and that is why we should do it more.
Submitting to God also means forgiving those who have wronged us, walking in love and living in truth and honesty. Its only really possible when we take the attitude that we are going to humble ourselves, rather than the attitude that we don't really want to or need to change. Allow the Spirit of God to speak to you as you read the Bible so you can see what submitting to God will mean for you in your case. It might be a little costly at first, but truly all it is costing you is the things that are allowing the devil to rob you blind. This is why we need to trust God with our life. He sees the things we do not see.
Real faith develops when we take steps of obedience in response to what the Spirit of God is showing us. It is fed by us when we feed on the written Word of God – the Scriptures. We need to feed on the right things so that our hearts and minds are prepared to conform to the will of God for our lives. The Word of God has a washing effect on our lives. The Bible talks about how there is the "washing of water by the Word" (see Ephesians 5:26). So give place to the Word of God, read it, and meditate on it, so that you will be able to do the things it says. When you do the things it says, you will have confidence before God. John the apostle expressed this thought when he said:
" Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us[e] commandment." (1 John 3:21-23)
There should be no doubt then that prayer, faith and authority work together. The attempts that have been made to separate these elements have sometimes resulted in failures. It won't do, for example, to say that we have authority over demons simply because we are born again Christians. The reality is, if we consciously disobey or even foolishly neglect God's Word and prayer, we can talk into the air but not much will happen. These failures do not glorify God. Therefore let us get with God's entire program, and not substitute a part of it as if it were the entire thing.