Poverty Strongholds – Post Ten – The Demonic Factor
- Poor Stewardship – link to past article
- Lack of Knowledge (common sense)
- Mind Sets (faulty thinking)
- Lack of Holiness
- Agreements with the Enemy
- Bad Theology
- Blaming & Excuses
- Refusing to be a Blessing
- Pain Upon Pain
I’ve introduced all the other strongholds, so today, let’s take a look at the 1st Poverty Stronghold – Demons
On our original pie chart and in our list of poverty strongholds we had demons as first on the list. This was because the thinking that led to this entire series began with a theology relayed to us of how demons were the entire problem for all poverty and for everything that goes wrong.
In a certain area in Uganda we were told that all of the pervasive problems of that region were due to this very large tree that had had a demon in it, and that when the tree was cut down and distributed throughout the entire area the demonic stronghold became established in the entire area. This was the understanding, the belief, the theology. This is what we were told was the entire problem.
But of course, as a professional people developer and as a prayer minister, I know that if we give all blame (ie:credit) to the demonic we have just given fully 100% of our power away, we’ve become victims and have entered ourselves into apathy and despair. So I roughly jotted out my thinking about this issue with the result being this series of posts. Today, in this series, I finally come to address the demonic factor. Let’s talk about that.
Now, although the demonic factor is not anywhere near 100% responsible for poverty that some would have it, there are of course demonic forces at work within this world.
I am not an expert per se and although I have always been aware of the spirit realm and can sense the demonic, have had my own run-ins with the demonic, am praying away the demonic off of people all of the time, I try not to be a demonologist. I do not believe that we have to ‘go after’ the demonic. Rather, we bring in the light and darkness flees. Simple as that.
At the same time, where the demonic is messing around with us it is helpful to have a bit of understanding about how this works and so I’ll simply give you what I have come to understand.
I am fairly pragmatic about demons, meaning, they are where they are with the power that they have as determined by our permission and agreement with them (ie: our agreeing to lies, condemnations, shame, of the enemy). Demonic forces are not random happenstance but fall under the ordered universe just as everything else does.
Personally for individuals, I would explain it this way: Demons guard their handiwork. Meaning, when we have undergone traumatic situations there may be (not always of course) demonic strongholds keeping guard over the results of the trauma. The results of trauma in our inner person show up in our hates, our fears, and the confounding beliefs deep in our psyche (our internal responses to the trauma), which the demonic seem to guard.
Often, when praying inner healing with a person, the demon uses fear or intimidation to try to keep healing from happening. The person will experience this as his or her own fear and will sometimes speak warped rationale about why they are really okay (when they are obviously not). Sometimes, people will even use scripture to defend their strongholds.
Basically, in this, the person is agreeing with the demonic and this is part of the reason why it is still present in their lives. Just as we learned about how agreements result in poverty strongholds, the same thing happens with the demonic. Agreeing with the lies, condemnations, assignments, and curses, of the enemy results in a firmer grip of the demonic on our lives.
NOTE: These agreements will always feel like truth to the person themselves. The lies and paradigms about life are embedded in a person’s entire understanding about themselves, about how the world works, and about God, and this is why we call this a stronghold.
The healing process for this happens a few different ways. Again, in an inner healing context with individuals we bring the light of Christ to the stronghold. This can be done by illuminating the lies and the agreements with the enemy that have been made (with confession and repentance – see the healing prayer process) and that are now confounding the person. Also, we can invite the true Lord Jesus to show up in people’s memories and as he does the lies and agreements associated with that memory are immediately undone; Jesus’ presence radically transforms us, darkness cannot remain where there is light.
That is, in a nutshell, the basis for personally being set free of demonic strongholds. In a corporate sense, in terms of demonic strongholds over entire areas, the same principles hold true. At some point in time there was corporate agreement to the lies of satan, and demons are now holding forth to protect that domain acquired.
Again, domain acquired, only ever happens by our agreement (often the agreements of those gone before us). Remember, we create the second witness (refer to poverty stronghold post regarding agreements). In a corporate sense, this is where the body of Christ is to be in ministry in this world as salt and light. We, those of us called by the name of the Lord are invited to facilitate and participate in bringing the transformation of Jesus.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
(Read Daniel 9 – Daniel had no personal responsibility for the sins of the Hebrew people, but he confessed their sins as his own and facilitated the freedom of the Lord on behalf of his people. In this way Daniel’s life pointed forward to the work of Jesus. Jesus died on a cross to take on the responsibility for the sins of all mankind, standing in your and my place declaring, “I did that” and thereby freeing us from all of the weight and work and ramifications of our sin.)
We, agreeing with each other and with the Holy Spirit, can also take on 100% responsibility for the sins of our communities (the agreements made with the enemy before we were even born). Repenting and confessing these agreements with the enemy begins the process of ushering in the Kingdom of God over our communities and nations.
This of course, only comes after the hard inner work of personally bringing our own hearts in continued transparency before the Lord and inviting and allowing God to burn away the chaff of our own thinking, our own mindsets, our own wounds, our own traumas, and our own agreements with the enemy.
This is why I’ve not written about the demonic until now in this series. The strongholds of the demonic can in fact be loosed off of entire regions, but only as we are faithfully living the truth of God in the rest of our lives. For instance by:
- Living out good stewardship
- Taking on common sense and do not over-spiritualize
- Changing our mind-sets to accurately reflect truth
- Committing ourselves unto holiness day by day
- Beginning to agree with what God says about us and about life
- Speaking and living good theology that is accurate and without distortion
- Stop blaming and making excuses for our life
- Taking 100% responsibility for our own lives
When, a community of people, even a small group of faithful Christ-followers, gathers together in personal confession and repentance, spurring one another on to these life transformations, they will then in due time be led by the Spirit to take responsibility for their neighbourhood, their village, their town, and their district.
This is not works theology, but rather an issue of faithfulness and a matter of how things work in the spirit realm. Wherever there is healing of the Lord over our lives you can be sure that someone somewhere has done the hard work of interceding and of bearing the weight of that work in their being. Much like a woman giving birth to a baby labours to bring forth new life, we too, must labor (in secret and in the inner place before the Lord) before, and in order for, new life to come to our own lives, our families, our communities, and our nations.
The work of Christ on the cross to defeat evil is brought to bear upon our lives and our communities by our repentance. Repentance is agreement with God in terms of what has gone wrong, it is agreement that only God can set it right, and it is our agreement to be agents of what is right through our very lives. In this, our repentance loosens the strength of strongholds and it is repentance that participates in ushering in the work of Christ.
Therefore, I’ll say it again, for those who would take on repentance for their communities they must begin with their own faithfulness unto repentance before the Lord with their own strongholds.
This does a couple of things, first it enters us further into the covering of Christ and only from this vantage point and position can we declare strongholds broken in the spirit realm without being taken out by the enemy.
I say this because you cannot, for instance, pray lust off of your community if you have hidden secret lust in your own life. The enemy laughs at this and will take you down. You cannot pray off a spirit of child abuse if you are secretly abusing children. And you cannot pray off spirits of poverty if you are not willing to take responsibility for your participation in the mindsets and thinking that accompanies poverty.
Key point is: we cannot facilitate the transformation of God over our communities if we have not allowed transformation in our own lives, (here we would be using the Lord’s name in vain, something we are commanded not to do).
But then, as we are freed of personal strongholds and experience the freedom and grace of the Lord and his holiness in our being is established, we are freed and able to, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, declare strongholds over our communities done and cancelled, with whole regions freed unto the light of Christ.
We do this within the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit. We do this by the process of taking personal responsibility first. If you head into praying away demonic strongholds over your region in some head-strong, rash, quick-fix kind of way, you will receive backlash from the enemy.
Enter into the spirit realm without being in the righteousness of Christ, shout accusations and hate and contempt at the enemy and guess what, you are now playing the enemies game, not God’s. If you breed and grow hatred in your heart for the enemy you are now doing exactly what the enemy would have you do. Satan does not, for instance, care if you hate him, his only goal is that you hate.
The only safe way through the spirit realm is tucked right into the covering of Jesus Christ. He entered into hell and conquered death and has defeated satan and all demons. We remain in him, abiding in his presence, allowing his healing, walking in his righteousness, becoming holy as he is holy, and all is good, we are covered and kept by the blood of Jesus Christ and we become agents of his freedom and healing for others and by our agreements with the Lord of hosts the Kingdom of God is ushered into our lives and the communities in which we live.
So, to wrap up, the demonic is real and is active, but, the demonic must bow to Jesus just as everything else will do. We, become participants of God’s Kingdom as we change the agreements we have made with the enemy and as we take on (living, acting, speaking, responding) agreements with God. We, after time and established faithfulness, can then participate in declaring God’s ways over entire regions.
The pastor who told us about the tree and the demon and the region completely given over to that power, wanted us to come in and pray away the stronghold. There was this quick-fix mentality (which, by the way is a poverty mentality); because I have spiritual authority he thought that I could just pray away all that was bad and wrong, but of course, this is not how it works.
Every stronghold has been established and strengthened through much agreement, in words, in action, in choices, in sin habits, in faulty thinking, and more (all that we have previously been discussing). These things cannot just be prayed away, because they are buried within the psyche of the people. To just pray them away without doing the hard inner work to dismantle the lies and such, would leave the people vulnerable to even more stronghold.
So, this is why I have left the conversation about the demonic element of poverty stronghold till this time. The demonic is real and active but we participate in bringing the new life of Christ to our regions by our very lives as we stand in heart agreements unto God and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To those who would rush to shout out against the enemy, to those who would want a quick fix against the darkness I would admonish to begin with our lives that need addressing; bring in the light of Christ and darkness will flee. Live unto God and the enemy will lose it’s grip.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Ephesians 6:10-17