Two End Times Strategies of Satan To Keep You From Your True Authority in Christ
In this video, we’re going to look at two great strategies that Satan uses on just about everyone to keep them in bondage and, especially for Christians, to keep them from being effective for God and from walking in the true authority that we have in Christ. I’ll also go through 5 steps to break those areas of bondage in your life and show you a better way to walk with God that few Christians experience – a way to enter His rest and walk in His strength. Let’s look into it.
As Christians in this world, we are in enemy territory. The battle is real and it is non-stop. We have an enemy that is out to destroy us.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual [forces] of wickedness in the heavenly [places.]” (Ephesians 6:12 NASB)
This enemy fights against you to keep you from God or from achieving any success in living for God. And yet we are told to occupy and serve the Lord, proclaiming the Gospel and His coming Kingdom until He comes. God wants us to live victoriously. But sadly, many if not most Christians fall short of that and instead get caught up in areas of sin and bondage.
But I’m hear to tell you that it is possible to rise above the sin and bondages we fall into. It is possible to draw near to God and have mountaintop experiences with Jesus, like Peter, James and John did, where they saw and experienced Jesus and the Kingdom of God firsthand in this world, as in Mark chapter 9:
“And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”” (Mark 9:1 NASB)
“Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” (Mark 9:2-3 NASB)
Most of you know this story. Jesus chose 3 disciples and took them to the top of the mountain where He revealed His true radiant eternal form to them. It was so wonderful being up on top of that mountain with the Lord that Peter didn’t want to leave. He wanted to build shelters so they could stay there. But eventually, they had to come down and return to this world of conflict, suffering, disorder and yes, spiritual warfare. Yet, that mountaintop experience with the Lord transformed their lives. You can’t be that close to the Lord, seeing Him as He is and hearing the Father, without it fundamentally changing your perspective and life.
For us today, we too can have that mountaintop experience and be transformed to live a better life than what we live now, a life that is pleasing to God, a victorious life.
Unfortunately, most Christians today never make it up to the top of the mountain. Most Christians, instead, live around the base of the mountain. They live close enough to see God from a distance and to hear about God, but remain at the base, where they are caught up in the sins of this world – lust, pornography, envy, greed, strife…you know the list. Or they fall into practicing religion instead of experiencing God firsthand.
But it’s not entirely their fault, for we have an enemy who wants desperately to keep us from that mountaintop experience, where we’ll be transformed, energized and strengthened in our faith. This enemy’s goal is to keep you in bondage, tied to the base of this mountain, so that you never get to that mountaintop where you can experience God up close and live a victorious life.
This enemy is out to destroy you.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)
Still, I want to tell you that it is possible to escape the sin and bondages of this world and to get up to that mountaintop. While we’ll never be perfect in this life, there is a better, more victorious way to live.
The Bible refers to Satan as the god of this world…with little “g.”
“…the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NASB)
For the unsaved, Satan blinds them to the truth of the Gospel so that they won’t turn to God and get saved. But even for those who are saved, Satan still works to blind them or at least distract them as best he can, so that they do not walk with God in faith and live a victorious life.
Whether you are saved or not saved, Satan’s methods to keep you in bondage haven’t really changed over the centuries. They may take various forms, but it often comes down to two key strategies:
- Get you to live a life of Sin & Compromise,
or if that doesn’t work,
- Push you to the other extreme, a life of Religious Legalism, where you begin trusting in religious practices and observance of laws as opposed to experiencing the freedom of the cross. You become religious.
Satan doesn’t care which side you are on, as long as you never make it to the top of the mountain, where there is rest, freedom and, more importantly, where you can walk in the Authority of Christ and fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
In the time that’s left in this video, I’m going to go through two cycles of bondage related to these two areas and give you a 5-step approach on how to break free of them. We’ll look at how demonic warfare plays a key role in keeping people in bondage and how to overcome that and be victorious, so that you can reach the mountaintop, so that you can be transformed and live a victorious life.
Before I start, I want to be clear in this area of demonic warfare: If you are a Christian, then demons cannot possess you because you have the Holy Spirit inside you. But they can certainly oppress you, especially when you open the door to sin, which allows them into your life. And if you don’t believe in demons, well, then you don’t believe the Bible. Jesus believed in demons. He even talked to them.
So let’s start by looking at how demons operate.
First, God’s throne is a courtroom, where God is the perfect Judge. Satan, who is a fallen angel, is described as the accuser of the brethren, who stands before God’s throne day and night accusing people of sins.
“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.” (Revelation 12:10 NASB)
Think of Satan as a prosecuting attorney who is trying to convict us of every sin imaginable. Because of God’s Divine protection and that His throne operates as a courtroom, Satan and the demons that follow him cannot attack a person unless they have the legal right to do so. What gives them the legal right is sin.
Sin is rebellion against God’s Authority and a violation of God’s laws. If Satan can get someone to sin, whether that person is an unbeliever or a saved Christian, then that opens the door where demons can begin to oppress that person.
For example, one of the primary weapons Satan uses, particularly against men, is pornography. Viewing pornography is sin. It is direct rebellion against God’s Authority. When a person watches porn, that person begins to step outside of God’s divine protection and blessing. By viewing porn, a person is literally opening a door where demonic activity can legally enter that person’s life and affect not only them, but that person’s entire household. And once a person opens that door and lets that happen, the first thing demons will seek to do is build demonic strongholds in that person’s life, making it harder and harder for that person to escape. Literally, the person enters into bondage and becomes trapped. The results are devastating: a lifestyle of repetitive sin, inability to stop sinning, wrecked marriages, broken families, depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness, hopelessness, even suicide.
Now, I’m not saying that every sin or every suicide is the result of demonic activity. Sadly, too often, Satan doesn’t have to lift a finger because we foolishly walk a destructive path all on our own. But once we head in that direction, invariably, the demonic world will seek to establish strongholds and bondages that will make it much harder for you to escape and turn back to God.
When that happens, a person enters into a cycle of bondage to sin where it keeps repeating. The way bondage works is like this. And I speak about this with firsthand experience. Like many, I was in bondage for years. I know how demons operate. But I can tell you there is a way of escape. There is a way out. There is a better life you can live. If I can find it, so can anyone else. And let me tell you, it is so worth it to be free. In the darkness, it may not fell like freedom is possible, but true, lasting freedom is totally within reach. And that freedom comes through Jesus.
One thing about demonic activity is that demons rarely travel alone. We see this in Scripture:
“For (Jesus) had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and [yet] he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert. And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him.” (Luke 8:29-30 NASB)
Often, demons will tag team to create these cycles of bondage to sin. One will be coaxing you on to enter into sin and compromise. Then, after you give in, the other one hits you from the opposite extreme, that of religious legalism, so as to condemn you. It typically works like this:
First, there’s temptation and desire. As we give into that desire, it gives birth to sin. Demonic warfare may be present right from the start, coaxing you along, or it may come over time, but it will come. Even so, that does not negate our responsibility before God. When we give in to sin, we are responsible and we must all stand before God and give an account.
But the presence of demonic warfare makes it much worse. One demon will tempt you from the sin and compromise side, saying “Look at that temptation. You know you want it. It will feel so good to do it. Why not? What’s the harm? You deserve it. Do it!” Then, as soon as you give in to sin, the other demon is right there to condemn you, bringing guilt and shame, saying “How could you? You call yourself a good person, even a Christian? You’re not saved. You’ve broken God’s laws. You’re going to hell, not heaven. You think God’s going to save YOU after what you’ve done? Look at you. You can’t stop doing it. You’re trapped. It’s hopeless. Why don’t you just end your life right now?”
That leads to self-condemnation and fear. If you are a Christian who is caught up in repetitive sin, you may soon begin to question whether you are even saved. The next step is often a false repentance, where you make promises to God to strive harder and do better, thinking it’s up to you to obey, obey, obey. Only you end up back where you started and the cycle begins again.
After a while, the result of repetitive sin is that a person’s response to it can become either acute or hardened. The word “acute” means to feel something to an intense degree. Those who feel the regret of sin acutely may become so overwhelmed with guilt that they become terrified that God will never forgive them, that they may have lost their salvation and are destined for hell.
The opposite is to become hardened, where perhaps they’ve done the sin so many times that they no longer feel guilty about it at all. They become dulled to hearing God’s voice calling them back and just begin to accept it, that that’s who they are, thinking “It’s really not that bad. Besides, Jesus forgave me already, right?” The writer of Hebrews spoke of this very situation:
“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is [still] called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13 NASB)
Cycles of bondage to sin can also start from the other side, from that of Religious Legalism. Particularly for Christians, if Satan can’t get you into a life of sin and compromise, he is perfectly happy pushing you to the other extreme: a life of strict religious legalism, where your main focus becomes obedience and keeping God’s commandments. He gets you to accept the belief that your salvation depends on you not only believing in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but also you obeying every commandment in the Bible, especially the 10 Commandments. God did His part to save you, now you’ve got to do your part, or you’re going to lose it.
This false belief is a lie from the pit of hell and it’s been around since the first century. The Apostle Paul wrote extensively against this position in Romans. The entire book of Galatians was about this. James even wrote about it. I’ll show you proof that it’s a lie in a minute, but the way this cycle of bondage to sin works is like this:
First, it begins with a lie, that:
Salvation = Faith in Jesus + Faithful Obedience.
Some will have a variation of this lie by saying, no, salvation only depends on faith in Jesus and how we know we have true faith is that we obey God’s commandments, which is a true statement. The Bible does teach that in 1 John. But ask such a person what happens when you don’t obey and they will come back to the same result: You could lose your salvation. So while they may lump faith and obedience together into what they call true faith, there is still a requirement of obedience for salvation in addition to faith in Jesus.
For such a person trapped by this lie, their main focus after believing in Jesus becomes that of obedience. Don’t get me wrong, God definitely wants us to be obedient and to live holy lives, but in the right way and I’ll show you that way, the right way to live in obedience, in a minute. But first, let’s focus on those who approach obedience the wrong, by tying it to their eternal salvation.
It starts with the false belief that obedience is required for salvation, that if you are not obedient, you could lose your salvation. This false belief brings about conflict right off the bat, because every one of us is still human and we still sin, even after we’re saved. We’re not going to be perfect until God makes us perfect in our eternal bodies. So while on earth, we still sin.
So what about the one who believes that sin can still send them to hell after they believe in Jesus? There can be a variety of results, none of them good: Shame, fear or perhaps pride, justifying self while condemning others more severely, thinking that their own behavior is far better than others because of all the obedient things that they do. But ultimately, the sin becomes one of unbelief in the perfect forgiveness that happened at the cross. And it leads to a false repentance where they confess their sins, focusing on their own behavior and they become even more religious.
Such a person will tell you that you must confess every sin for forgiveness, otherwise your sins are not forgiven. The problem is that we can’t even see every sin that we do, but God can. The Bible says that at our very best, our righteousness is still like filthy rags before the perfect holiness of God. Not one person in the history of humanity has confessed their sins perfectly to God. We forget about sins that we’ve done or we don’t see them at all. Or they could be sins of omission where we should have done something but didn’t and were not even aware of it. If you think you’ve confessed every sin to God, let me assure you that you haven’t. So where does that put a person who believes that unconfessed sin can send them to hell? If unconfessed sin can still send you to hell, then all of us are doomed because no one has confessed their sins perfectly. If obeying the law is required for salvation, then we’re all lost, for you must obey it perfectly. When it comes to obeying the law, God doesn’t grade on the curve.
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one [point,] he has become guilty of all.” (James 2:10 NASB)
For the religious person, this bondage to sin is all brought about by the false belief that you must be obedient to God’s laws or you could lose your salvation. From the Bible, let’s now examine the proof that this is a lie. Let’s start with Romans, where Paul spoke to Christian believers.
“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” (Romans 3:28 NASB)
“For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14 NASB)
Paul was speaking to those where were already saved, telling them plainly that they are no longer under the law. Does it get any clearer than that? Paul goes on:
“… by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law [comes] the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20 NASB)
“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” (Romans 7:4 NASB)
“For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were [aroused] by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.” (Romans 7:5 NASB) – So here we see the purpose of the law is not to promote obedience but to arouse sin, to make us aware of how sinful we are and how desperately we need a Savior, Jesus. Paul goes on:
“But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” (Romans 7:6 NASB)
“For you have not received a spirit of slavery (i.e. to the law) leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”” (Romans 8:15 NASB)
And here’s the conclusion from Paul:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4 NASB)
If Christ is the end of the law, then there is no law that can still send us to hell, including the 10 Commandments. And what’s the one requirement that Paul lists: not obedience but belief.
Paul wrote the entire book of Galatians to address this topic of legalism, where people in that first century church started believing that in addition to having faith in Christ, they had to obey the law or they could lose their salvation. Paul responded by telling them that they were foolish:
“This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-3 NASB)
Paul thought it incredulous that people could even think this way, that after believing in Christ for salvation that they could possibly think that they still had to obey the law to be saved. He was saying: “You were saved by faith, not by obeying the law. So, after you are saved, why are you now thinking that you must obey the law to stay saved?” And he calls them foolish.
He then goes on to say that salvation depends only on the promise of God, not through our obedience to the law, using Abraham as an example.
“For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in His grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.” (Galatians 3:18 NIV)
Paul sums it up with this:
“Therefore the Law has become our tutor [to lead us] to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (i.e. we are no longer under the Law). For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:24-26 NASB)
Paul clearly taught that we are no longer under the law, no longer required to obey the law for our eternal salvation. All of our sins, our violations of the law, were dealt with at the cross. Through Christ’s death on the cross, all our sins have been paid for in full.
“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us ALL OUR TRANSGRESSIONS, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14 NASB)
All of our sins, every one of them (past, present and future), even the ones we cannot see or confess, were nailed to the cross and forgiven the moment we believed in Christ. Therefore, the law no longer has any power over us to condemn us. As a result, Paul says we are now in a state of freedom.
“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only [do] not [turn] your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13 NASB)
Why would Paul say you are free but then warn you to not give opportunity to the flesh? Simply, he’s saying that you are free in that the law can no longer condemn you to hell, but use that freedom in the right way. Don’t take your freedom as an opportunity to go on sinning.
James also taught this. We looked at James 2:10 about how strict God is for those who are under the law, but look at how this teaching ends:
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one [point,] he has become guilty of all. … So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by [the] law of liberty.” (James 2:10, 12 NASB)
No Christian will be judged by the law, including the 10 Commandments. Instead, we will be judged by the law of liberty and the forgiveness that comes after all our sins get nailed to the cross. We no longer have to strive to live day after day in perfect obedience as a condition of our salvation. Paul even takes this conclusion to the extreme, by saying:
“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” (1 Corinthians 10:23 NASB)
If all things are lawful, then there is nothing left that is not lawful. This is not nullifying the laws of God but saying that, for those who believe in Jesus, there is no longer any law that can condemn us.
But what about all the really scary verses that say no one who commits certain sins will enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Let’s look at that.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor [the] covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NASB)
That sounds pretty clear, doesn’t it? Those who have any of these sins on their record will not inherit the Kingdom of God. They will not be saved. But look at what Paul says next:
“Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 NASB)
If someone is washed, then those sins are no longer on that persons’ record. Does this washing include future sins? It does. How do we know? Because of the very next verse, where he says:
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12 NASB)
When Paul said this, he was looking into the future, saying from that point forward, all things are now lawful. And he was saying that in reference to inheriting the Kingdom of God, which is the topic of the whole paragraph. This means no sin, no violation of God’s law in the future, can nullify his inheritance. All things are lawful. Then, for the rest of the chapter, lest anyone interpret this freedom as a license to go on sinning, he talks about our duty before God to live holy lives, especially with respect to our bodies. But the point is this: once you believe in Christ for salvation, you are eternally forgiven. You are secure in your inheritance. All things are now lawful. Nothing, no violation of any law, can condemn you. That doesn’t mean you should sin. It means no law can cause you to lose your salvation.
How can that possibly work if you then commit the sins where Paul says no one who does these things will inherit the Kingdom of God? To understand this, remember that God’s throne works like a courtroom.
In the American legal system, there is a legal act that a judge can do called “expungement.”
Expunge means to erase or completely remove something unwanted or unpleasant.
When a person is convicted of a crime, the judge has the authority to not only show mercy to that person and set them free, but can also expunge that person’s record, completely removing any trace of a crime. When that happens, that person’s record becomes clean, with no trace that any crime was ever committed.
That is what happened at the cross. When we place our faith in Christ, believing that He alone died for us, to pay our debt of sin before God, at that very moment all of our sins (past, present and future) are nailed to the cross and not only forgiven, but entirely expunged from our record.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12 NASB)
So at the end of our lives, when we stand before God and He opens the books of our lives, our record is clean, even though we did and continue to do the very things that should have disqualified us from inheriting the Kingdom. That’s how significant the cross is.
Does that mean we won’t lose our salvation if we commit a terrible sin like sexual immorality and fail to confess it? Correct. To prove this, we have to look no further that 1 Corinthians chapter 5, where we see a Corinthian believer who was engaging in ongoing, sexual immorality, refusing to stop and was totally unrepentant. He was committing the very sin that Paul said: those who commit such sins will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And yet, here is how the Apostle Paul responded:
“[I have decided] to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5 NASB)
This believer had reached a point with ongoing sin where God was going to end his life early. But Paul clearly says that, even so, this unrepentant, sinning believer would still be saved. How? The only way, THE ONLY WAY, that can happen is if, when he accepted Christ, all of his sins (past, present and future) were nailed to the cross the moment he believed. This believer was refusing to stop sinning and refusing to repent, and yet he would still be saved.
But a word of caution about this freedom: Our freedom in Christ does note mean that we can go on sinning however we please without consequence. God is not mocked and a man reaps what he sows. Notice in this verse that there was still a consequence for this unrepentant believer: He would be put to physical death, lose his life early and be taken home to the Lord.
When you sin as a believer, you will not lose your salvation, but you will still face consequences. The consequences for sin in a believer’s life can include:
- Suffering in this life, for example some believers are spending their lives in prison because of sin
- Being put to physical death early, which is what Paul said would happen to this unrepentant sinning believer
- Loss of eternal rewards in heaven
When I say, loss of eternal rewards, I’m not speaking of the loss of salvation, which is a gift, not a reward. Rewards would include things like crowns, privileges, special authority such as ruling the nations with Christ. If we are faithful in this life, we will earn rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ, when He examines how we lived our lives. Here’s what Paul said would happen at the Judgment Seat of Christ:
“If any man’s work which he has built on it (the foundation of Christ) remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:14-15 NASB)
No one loses salvation at the Judgement Seat of Christ. Those who live faithfully in this life will be rewarded, but even for those who were not faithful, though they will lose rewards they could have had, still, they will be saved. Why? Because they believed in Jesus for salvation and their entire record of sin was expunged from their record. Their record was clean, even though they were guilty. It was cleansed by the blood of Christ.
Therefore, the really scary verses in the Bible that say no one who commits certain sins will inherit the Kingdom of God remain true. Anyone who has those sins on their record will not inherit the Kingdom. They will not be saved. But for a believer in Christ, all sins (past, present and future) have been wiped clean, nailed to the cross, so that when God examines the books to see if any of those sins that could condemn you are there, your record is clean, even though you were guilty. And it’s all because of Christ and what He did on the cross. To Him be all the glory.
Therefore, as Christians, we live in freedom and can enter God’s rest.
So if we cannot lose our salvation, the question then becomes, how are we to live?
We’ve already looked at how we’re not to live. We’re not to live in sin and compromise. We’re also not to live in legalism, becoming religious. Both of these only lead to further bondage. So how are we to live? There is a better way. It involves rising to the top of the mountain, entering into the freedom and rest that comes with knowing Christ. When we do that, something incredible happens: We enter into a place where we can begin to operate in the faith-driven authority that we have as the Body of Christ. We start to become effective for Christ in defeating the plans of Satan and serving God’s Kingdom on earth.
But to do that, we have to enter into it. We have to break free of all bondages to sin and religious legalism, and break off any demonic strongholds in our lives. This sounds like a monumental task and it is, if we try to do it in our own strength. To be honest, it’s not just hard but impossible. If you struggle with sin and you try to break free in your own strength, I guarantee you that you will either fail or perhaps just end up on the other side of the mountain, practicing religious legalism.
There is a better way, the only way, and the Apostle Paul tells us how. He tells us the secret for rising to the top of the mountain:
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NASB)
The way to break free and really the only way you can enter God’s rest is to become transformed to where Christ lives in you. That is not done by striving to obey every law but by exercising faith and by yielding yourself to God.
So let’s get practical. Practically speaking, how do we move from the base of the mountain, where we’re caught up in cycles of bondage to the top of the mountain where Christ lives in us by faith and where we have freedom, rest and can walk in power, operating in faith-driven authority?
Let me give you 5 steps to break free so you can rise to the top:
- Make sure you are saved
- Repent of all sins
- Break enemy strongholds / cycles of bondage
- Allow yourself to be transformed
- Begin operating in faith-driven authority
Let’s briefly look at each of these.
- Make sure you are saved
If you are struggling with sin, you may be questioning, like I was at one point, whether you are even saved. You need to settle that first and be confident on where you stand with God. If you have any doubts about whether God will save you, put those doubts to rest now. At the end of this video, I’ll have a prayer of salvation you can pray to get saved and it’s as simple as ABC:
Admit to God that you are a sinner.
Believe that Jesus, God’s Son, died on the cross in your place to pay your debt of sin for you and that He rose from the dead to show you the eternal life He offers you.
Call on God to save you.
“”WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”” (Romans 10:13 NASB)
If you are not saved, then you are choosing to walk outside of God’s powerful saving grace and you will be judged for all eternity by your sins. It doesn’t have to be that way. So step #1 is to make sure you are saved.
2. Repent of Sins
If we are eternally saved and can never lose our salvation, then why do we need to repent of sins? Because sin, though it does not cause us to lose salvation, it does hinder our relationship with God. The presence of sin hinders our ability to walk with God and be blessed by Him. Instead God blessing us, sin causes God to start disciplining us. For Christ to live in us as Paul said, we first need to maintain a pure relationship with God through repentance.
Repentance is not just saying you are sorry and promising to do better. The word literally means a change of mind that results in a change in action. That’s true repentance.
And if you have any doubts whether God will forgive you, the Apostle John assured us that God most definitely will.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NASB)
This was spoken to believers in the church, not the unsaved. Don’t make promises to God about how you will do better. Simply ask God to show you any sins in your life, confess those and ask God for forgiveness and to give you the strength through His Spirit to do better, believing that those very sins are already nailed to the cross. Ask Him to give you the heart of Christ, so that those sins are no longer even a desire for you. Ask Him to change you from within. From firsthand experience I can tell you, He will.
3. Break strongholds / cycles of bondage
Repentance is just the start. Repentance is the way we correct our vertical relationship between us and God. That comes first. Then we have to break the cycles of bondage that have trapped us by engaging in spiritual warfare. When we sin, we give the enemy the legal right to oppress us. Once we confess sin and are forgiven by God, we restore a right relationship with God and that legal right the enemy had to oppress you is removed. At that point, you have the legal right to command any spiritual forces to depart and not return. At this point, I would typically pray out loud something like this:
“In the name of Jesus and by the power of His blood, which has cleansed me of all sins, I hereby bind all forces of darkness that have come against me in this area of sin. I declare any legal rights to afflict me null and void by the power of the cross, and I command them to stop all temptations and attacks, to leave immediately and not come back. In Jesus Name and by His Authority, I command that this be done now.”
It can be as simple as that, for Scripture promises,
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NASB)
Notice that there’s an order to getting this authority. We first submit to God and then we have the authority to command spiritual forces of darkness to flee. You will have authority because you have placed yourself under the authority of God.
Through repentance, their legal right to afflict you has been removed. But a word of caution: Your repentance has to be sincere. You cannot be double-minded before God and expect to be victorious over the enemy. God’s Word says,
“For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:7-8 KJV)
For example, if you have engaged in watching porn and demons have built strongholds in your life, then you invited them in and gave them the legal right to be there. If you confess that sin to God but you are still holding on to pictures or websites and, in the back of your mind you’re thinking, “I just know I’ll do this again,” then you are not really changing direction, are you? Then those demons will still have the legal right to stay and they won’t leave.
This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, but it does mean you have to be sincere with God in wanting to change, and He will give you the power. So as a sign of true repentance with God, go on a cleansing binge and remove any trace of whatever sin you are confessing in your life. Then you will have authority to command, through the blood of Christ, even spirits of darkness.
Believe God’s Word that, through Christ, you have power over spiritual forces of darkness. Don’t give up your authority in Christ. Satan has no power to take it from you. So he relies on fooling you into voluntarily giving it up, by luring you into sin or getting you to not believe God’s Word. Only when you voluntarily give up your authority can he enter in and start to have areas of dominion in your life. Don’t let him.
Don’t neglect this spiritual warfare step. If demons are there, they will fight to stay there, making it extremely difficult to break away from whatever recurring sin problem you have. I’d say this is probably the number one reason why Christians fall back into repetitive sin. They don’t take spiritual warfare seriously and think it’s just about them. But in Christ, you have the authority to command them to leave. Use it.
4. Allow yourself to be transformed.
This is THE MOST CRITICAL STEP. Being transformed means to become like Christ, and that happens first in your mind.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NASB)
Similarly, Paul told the Ephesians to:
“… lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in [the likeness of] God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:22-24 NASB)
What has to happen for you to lay aside the old self and put on the new self? What’s the middle step? Being renewed in the spirit of your mind. Or as Paul said in Romans, being transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Notice that it says to “BE transformed,” “BE renewed.” It doesn’t say to transform yourself.
This phrase “be transformed” in the Greek is the word, metamorphoō (met-am-or-fo’-o). It means to change into another form and it’s where we get our English word metamorphosis from. It’s not improving on what you already have but a complete change, a complete transformation. You’re not trying to make yourself better. You’re becoming an entirely new person who is in the very image of Christ.
Similarly, the phrase “be renewed” in the Greek is the word, ananeoō (an-an-neh-o’-o). It means to make something new again, to renovate. If you ever watched the show Home Improvement where they renovate an old house, they don’t try to fix up the old house. They begin by first demolishing the old home before they build a brand new one. That’s the kind of renewal or renovation we’re talking about.
Being transformed, being renewed, is a casting off of your old sinful self and embracing your new self, which is in the very image of Christ and is enlivened and empowered by the Holy Spirt. In Christ, you are no longer the same person you were. In your new self, transformed into the image of Christ, you begin to think and act like Jesus. And that transformation starts by renewing your mind.
” Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5 KJV)
Practically, how do we do this? First, stop looking back at your past failures and, most importantly, stop letting past failures define who you are, your identity, the way you think about yourself. Stop believing lies about yourself. Cut that off. NOW! So many people suffer through serious depression because they’re focused on past failures or they’ve let those failures become an accepted part of their identity, a false belief of who they are as a person. Instead of believing who God says they are, they’ve accepted a lie that they’ve fallen short, that they don’t measure up, that they’re unloved, that they’re worthless or can’t do anything right. And this false belief, this lie, eats away at them, day after day, and they become depressed. They lose hope.
You may have failed a thousand times, but that doesn’t define who you are. In Christ you are a new creation. The old is passed away, so let go of it. Let go of false beliefs about yourself and start believing who God says you are. Look at how Paul approached this very struggle:
“…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
Forget your failures. Cast off every lie or discouraging thought about yourself. Start looking forward, not backward. Start believing the truth, that your very identity is who God says you are: Someone who is dearly loved, cherished, someone so valuable, so treasured, that God Himself suffered and died on a cross for you. That is who you are.
Stop dwelling on negative thinking. This isn’t a “be positive” movement where you only think happy thoughts. It’s a pressing forward into a new creation. Also, if you are one who struggles with negative thoughts or depression, realize that you are also in a spiritual battle where the enemy loves to feed that, to get you self absorbed with negative thoughts to discourage and depress you. Don’t let him invade your mind with negative thoughts or use others to give you negative thoughts. Instead, stop all negative thoughts, forget what lies behind and press forward toward Christ.
To do this consistently, the key is to realize that you don’t do it in your own strength. God is ready to help you through this retraining of your mind.
Once you are saved, to make that transformation happen so that you rise to the top of the mountain, there is one essential ingredient:
You need to become radically dependent on the Holy Spirit.
You are not transforming yourself, making yourself a better person. You are casting your old self aside and taking on your new self, one that God gives you.
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 KJV)
From this verse, we see that when we are with the Lord, there is liberty – we are not under the law as we said earlier. We are being changed into the same image of Christ. And that change is being done by the Holy Spirit, not ourselves.
So how can we accelerate that change to where we can be at rest and walk in the authority of Christ, being like Him, and not falling continually into sin? While it’s not up to us to change ourselves, there are some things we can do to accelerate the process. For example, and this is not an all-inclusive list.
- Ask God to change you to be like Christ, making that request a regular part of your prayer life.
- Present yourself to God each morning, asking Him to guide you, shape you and lead you. A huge part of this transformation process is yielding yourself to God and placing yourself in a position of utter dependence on the Holy Spirit.
- Be in God’s Word, the Bible, daily so that you transform your mind, the way you think. Start a daily Bible reading program. Start memorizing Scripture.
- Ask God to show you your sin weaknesses and identify safeguards, things you can do when tempted, to break the cycle sin.
For example, one safeguard I’ve found that works for me when I’m tempted with lust involves playing praise music. Even though my strength to say no to this temptation is weak, if I can just hit the play button and begin playing praise music, I find that it changes the atmosphere. It changes the way I’m thinking from that of lust to that of praise. It breaks the cycle of sin from going any further.
- Begin offering your mind to God, taking every thought captive for Christ. The more you do this, the better you’ll get.
Bottom line: Be smart about transforming your mind. Find the things that work for you. Ask God to give you a game plan. It’s a question He would love to help you answer. If you hear nothing else from this message, here these three things that are needed:
- Yield yourself daily to God
- Develop radical dependence on the Holy Spirit
- Transform your mind
The end result is that you begin to center yourself in God and, pretty soon, you start thinking as Paul did:
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NASB)
As you become more and more like Christ, something amazing happens: You enter God’s rest, a state of peace. You enter a place where you are no longer striving to obey God. You enter a place of freedom where there are no more laws and none are needed because you are becoming like Christ. Righteousness becomes your new normal.
Also, when you become like Christ and enter God’s rest, two amazing things happen, which I call paradoxes. A paradox is a contradiction, where you do one thing and something else that seems contradictory happens.
The first paradox is this:
Paradox 1: Transformed freedom results in natural obedience
Freedom, by its nature, means we can do anything. Yet, as we become transformed to be like Christ and start walking in freedom, and specifically freedom from the law, instead of using our freedom to sin more, our greatest desire becomes that of pleasing God. The result of this freedom, brought about by the transforming of our mind, is that we are suddenly able to do something that we could never do before in our human flesh, which is obey God. Only our obedience does not come from a fear of the law or even an observance of the law. The law has no part of this obedience. As we become more like Christ, we simply want to please God and do what He desires because we begin walking in His Spirit.
“…walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16 NASB)
The paradox is that we end up obeying God’s laws more than we ever could before, even though we’re no longer under the law. The emphasis for Christian living, then, is not on obeying laws but becoming transformed to be like Jesus. It’s a totally different perspective. There are no laws anymore!
The second paradox is this:
Paradox 2: Entering God’s rest makes you ready for war.
The moment you are saved, you become part of the Body of Christ, possessing the very authority of Christ. Few Christians realize this and Satan’s number 1 goal is to keep Christians from realizing it, to keep them from walking in power. If he can convince you that you are powerless, then you will never try to be anything else.
But when we enter God’s rest, we begin to feel not our strength but His strength through us. We begin to see His purpose for us and how He wants to use us. These are not things God is hiding from us. He wants to tell us, but far too many of us are not ready. We’re not yielded to Him. We’re not transformed yet.
Listen to this authority that we have when Christ lives in us:
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NASB)
“… if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” (John 16:23 NASB)
“…and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases.” (Luke 9:1 NASB)
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 NASB)
“… taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil [one.]” (Ephesians 6:16 NASB)
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NASB)
By entering God’s rest to where we are yielding ourselves completely to God, we are now ready for God to use us in war. That’s the paradox. We are now ready to operate in our faith-driven authority of Christ, where we can destroy the fortresses of Satan. We begin walking in authority the more we become transformed to where Christ lives in us.
And the result is that we take on our true identity. Who are you? This is who God says you are:
“… you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR [God’s] OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1 Peter 2:9 NASB)
This is your identity in Christ. This is your purpose for being here. That is your mission to tear down fortresses of Satan. As you start to realize your true identity and purpose, you start to rise up to the top of the mountain and you stay there. You’re free in Christ. You enter His rest. By yielding to God in your freedom, you begin an intimate walk with God where you start operating in your faith-driven authority.
It’s all possible. It can be done. It’s not up to you to be perfect in your own strength. You don’t even have to climb this great mountain. You just have to turn to God and He will start a transforming work inside you where, suddenly, you will find the strength you never had before. Strength to say no to sin. Strength to obey God without even trying to obey Him. And you will find a joy for living.
It all starts with turning to God and asking Him to transform you.
“Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7 NASB)
The call of God today on your life and mine is to COME OUT: Come out of a life of sin and compromise; Come out of a legalistic, religious mindset; Come out of settling for far less than what the Lord is offering and what the Lord desires for you. Come out and step into the rest and freedom that only comes when Christ lives in you and you are transformed to be like Him.
God wants to do great things through His people and He’s searching for those who will yield themselves to the fullness of Christ. So yield. So come. There is a better way to live. There is so much more that God desires for you. God created you for a purpose, but that purpose will only be found when you can say like Paul: ” It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.” Don’t settle for less. Break areas of bondage in your life today and come out. Do it now.
In conclusion, you start this journey by first making sure you are saved.
If you are not 100% sure that you are saved, that if you died today, God would welcome you into heaven, I urge you to make your commitment to Jesus secure right now. Here’s a prayer for salvation that you can pray. But keep in mind that a prayer does not save you. You are saved only when you place your trust in Jesus alone, believing in your heart that He died to pay your debt of sin to God and that He rose from the dead to show you the eternal life that He offers. This prayer, then, is just a way of formalizing that decision, putting a stake in the ground, saying that you are trusting in Him and never going back. If that’s what you would like to do, please pray with me:
“Lord, I have sinned and I need you to save me. I believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and that He rose from the dead to show us the new eternal life You have for us. I believe solely in Jesus to save me, that He paid my debt of sin 100%. Please forgive my sins and save me now, Lord, according to your promises. In Jesus Name.”
If you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, know right now that you are eternally saved.