"War on the Saints" by Jessie Penn-Lewis

CHAPTER 8: The Path to Freedom

Jessie Penn LewisIt has been thought almost universally that the only way to deal with demon- possession is by the casting out of the evil spirit,note 1 by some Divinely equipped believer. But facts prove that this method is not always successful, for though the diagnosis of the intruder's presence may be correct, yet the ground that gave it occupation cannot be cast out; and unless the ground is dealt with, no full relief can be obtained, or change seen, in the majority of cases.

In others, when the evil spirit apparently departs, it must not be concluded that the person is entirely free, for it may be that what has occurred is only that a particular manifestation has ceased, and it is not unlikely that another manifestation may appear; possibly not a visible one, or one easily perceived or detected, but recognizable by any who have learned to discriminate between the workings of evil spirits, and those which are human or Divine. It is possible also to suppress a certain manifestation for a time, and not entirely get rid of it; and the same manifestation may return again and again in different guise, unless the ground is dealt with. In some instances, where the possession is so manifest that the true inner personalitynote 2 of the victim is almost entirely lost sight of, the relief may be immediate: but where the intruder hides himself so subtly in the mind, or body, as to be indistinguishable from the operations, or actions of the personnote 3--hidden in some state, or form, apparently natural or physical--the deliverance will not be obtained by "casting out" only, but by the truth being given to the mind,note 4 and the volition of the person actively refusing and disowning the ground.

The very first step to freedom is the knowledge of the truth as to the source and nature of experiences the believer may have had since his entrance into the spiritual life, which possibly may have been perplexing, or else thought with deepest assurance to be of God. There is NO DELIVERANCE FROM "DECEPTION" BUT BY THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND ACCEPTANCE OF TRUTH. And this facing of truth in regard to certain spiritual and "supernatural" experiences, means a keen edged knife to the man in his self-respect, and pride.


It requires a very deep allegiance to the truth which God desires should reign in the inward parts of His children, for a believer to accept truth which cuts and humbles, as readily as he accepts that which is agreeable. The "undeceiving" is painful to the feelings, and the discovery that he has been deceived is one of the keenest blows to a man who once thought that he was so "advanced," so "spiritual," and so "infallible,"note 5 in his certainty of obeying the Spirit of God.

"Was he not advanced?" Yes, to a degree above the "man of soul," but he had not reached the goal as he thought, for he had but begun the journey in the spiritual plane. The end of standard one is but the beginning of standard two. So after all, he believed a lie about himself and his experience. He was not as "advanced" as he thought. Thus the truth breaks upon his mind, and its entrance is not agreeable. It is not easy to disbelieve absolutely, what he once believed so thoroughly.

Then "Was he 'spiritual'?" He may have had spiritual experiences, but this does not make a man "spiritual."note 6 The spiritual man is a man who lives in, and is governed by, and understands his spirit, and co-operation with the Spirit of God. A great experience accompanying the ENTRANCE INTO THE PLANE OF THE SPIRIT does not make a believer "spiritual."


The deceived believe, laid claim to positions to which he had no right, for with the entrance of truth he discovers he was neither so advanced, nor so spiritual, nor so infallible as he had thought. He built his faith about his own spiritual condition on assumption, and left no room for a doubt, that is, true doubt, such as doubting a statement that afterwards turns out to be a lie, but in due season doubt finds an entry to his mind, and brings his house of infallibility to the ground. He knows now that what he thought was an "advanced" experience, was only a beginning, and that he is only on the fringe of knowledge. This is the operation of truth.note 7 In the place of ignorance is given true knowledge; in the place of deception, truth. Ignorance, falsehood and passivity; upon these three the enemy silently builds his castles, and unobtrusively guards and uses them. But truth pulls his strongholds to the ground.

By the entry of truth, the man must be brought to the place where he acknowledges his condition frankly, as follows:--

  1. I believe that it is POSSIBLE for a Christian to be deceived and possessed by evil spirits.
  2. It Is possible for ME to be deceived;
  3. I AM deceived by an evil spirit;
  4. WHY am l deceived?

Then comes the facing of the fact that

  1. "ground does exist; and
  2. the seeking for knowledge as to what the ground is.

In order to discover the ground, the believer must first, in a general sense, get a fair conception of what ground is;note 8 for he is liable to be deceived in (1) putting down to "possession" what belongs to something else, and (2) placing to something else what belongs to possession. He may confuse ordinary conflict, i.e., the perpetual battle in spirit against the powers of darkness,note 9 with conflict which comes from possession. And when the deception and possession are of long standing, the spirits of evil may get the believer himself to defend their work in him, and through him fight tenaciously to guard the cause of his deception from being brought into light, and exposed as their work.

They thus get the believer himself, in effect, to take their side, and fight for them to keep their hold, even after he has found out his condition, and honestly desires deliverance; one of the greatest hindrances being the effect of an assumed position concerning spiritual experiences, which believers are loath to examine, and part with.note 10


The Scriptural ground for obtaining deliverance is the truth concerning Christ's full victory at Calvary, through which believer CAN BE DELIVERED FROM THE POWER OF BOTH SIN AND SATAN, but in actual fact the victory won at Calvary can only be applied as there is conformity to Divine laws. As the deceptions of Satan are recognized, and the will of the person is set to reject them, he can, on the basis of the work of Christ at Calvary as set forth in Rom. 6: 6-13; Col. 2: 15; 1 John 3: 8, and other passages, claim his deliverance from these

Just as there are various degrees of deception and possession, so there are degrees of deliverance according to the understanding of the believer, and his WILLINGNESS To FACE ALL THE TRUTH ABOUT HIMSELF, and all the ground given to the enemy.

In doing this the believer needs to have a steady grasp of his standing in Christ as identified with Him in His death on the Cross, and his union with Him in spirit in His place on the Throne (Ephes. 1: 193; 2: 6), and he must "hold fast" with steady faith-grip, the "Head" (Col. 2: 19) as the One who is, by His Spirit, giving him grace (Heb. 4: 16), and strength to recover the ground in mind and body which he has ignorantly yielded to the foe. For the man himself must ACT to get rid of passivity; he must revoke his CONSENT given to evil spirits to enter, and by his own volition insist that they retire from the place (Ephes. 4: 27) they have obtained by deceit. Since God will not act for him in regaining the normal condition of his outer man, nor exercise his choice for him, he must stand on the vantage ground of the Calvary victory of Christ, and claim his freedom.

Assuming, then, that the believer has discovered that he is a victim of the deceptions of deceiving spirits, what are the subjective steps in the path of freedom? Briefly,

  1. acknowledgment of deception;
  2. refusal of ground;
  3. steadfast fight against all that possession means;
  4. being on guard. against excuses;
  5. the detection of all the effects of possession; and
  6. a discerning of the result of these actions.

For the believer must learn to read the signs of dis-possession, as well as the symptoms of possession, lest he be deceived again by the Adversary.

We give in column form a complement to the column lists in page 102. The first treated of the way the believer has been deceived; this one of the way of deliverance.


Taking first for consideration the list in Column 1.

(1) Doubt of the experience, or "manifestation" being of God. We cannot emphasize too strongly the need of not quenching, and not ignoring the first doubt, for the "doubt" is actually the initial penetration of truth to the mind, and hence the first step to deliverance. Some have instantly quenched the first doubt, fearing to "doubt God," and in doing so, closed the mind to the first ray of light which would have led them into liberty. They have looked upon doubt as temptation, and resisted it, overlooking the distinction between true and evil, right and wrong, "doubt." This has its root in the mind of most Christians, in associating only evil with such words as "judging," "criticizing," "doubting," and "enmity," "hatred," "unbelief," etc., all of which dispositions and actions they thought to be evil, and evil only, whereas they are evil or good according to their source in spirit or soul, and in relation to their object, e.g., "enmity" against Satan is God-given (Gen. 3: 15), "hatred" to sin is good, and "unbelief" of spirit manifestations is commanded until the believer is sure of their source. (1 John 4: 1).

Chart on page 185.

To doubt God--which means not to trust Him--is sin; but a doubt concerning supernatural manifestations is simply a call to exercise the faculties, which all spiritual believers should use to discern "good and evil." The deep doubt concerning some supernatural experiences is therefore not a "temptation," but really the Holy Spirit moving the spiritual faculties to action according to 1 Cor. 2: 15, "He that is spiritual judgeth--i.e., examineth--all things," the "things of God" thus being "spiritually discerned" (A.V.).note 11


A "doubt" generally first pierces the mind either (1) from truth pointed out by others, or (2) arises from some flaw in the experience which arrests the attention of the believer. In the case of some supernatural manifestation, for instance, which bore the appearance of being Divine, there was some slight contradiction which perplexed the soul. And as no contradictions can possibly occur in any of the workings of the Spirit of God, Who is the Spirit of Truth, one single contradiction is sufficient to reveal a lying spirit at work. This axiom must not be ignored. For instance, a believer declares, under supernatural "power"--assumed to be Divine--concerning one who is ill, that God purposes the restoration of that one, yet the sick one dies. This is a "contradiction" which should be fully examined, and not put aside as among things "not to be understood;" for the supernatural element in the declaration could not be of the Spirit of God, Who cannot depart from truth in His revelation of the Will of God.

To "prove the spirits" (1 John 4: 1), so as to discern between the "Spirit of Truth" and the "spirit of error" is a clear command to the children of God, as well as to "prove all things," and hold fast that which is "good" (1 Thess. 5: 21); bring "to the proof . . . with all longsuffering" (2 Tim. 4: 2, R.V. m.). To question until all things have stood the test of full examination is the safest course, and is far removed from the doubting of God Himself, in His faithfulness and love, the only doubt which is sin.


(2) ADMITTANCE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF DECEPTION is the second stage in the breaking of truth upon the mind, although it may sometimes precede the doubt. To admit the possibility of being deceived--or mistaken--in any aspect of new experience or action, or even view of truth, is really a possibility which should be acknowledged by every believer; and yet so subtle is the deception of the enemy, that almost invariably the attitude of each one is, that "others" may be open to deception, and he or she is the exception to the rule.

This certainty of personal exception is so deep seated with the most visibly deceived person, that the long battle is simply to obtain entrance to the mind for the one thought of possible deception, in any point at all. The believer seems armed with unshaken assurance that if others be misled, he certainly is not; he "beholdeth the mote" in his brother's eye, and is blind--blind to the "beam" in his own. But an open attitude to truth says, "Why not I as well as others? May not my assurance of safety be a deception of the enemy, as much as the deception I see in others?"

Why all believers should admit the possibility of deception by the deceiving spirits, may be considered just here.


The primary fact to be recognized by every human being is the complete and utter ruin of the first creation at the Fall, when the First Adam admitted the poison of the serpent, which permeated and corrupted his whole being beyond repair. This fact of the utter corruption of the human race as a consequence of this is unmistakably declared in the New Testament:--

  • "The old man, which waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit." (Eph. 4: 22 R.V.)
  • "Being darkened in their understanding; alienated from the life of God." (Eph. 4: 18).
  • "We all once lived in the lusts of the flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest." (Eph. 2: 3).

Thus the Apostle described the whole race of man, Gentile and Jew, Pharisee and Publican--in all, he said, "the prince of the power of the air" wrought, as "the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience."

These facts declared by the Word of God, and the reality of the blinded mind (2 Cor. 4: 4), and ruined condition of every human being, is the ONLY BASIS UPON WHICH THE TRUTHS WE ARE CONSIDERING IN THIS BOOK CAN BE UNDERSTOOD, AND PROVED TO BE TRUE, IN EXPERIENCE AND PRACTICE.


The second fundamental fact--and the logical outcome of the first--is that unless regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and the indwelling of the Spirit, means (1) sinlessness, and (2) the present possession of a resurrection body, every part of a believer not yet renewed, and freed by the redemption of Calvary from the effects of the Fall, MEANS GROUND FOR THE POSSIBLE ENTRY AND POSSESSION OF DECEIVING SPIRITS. Since absolute sinlessness, and the present possession of the resurrection body are not clearly taught in the Scriptures, as attainable whilst on earth, the admittance of possible deception, and entry of evil spirits to the outer man of mind or body, is logically and reasonably possible for all; even whilst the spirit and heart of the man is renewed by the Holy Spirit. If we come to facts of experience, the proofs are so abundant as to be beyond our power to handle in the limited space of this book, not only in the unregenerate world, but in those who are undoubtedly children of God, and spiritual believers.note 12

If we knew ourselves, and our actual condition as sinners, simply as depicted in God's Word, we should be in greater safety from the enemy. It is the ignorance of our true condition,note 13 apart from the new life from God implanted in us, and our blind confidence of safety, without an intelligent basis for our faith, which lays us open to being deceived by Satan through our very certainty of being free from his deception.

After admitting the possibility of deception in supernatural things, and a doubt has come in to the mind whether certain "experiences," either personal or otherwise, were of God after all, the next stage is,

(3) THE DISCOVERY OF THE DECEPTION. Light and truth alone can make free,note 14 and when once a doubt comes in, and the man opens his mind to the truth that he is as liable to be deceived as anyone else, then to the open mind and attitude, light is given (John 3: 21). Sometimes the specific deception is seen at once, but more often the discovery is gradual, and patience is needed while the light slowly dawns.

Certain facts in connection with various experiences of the past, which the believer has failed to note, may now emerge into the light, and the half truths of the Adversary which he had used to deceive, are clearly seen--the twisting of words, the wrenching of sentences out of their context in the Scriptures,note 15 all come into view as the light is given. Then comes:--

(4) THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE DECEPTION. This is now imperative. The truth must not only be faced, but owned, so that things are called by their right names, and the father of lies defeated by the weapon of truth.


This brings us to the crucial matter of Column 2 of the way in which the "ground" the evil spirit has held must be dealt with. Thoughts admitted to the mind, passivity of mind or body, faculties allowed to lie unused, lack of mental control, of the use of the will, of decisive power or judgment, etc. Now the believer must deliberately and steadily refusenote 16 all this ground to the enemy, especially and specifically the ground on the points wherein he has been deceived; for it is of primary importance that the one who is deceived should know the ground, and give it up.note 17

Since there is POSSESSION BECAUSE OF GROUND GIVEN, there must be DIS POSSESSION BECAUSE OF GROUND REFUSED to the enemy. The deceived one must pray for light until the cause or causes of the deception are revealed, and honestly desire, and be willing for the light on every point (John 3: 21). He must be given light from God to detect symptoms and their causes, and in the recognition of these beware of introspection, i.e., a turning in upon himself, which is the contrary of a simple refusing of ground as it is brought into the light.


It may be said generally, that whatever the person shrinks from hearing about, or is troubled when reference is made to it, may reveal upon examination, ground given on that point. If the believer is afraid to examine something he shrinks from dealing with, then it is safe to examine that particular thing, for the enemy most probably has some footing there. What the believer cannot bear to hear about is probably the very thing that he is guilty of doing, or is in some way wrong in his relation to it. Then the ground--and the cause or causes of it--when revealed, must be taken back from the deceiving spirits, by the rejection, or refusal of these points upon which ground has been given, until the ground given has passed away; for ground which admits the evil spirit is the ground that keeps him in possession.note 18 There is also ground given which causes the believer, unknowingly, to take hold of evil spirits, and there are things, and ground given, which enable them to grip the believer, and his faculties. There is also the probability of giving new ground, by taking the lying spirits' interpretationnote 19 of their manifestations, which on the believer's part is the accepting of lies from them in the present, as much as in the past, when ground was given to admit them.


What it means by "fighting through" may be explained in a specific case. For instance, if the believer discovers that he has sunk into passivity, and that an evil spirit has fastened upon the passive faculties, and whilst they were lying passive, acted for, or in conjunction with him;note 20 when he gives up the ground, he finds it most difficult to act for himself again, and to regain the use of his faculties. If he has been drifting into passivity in the matter of decision, and, refusing this ground to the enemy, he decides now to "decide" for himself,

(1) He cannot act and decide for himself, and

(2) The evil spirits will not let him act, i.e., when their victim refuses them permissionnote 21 to control him, then they will not let their captive act without their permission.

The man has therefore to choose between "not acting" at all, or letting the evil spirit continue to act for him. This he will not do, and so for a while he is unable to use his own decisive power, and yet refuses to allow the enemy to use it. It becomes a fight for the use of his "free will," and for deliverance from passivity of the will,note 22 which destroyed his decisive power, and gave evil spirits control over him.

Why does not possession, and its effects, cease directly the man refuses all ground, as a whole, to the deceiving spirits? Because every detail of the ground must be detected; the man must be undeceived on every point; and the evil spirits must be dispossessed from every hold. Whatever caused possession, the opposite must be obtained for dispossession; instead of the lies of Satan, the truth of God; instead of passivity, activity; instead of ignorance, knowledge; instead of surrender to the enemy, resistance; instead of acceptance, refusal.

Actions are the result of thought and belief. The ground is always to be traced back to its radical cause, which is a THOUGHT AND BELIEF. Wrong thoughts and belief, which gave ground to evil spirits for possession, must be detected and given up. The basis of acceptance or refusal must be knowledge, not a passing thought, or impression. It is for this reason that understandingnote 23 is such an important factor in deliverance, and the subsequent warfare.

In seeking for the ground of any trouble in the spiritual life, believers generally go back only as far as the first manifestation of conscious wrong, instead of seeking the radical cause of the manifestations.

Men in seeking for the root of a tree do not content themselves with the discovery of its manifestation above ground. They know that the cause of the growth they see lies deeper down. It is VERY IMPORTANT that believers diagnose the cause of their trouble as further back than the first conscious manifestation, i.e., some thought or belief which has given the enemy occasion for deception.

Example in matter of "unconsciousness."note 24

  1. Discovery of symptom of "unconsciousness," (possibly through light from another).
  2. Act of refusal and choice {refuse evil unconsciousness; refuse evil consciousness.
  3. Seeking for light on ground in the past.
  4. Discovery of cause; a "thought and belief" that "unconsciousness of self" was true meaning of death, and condition for becoming "only conscious of God."

RESULT: Ever since the believer admitted that "thought" and "belief," he became subject to the consequences of it, and all that evil spirits gained by it; for they came around and made true to the victim what he desired, i.e., "unconsciousness," which formed the ground of passivity for Satanic manifestations.

If the believer resists and refuses any specific ground for possession, and cannot get rid of it, he must seek light upon the cause, i.e., the ground in the past in thought and belief, when this is discovered and refused, the "possession" of necessity passes away.


This is why it is necessary to say that each point must be patiently "fought through," i.e., the refusalnote 25 of all ground to evil spirits must be maintained, because refusing all ground, and getting rid of all ground, are two different things. All ground is not of necessity removed at the moment of refusal. The refusing must therefore be reasserted, and the believer refuse persistently, until each point of ground is detected and refused, and the faculties are gradually released to act freely under the will of the man. The faculties let go into passivity should regain their normal working condition, such as the operation of the mind kept to true and pure thinking, so that any subject being dealt with is mastered, and does not dominate beyond control. So with the memory, the will, the imagination, and the actions of the body, such as singing, praying, speaking, reading, etc. All must be brought back into normal working order, out of the passive, heavy state, into which they have fallen, under the subtle workings of the enemy.


The refusal, also, of the workings of deceiving spirits in possession, is necessary as well as the refusing of ground upon which they have obtained possession. The believer may say as his declaration of decision:

  1. I refuse the "influence" of e.s.
  2. I refuse the "power" of e.s.
  3. I refuse to be "led" by e.s.
  4. I refuse to be "guided" by e.s.
  5. I refuse to "obey" e.s.
  6. I refuse to "pray" to e.s.
  7. I refuse to "ask" anything of e.s.
  8. I refuse to "surrender" to e.s
  9. I refuse all "knowledge" from e.s.
  10. I refuse to listen to e.s.
  11. I refuse "visions" from e.s.
  12. I refuse the "touch" of e.s.
  13. I refuse "messages" from e.s.
  14. I refuse all "help" from e.s.

The believer must revoke the consent he unknowingly gave to the workings of the deceivers. They have sought to work through him, therefore he now declares:

"l, myself, WILL to do my own work.

In the past I willed not to do my work. This I NOW REVOKE for ever."

See pages 101, 104, 111, 183, 185.


The "fighting through" period is a very painful time. There are bad moments of acute suffering, and intense struggle, arising out of the consciousness of the resistance of the powers of darkness in their contest for what the believer endeavours to reclaim. The moment he begins to advance from weakness into strength, he becomes aware of the strength of the evil spirits resisting him; consequently he feels worse when fighting through. This is a sign of "dispossession," although the believer may not think, or feel it to be so.

The order of dispossession is not the order in which possession took place. The last thing given to the spirits of evil is generally the first thing removed, because fight is given upon the experience of the moment, and deliverance from the bondage of the moment is the most urgent need. Sometimes it is the advanced stage of possession, with its terrible bondage, which reveals his condition to the man himself, and it is not until he starts, point by point, to fight back to his normal condition, that he discovers the depth of the pitnote 26 he has fallen into, and the slow work of regaining the liberation of his whole being, from the power of the deceiving enemy.


The believer fighting back to freedom must not be deceived about the immediate effects of dispossession, for it may appear as he advances, that he is slipping back. For instance, when the man is in a passive state under the bondage of the enemy, he may be absolutely regardless of what he is, what he feels, and how he appears: and therefore he cannot feel and cannot be touched on these points; but as he fights back to the normal condition, these things become real to him again, and he thinks he has gone back; but the fact that he feels about these matters, proves a degree of dispossession, for his feelings, which had become numb,note 27 are once more regaining their normal condition.

The believer must not be off-guard when he knows much about dispossession, because there are new realms of deception, and he must take heed not to confuse ordinary wrestlingnote 28 in spirit with the powers of darkness, with manifestations of their workings through possession.


When the spirits of evil see their hold coming to an end, they never let go until the cause is fully removed, and they continue to attack if the thing they have attacked about still exists in any degree. When "fighting through," the enemy has various tactics to hinder the man's deliverance; and will dangle a thing before the mind which is not the true cause of the possession, so as to get the believer occupied with it, whilst he is gaining all the time, pouring in accusationsnote 29 upon his victim, until he is bewildered and confused. Charges, accusations, blame, guilt, direct from the enemy, or indirectly through others. Accusing spirits can say "You are wrong" when you are not wrong, and vice versa; and also say you are wrong, when you are wrong, and right when you are right, but it is very essential that the believer does not accept blame until he is absolutely sure that it is deserved, and then not from Satan's lying spirits, who have not been appointed by God to do the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.

When once the truth has dawned upon the victim of the powers of darkness, and they no longer hope to gain by deception, their one great attack all through, from the moment of undeceiving to final dispossession, is the perpetual charge, "You are wrong," so as to keep the man in ceaseless condemnation. The poor persecuted believer then goes to God, and tries to get victory over "sin," but in vain. The more he prays, the more he appears to sink into a hopeless bog. He seems to himself to be one mass of "sin," without hope of freedom. But it is victory over the powers of darkness he needs, and he will quickly prove this when he recognizes the true cause of his trouble, and lays hold of the Calvary Victory over Satan.


In fighting back to freedom, the believer must wield Scripture as the Divinely provided weapon for victory over evil spirits. The verses used with immediate effect, and giving evidence of relief, indicate the specific nature of any attack; showing by the efficacy of the weapon used the immediate cause of the conflict, the believer reasoning back from the effectiveness of the weapon to the cause of the warfare. For instance, if the text wielded is that Satan is the "father of lies," and the believer declares that he refuses all his lies, brings liberty from the oppression of the enemy, it indicates that the enemy is attacking with some of his deceptive workings. Then the believer should not only refuse all his lies, but pray, "Lord, destroy all the devil's lies to me."

All this simply means that in the path to freedom, the deceived believer must act intelligently. He must know the truth, and by the truth being received and acted upon, he is set free.note 30 In going down into the deception the intelligence is unused, but in recovering freedom he must act with deliberate knowledge; i.e., he goes down "passively," but he must emerge to liberty actively that is, by the action of his whole being.

Force must be used against force. There are two aspects of the use of force in the fight against the powers of darkness; one of using spirit force against spirit force when the believer is free from possession, and the second of physical force brought into action against their power or grip of the body. Either of these the Deceiver may suggest as "self-effort," and deceive the man into taking up a passive attitude, and thus to cease his resistance against him.

When the believer is fighting free from possession, he must bring into action all the forces of his tripartite being, and must know the place of the spirit, the soul, and the body, in the conflict, e.g., if evil spirits have a hold on the muscles of the bodily framenote 31 there must be effort, and use of the muscles to dislodge them, and so in every other part of the being. The believer, therefore, must not be afraid to use force--pure force, which simply means ACTIVE USE OF SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY in their various actions. Evil spirits, by possession, caused the forces of the tripartite man to be inactive and passive, and now these must be aroused to action against the force holding them. There must be liberation of the physical being from passivity,note 32 as well as mind and spirit.


But resistance, i.e., action of spirit, soul or body, must not take the place of refusal by the will. A man may "fight" without any result, if he does not first "refuse." There is an evil fight, i.e., a resistance in body or brain, which is due to possession. If it exists it must be refused. To be clear that this evil force is not in operation, the believer can say, "I refuse all evil fight now in spirit, soul or body." The believer may be resisting something in himself which is the fruit of his choice in the past, and which only his "refusal," or revoking of his past choice, can touch in the present. Fighting by force, or resistance, must therefore always have at the back of it the volitional attitude of refusal. For example (1) in the refusing stage of regaining the use of the memory, the man says "I will to remember," and so to speak, by the action of his will he lays hold of freedom; then follows (2) the actual fighting stage where he holds the liberty he has taken by refusal, and actively insists upon the enemy giving way, until the memory becomes really free from his possession.note 33

A few brief suggestions for attitude and action may be added here in condensed form, for the guidance of any who are seeking freedom from the enemy's power:

  1. Keep claiming the power of the blood (Rev. 12: 11).
  2. Pray for light, and face the past.
  3. Resist the devil persistently in your spirit. Page 183, 257.
  4. Never give up hope that you will be set free.
  5. Avoid all self-introspection. Page 190.
  6. Live, and pray for others, and thus keep your spirit in full aggressive and resisting power.

Again it may be said:--

  1. Stand daily on Rom. 6: 11; as the attitude to sin.
  2. Resist the enemy (James 4: 7) daily on the ground of the blood of Christ (Rev. 12: 11)
  3. Live daily for others; i.e., outward, and not inward.


The standing on Romans 6: 11 means the attitude of the believer reckoning himself "dead unto sin . . in Christ Jesus." It is a declaration of death--a gulf of death--to evil spirits as well as sin; to evil spirits working in, through, for, instead of, or in conjunction with the man.

To resist the enemy on the ground of the blood of Christ, means wielding the weapon of the finished work of Christ, by faith; i.e., His death for sin, freeing the trusting believer from the guilt of sin; His death to sin on the Cross and the believer's death with Him, freeing the man from the power of sin, and His death victory on Calvary freeing the believer from the power of Satan.

A condensed form of the principles, and conditions for deliverance from the deception and possession of evil spirits in any degree, may be given as follows:--

  1. Knowledge of the possibility of deception and possession;
  2. Admission of actual deception and possession;
  3. Attitude of neutrality toward all past experiences (spiritual) until truth concerning them is ascertained;
  4. Refusal of all ground to evil spirits;
  5. (In some cases) the casting out of evil spirits by the authority of the Name of Christ;
  6. The believer taking position of death to sin (Rom. 6: 11);
  7. The detection and refusal of all that belongs to possession;
  8. The understanding of the criterion of the true normal condition so as to gauge signs of dispossession;
  9. Active usage of the faculties so that they reach the normal condition.

In another brief form a summary of the steps to deliverance may be given as follows:--

  1. Recognize persistently the true cause of bondage; i.e., the work of an evil spirit or spirits.
  2. Choose to have absolutely nothing to do with the powers of darkness. Frequently declare this.
  3. Do not talk or trouble about their manifestations. Recognize, refuse and then ignore them.
  4. Refuse and reject all their lies and excuses, as they are recognized.
  5. Notice the thoughts, and the way in which they come, and when, and immediately declare the attitude of Rom. 6: 11 against all the interferences of the enemy.

Hindrances to deliverance from deception and possession may again be given here briefly, as:--

  1. Not knowing it is possible to be deceived;
  2. Thinking God will not allow a believer to be deceived;
  3. Saying "I am safe under the Blood," without intelligent knowledge of conditions;
  4. Saying "I have no sin," to open the door to an "evil spirit";
  5. Saying "I am doing all that God wants, so all must be right"; without seeking to understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 5: 10- 17).

Some hints on overcoming passivity of mind, are as follows:--

  1. Act as far as you can, doing what you can.
  2. Take the initiative, instead of passively depending on others.
  3. Decide for yourself in everything you can. Do not lean on others.
  4. Live in the moment, watch and pray step by step.
  5. We your mind, and THINK--think over all you do, and say, and are.


Col. 3: The possession by the enemy now slowly weakens as the ground which he held is steadily refused, and given up. The Deceiver fought long to obtain the ground, and the believer may have to fight a long time ere he is fully set free.note 34 The weakening of the possession, too, is according to the degree in which the ground is removed, and if the man does not meanwhile give more ground to the foe. This makes the deliverance gradual, it is true, but in most cases the snare may have been gradually woven about him for many years. Film after film may have slowly come upon the mind,note 35 preparing for the deception of after years.

Col. 4: Following the steady attitude of the refusal of the ground, light begins to break in, with the discovery of the "excuses" the enemy is making to hide the true location. For the persistent endeavour is to make the man believe that the manifestations are due to some other cause. The chief excuses over the manifestation of possession centre around the suggestions, "it is divine," "natural," "physical," or else temperament, circumstances, others' wrong doing,note 36 etc., in order to cover or hide the ground which is held. But as the excuses are recognized, the believer resists them, and calls the excuses by the right name of Satan's lies.

After getting rid of the counterfeits of the Divine workings, the difficult stage is the recognizing and getting free from the counterfeits of the man himself.note 37 As the "excuses" or lies are recognized the believer becomes more acute in detection, and less ready to accept the "natural" and "physical" causes as true explanations, without examination and certainty, e.g., if he "cannot bear" to hear, or speak about a person, he asks Why? If an attack on a certain point does not cease, he asks Why?

The truth is, a believer cannot bear things because of attack through possession, and he cannot do things because of possession.note 38


Naming the "attack" is a great factor for victory. For example, an attack may be made to hinder, then the believer must be on guard against all hindrances, seen and unseen, which the Hinderer is placing in his way; it may be to make him impatient, then he must be on guard over all things liable to test his patience. The sooner the attack is recognized and named, the quicker the weapon can be called into use to destroy it.

It may be a flood of accusations of wrong doing, which need to be recognized, or tested as to their truth. When the Accuser charges the believer with some specific wrong over a certain thing, and he surrenders that thing to God, if the accusationnote 39 does not then pass away, it shows that it is not the true ground for the accusation, but some other cause hidden from view. The believer should then seek light from God upon the hidden causes according to John 3: 21; and refuse the cause of the accusation without knowing what it is, saying, "I refuse the cause of this attack, whatever it is, and I trust the Lord to destroy it." But often, when the believer is charged with being wrong over a certain thing, and it is fought off again and again in this way, it does not pass away. Then the true cause of the attack is possession, and not a "thing" at all. The matter to be fought is possession as a whole.

The true location of the deceiving spirit will often be found in an opposite direction to the apparent one, for they know they are being exposed, and dislodged, and so they vigorously ply an attack upon some other place to divert attention.note 40


Col. 5:note 41 THE EFFECT OF THESE PRECEDING STEPS CAN NOW BE SEEN. The symptoms slowly pass away, and the believer, coming back to normal conditions, finds his faculties usable, and his thoughts once more under the control of his volition. It is a spiritual resurrection from a Satanic burial.

Now the one who is being freed must be on guard not to think it is final victory, or that the deceiving spirit has been fully dislodged because the manifestations have ceased; nor must he think that, when the intruder has been "cast out," in cases where casting out is possible and successful, that he is completely delivered, if there are no actual manifestations. It is necessary to watch and pray as never before. The evil spirit has been exposed, the soul has been undeceived; but the deeper the deception the longer is the time for the film of Satan upon the mind to be removed,note 42 and the passivity of the various faculties, of spirit, soul or body, to be destroyed. To be "undeceived," does not always mean to be fully delivered. The believer must therefore beware of the snare of ceasing the fight against possession when ease comes.note 43

It is here that the believer needs to know himself, so as to be able to judge of the extent of his liberation; and this he does by having a clear criterion of his true normal condition, so as to detect whether he is above it, and therefore strained beyond his normal poise and measure, or below it, and therefore less capable in all the departments of his being.


For these reasons it is essential and indispensable for full deliverance from the power of evil spirits, that a believer know the standard of his normal condition, and with this gauge before him, can judge of his degree of deliverance, physically, intellectually, and spiritually, so as to fight through with steady volition and faith, until every faculty is free, and he stands a liberated man in the liberty wherewith Christ has made him free.

As he judges himself by this criterion he may say, "Things are not the same as they were," and he then fights through by prayer to his normal condition. The deceiving spirits will suggest all kinds of excuses to stop the man's advance to freedom; e.g., if he is forty years of age, they will suggest that the "mind cannot be as vigorous as at twenty"; or "overwork" is the cause of his being below what he should be, but he must not accept reasons which appear to be "natural," IF HE HAS BEEN A SUBJECT OF POSSESSION.note 44 Let the believer know the highest measure of grace whereunto he has attained, for spirit, soul and body, and resist all attempts of the powers of darkness to keep him below it at any time.note 45 If he is vigilant he will know that the lying spirits will endeavour to deceive him about it, and he must resist their lies.


Some practical ways of keeping the mind in its normal working condition, may be briefly suggested as follows:--

(a) ATTITUDE TO THE PAST. There should be no "regrets," or brooding over things done or undone. This is an ordinary operation of the mind in thinking over the past, entangled into an evil kind of thinking which is generally described as "brooding."note 46 The believer must earn to discern for himself when he is simply "thinking," or being drawn into a state of "regretting" or brooding. For victory in the life, there must be victory in regard to the past, with all its failures. The good of the past causes no trouble to the mind, but only the real or supposed evil. This should be dealt with by dealing with God, on the ground of 1 John 1: 7, and thus the believer be delivered from it.

In regaining the normal working of the mind, it needs first to be brought into action, and then into balanced action. This is very difficult, and at times impossible, whilst there is evil spirit possession. Possession must therefore pass away before balanced working is restored. This principle applies to every

(b) THE ATTITUDE TO THE FUTURE. The same may be said in the action of the mind in regard to the future. It is lawful to think of the past and think of the future, so long as the evil state of "brooding," brought about by sin, or Satan, is not yielded to.

(c) THE ATTITUDE TO EVIL SPIRITS. They must not be permitted to interfere, by the believer seeing to it that no new ground is given to them, either for possession, or interference.

(d) THE ATTITUDE TO THE PRESENT MOMENT. This should be a steady concentration of mind upon the duties of the moment, keeping it in active readiness for use as occasion requires. This does not mean ceaseless activity, for activity of the mind so that it is never at rest, can be a symptom of possession.note 47


The believer must understand that the regaining of the facile use of the faculties, and the maintainance of the mind in healthy condition, after passive surrender to evil spirits, will mean a steady fight with the powers of darkness, which will require the use of the weapons of warfare given in the Word of God, as tried and proved by experience. Weapons, for instance, such as the truth in the text "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof," for resisting brooding over the past, or torturing pictures of the future; "Resist the devil and he will flee from you," when the pressure of the enemy is severe; and other "fighting" texts, which will prove truly to be the "sword of the Spirit" to thrust at the enemy, in the evil day of his onslaught upon the escaping believer.

(e) THE STEADY ATTITUDE OR ACTION OF THE WILL. In keeping the mind in normal working condition, free from the interference of the enemy, the believer should maintain the attitude of the will steadily set; i.e., "I will that my mind shall not be passive; "I will to have full control of, and to use my faculties;" "I will to recognize everything that comes from demon-possession;" all of which declares the CHOICE of the man, rather than his determination to do these things. The powers of darkness are not affected by mere determination--i.e., resolve--but they are rendered powerless by the act of volition definitely choosing, in the strength given of God, to stand against them.


Col. 6: The believer now finds the following results in experience. He has clear vision in the light of God, of the enemy's workings, without fear; a clear mind, intelligently in exercise in all its actions; a calm decision of the will, with a strong pure spirit in resisting, without hesitation, all he sees to be of the Adversary. Instead of acceptance of the enemy's workings, there is an established attitude of refusal; instead of a lie in the mind there is truth; instead of ignorance there is knowledge.

The delivered believer now has a deep longing for the deliverance of others he sees to be in the net of the fowler; acute insight into the devil's true character in his bitter enmity to Christ and His redeemed; past perplexities in spiritual experiences are now clearly understood, and the Adversary detected where it was little thought he had a place; the undeceived one now seeing with astonishment the "naturalness" of his supernatural workings. This man is never off guard now, but always alert, watching against the powers of darkness, whilst relying upon the strength of God, and there is a manifest development of resisting power against the wicked spirits attacking him in the heavenly places, instead of the weak and passive attitude of the past, which enabled them to hinder or mislead him.

The steps to deliverance which have been given, deal with the PRACTICAL ASPECT OF THE BELIEVER'S ACTIONS. On the Divine side, the victory has been won, and Satan and his deceiving spirits have been conquered, but the actual liberation of the believer demands his ACTIVE COOPERATION WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, and the steady exercise of his volition, choosing freedom instead of bondage, and the normal use of every faculty of his being, set at liberty from the bondage of the enemy.

"He that doeth the truth cometh to the light" (John 3: 21) said the Lord. Evil spirits hate scrutiny, and so work under cover with deception and lies. The believer must come to the light of God for His light upon all spiritual experiences, as well as all other departments of the life, if he is to "cast off the works of darkness" (Rom. 13: 12) and put on the armour of God- -the armour of light.


The Blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin, if we walk in the light; but the light must shine in for the soul to walk in it. The evil spirits can be cast out in the Name of the Lord Jesus, but the GROUND THEY HAVE GAINED CAN ONLY BE REMOVED BY THE INTELLIGENT CHOICE OF THE WILL REFUSING the ground given to them, and appropriating the deliverance by death with Christ on Calvary.

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