What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
- Pharmakeia (Noun): Sorcery, witchcraft, magic
- Pharmakon (Noun): Witchcraft, sorcery, magic potion, drug
Here we see the root words of witchcraft and how is it commonly associated with other forms of evil, such as the different practices of magic and drugs. Being a former drug addict, I can see how some drugs can completely open the door to evil such as witchcraft. While I was under the influence of powerful drugs prior to salvation, I discovered that nothing pure or good ever came out of it, because being on heavy drugs opens the door to a spiritual realm of evil that we should not be involved in.
Witchcraft Is Like Rebellion
When dealing with witchcraft, we have to remember a few things. For starters, we must remind ourselves that this is a powerful, evil force that has been around long before we arrived on the earth. Secondly, God likens rebellion to witchcraft because it operates against godly authority and structures.
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king" (1 Sam. 15:23).
Witchcraft Is Identified as One of the Works of the Flesh
"Now the works of the flesh are revealed, which are these: adultery, sexual immorality, impurity, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, rage, selfishness, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I previously warned you, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21).
Notice the list here and the order that word witchcraft appears. As evil as witchcraft is, one would think that it would be one of the first things listed. But it's not. It appears after "idolatry" and right before "hatred." To God, sin is sin. Sometimes someone may not be directly involved with witchcraft, but their life is full of selfish ambition or division in the home or church. I like how God states that all of these many evils are works of the flesh, and these must be replaced by the works of the Spirit, which are:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).
If we are operating out of the Spirit of Christ, we will look more like what Paul describes above in Galatians. The old saying is "opposites attract." In the spirit realm, similar spirits attract to each other. Where there is witchcraft, all forms of evil will attempt to thrive near around it.
How Does It Function in the Church?
Witchcraft will sometimes sound good or "godly" to the natural mind, but it will always be spiritually off. This happens because evil will always parade itself as innocent, pure and right before people. Witchcraft functions like this in order to deceive those that are naive.
On one occasion, as we went to the place of prayer, a servant girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation." She did this for many days. But becoming greatly troubled, Paul turned to the spirit and said, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out at that moment (Acts 16:16-18).
Wow! Imagine going into town as an evangelist or business traveler and once you arrive you discover that you have your own personal advertiser going around with you, announcing to everyone on the streets that you are here and you can solve their problems for them. Wouldn't that be great? You can just show up and someone else is doing all of the legwork for you, right?
Not so fast! This person was operating by an evil spirit, masquerading as light to throw the apostles off and usurp what God was getting ready to do with Paul and Silas. This evil spirit was trying to attach itself (falsely) to their ministry and deceive people after they left.
What You Must Do as a Christian to Protect Your Church From Witchcraft
- Speak the "blood of Jesus" and the Word of the Lord.
"To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (Rev. 1:5b-6).
Years ago, I watched two older women who were elders stand between me and a demon-possessed man who was trying to come at me. I watched these fearless women of God stand right in front of me, becoming a shield between me and the evil man. One woman spoke out and told that man to leave in the name of Jesus while the other one started praying and quoting scripture out loud. All of this was happening in a public restaurant parking lot on a Sunday evening after church. I was scared out of my mind at that moment some 20 years ago, but the two ladies weren't. They were as bold as lions! That demon-possessed man backed down, exited the parking lot quickly, and never bothered me again. At that moment I saw 1 John 4:4 fleshed out before my eyes, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
There is mighty power in the name of Jesus, and the blood of Christ that shed for us. There is also something special about speaking God's Word out loud into the airways. When in doubt, speak out the blood of Christ over your household, family and loved ones.
- Cover your pastor and family in prayer.
Recently I have come into contact with several pastors in my travels who are all under bizarre attacks on their health, finances and (for some) even mental situations. Yes, it could just be a bad day, we all have them. But I believe some of these cases are attacks resulting from witchcraft trying to get a foothold in our churches. I believe (without a doubt) that pastors and their spouses, and other ministers are being targeted spiritually by local and national witches. I am seeing a rise in spiritual assaults like never before. It is time to gather under the leadership of our pastors and leaders and pray for them without ceasing.
"Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone" (1 Tim. 2:1).
- Connect yourself to the body of Christ and stay there!
"So we, being many, are on body in Christa, and all are parts of one another" (Rom. 12:5).
I was upset a long time ago at my church, and I was talking to my spiritual dad about it. I was hoping to have him join in on "my pity party," but God had other plans that day. After I shared my problem with my mentor, he said to me, "Andy, I have been crucified by my own church now three times after 30 years of being there." Then he said, "Don't ever leave a church or ministry until you have been crucified and then resurrected, completely put back together."
We can't leave a church or ministry every time we are wronged or offended. It is part of the process of spiritual maturation as we grow in the Lord and with the other members of the body of Christ. One of the greater weapons that we have is the fact that we are all one body, and we can function, mature and grow together. Witchcraft will always try to divide and weaken church ties. How do we deal with it? Spend more time with other believers.
- Don't fight witchcraft alone.
Witchcraft is like a huge hornet's nest, so if you just walk up to it and kick it or try to remove it yourself without knowing what you are doing, you will get stung badly, or worst yet, killed. If you suspect witchcraft, this must be properly addressed with the leadership and elders of the church or ministry, and a plan of action must be put into place and prayed into until you get the breakthrough in the Spirit first. Notice the Scripture below says, "Our struggle" and not just "My struggle." We cannot fight principalities alone.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Eph. 6:12, NIV).
Remember, we win battles by working together and fighting as one. We cannot advance the gospel when we are fighting other believers and other churches in our community. It is important to function as one body as we come up against different forms and attacks of witchcraft. Staying in prayer, God's Word, and also watching what comes out of our mouths is of utmost important when we are fighting spiritual battles. The battle is the Lord's and not yours to begin with.
Andy Sanders has been speaking for 25 years. He has traveled extensively around the U.S. and other parts of the world. He is a prolific writer who carries both a prophetic and leadership-type message to the church. Sanders has a B.A. from Central Bible College and a master's and doctorate in Christian education from Freedom Seminary, graduating with honors. He is married to Cathy, and their family resides in Syracuse, New York.
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