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I walked into the room where the 20 year old sat on a couch and heard her describe how a spirit child lived in her and played dolls with her. The spirit was nice and sang her lullabies to help her sleep when she was afraid. “Do you want me to call her so she can come and talk to you?” I passed.  As a young pastor I was not quite sure what to do in that situation.

Later I would learn to use the Word of God to beat Satan into a hellish retreat. I learned that when the demons heard the Name of Jesus Christ and were reminded about a little detail they seem to forget often, namely that God triumphed over Satan on the cross, they would flee, screaming with a cry of anguish that would make most horror movies child’s play.

A missionary friend who is now with the Lord was my mentor. I learned about his exploits expelling over 100 spirits from a woman in his church who claimed to be a believer. I saw the beautiful water color paintings this woman did when she was possessed, complete with Bible verses on the bottom. I saw the little notebook where the demons left messages, each signed under a different name, each with a different handwriting. One spirit was even named… gasp… JESUS! Not Jesus Christ. “Jesus.”

Six to eight months was how long it took until she was finally clean. Her house, it turned out, was littered with stuff that had been used in spiritualistic rituals. She herself had gone to some places where they played some “innocent” games and chanted some words invoking some unknown powers. Thus she, knowingly or unknowingly, opened the door for unclean spirits to come in. One by one, things were found in the house and burned until she was free. Satan was defeated and a life was saved.

Later, as a pastor in Southern California, I would encounter similar situations. People would call me into their house after they could no longer deal with stuff moving around, voices being heard in the middle of the night, doors being locked and unlocked with no visible hands – the whole gamut of demonic trickery.

Invariably, I would go inside their house and after a time in the Word, walk around, ask questions about places and objects – anything that caught my attention, even a hat that appeared out of place. Often, people would tell me about things that were already in the house when they bought it. Sometimes they would also tell me about trips to “exotic” places where they had picked up some unusual souvenirs…

I would then spend intense times of prayer, sometimes returning to the home, going around every corner, cleansing it, and a making a proclamation about Christ’s power and authority as expressed in His Word. I would lay hands on people and pray for them. And every single time, eventually, the “paranormal” activities ceased.

I could tell you more “weird” stuff but I am afraid I may have already caused some of you to call into question my theological credentials. My point is this: all these forays into the world of the spirits never even once tempted me to consider going into some kind of ministry of exorcism or “power encounters” as this now has come to be known.

Don’t take me wrong, I am thankful for those who are on the forefront of this battle from a biblical perspective, but that is not what God called me to do. I was almost an accidental tourist in the land of ghosts. I didn’t go looking for it and I have no inclination to become a poltergeist hunter. I don’t look for a spirit behind every door and I certainly don’t want to give Satan more credit than he deserves…

But I do know this: this stuff is real and is more prevalent than we think. Even followers of Christ can attract and be influenced by evil spirits. If you disagree, come hear me speak this Sunday. I will demonstrate this from the Word. Regardless, as believers, we must be prepared to deal decisively with this onslaught of “spiritual vandalism,” as my friend, Tom Julien, calls it in his book The Three Princes, which I highly recommend, by the way.

This Sunday I will share with you four principles that will help you obtain victory over spiritual vandalism:

Power. We must understand where real power resides. “… he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:20-21).

Positioning. We must realize that even the humblest of all believers outranks Satan and any of his demons because he/she is legally, judicially positioned with Christ “far above” any other entity in this age or the one to come. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians 2:6).

Prostrating. We must learn to bow before God in worship, confess all known sins and make sure that we are ready to do battle against the enemy of our souls. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Plunging. The final principle is one of an all-out assault against the enemy. We must live in a way that gives the enemy no rest, advancing in hand-to-hand combat for the wholeness of our minds, and occupying every imaginable space with the light of Christ. And the only way to do that is to plunge the Word into the heart and soul of the enemy.  “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17).

Occupy the Universe!

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade