How can you fight off demonic attacks? I spend much time ministering to people who are internally bound by Satan. In that case, an exorcism is in order. The presence of evil must, in most cases, be interrogatively confronted and cast out. It must be removed and expelled from an internal habitation. But what if a tormenting demon is “out there” somewhere, hanging around and looking for a right of entry? This is sometimes referred to as demonic oppression. Being dogged by a demon. Harassed. Intimidated. Influenced.
In such circumstances the person still needs deliverance but not necessarily an exorcism. What approach should be pursued if this is the case? Most people who are spiritually attacked aren’t possessed. They are oppressed. The devil hasn’t gotten inside yet. So, the goal of spiritual warfare is to keep the devil out. There are three biblical ways to do this: resist, reprove, rebuke.
RESISTANCE is a defensive action described in James 4:7: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
REPROOF is referenced in Ephesians 5:11 which speaks of reproving evil and having “no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.”
REBUKING is an offensive action mentioned several times in scripture. Jesus did this on many occasions.
Here is more detailed breakdown of these three actions against the Evil One:
RESIST – – As previously stated, this is a defensive action. It is an exertion of opposition. You recognize hostility and declare against it. When we say to Satan, “I resist you in the name of Jesus,” we are drawing a line in the sand. We’re telling the devil to back off, that he can come no further. Resisting is not pursuing the enemy but ensuring he stops in his tracks. Resistance can be a verbal command. It can also be a decision of personal conduct such as no longer watching pornography or getting spiritual help to repair damaged relationships. To resist is to dig in, to make healthy changes in one’s life, or to stabilize spiritually in preparation for reproof and rebuke.
REPROVE — To reprove is to issue a strong reprimand, a harsh criticism. It is telling the devil that whatever actions he has taken won’t be further tolerated. It is a stronger step from resisting. A directive of reproof might be something like this: “I command you Satan, in the name of Jesus, stop what you’re doing. I belong to Christ and reprove you by the power of His blood. I declare that you must back away and not return to torment me again under penalty of the Holy Spirit.”
REBUKE — To rebuke is to repel. It requires doing something against that which is adversarial. You declare and assert yourself in a directional way. There is no passivity in rebuking. You are directly confronting a demon. In Mark 1:25 Jesus rebuked the demons possessing the man in the synagogue. In Mark 4:39 Christ rebuked a storm which could have taken His life and the lives of those with Him. In Matthew 17:18 Christ rebuked the demon possessed son of a man who sought His help. Jesus rebuked demons, He rebuked sickness, and He even rebuked Peter who spoke the mind of Satan when denying Christ should die on the cross (Mark 8:33).
All three of these action verbs may be needed to keep the devil at bay. Your choice of verb will depend on the severity of your situation, but when in doubt, do all three: resist, reprove, rebuke. The devil is stubborn and won’t give up easily, but victory is eventual through Christ. Satan has been defeated, he is defeated, and he will be defeated.