During the month of April I am bringing you a NEW four-part teaching series in regards to the Python Spirit. At this moment in time, there is a strong manifestation of its strangle-hold on the Church, especially its leaders. Ministries are falling by the way side. Many are confused to why their ministries are not successful. Therefore I am also making available to you my book "Seduction & Control: Infiltrating Society and the Church," available on Amazon.com. This is a must read for all who wish to safeguard against this devastating assault.
Divination & The Python Spirit (Python Series, Part 1 of 4)
As we were on our way to the place of prayer (Church), we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination [python - see KJV] [claiming to foretell future events and to discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners much gain by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly, These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation! And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment (Acts 16:16-18 AMP).
Felt under spiritual attack lately? Well here's a passage above that helps describe the kind of spiritual attack we've all been experiencing.
Firstly notice that this was not a spirit of stealth and seduction but of harassment and pestering torment. [Divination or python: exposes, provokes, discredits, humiliates and even bankrupts]. Notice how it did not just target Paul but his entire apostolic company, "...she kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly."
Folks, as part of Christ's apostolic company [see Hebrews 3:1 KJV] we too are the target for such harassment, designed to "sorely annoy and ware us out." We know this because it goes on to say, "She did this for many days. Then Paul, sorely annoyed and worn out turned and said..." According to the dictionary the word annoyance refers to an unpleasant mental state, that is characterised by such effects as irritation and distraction... and can lead to emotions such as frustration and anger. It refers to the act of making unwelcome intrusions upon another (this was taken in-part from Wikipedia and Merriam-Webster).
The greek for "grieved" as used in the King James Version [instead of annoyed] means: "to manage with pains, accomplish with great labour; to be troubled, displeased, offended, pained and to be worked up" (Strong's G1278). Perhaps Paul was not on best form after "many days" of such annoying harassment? Plus the original language confirms that it was just "a young female slave" who got under his skin (annoyed him so much!) Her masters weren't interested in harassing Paul - there was no money in it for them - she even lost them money. Instead she locked target with Paul (and the others) and wouldn't let go - until Paul put an end to it.
Never Take Spiritual Warfare Personally
What's puzzling is why did Paul take so long to respond? I would suggest to you, that the devil wants us to react to everything and to take everything personally. Paul on the other hand knew that she was just a "servant girl." I want to remind you, that it's never a good time to take things personally, especially in spiritual warfare [we are all prone to this!] It's hard sometimes because the devil uses people. Still this spiritual-struggle that we are in, is never against people. "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" (Ephesians 6:12 NIV; John 17: 14-16 KJV).
Once we start taking things personally, we have lost the plot completely. Self-preservation makes us lose our focus and our purpose [Christ's agenda was never self preservation]. Self-preservation - always motivates us - out of the will of God. We become defensive and our sensitivity to God becomes seriously impaired. All spiritual warfare is targeted at Christ [hence anti-Christ] and is therefore never personal. [Remembering this fact can really help prevent the roots of bitterness - see Hebrews 12:15].
However we know that Paul was capable of being led of the Holy Spirit, because of preceding events mentioned earlier in the same chapter. At each major juncture of their travels, we see an interaction between Paul and his apostolic company and the Holy Spirit. For example it says in the passage below that, "...they were forbidden by the Holy Spiritto preach the word in Asia" [right place - wrong time]. We also know that Paul was quick to respond to the Holy Spirit's guidance because it says below, "Now after he [Paul] had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them."
Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit [a] did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
(Acts 16:6-11 NKJV)
So this apostolic company, who were "forbidden" by the Spirit, also knew to "conclude" when they were permitted "to preach the gospel" in Macedonia. They knew how to be led by the Holy Spirit. With this in mind, are we to believe they missed it, when it came to a mere "servant girl"?
Did Paul [who responded "immediately"] suddenly become delinquent? Either Paul "concluded" deliberately to ignore her for "many days" then out of mere exhaustion succumb to the frustration of relentless spiritual harassment [Moses also struck the rock twice out of frustration with the people and suffered the consequences]. Or Paul - waiting on the unction of the Holy Spirit (to minister deliverance) only delayed his response - out of a knowledge of the spiritual climate and what sort of trouble it would stir.
When we read accounts like this in the bible, there was so much going on. Our lives are much the same. It takes great discernment to distinguish what's really happening. On a human level, we've all been "annoyed and worn out" [especially in the ministry!] So whether Paul acted out of frustration and spiritual exhaustion or not, the servant girl was still delivered and Paul's jailer [and household] were saved!
Many other miracles occurred also, and I would suggest, that it was because Paul faced and did not run from spiritual warfare. [He knew about Daniel 7:25 and how it was the enemies ploy to "ware him out."] The consequences might have seemed heavy, but what are the alternatives? To do nothing or "pursue and recover all without fail" [like David did in 1 Samuel 30: 1-19]. If we just lick our wounds we'll lose everything. However we are more than conquerors, we triumph through Christ, Who's is greater in us, than he that's in the world! (Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 4:4 KJV paraphrased).
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father many things in life are sent to ware me out and exhaust me so that I am non-productive for Your Kingdom. I want to fulfil Your purposes for my life and to glorify Your Name. Help me to distinguish between the superficial and the supernatural. Help me to discern what I am dealing with. So that as I depend on you, I will see victory. In Jesus name. Amen.
CONFESSION OF THE DAY
I am more than a conqueror today. I always triumph through Christ. I have nothing to fear. The consequences of life can be harsh (but they are much harsher without Christ). I am anointed for hard stuff! I have power, love and a sound mind. I keep my position and my possessions in Christ. I keep what's rightfully mine. I am a victor not a victim - in Jesus Name.