Paul addressed the nature of spiritual gifts in answer to a letter the Corinthian church wrote him (I Cor. 12:1). He said that “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (7). Then he gave a list of gifts, including “the ability to distinguish between spirits” (10), which my architect friend Roy Jones could.
A few times while a pastor at Trinity Lutheran in San Pedro, I received calls from people who said strange things were going on in their home late at night. They would hear creaking sounds, see lights go on and off. I would call Roy and we would head over. The parents showed us around and pointed out the places where these strange occurrences took place that were putting fear in the hearts of the children. I looked at Roy and he gave an affirming nod, letting me know that he discerned the presence of darkness.
I anointed with oil the doorposts of every room in the house with the sign of the cross. I then spoke to the darkness and commanded it in the name of Jesus Christ to leave and never return. I did it in a normal voice and in faith that we walked in the authority of Christ. We then prayed over the household members, closing with the Lord’s Prayer and Benediction. We never had to return to a house that had been cleansed.
On a ministry trip, a pastor asked me to pray with a gal about twenty-five who showed signs of demonization. When I spoke with her, she could not look me in the face. The presence of demons often depersonalizes people. Her speech was labored, occasionally she twitched, and she was noticeably uncomfortable. She spoke of being seriously abused by multiple men who took advantage of her sexually.
I listened to her sad story and told her it never should have happened. I shared with her that I would understand if she could not forgive them, but I asked her if she would be willing to do so. I explained that forgiving them did not mean that they had not seriously sinned against her. It meant that she would leave them to the justice and mercy of God. She said that she could never do that. It took about thirty minutes to convince her that for her own physical and spiritual health she needed to (Matthew 18:34). I told her what to say. She could not get the words out. It was as if she would start, but demons would interrupt her and make it impossible. We tried for twenty minutes, urging her to say, “I forgive them.” She would stutter, stammer, and stop. The pastor and I knew we were in a serious battle against dark powers. Finally, the words came out in a slurred sentence, “I forgive them.” IMMEDIATELY the darkness lifted, her countenance changed, and peace overtook nervousness. We commanded the powers of darkness to leave and never come back and invited the Holy Spirit to take His rightful place in her body, His temple. She was a Christian who had been traumatized and invaded through the tearing down of the walls by selfish and sinister men. Now she was free, and all the signs were present. We rejoiced with her and gave her instructions on how she could walk in the Spirit and maintain her freedom. Glory to Jesus! (Part 3 coming).