In the hour of conflict, when the forces of darkness are pressing upon the believer, the expression of his active refusal becomes an aggressive warfare upon them, as well as a defensive weapon. It is then as though the will at the centre of "Mansoul," [see John Bunyan's The Holy War] instead of sinking down in fear and despair when the enemy assaults the city, issues forth in aggressive resistance against the foe, by declaring its attitude against him. The battle turns upon the choice of the will in the citadel being maintained, in unshaken refusal to yield to, or admit any one of the attacking spirits of evil. The whole power of God, by the Holy Spirit, will be at the back of the active resistance of the man in his attitude of refusal to the enemy.
It is important to understand the effectiveness of this refusal of the will, on the part of the undeceived believer, as a barrier against the foe, because the outer man, in "feelings," and nervous system, bears the scars long after his deliverance from the pit of deception into which he has been beguiled. When once the wall of the outer man has been broken into by supernatural forces of evil, it is not quickly rebuilt so that they cease to have any effect upon it in times of severe conflict. Believers who are emerging from deception and possession, should therefore know the power of an aggressive turning upon the enemy in the moment of his attacking them, with an active expression of their choice and will in regard to him. In such a way the aggressive becomes a defensive action. The believer in conflict may say with effect:
"I refuse all the authority of evil spirits over me: their right to me: their claims upon me: their power in me: their influence in or upon me..."
The same weapon of refusing works in many phases of the conflict; for example, in speaking or writing, if the believer is conscious of difficulties, obstacles, or interference in what be is doing, he should at once refuse all ideas, thoughts, suggestions, visions (i.e., pictures to the mind, words, impressions, the spirits of evil may be seeking to insert, or press upon him, so that he may be able to co-operate with the Holy Spirit, and have a clarified mind for the carrying out of His will.
That is, the believer by his refusal, and resistance of all supernatural attempts to interfere with his outer man; is actively to resist the powers of darkness, whilst he seeks to co-work with the Holy Spirit within his spirit. At first this means much conflict, but as he maintains active resistance, and increasingly closes his whole being to the spirits of evil, and is on the alert to recognize, and refuse their workings, his union with the Risen Lord deepens, his spirit grows strong, his vision pure, his mental faculties clear to realize a perpetual victory over the foes who once had him in their power.
Especially is he on guard against, what may be described as, the "double counterfeits" of the deceiving spirits. That is, the counterfeits by the enemy in connection with attacks upon himself. For example, the devil attacks him manifestly and visibly, so that he clearly knows it to be an onslaught of the spirit beings of evil. He prays, resists, gets through to victory in his will and spirit. Then comes a great "feeling" of peace, and rest, which may be as much an "attack" as the onslaught, but more subtle and liable to mislead the believer if he is not on guard. The enemy suddenly retreating and ceasing the furious attack, hopes to gain the advantage by the second which he failed to obtain in the first.
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