Christians are somewhat divided on the issue of our spiritual authority over demons. Some say we can rebuke them, yet many on that side seem to attribute everything evil to demonic forces. That is, all illness, disaster or anything uncomfortable including envy, hatred, anger and a mean spirit are attributed to the demons of envy, anger, illness, and so on. However, God says He creates well-being and calamity (Isaiah 45:7). It seems more prudent to consider His sovereignty before assigning everything to our spiritual enemies.
In contrast, other Christians dismiss spiritual authority entirely. Many are put off by those who look for Satan in everything. They see most problems are caused by human sin, not a demon. Some think trials and problems are ‘simply part of life’ and have no reason or cause for happening.
Since we are creatures of extremes, I understand the swing from ‘Satan is behind all the awful stuff’ to the other end of the spectrum that does not acknowledge his activity at all. A college professor says, “I know there is a balance here; I see it every time I swing by it.”
Jesus talked about balance to the disciples who were exited from a recent mission trip. They said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”
I’ve actually heard people say the same thing, almost word for word. Yet Jesus sees the danger of making this an important doctrine. And He said to them,
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:18–20)
If I told a non-Christian that I have power over demons, I imagine they would think I am crazy, deluded, or am some sort of spiritual nut case. However, if I tell them how Jesus came to earth and died for my sin, and that my name is written in the book of life, the response could be the same, but it is more likely to create a desire in their hearts for the same blessing.
Being thankful for eternal life isn’t the only alternative to rejoicing over spiritual power. Having any kind of success in Christian living so easily becomes the pride of my life, but focusing on what Jesus has done for me produces humility. God is not interested in my power trips. I do not deserve even the least of His mercies. I cannot earn His smile or make that my motivation for serving Him.
Chambers points out that when I keep my relationship right with Him, then He pours ‘rivers of living water’ through me (John 7:38). However, in mercy He does not let me in on it. He knows my tendency to pride and self-righteousness and He cannot use that.
Staying in right relationship to Jesus is simple: confess known sin and simply be. In the way I live, people will see Jesus, as long as I’m not consciously making the effort for that to happen. Living transparently lets others see the One who wrote my name in His book. Not only that, it sets me free from being concerned whether I can rebuke demons or not. If it is necessary, it will just happen. If not, I will not notice because my eyes are firmly fixed on the One who delivered me and protects me from their power.