As I stated in my last post, my depression had become literally heavy. I felt like I physically carried 20 extra pounds around on my chest all the time. I remember describing to my husband that it felt like I had an elephant on my chest and I couldn’t breathe. Then after prompted by a friend, I went to my closet and shut the door. For the first time, in my 37 years of life, after growing up in the Christian church, I finally asserted my authority as a daughter of God Most High. I told evil, out loud, to “Get away from me in the name of Jesus,” and the evil that was oppressing me fled. Instantly I felt that weight lift off my chest! I felt light for the first time in years!
The HUGE epiphany for me and turning point in my battle with depression was learning that I needed to speak out loud and tell evil to stop oppressing me in the name of Jesus. To verbally resist evil. God can read your mind but evil cannot. When any physical attacker approaches you, you are taught to use your voice. To yell and scream and tell them to get away from you. If you have to fight for your life, you have to stand firm. Ephesians 6 gives us instructions about spiritual warfare and twice it states to “stand firm.” God showed me in my little messy closet, that the way I needed to stand firm, was to tell evil out loud to get away from me by the powerful name of Jesus. And it worked!
Step 1 to fight spiritual warfare is to resist him by using your words. Assert your authority as a child of God and co-heir with Christ and tell evil to get away in the name of Jesus. In the gospels, Jesus repeatedly told the evil spirits to flee out loud and they did. The words of Jesus had power over evil and they had to obey HIM. We see that the evil spirits also submitted to the disciples. After Jesus sent out the disciples two by two to minister to the people, they came back to him and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name” (Luke 10:17).
Ok, so I now knew how to resist evil. I was standing firm. I could breathe again. But how was I supposed to use my sword? Like I stated in the last post, our sword is the Word of God, but what exactly did that mean? I had been reading God’s word, memorizing it, and studying it all my life and yet somehow, I knew I wasn’t using it to its fullest capacity.
In the gospels there is a story about how Jesus fought spiritual warfare with Satan in the dessert. You may have heard of it as Jesus’ temptation in the dessert. In that passage, I found confirmation that step 1, is something Jesus did too. In Matthew 4:10 I read, “Jesus said to him ‘Away from me Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” That was it! Resist - tell Satan to get away. Next, quote scripture out loud like Jesus did. Jesus showed us how to fully use our sword when it came to overcoming Satan in this verse.
Satan tempted Jesus three times. Each time in response Jesus quoted old testament scriptures out loud. He didn’t think it to himself, he didn’t say a silent prayer. He may have done those things, but what was recorded for us to know in scripture is that he spoke scripture out loud! Jesus quoted the old testament written words, out loud, when faced with a spiritual battle. If that was how Jesus fought spiritual warfare, then that’s how it’s meant to be fought.
There are two Greek terms used for “word” in the New Testament. The first, Logos, is defined as: word, the writings of scripture, the divine reason, and it is also used to describe Jesus himself. In Matthew chapter 4, we see Jesus, (the Logos) speak the Old Testament scriptures (Logos), out loud to fight Satan's attacks.
Rhema is the second Greek term translated as “word” in the New Testament. It is defined as: a word that is stated or said. Rhema is the spoken word. The word used in Ephesians 6:16 that describes the sword of the Spirit, the "word" of God, is rhema. It means that, the spoken word, the out loud statement of scriptures is what our sword is truly is. We need to literally state scripture out loud in order to wield our sword.
This might sound silly to you. But when was the last time you spoke scripture out loud? It’s been a while, right? I read the Bible silently to myself often. When I studied scripture, I read silently. When I tried to memorize it, I did it silently. When I prayed scripture, I prayed silently. All good things. But I had never been taught that the power of the Spirit to fight spiritual battle happens when we actually state scripture OUT LOUD.
I learned the power in saying scripture OUT LOUD after I put it into practice. I put all the verses about spiritual warfare on 3x5 cards all over my house. Whenever I was struggling with my depression and the lies that haunted me became heavy again, I would speak God’s written word out loud and fight back. I found that the way to truly wield my sword against evil was that I had to do these three things in a row, sometimes over and over, every day.
1. Tell evil out loud to flee away from me in the NAME OF JESUS
2. quote scripture out loud, and then
3. get on my knees physically to pray out loud to Jesus
Sometimes I had to do this process of telling evil to stop oppressing me in Jesus’ name, quoting scripture out loud, and then getting on my knees to pray to my powerful God 10x a day. Some days less, some days more. At first it felt awkward and strange. But after doing this over and over for 1 week, I saw my psychiatrist and she changed my antidepressant medication doses for the umpteenth time. It was finally the right concoction of medications that treated my depression without awful side effects! God brought my medications and the chemicals in my body into alignment after I learned to fight off the spiritual oppression that had haunted me for so many years.
I had suffered for years and never found complete relief from the darkness… but when I did this, I instantly felt the darkness melt away. I physically felt the weight on my chest lift. And for the first time I saw the power of God lift the darkness of my depression instantly. I started sleeping better, I started wanting to do things I loved. I started to smile and laugh. I became myself again.