Break free from the hidden powers of witchcraft with the help of the Bible. We all have some sense of what witchcraft is. Some equate witchcraft with Halloween, Jack-o’-lanterns, caped women atop broomsticks, Wicca, or even Dorothy’s Wizard of Oz archenemy.
The best-selling books and movies chronicling the adventures of Harry Potter continue to sanction witchcraft in our society through casting spells and mixing potions while presenting a great saga between good and evil witches. And, of course, who could forget the ever-popular video game Dungeons & Dragons, the fantasy role-playing game where players engage dark forces with their magical powers.
Even though witchcraft is often portrayed as harmless, God's Word (Deuteronomy 18:9–14; Leviticus 19:31, 20:6; Isaiah 8:19) says that it is a very bad thing to do.
Regardless of what some think, witchcraft opens the door to demonic forces. Package them in the latest fashion or present them on Hollywood’s silver screen, but there are no such things as good demonic powers. Jesus said, "The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). It would be best for all to take heed to His Word.
Witchcraft is a real demonic power that can be released through things like words, spells, amulets, charms, occult powers, chants, magic, drugs, potions, or prophecies that tell people what to do.It’s far more than gathering in a forest to worship Mother Earth and hugging pine trees. Witchcraft is a power that affects people, gives demons a place to work, fights against people's minds, challenges the Church of Jesus Christ, slows down the growth of the church, hurts families, marriages, and relationships, and keeps the Gospel of Jesus Christ from spreading.
Witchcraft, however, is more common than one would think. I want to break away from the traditional look at witchcraft and explore some other manifestations of this evil force. I know a true born again believer would never cast a spell or drink a potion, but could there be other forms of witchcraft mentioned in the Bible? Let us examine witchcraft operations from a different angle, through the old fallen nature—the flesh.
BEWITCHED, SPIRIT, AND FLESH
Witchcraft can be released through the rebellious and the stubborn, both actions described in the Word of God as workings of the flesh. Scripture says,
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?This is all I would learn about you after receiving the Spirit, whether through works of the law or hearing of faith.Are you so foolish? "Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:1-3).
Notice the words "bewitched," "spirit," and "flesh." The word "bewitched," from the Greek "baskaino," means to be charmed, seduced, or placed under a spell. In the Old English language, the word "bewitched" comes from the word "biwiccian," meaning the working or result of Wicca sorcery. The writer of Galatians ties witchcraft to the manifesting or workings of the flesh. The meaning of "flesh" in this scripture is the Greek word "sarx," meaning the carnal mind, or better described as the earthly nature of man apart from the Spirit of God. A person, therefore, who is "governed" by the actions of the flesh (sarx), can release witchcraft upon himself or others. No, he or she doesn’t become a Wiccan recruit, but, nevertheless, like the Galatians, he or she enters a foolish and illusory area of life.
THAT OLD SARX
Have you ever been around a person whose negative body language, tone of voice, stubbornness, or contentious attitude made you feel like you were walking on eggshells around them? Or did his or her actions make you feel like he or she would lash out at you at any moment? Did you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach? Could that feeling be the result of a subtle form of witchcraft emanating from the flesh (sarx)? Even though nothing much was said, did you still feel some sort of force emanating from the person? Did you understand the nonverbal message? That subtle force from the flesh (sarx) is a form of witchcraft. The writer who corrected the foolish Galatians, the Apostle Paul, didn’t stop there to make this plain to us. He said,
"Now the works of the flesh (sarx) are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (unbridled lust), idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance (contention), emulations (jealous rivalry), wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings (evil carousing), and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21).
In this passage, Paul explicitly links the works of the flesh to witchcraft, concluding that those who do (intentionally practice) such things will not inherit God's kingdom.
The works of the flesh—temper tantrums, bad attitudes, negative body language, stubbornness, and negative words and confessions are all workings of witchcraft. I told you this would be a different viewpoint on witchcraft. Now you can see why there is so much written in the Word of God about the tongue (Proverbs 18:21; James 3:6).
When religious activity is not spiritually motivated but carnally motivated, it releases a form of witchcraft, too. Motivation is everything because its source is the human heart.
Religion also releases witchcraft when it intentionally avoids the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power (dunamis) thereof: from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:5).This is a powerful instruction to Timothy from the Apostle Paul. The word "form," from the Greek "morphosis," means to have merely a shape or to look like the real thing. This religious counterfeit can be identified because it looks like the church but is carnally motivated and disregards the necessity of the dunamis power of God. That dunamis power is the Holy Spirit's own ministry. Paul’s final instruction is to turn away from such things.
There are many religious people in the world who say they are born again yet attack the ministry of the Holy Spirit. They question the baptism of the Holy Spirit, miracles and healing today, speaking in other tongues, deliverance, fervent prayer, the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, and a lot more. Rather than having the Holy Spirit administer lives, ministries, and churches, they hold fast to man-made programs, vain traditions, and secular social activities.
When religion is led by the flesh (sarx) instead of the Spirit of God, it lets witchcraft out into the world. People who said they were religious and "born again" were always making trouble for the Apostle Paul.They couldn’t accept his teaching that it was possible to be born again without circumcision (Acts 15).
Religion is made up of a lack of spiritual sensitivity, a focus on rules and arguments, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and a kind of godliness that doesn't believe in the work of the Holy Spirit.Just get around a person who has that nasty, contentious religious spirit, and you will experience the workings of witchcraft in religion. If you want to know more about discerning religious spirits, check out my book, Spirit of Religion: The Unseen Thief.
Witchcraft, emanating from our flesh, is an enemy far greater than any that Dorothy faced as she traveled the yellow brick road in search of the Wizard of Oz. The good news is that we can, through our love for Jesus Christ, crucify that old carnal nature. The Bible tells us to get rid of our old, sinful ways of living and put on the new man, who is made in the image of God in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:22–24). So the next time you experience the powers of witchcraft, it may not be coming from some occult mystic, but from the Wizard of Sarx—the flesh.
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark
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