Have you ever been so frustrated with your kids that you raised your voice in frustration? Have you ever yelled and screamed because you were just plain worn out after a hard day of work and fed up with the kids not submitting to your God-given authority?
Parenting experts say screaming at your kids is one of the worst parenting mistakes you can make for several reasons. First, when you resort to yelling, you’ve just demonstrated your lack of self-control—and you lose your power by losing control. Second, the kids usually tune you out when you yell. Third, children often grow more hostile toward you as you holler threats at them that you may or may not be willing or able to carry out.
Ultimately, when you scream at your kids, they lose a measure of respect for you because you’re not confident enough in your authority to handle an attack on that authority without fleshing out.
Now let’s translate that into spiritual warfare. Some spiritual warriors seem to equate volume with power. They scream at the devil as if he’s deaf, but the devil’s not deaf, and screaming doesn’t convince him to bow. When results elude them, some spiritual warriors grow louder and begin to moan and groan and make threats against the enemy they don’t have the authority to enforce.
Jesus Didn’t Scream at the Devil
I am not against fervent spiritual warfare prayer—or even getting loud. What I’m after here is the yelling that comes from frustration or just out of a wrong mindset that louder is more powerful. One of my mentors once said spiritual warfare skills aren’t taught, they are caught. There is some truth to that. I believe some spiritual warriors scream and holler and make threats against the devil because that’s what they have seen modeled. But that’s not what the Bible models. That’s now how Jesus did it.
I’ve searched diligently, but I can’t find any passage that shows Jesus losing His voice because He screamed and hollered at the devil for so long. When Satan confronted Jesus in the wilderness with all manner of temptation, Jesus simply wielded the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17). The Bible indicates that “Jesus said, ‘It is written …’” (Matt. 4:4-10, emphasis added)—not that Jesus yelled, Jesus hollered, Jesus screamed or Jesus shouted in frustration. Jesus said God’s Word and let the Word cut through Satan’s lies.
Likewise, when Jesus cast out devils, He didn’t scream at them. It was the demons, rather, who were screaming. When Jesus cast out the demons from the two men in the Gadarenes, He simply said, “Go!” (Matt. 8:32). When Jesus cast out a demon in the synagogue, He calmly said, “Be quiet, and come out of Him!” (Luke 4:35). And when Jesus cast the demon out of the epileptic boy, He just rebuked the demon and it took off (Matt. 17:18).
We Don’t Need to Scream at the Devil
So, Jesus didn’t have to scream at the devil—and neither do we. A few weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled “You’re Resisting the Devil, So Why Won’t He Flee?” It’s easy enough to get frustrated with the enemy when it seems like you’ve done everything you know to do and he just keeps attacking. It’s tempting to scream at the devil and make idle threats, just like some parents do with their disobedient kids. But, my friends, I’ve tried it, and I can tell you the devil doesn’t respond to it any better than your kids do. He probably just laughs at us as we strain our vocal chords.
We don’t need to scream at the devil—and more volume doesn’t equal more power. We just need to stand in our authority in Christ. That means, first, understanding our authority in Christ. Remember when the 70 returned with joy and told Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (Luke 10:17)? Obviously, they just experienced victory in spiritual warfare. But I assure you we have the victory in spiritual warfare whether we see it with our physical eyes or not.
So when we exercise our Christ-given authority, we should immediately rejoice whether we see the devil flee or not. In other words, when we engage in spiritual warfare, we should act as if we believe we have the victory rather than screaming louder because nothing appears to have changed. When we continue screaming, hollering and yelling at the devil, it merely demonstrates our lack of faith in our authority. We’re putting our faith in our ability to shout loud enough to intimidate the devil. The devil is not intimated by us, but he will bow to the name of Jesus.
So as you engage in spiritual warfare, don’t resort to yelling. Don’t get frustrated and abandon the fruit of self-control. Don’t start acting like the devil! Remember what Jesus said and rejoice: “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19). Amen.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.