The Stronghold of Christ's Likeness, Part 1

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips. It is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts.

There is a time when the Lord will call us to confront the strongholds over our churches and our communities. There is another time, however, when to engage in much spiritual warfare is actually a distraction from your obedience to God. Jesus defeated Satan in Gethsemane and at the cross, not by directly confronting the devil but by fulfilling the destiny to which He had been called at Calvary. The greatest battle that was ever won was accomplished by the apparent death of the victor, without even a word of rebuke to His adversary. The prince of this world was judged and principalities and powers were disarmed not by confrontational warfare but by the surrender of Jesus Christ on the cross.

There are occasions when your battle against the devil is actually a digression from the higher purpose God has for you. Intercessors and warfare leaders take note: there is a demon whose purpose is to lure one’s mind into hell. If we were to name this spirit, we would call it "Wrong Focus." You may be fighting this very spirit if you are continually seeing evil spirits in people or in the material world around you. The ultimate goal of this demon is to produce mental illness in saints who move in deliverance. Listen very carefully: we are not called to focus on the battle or the devil, except when that battle hinders our immediate transformation into Christ’s likeness. Our calling is to focus on Jesus. The work of the devil, however, is to draw our eyes from Jesus. Satan’s first weapon always involves luring our eyes from Christ. Turn towards Jesus and almost immediately the battle vanishes.

I knew a man once who owned a record company. Besides running the operation, he also spent many hours in production listening to the "mother disk," which was the record from which all subsequent records were pressed. Over the years, his ears became adept at catching the "pops and sizzles," the imperfections that had to be eliminated in the master disk. I remarked one day that I thought working with music must be enjoyable. His response was enlightening. He said, "You know, I haven’t listened to music in years. When I turn on my sophisticated home stereo, no matter what recording I’m listening to, all I hear are the pops and sizzles."

In the same way his thoughts were bent toward musical imperfections, so Wrong Focus will seek to turn your thoughts continually toward the enemy. Suddenly all you will see are demons. The true gift called "discerning of spirits" is a balanced gift which enables you to recognize at least as many angelic spirits as you do evil spirits. The proper manifestation of this gift has a much more positive focus and influence than what commonly masquerades as discernment.

An example of the proper balance in discernment is seen in 2 Kings. The Syrian army had surrounded Dothan, a city in Israel, much to the consternation of the prophet Elisha’s servant. To calm his fright, Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes would be opened. He then encouraged his servant, saying, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (2 Kings 6:16). As the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, he saw what Elisha saw: "The mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (v. 17).

In spiritual warfare, the battle is never limited to an "us against them" human affair. It always includes "those . . . with us" against "those . . . with them." True discernment is as fully aware of the vast multitude of angels loyal to God as it is aware of the activity of the demonic realm -- and it is aware that the angelic hosts on our side are both stronger and more numerous than the enemy. Remember, if you fail to "hear the music" in your times of warfare, your discernment is incomplete.

We must learn that, on a personal level, it is better to develop godly virtues than to spend our day praying against the devil. Indeed, it is the joy of the Lord that casts out spirits of depression. It is our living faith that destroys spirits of unbelief; it is aggressive love that casts out fear. You see, the way into the fortress of the Almighty is simple. Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips. It is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Three Battlegrounds available at www.arrowbookstore.com.