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  • David A. Case

An Open Spirit


I just got through praying for someone. God had moved. Incredible things had happened. So everything is good now? Right?

Way too often, the answer is, “No!”

One of the ways we protect ourselves as human beings is shut down. We close down a part of our spiritual function in order to protect ourselves from pain. Normal human function means that there is an overflow from spirit to emotions and from spirit to thoughts.

When we are having an intense spiritual experience, it “lights up” our emotions and our thoughts … either in a good way or a bad way.

For a prayer experience to work, a person has to open his spirit. He can’t have an encounter with God that results in a significant response without opening up. The problem is that an open spirit is an open spirit. Even as he is walking away from a prayer experience, the assault begins. The devil will attack the very areas in the very ways that caused the person to shut down his spirit in the first place.

If the person went into shut down because he couldn’t handle the pain of being condemned, condemning spirits will go to work right away. Or perhaps it is rejection or abandonment, or any of many others!

Often, the devil has ready accomplices to work with. Someone in the person’s circle will gladly be used to say something sarcastic toward the person like “well I hope this prayer time actually works.” Even without a helper, the devil is able to begin to stir up thoughts and start the internal questions of, “I wonder if this will work?” Confusion. Doubt. Not of God.

The devil has a greater access because the person’s spirit is open. That is why the person chose a level of shut down in the first place. When we close ourselves off, we eliminate some of the pain and confusion. But if we close ourselves off, we also limit our ability to connect with God and with others. With shut down, life becomes dull and gray. The sense of purpose fades and the hopelessness or lack of meaning becomes an issue.

God’s will is that we live with an open spirit, but that each person should know how to “possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor” (1 Thess. 4:4). This passage is directly speaking about maintaining integrity in the sexual area. Sexual function works best when there is not just physical connection, but when there is truly spiritual connection that is feeding the sexual. Many settle for a physical high and then wonder why the spark quickly fades.

Proverbs 16:32 says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his own spirit than he who takes a city” (NKJV). When a person has an open spirit, there will be invaders. First and foremost, the devil will attack. Condemnation is not of God. How many of you have condemning “thoughts” on a regular basis? Do you think that all comes from self? Self hatred is not of God, nor is lust, or bitterness, or any of many other things. These are invaders.

Sure. All of these things can come from our own hearts. But the devil is an energizer. He jumps on any tendency we have that is negative and multiplies it. Eventually, the pain hits a threshold where we no longer want to live life that way and we choose shut down. Especially if the devil has partners—people in our circle who help the piling on process, life can become very painful, very quickly. It can be very hard to function with an open spirit.

In the end, a breakthrough in prayer can set a person back if he responds negatively to the attack that will come after the blessing. A person has to learn how to rule his own spirit. That means he has to recognize things like condemnation as not being from God … as being a demonic attack. The way we defeat the devil is to accurately identify when it is the devil speaking to us or energizing an attack.

Once we have identified the demonic activity, we call it out. We speak directly to the demonic. We tell it that we recognize his work, and that he is a liar. His condemnation is not true. We are children of God, protected by God, with a future in Christ. We tell him that the death of Jesus has paid for our sins and that we legally have authority over him and that he has to leave … NOW!

To maintain an open spirit, we will have to learn how to rule. That means we have to be able to take authority over demonic activity in the name of Jesus. We do that with words, speaking directly to the demon that is attacking us. We do that with actions. It is impossible to win the fight with the demonic realm if we are walking in ways that give him authority. We must “possess” our vessel in holiness or we hand the devil the authority to attack us.

Without an open spirit, there is no deep connection. Life is not full. Not meaningful. With an open spirit, there will be warfare. Do you know how to win that warfare? Can you stay open and connected? Those who do are powerful influencers for Christ. Are you fully alive in a way that touches those in your circle for God?

“He who rules his own spirit is greater than he who takes a city” (Prov. 16:32b).

To maintain an open spirit, we will have to learn how to rule. That means we have to be able to take authority over demonic activity in the name of Jesus. We do that with words, speaking directly to the demon that is attacking us. We do that with actions. It is impossible to win the fight with the demonic realm if we are walking in ways that give him authority. We must “possess” our vessel in holiness or we hand the devil the authority to attack us.

Without an open spirit, there is no deep connection. Life is not full. Not meaningful. With an open spirit, there will be warfare. Do you know how to win that warfare? Can you stay open and connected? Those who do are powerful influencers for Christ. Are you fully alive in a way that touches those in your circle for God?

“He who rules his own spirit is greater than he who takes a city” (Prov. 16:32b).


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