The opening sentence of the 4th chapter of 1 Timothy contains a chilling warning:
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
Doctrines of demons? The NIV renders this phrase, things taught by demons.
Did you realize that demons like to teach theology? They would love to enroll you in their seminary and put you through their courses, one by one.
What do demons teach? Whatever is in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the substance of the gospel is faith in Christ, the core doctrine that demons typically emphasize is doubt and unbelief.
If I could layout the standard demonic theological curriculum, it would look something like this:
- Disillusionment 101: In this course you will learn that your attempts to live the Christian life have been a great disappointment. You’ve tried it before, and it just doesn’t work . . . for you, at least. You need something else . . . something more.
- Intro to Relativism: In this course you will discover that there is actually more than one path to truth. Jesus Christ may be a way, but he is not the way.
- Applied Lawlessness: In this course you will discover that the only way for you to access the things that are beyond what Jesus can bring you is to break beyond the boundaries of what Jesus commanded.
- Advanced Bondage: Here you begin to experience the full gamut of what life outside of Christ has to offer. The results can be terrifying, to say the least!
Any time we entertain unbelief, we are sitting in the classroom of demons. And when we are sitting in the classroom of demons, it is very difficult to hear the voice of the Lord.
This is why renunciation is one of the most powerful forms of consecration. If I want to ensure that my mind and heart belong continually and completely to the Lord, I must learn how to immediately renounce whatever doctrines that the enemy tries to teach me.
When disillusionment tries to creep in, I must recognize that it is more than just a psychological or emotional state; it is a lie from the devil designed to separate my heart and mind from God’s.
When doubts about the lordship of Jesus begin to creep in, I must recognize that my intellect is not their origin. I do not doubt because I am smart; I doubt only because I have been deceived.
We must learn how to sanctify the Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15) and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts (Romans 13:14).
This fast is a consecration . . . our objective is to ensure that our hearts and minds belong to God and God alone. Yes, we will wage the good warfare. We will pursue the objectives that we set out to pursue. But we must seek consecration first so that when we set our hearts upon intercession we may proceed with greater power and authority than we have ever known.