You Must Use The Command Of Faith
By Wesley L. Duewel
Mountains are used in Scripture to symbolize strength and stability. They are also used to represent massive difficulties and seeming impossibilities. While God promises to move or overcome some mountains for His children, there are others that God commands you to move. He will not move them until you give the command. Thus, there are two types of "mountains" in Scripture.
Some mountains of difficulty are meant by God to bless you. "I will turn all My mountains into roads" (Isa. 49:11). These are God’s mountains. He permits them. He directs you along a path that leads to them. They are intended for your spiritual good. They may slow down your progress, but they will build your spiritual muscle, strengthen your faith, and develop your skill in prayer as you learn to prevail until God’s answer comes. Some are so massive, so difficult, that they may only be moved when several believers unite with you in a prayer of agreement.
These are God’s mountains, even though they do not seem that way to you. He has permitted them temporarily to block your way. He will teach you deep spiritual secrets as you face them, persevering in prayer. At times you may grow weary as you pray, but at the proper time – God’s perfect time – you will reap if you faint not (Gal. 6:9).
One of my beloved Bible teachers had an oft-repeated saying: "God’s clocks keep perfect time." God is never early, never late. His schedule is always best. After God’s mountain becomes His highway you may discover why God delayed in answering your prayer. In some cases you must wait till you reach heaven before your questions are answered. Trust God; He knows what He is doing. But you may be sure of this: when God permits a mountain to block you from reaching His destination, He is preparing a miracle. God turns all His mountains into roads.
Satan often erects roadblocks which become mountains barring your way. This is a very different kind of mountain from the one described previously. The longer you pray about these mountains, the more convinced you become that the delay is not of God. The more you pray, the more certain you become that you are involved in a spiritual conflict with the demon powers of darkness. It is Satan and his forces that block your way in an attempt to hinder the work of God and dishonor the name of Jesus.
You can almost hear Satan taunting you, mocking you; you can almost see him opposing you. But can Satan stop a child of God? Yes, he may be able to delay you for a time. Repeatedly he prevented Paul from reaching Thessalonica (1 Thess. 2:18), but eventually Paul returned to minister there (Acts 20:1-2).
God may permit Satan to delay you in order to work out some higher purpose, but God does not want Satan to stop you altogether. God wants you to move the mountain. He does not want you to abandon the place He gave you or the advance steps He pointed out to you. These are demonic mountains, not God’s mountains. They are to be moved.
But how are you to move them? You would naturally expect Jesus to tell you that, when you face such mountains, you should pray until God removes them. There are some problems which may only be resolved through prayer (Mark 9:29). But Jesus has given us another tool which, when combined with prayer, will remove obstacles. He says: "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you" (Matt. 17:20).
This truth was so strategic for His kingdom’s advance that Jesus repeated in even stronger words: "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer" (Matt. 21:21-22).
In the first instance (Matt. 17:20), a father had brought a demon-possessed boy to the disciples while Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration. Because they were spiritually unprepared, the disciples were unable to cast out the demon, and their failure brought disgrace to the name of Jesus. In the second instance (Matt. 21:21), Jesus cursed the barren fig tree and it immediately withered up. The fig tree was a sham. Jesus was teaching that Satan’s works – no matter how large or how small – need to be withered up.
The Command of Faith Is Biblical
The exercise of Christ’s authority is sometimes referred to as "the command of faith." This truth is taught by symbol and example in the Word of God. God wants His children to use the authority He has given us. The staff of Moses was a symbol of his authority as the representative of God to Pharaoh. During Moses’ conflict with the demonic powers behind the magicians and gods of Egypt, Moses sometimes prayed to God. At other times he was told merely to use his staff.
God told Moses to stretch out his staff and strike the water of the Nile, and the water turned to blood; to stretch out his staff, and the frogs came on Egypt; to stretch out his hand and strike the dust with his staff, and the dust turned to gnats; to stretch out his hand toward the sky, and the huge hailstones fell; to stretch out his hand, and the locusts came and devastated the land; to stretch out his hand, and for three days and nights, there was no light from sun, moon, or stars (Ex. 7-10). When Israel came to the Red Sea, Moses began to pray. "Why are you crying out to Me?" (14:15), God asked him. He told Moses to stretch out his staff over the sea, and the waters parted and the people crossed over on dry land. Sometimes continued prayer indicates a lack of faith. God wants us to give the command of faith and go forward.
Elijah was a mighty man of prayer, but there were times when he was led to use the command of faith. He told the widow at Zarephath to prepare a meal for him first, and she would have a miracle supply of food that would last till the famine was over (1 Kgs. 17:8-16). He told Ahaziah’s rude captain, "If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven" (2 Kgs. 1:10). The fire appeared and consumed the captain and fifty men. When Elijah and Elisha reached the Jordan River, Elijah did not pray. Instead, he smote the water and the Jordan rolled back like the Red Sea had done for Moses. When Elisha returned after Elijah’s ascension, he also smote the waters of the Jordan, and they parted for Elisha too (2:14).
Jesus repeatedly demonstrated and used the command of faith. In Cana of Galilee, the scene of His first miracle, He simply commanded the servants to fill the water pots with water. He commanded the lepers, "Be clean." He touched blind eyes and said, "Be opened." He commanded deaf ears, "Be opened." To the paralytic, He said, "Get up." He touched feverish bodies, leprous bodies, even dead bodies, and the miracle happened. At the grave He commanded, "Lazarus, come forth." He rebuked evil spirits, and they came out. He rebuked the wind and said to the stormy waves, "Quiet, be still!"
The apostles also practiced the command of faith. At the gate of the temple, Peter commanded the leper, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." To the paralyzed Aeneas, Peter said, "Get up"; to the sorcerer Elymas, Paul said, "You are going to be blind!" And he was. At Lystra Paul called to the man lame from birth, "Stand up on your feet." To the demon enslaving the girl at Philippi, Paul ordered, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her." The spirit instantly left her (Acts 16:18).
When Should You Use the Command of Faith?
The command of faith is not an optional spiritual power that you may use at will to make life easier for yourself, to remove all your trials, or to vent your spite on the Devil. It is a very deliberate exercise of Christ’s own authority and name in a situation where His glory is at stake, where His kingdom is being hindered, or where Christ calls you to demonstrate His power to prove He is the living God. As an official representative of Jesus Christ, you may always use it, though implementing your command may require the help of His holy angels.
But may it not be used in cases of self-protection? Yes, there are legitimate emergencies when God’s children have rebuked a person intent on robbery, rape, or physical attack. Because you are the child of God you are under His protection. Similarly, you may be led of God to command the elements in Jesus’ name as did John Wesley when an approaching storm threatened to disrupt his preaching to an open-air crowd. Notice, however, that Wesley did not appropriate this power for his own comfort or convenience, but for the purpose of promoting the Gospel.
The command of faith is not an alternative to prayer. It is an additional step of obedience which normally grows out of prevailing prayer or prayer warfare. In an emergency you may not have time for protracted prayer, but must call instantly on Jesus’ name. Normally, however, the command of faith is an element of offensive prayer warfare as you invade Satan’s territory, attack Satan’s roadblocks, or confront satanic resistance. The following are examples of occasions when God may lead you to use the command of faith:
* To command Satan to be gone from an area
* To command Satan to stop agitating opposition to the Gospel
* To command Satan to lift his demonic darkness with which he is blinding a person, family or village
* To command Satan to stop binding the will of a person who is hesitating to follow Christ
* To command Satan to lift depression and leave a person in peace
* To command Satan to keep his hands off a person or family
* To command Satan to stop confusing a new believer
* To command Satan to quit oppressing a child of God
* To command Satan to stop afflicting a person with illness
* To command Satan to get behind you when he approaches you with vile temptations
* To command Satan to stop inciting division among God’s people
* To command Satan to cease working his counterfeit signs, wonders and miracles
* To command Satan to stop frightening believers with his lion-like roar
* To command Satan to restrain his demons
* To command demons to leave a person
* To command illness to depart
* To command the elements to cease for a period of time
* To command a criminal to stop or go
You Can Give the Command of Faith
You need not be a supersaint to give the command of faith. Even new Christians may be empowered to perform miracles in the name of Jesus.
I have known of new believers in India who had never seen a demonstration of Jesus’ power suddenly capable of casting out demons. In a cottage prayer meeting held by one of our new church groups, when no pastor or missionary was able to be present, a Hindu neighbor heard them singing and came to the door.
"We have visitors from out in the district," he said, "and they have a demon-possessed woman with them. Can you do anything to help us?"
"Bring her in," the Christians replied instantly. "Our Jesus casts out demons."
The demon-possessed woman was brought in, the new believers cast out the demon in Jesus’ name, and the Hindu group left.
A month later a messenger arrived from the Hindu village about sixty miles away, requesting that the Christians send someone to teach them. "We have never heard of a God with power like this," they said. Our evangelists responded, and many were won to Christ because of the evidence they had seen with their own eyes. On one day more than eighty new believers were baptized. I had the personal joy of dedicating the mud-walled church building that they erected for worship.
F. J. Huegel in his splendid book, The Enthroned Christian, tells of a Christian boy, the son of a national pastor, who in the absence of his father cast out a demon from a person who was brought for help. He explained he had seen his father do it, so he knew how. The demons had to obey the command of even a Christian child when he commanded in the name and authority of Jesus.
Don’t let the Devil convince you that you have no power or right to use the God-ordained command of faith. Huegel goes so far as to suggest that Christ’s teaching on the command of faith is so clear that it should hold the same place in the life of the ordinary believer as prayer!
Prerequisites for Using the Command of Faith
There are essential prerequisites before anyone can safely and successfully execute the command of faith. The unregenerate, nonbelieving sons of Sceva tried to use it and were physically attacked and wounded by a demon-possessed person (Acts 19). The prerequisites are very simple:
You must be a true child of God. Any born-again believer has the authority to use Christ’s name in prayer, praise, and command. Christ gives this authority to His own children only.
You must have in your life nothing grieving the Spirit of God. This authority is executed under the supervision of the Holy Spirit. Your lips speak the words, but the Holy Spirit and God’s angels actually enforce them over Satan, his demons, and whatever else must yield to God. If angelic help is needed, God will take care of that. But if you hide unforgiveness or some other sin in your heart (Psa. 66:18; Matt. 6:15), do not expect the Spirit’s help.
Your command must be in harmony with the will of God. You must not attempt to use this power for selfish ends. As a member of Christ’ kingdom, you may reap the benefits, but your goal must be to glorify God and advance His kingdom. The only exception is an emergency when your safety is threatened. You and your body belong to God, so you are free to use Christ’s name to protect yourself from imminent danger.
How can you know the will of God? Some life situations such as trial, sickness, or persecution may or may not be the clearly revealed will of God, though God may permit them for His ultimate glory. You may be sure, however, that other things are always in God’s will – the salvation of a sinner, the growth of His Church, the penetration of Satan’s darkness by the Gospel light. In those situations in which we are not sure, it is as we prevail in prayer, perhaps even wrestling with the powers of darkness, that we come to a Spirit-given clear conviction of God’s will. If we then perceive that Satan is hindering, we are authorized to rebuke him through the command of faith.
How to Prepare Your Heart for More Effective Commands
1. Be filled with the Spirit. You can realize your greatest spiritual potential only when you are filled with the Spirit. This experience demands total commitment of the self to God, trusting Him to fulfill His promise. As you continue to live in the Spirit you can be refilled again and again.
Too many Christians live in the flesh and are powerless to live a consistently victorious Christian life. God may help such defeated believers in emergencies, but to live the enthroned life and to be instantly ready to give the command of faith requires daily living in the fullness of the Spirit. If you have reneged on your commitment to Christ, you need to renew your consecration and be filled with the Spirit once again.
2. Face your mountain. Don’t try to pretend it doesn’t exist. Accept the reality of the mountain and focus your attention on the nature of the obstruction. Recognize the hand of Satan behind it. Perhaps the Devil is using good people whom he has deceived. Your enemy is not flesh and blood, but the demonic forces behind the problem. Perhaps you see a pseudo-mountain of Satan, or a pseudo-growth like the fruitless fig tree that Jesus rebuked. The Spirit can wither all false growth that encumbers and disguises the true situation. Don’t fear Satan’s bluff. Face your need and expect God’s answer.
3. Live in the spirit of faith. Don’t be afraid. How many times Christ said, "Fear not!" Doubt gives the Devil a foothold; do not give him that advantage (Eph. 4:27). God’s promises are for you. God knows the situation better than you do. Live in an attitude of expectancy, just waiting to see how God is going to handle the problem. The mountain may have taken you by surprise, but God is never surprised nor unprepared.
Remember, Satan has already been defeated at Calvary. You have not only died with Christ and been resurrected with Him, but also have spiritually ascended with Christ and are now enthroned with Him. "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6).
Don’t look up at your mountain with fear. Look down on it from your place beside Jesus! Look down from the throne upon Satan, your defeated enemy. "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Rom. 16:20). Rejoice in your victory in Christ; live in the triumph of faith. Expect God to take charge of the situation and guide you in moving the mountain.
4. Discern the will of the Lord. You need God’s wisdom and guidance in dealing with the entrenched forces of Satan. Don’t rush into battle until God has given you His plan. Before each battle David looked to God for fresh directions. God rarely works in exactly the same way twice. In 2 Samuel 5:18-20, David in effect asked, "Am I the one to attack? Is this Your assignment to me?" Again he asked, "When and how should I attack?" Each time God directed him (2 Sam. 5:22-25).
Pray until you feel you have discerned God’s will as to how to confront the mountain, when to confront the mountain, and at times with whom to confront the mountain. It may be a situation in which God wants several of you to agree in faith before you issue the command of faith.
As a Spirit-filled believer, you have a right to God’s guidance (Rom. 8:14). The Lord can guide you constantly (Isa. 58:11). He wants you to understand His will (Eph. 5:17). It is more important to Him than to you that you take every step correctly.
5. Take a special step of faith. You are already living in faith, seated with Jesus far above all the forces of Satan. God has given you His directions. Now it is time to take the initiative; it is time to act on your faith. Don’t tremble before your "Red Sea." March across it on the dry land the Lord will provide for you (Ex. 14:15).
Don’t falter before your "Jericho." March around it in faith, expecting God to tell you when to give the shout of faith, and your "Jericho" walls will come tumbling down (Josh. 6:20).
Jesus said, "I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" (Matt. 16:18). Actually, this statement can be interpreted in two ways. It is true that in Christ you are so secure that Satan can never run over you, trample you, seize you, or destroy you. All the demonic forces that he might send out of the gates of hell cannot overcome you.
But it is also true that God wants you to do more than sit in your fort or hold your battle line against Satan. He wants you to attack. This verse can also be interpreted to mean that the gates of Hades will never be able to hold out before you. God does not intend you to be passively trustful; He wants you to be militantly believing! He wants you to storm the very gates of Hades and rout the Devil. He wants you to dislodge the forces of Satan from their long-entrenched positions.
Satan will attempt to intimidate you as long as you will let him. Lay down your barrage of prevailing prayer, and then take the initiative and drive Satan out of his stronghold – whether that be in the life of a person, a family, or in any other kind of situation. Don’t stay on the defensive; take the offensive for Jesus. Advance, praising the Lord!
6. Give the command of faith. Jesus instructs us clearly as to the words we are to use in issuing this command. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go’…it will be done for him" (Mark 11:22-23). Speak to your mountain in Jesus’ name. Take the authority Jesus has given you as His official representative. Speak from your position with Jesus on the throne. You have prayed and have determined God wants the mountain to be moved. You are sure it is His time. God has given you the steps of faith. Go forward and speak boldly to the mountain; command Satan to take his forces and go. ...Just as Jesus said, "Out of My sight, Satan!" (Matt. 16:23; Mark 8:33), so you must tell him to be gone.
Demons fear Jesus’ name. Use it. Praise His name till the demons fall into such confusion that they hinder each other like the enemies before Jehoshaphat’s army (2 Chron. 20:22-23). Use Jesus’ name as your mighty weapon. Dare to penetrate the darkness and dislodge Satan by the name of Jesus and the command of faith.
Be God’s Zerubbabel. "What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground" (Zech. 4:7). Be God’s David. David told the giant Goliath, "I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty…whom you have defied" (1 Sam. 17:45). Others may flee from Goliath; you face him in the name of the Lord. God says of your mountain, "I am against you, O destroying mountain…. I will stretch out My hand against you" (Jer. 51:25). You have God’s promise. Now tell the Devil you come in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who defeated him at Calvary. In that almighty name, command him to leave.
– Quoted from Touch the World through Prayer by Wesley L. Duewel. Copyright © 1986. Used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust Inc., Greenwood, Indiana. Dr. Duewel’s books may be purchased by calling (317) 881-6751 Ext. 361.