Spiritual Warfare - Lesson 20

Multi-modal Approach

In this lesson, Dr. Breshears discusses his approach to assessing individuals' stories for potential demonic influence in various areas. He primarily focuses on four key areas: accusing voices, oppressive presence, occult involvement, and open demonic manifestations. He shares specific cases from his experience, emphasizing the importance of recognizing when a person may be dealing with such influences, particularly when it manifests as anxiety, addictive behaviors, or persisting problems. Dr. Breshears details his method of listening for these influences in people's narratives and highlights the significance of probing into any concerning experiences or thoughts, all in an effort to address and potentially remove these negative influences from the individual's life.

Gerry Breshears
Spiritual Warfare
Lesson 20
Watching Now
Multi-modal Approach

I. Introduction

A. Overview of the Lesson Content

B. Focus on the Eight Areas for Assessment

C. Differentiating between Cases with Direct Demon Involvement and Complicated Problems

II. Assessing for Demonic Influence in Personal Stories

A. Case 1: Woman with Past Occult Involvement

1. Involvement in Occult Activities

2. Receiving Demonic Entities as a Result

3. Seeking Help and Initial Assessment

B. Case 2: Extreme Sports Enthusiast

1. Injuries Resulting from Extreme Sports

2. Suspicions of More Than Psychological Factors

3. Probing into the Source of Extreme Behavior

C. Case 3: Identifying Accusing Voices

1. Common Themes in Accusing Voices

2. Exploring Negative Self-Talk and Belief Structures

3. The Importance of Looking at the Voice in Jesus' Name

D. Case 4: Oppressive Presence

1. Varieties of Oppressive Presence

2. Unusual Experience of Disconnecting Brain and Body

3. Establishing a Spirit-to-Spirit Connection for Assessment

III. Spiritual Authority and Intervention

A. Utilizing Spiritual Authority

1. Addressing Demons Directly

2. Spiritual Authority Based on Identity as a Child of God

B. The Power of Speaking with Spiritual Authority

1. Expecting a Response from Demonic Entities

2. Impact of Direct Eye Contact

IV. Concluding Remarks

A. Summary of Assessment Techniques

B. Emphasizing the Importance of Discernment

C. Preparation for Further Intervention

D. Break and Transition to Next Segment

Class Resources
  • Dr. Gerry Breshears discusses some of the main teachings of the Bible on Spiritual Warfare and then participates in a live question and answer.

  • Discover Dr. Breshears' journey from science to spiritual warfare, debunking scientific explanations for demons. Unveil a seminary student's anxiety battle, uncover curses, theological misconceptions, and inner demonic voices. Prepare for a course on spiritual warfare and staying loyal to God.
  • Gain insights into worldviews within Christianity, including polytheism, American monotheism, and Christian monotheism. Explore the nature of spiritual beings and idols.
  • Gain insight into powerful spiritual beings tied to nations in the Bible. Warning against intermarriage and foreign gods emphasized.
  • You'll gain insight into spiritual warfare through Genesis 11, where human defiance led to the scattering of nations and involvement of angelic beings.
  • You will gain insight into a distinct biblical interpretation that views the universe's creation as an act of shaping Eden within a pre-existing cosmic war, and the role of humans in this ongoing battle by cultivating goodness and order to combat evil and chaos.
  • In this lesson, the story of Adam and Eve is analyzed within the context of spiritual warfare, highlighting the serpent's strategy to question God's goodness and encourage independence, while God responds with a call to confession and hints at a future Messiah's role in redemption.
  • This lesson offers an insightful interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4, presenting the "Sons of God" as angelic beings who sinned by marrying humans, leading to the Nephilim, linking this perspective to New Testament passages and the symbolism of baptism as a victory declaration against evil forces, deepening your understanding of the nuanced interpretation of these biblical passages and their importance in Christianity.
  • The passages reviewed in this lesson reveal a unique portrayal of God's actions, using unconventional methods. Challenge common interpretations, caution against single-verse doctrines. Embrace the mystery of God's ways, avoiding rigid interpretations when context is unclear.
  • This lesson reviews a passage in Colossians, offering insights into spiritual warfare and the dichotomy between the kingdoms of light and darkness, emphasizing believers' rescue from darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God, forgiveness of sins, and the essential elements of faith, all of which are vital for confronting demonic accusations and oppression.
  • Learn the core of Ephesians: spiritual warfare, dedication to God vs. Satan, moral maturity, and becoming Christ's partner. Emphasizes unity, living in light, using God's Word, and the power of prayer in this battle.
  • Learn to resist the temptations of the world and the devil by humbling yourself, casting anxiety on God, being self-controlled, alert, and standing firm in faith as taught in James and 1 Peter, emphasizing the importance of using your strengths for God's kingdom and opposing pressures and distortions from the enemy to avoid being devoured.
  • This lesson highlights the significance of facing spiritual forces in Jesus' name, stressing that authority alone isn't enough. Faith, confidence, and prayer-driven competence are vital for effective spiritual warfare. It inspires you to confront spiritual battles like Jesus did, with authority and unwavering faith.
  • This lesson delves into a biblical narrative highlighting Jesus' authority over evil spirits. It emphasizes the transformative power of His deliverance and the profound change it can bring to those tormented by demonic influence.
  • This lesson provides deep insights into Satan's fall in the Bible, covering Old Testament passages (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28) linked to it, addressing their ambiguity. It also discusses withholding Satan's name due to his evil nature and how Jesus broke his authority in the New Testament, though he remains a threat to believers.
  • This lesson delves into the intricate dynamics between believers, demons, and the world in the biblical context. You'll uncover Satan's mysterious role in Judas's betrayal of Jesus, posing questions about the motivations and divine alignment in this pivotal event.
  • This lesson equips you with the knowledge of how Jesus confronted temptation and spiritual warfare, emphasizing three essential steps: quoting Scripture to the devil, commanding the devil to leave in Jesus' name, and shifting your focus from demonic attack to Jesus' provision.
  • This lesson explores 3 Deliverance Ministry models: 1) Classic - resist Satan's temptations, 2) Power Encounter - deal with sin before casting out demons, 3) Truth Encounter - dispel lies, reclaim identity in Christ. Dr. Breshears prefers the Truth Encounter model while allowing for diverse biblical approaches.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights on dealing with the demonic from a biblical perspective, emphasizing the triumph of Jesus over Satan, the ongoing spiritual battles, the importance of faith in the midst of adversity, and the need to follow biblical patterns while avoiding unnecessary fascination with evil and excessive fearfulness.
  • This lesson explores demons and Satan's impact on believers, emphasizing that even righteous individuals can face their influence. It reveals how deception, curses, and accusations can create strongholds in belief systems, perpetuated by Satan. Demons exploit weaknesses, desires, and ignorance, leading to destructive behaviors. The lesson ends with the assurance that believers are never abandoned by the Holy Spirit.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insight into the Dr. Breshear's approach to identifying potential demonic influence in people's lives, focusing on areas like accusing voices, oppressive presence, and occult involvement. He emphasizes the importance of assessing these influences when individuals face issues like anxiety, addiction, or persistent problems. By probing into their experiences and thoughts, the goal is to recognize and address these negative influences, ultimately seeking to remove them from the person's life.
  • This lesson provides insights into assessing potential demonic influence in individuals' lives, offering strategies to distinguish personal issues from demonic influences and empower individuals to confront and overcome such challenges with the authority of Jesus Christ.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insight into the controversial topic of demonic influence and possession within Christianity. The lesson explores the various meanings of "possessed" and the debate surrounding whether a Christian can be dominated or influenced by a demon. It emphasizes that while ownership by a demon is generally denied, the extent of demonic influence remains debated.
  • You will learn a comprehensive approach to address demons in a pastoral setting, emphasizing individual empowerment, cooperation, and the transformative potential of confronting these malevolent forces to achieve freedom and healing.
  • This lesson delves into spiritual warfare, discussing curses, demonic attacks, and their real-life impact. It highlights curses arising from disobedience, similar to God's curse in the Bible. Instances like a cursed object in Africa demonstrate their harm. The lesson promotes rejecting curses and dedicating spaces to God while emphasizing that curses have power only when received, suggesting turning to Jesus for protection and deliverance.
  • This lesson explores demon nature, influence, and approach. It dispels the myth of immunity in the US, highlighting demons' subtle tactics. Demons' origin is unclear, and prayer and fasting aren't mandatory. Living as children of light and invoking Jesus' name is key. Mind-reading by demons is uncertain, but they exploit confessed sin. Whether they can inhabit believers is unanswered, but they influence through deception. Demons may dwell in specific places and require confronting with Jesus' authority. Believers engage in spiritual warfare to deliver the oppressed, empowered by Jesus.

There is an ongoing battle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Followers of Jesus, who are in the kingdom of light, have been given authority by God to command demons. By studying Jesus' life and other passages in scripture, we can gain insights into how to respond to the influence of demons effectively.


Dr. Gerry Breshears
Spiritual Warfare
Multi-modal Approach
Lesson Transcript


When I'm dealing with people come to me in pastoral situations. I began this course with a story of Bill who came with anxiety issues, and those things are not uncommon. What I do is I assume multimodal kind of things. I assume that there are many different avenues or possible sources of the problem of anxiety, depression, fears, suicidality, whatever it is, addictive behaviors. And I've developed eight different areas that I listen for or ask questions about.

So the first, and you see them here on screen, spiritual, intellectual, belief systems, emotional, physical, and I think as human beings, we're body plus spirit in interacting, duality and each affects the other. So those are personal level things. Then volitional, willful kinds of things. Vocational, what's my calling in life? Social, who do I hang out with? Who are my friends? And familial. So again, you see them. They're spiritual, that's related to God and good and evil spiritual beings, intellectual, our belief structures in my mind. Perceptions, controlling ideas in my life. Emotional, those are feelings or affections, my happies, if I can turn that phrase, or it could be trauma in my life, something like that. Confidence, physical and all the things related there around medications, just hormonal balances, dietary kinds of things. All those things come out in my body. Volitional, what's the strength of my will, what are things I'm committed to. Vocational, and that has to do with what is my divine calling in my life or other callings in my life. My identity comes out in that same area, who I am fundamentally. Social, which is who I'm hanging out with, who my friends are, what church I'm a part of. And then familial, what is my family line, my generational kind of thing.

Those eight areas, to me, are just guidelines for conversations of assessment. And so when Bill comes in and I'm working with him, my first thing is, "Tell me your story." And everybody has a story and, "Well, where do I begin?" And in my kind of sarcastic voice, "Somewhere in the middle, it'll get messy," because people get so worried about telling it well. And I'm not looking for that. In fact, what I want to do is get behind the carefully curated story and what's behind that behind. So my goal there is to ask unending questions trying to get behind what's doing, trying to get the feelings behind the statements and those sorts of things. And I've got lots of ways of doing things.

So in the spiritual area, and that isn't necessarily where I begin. I begin where a person is, but I'm listening for things I want to know. One of the things I will do in something like this is I've got paper and crayons in my office, and so I'll haul out my box of crayons and grab a piece of paper, "Here, draw me a picture of God as you pray to him when you wake up at two o'clock in the morning and your mind is going crazy. I don't want the Sunday school answer. I want your picture of God at that time of 2:00 AM crisis."

And I don't usually have to explain a lot because people know what that means. And I've gotten all kinds of pictures. I got one where it's big circle and there's nothing in it. That's the picture of God, he's just not there. I got one... I don't keep any of these, I've thought about it. But one of them was a chair and a drawing of person sitting in the chair and up in the corner thing was an arm down with a big hammer on it. That was a picture of God waiting for him to mess up so he can just hammer me into nothingness. I've gotten pictures of God sitting on the chair and the person sitting in his lap. I mean, whatever it is, draw me the picture of God you do. Because what I want to do is, because fundamentally what Satan is trying to do is discredit the goodness of God and there's lots of ways to do it.

I asked him, "How did you meet Jesus? Tell me your spiritual story. What's your devotional practices? What part does Bible or prayer play in your life, if at all?" I may ask them, "What kind of songs make you cry? What kind of songs make you laugh?" And so what I'm trying to do is find out what is your belief structures about God? And then I'll also ask them or they'll tell me, "I want to know what kind of non-Christian spiritual experiences you've been involved in." And this is a little harder because people are not quite as aware of what's going on, but I'll ask them. Well, there are all kinds of stuff. I mean, some of the stuff that comes up as this common here in the northwest anyway is get involved in some sort of sweat lodge ritual at a Native American tribal center or something. "Have you done something like that?" "Well, what's wrong with that?" "I'm not saying anything's wrong with it. I just want to know what kind of stuff you've done." Because people can get defensive about these kinds of things. If they're into martial arts or yoga, I want to know what that is for them. Those can have tremendous spiritual impact from an Eastern worldview that can be very, very contra-Christian. So I'm just asking for all kinds of stuff.

And in that, I'm listening through this whole thing, but there's three kinds of things I'm really listening for. I'm listening for accusing voices. I'm listening for oppressive presence, and I'm listening for some sort of cultic involvement. I'm thinking particularly looking here for demonic kinds of stuff because one of the things I want to do at this spot is assess if there's demonic stuff in the midst of all the other stuff that's going on because that's the piece that is many times hardest to get at. So what I'm listening for, accusing voices, oppressive presence and occultic involvement. I'm listening for that. And I may probe a bit in those areas and I'll unpack this a little bit further.

I'm listening on intellectual kinds of things. I'm listening for basic belief structures. What are controlling beliefs in your life? One of the controlling beliefs in my life that's been a lifelong kind of thing is thou shalt not wake a sleeping woman. That is a controlling belief in my life. It's preverbal and I'm pretty sure I know where it came from. Living on a farm there in Missouri, I probably a very enthusiastic two-year came dancing into the bedroom when my mom was trying desperately to sleep and wake my mom up. And she impressed upon me in strongest ways, thou shalt not wake a sleeping woman. And now as an old man, it's still very, very difficult for me to wake Sherry up or do something to wake her up because that's a controlling belief of my life. She's actually fairly happy about that particular controlling belief unless I'm supposed to wake her up and then I will, but I just don't like it. But those kinds of things. What are the imaginations, the perceptions? What are the controlling belief structures about the way the world works? What makes you happy or sad? Those kinds of things. And that can be all kinds of things that come in.

This is a space where I think some of the curses can come in, parental type curses or friend type curses. One of the stories I dealt with was a man I [inaudible 00:08:25] teach. I was guest preaching a friend's church and he asked me to do a thing on marriage. And I did that and talked through some various stuff in marriage. And one of the guys in the church called me and said, "Hey, Gary. I'm really having trouble with my marriage. Things are not going well with me and my wife. Is there any possibility I could come and talk to you?" I said, "Sure." So he set up an appointment. He came up to my office at the seminary and I listen to his story like I'm talking about here. And just the same kind of thing, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical, this kind of stuff, and just asking a lot of questions around things.

And as he was talking... He had gone to Bible college and he was on the team that went out to different churches, the choir kind of thing. And they would do choir concerts in churches. Not as common now as it used to be. And this group would take turns giving their testimony in the different churches as part of their presentation. And this went all summer long and he really enjoyed it because he enjoyed being with the team and enjoyed singing and such. But in the singing, as he was telling me this story, about the third time he had done it, he was feeling pretty confident in his ability to tell an effective testimony story. So he did. It was his turn, he stepped forward and spoke it. And at the end of the church, the pastor came to him and just reamed him.

I can't imagine that anybody would go to Bible college and come out with such a terrible understanding of scripture and just reamed him up one side and the other and said, "I would never ever trust you with the valuable things of God." Now that's a curse, that's a bad word. And what happened is this guy received that to be true because it'd come from a pastor of a big church and they were there and the way he had said it really tapped into his own insecurities, I suppose. And so he comes into a teaching in his church where he's the spiritual authority in the home and it's his responsibility for the spiritual care of particularly his wife and also his children, as husband, that's his responsibility. So what's the belief structure from the curse of the pastor in the big church? I'd never trust you with spiritual authority. He now has spiritual authority and he's terrified to use it and he becomes ineffective in the home and it caused real difficulties. And I realized this as I was listening to it. And so I spotted this thing, wasn't demonic, but it was a curse that was controlling his life. And he didn't even recognize he was just telling me a strange story. But I said, "Ding, accusing voice, accusing voice of a pastor in this case."

So after he talked through a lot of different things, I came back and I said, "Tell me more about that stuff for the pastor." And so he did. And as he talked, I just did a verbal out loud prayer, which I do. I said, "Holy Spirit, will you show Bill what's happening his life?" And boy, suddenly he started sweating and he started crying and couldn't stop crying because it was such a deep thing. And so I had him confess that, speak it, to Jesus and then to renounce that as untrue, that he was actually a man of God who with work could handle the responsibility of being a husband. I appeal to some specific scripture. He rebuked the curse, rejected it specifically, "I renounced this curse in my life." And then I had him contact his wife and do the same thing with her. Tell her what had happened, what the voice had been, and to say, "I need your help, wife, because I need to overcome this kind of thing."

I talked to him a couple of times after that and it just made dramatic difference in their marriage. This controlling curse, a belief structure, was ruining his life. Now, it wasn't demonic. There was nothing demonic involved in that, but that's what can happen. And part of spiritual warfare is breaking these lies that became a stronghold and was ruining his life as an individual and ruining his life and his family. But it took some discernment and listening and me, I'm just praying constantly, "Holy Spirit, give me the wisdom to listen well and hear what you ought to show." And then the out loud prayers that I do is, "Holy Spirit, guide Bill to what you need to have him remember and show us things you want us to know." So that's intellectual kinds of things.

You have the same kind of thing on blessings and such emotional type things. Well, that's trauma, fears that come in. These traumas can come in all kinds of different things. When I walked past Gate D4 in the Seattle airport, certain trauma comes into my life because I had a flight canceled. I had to spend the night in the Seattle airport before I could get back to Portland. And it all happened at Gate D4. Every time I walked past that particular gate, I have a certain, "Oh, that was a bad day," bad night, I should say. Well, that's not an overwhelming trauma, but that's the kind of thing that can happen is you have just emotional thing related to that. And those emotions, those traumas, those affections can really have impact on a believer's life.

What I suggest for this part is, so around the trauma kind of thing, is Mending the Soul. That's a book by Steven and Celestia Tracy. There's a whole curriculum associated with that. It's a curriculum designed for well-trained lay leaders to take people through healing of trauma type things. Mending the Soul, Steven and Celestia Tracy, and there's a curriculum around that.

So Sherry is a trained facilitator for that. She's taken a number of women's groups through that to help them deal with trauma in their life. It doesn't have to be childhood trauma, it can be adult trauma as well. But it's working through that and identifying those things and releasing them. There are different kinds of things. A good counselor can take you through stuff that are emotional impact.

Physical kinds of things. What I want to do is... What kinds of question to ask is, "When is your last physical?" What I find is many times women, it's recent. Most guys, "Physical? I never had one of those." And just because we guys don't go to doctors, it's part of our stupid self-sufficiency. "I speak me." Tell me about your sleep. Tell me about your exercise, tell me about your activities. I'm just trying to get a picture of what is your physical condition because a lot of difficulties come out of physical type stuff. So that's what I do.

Volitional, I want to know how strong your will is. What level of confidence do you have? What's your level of intentionality? Because if somebody is overly confident, they can run over people and cause themselves trouble. If they're under confident, they can give in too quickly. So I ask for those kinds of things.

Vocational, this is where it's a little bit better, a little bit different. I believe God has a calling in everybody's life and that calling can be seasonal. And when God has called you, like the people of Israel at Kadesh Barnea head up in the Promised Land, God has called and say, "I will be with you. I will fight your battle. We will form a homeland for you and drive out your enemies." The people at Kadesh Barnea send in the spies. Spies come back and say, "Man, big city, beautiful land, all that kind of stuff." And then one identity, "We're grasshoppers. They're big. We're slaves who make bricks. Let's go back to Egypt." Caleb and Joshua, and Moses and Aaron who believe God's story, "I am with you," say, "Let's go. God is on our side."

And see how the vocation makes the big difference. What has God called me and what has God empowered me to do? What is the nature of my calling before God? What is my identity? To those people our identity was, "We're slaves who make bricks. Let's go back to Egypt." Moses and Aaron, Caleb and Joshua, "We're children of the Lord Most High. We'll go in with him." So the kinds of questions I ask are, "What gets you out of bed in the morning? What's your reason for doing things?" And I hear all kinds of different things. And then one of the things I'll often do is I'll help people open their mind up before the Lord and ask him what he wants to name them. And that kind of healing prayer type stuff, I think, can be really, really powerful for people that are wrestling with things of life.

Again, this is spiritual warfare in ordinary kinds of ways, is people don't realize what God has for them. And I think that just a simple thing to come from the foundation, "I'm a child of the Lord Most High," come back and affirm that truth, confess it, speak it out loud. And then, "Holy Spirit, I come before you and ask you to show me what I need to see about what you have for me." And with some intentionality and thought, it's amazing what can happen at that spot because God's been at work in a believer's life and a lot of times you just need to be quiet and open and receptive to hear what he wants to do. And then doing it with another person to help confirm that this, in fact it's God's voice, can be really helpful.

Social stuff. Who do you hang out with? It's amazing how many people, when you tell me who you hang out with, it tells me a lot about who you are. And you hang out with good people, they're doing God's business, amazing things go pretty well for you a lot of times. You hang out with people who are doing bad stuff, it didn't work out well at all. So my questions is, who do you hang with? Who's speaking into your life? Who do you invite to speak into your life and whose opinion do you take carefully? Who do you want to please? At the end of the day, we all have people that we want to please and it's really deeply important to us. Knowing who that is can really direct things.

And then the last area is the familial type thing, family type things. So there are tools like Genogram and just go through and look through your ancestors back three or four generations. And what are the patterns that happen in your family? It's not surprising that in scripture, people are identified as the son of, and genealogy becomes very important because your family line can be very impacting in your socialization, in your early experiences in childhood, really early experiences in childhood can make all the difference.

So Eriksonian stages, educational theory. The first stage in the Eriksonian growth and change is the question, the real thing is, whom can I trust? And it comes out as babies. I mean, literally in the first year of life, you solve this question, "Is there anybody I can trust in my life? If I cry, will somebody come and change my diaper? If I cry, will somebody come and feed me?" And my adopted daughter, Cindy, I tell some of her story. She grew up in a hellish home. The abuse she suffered for the first quarter-century of her life was literally unspeakable.

And she learned really, really early that when you cry, somebody would come and smack you. And she learned, "No, you can't trust anybody." And she learned it at home. And there's all kinds of stuff in that first year of life that has deeply impacted her. She's been our daughter for more than three decades now, and things are way different now. Way different. But there's still that fundamental thing, "Things are tough. I can't trust anybody, they're going to smack me." And that applies to me and to my pretty wife, even though we're trustworthy people and she knows it at another level when things gets tough, she can't trust anybody. And that impacts her behavior. And I don't say it to discredit her, she's grown in huge amounts. The thing that is, these are so impacting that it's almost impossible to get rid of even with good counseling because it's foundational things. That's the familial thing that tie into belief structures and self-perceptions.

So those eight areas, and this is a pastoral strategy, I think are really helpful as you're listening to people's thing. I know some people have kind of an intake form they have somebody fill out. I prefer to do this orally. And I find that if I can set aside even an hour that I can go through this kind of thing and get a pretty good picture of what's going on in somebody's life in a pastoral kind of way. Now, in what I'm looking here in the demonic area, what I'm looking at specifically, that's where I'm looking particularly for these three areas, accusing voices, oppressive presence, and occultic history. And that's what I'm listening for as I do this. So that's what I do in this next lesson is, what I do to discover demonic influence or demonic connections or demonic possession in these areas. So we'll come back and look at that in a bit.