Jennifer LeClaire is now sharing her reflections and revelations through Walking in the Spirit, a new podcast from Charisma. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
When you read the headline of my column you probably had one of two thoughts:
“Christians are practicing witchcraft?” or “I’m not practicing witchcraft! I don’t read tarot cards, mix potions or cast spells!”
The answer to the first thought is, yes, Christians are practicing witchcraft. As for your insistence that you are not practicing witchcraft, well, you may not be moving in divination, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t engaging in witchcraft.
Consider what the Bible says about witchcraft. It may surprise you to learn that what the world—or even what the Wiccans—call witchcraft is not always one in the same as what the Bible calls witchcraft. For example, when you think of witchcraft, you probably think of black magic or conjuring the dead. Those abominations are covered in the Bible.
But witchcraft is not always so mysterious. Indeed, rebellion, word curses and works of the flesh also fall into the realm of witchcraft. However you define it, though, practicing witchcraft is a serious sin, and far more Christians are experts at sorcery than you may realize.
Rebellion Compared to Witchcraft
Remember when King Saul was ordered to utterly destroy the Amalekites and everything they had: man, woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass? Saul found victory in battle against Israel’s enemy by the grace of God, but failed to obey the voice of God when the dust settled. He spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites, and kept the best of the livestock (see 1 Sam. 15:1-9).
Saul proposed that his intention was to sacrifice the animals to the Lord, but there’s no excuse for disobedience. Saul was so stubborn that he at first refused to admit his disobedience. He actually justified his actions. Only after Samuel rebuked Saul did he catch the revelation that obedience is better than sacrifice (see 1 Sam. 15:22). In that rebuke—and in Saul’s response—we find one way Christians are practicing a sin that's in the realm of witchcraft: through rebellion that arises when the fear of man is greater than the fear of the Lord. Let’s listen in on the exchange:
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice” (1 Sam. 15:23-24, KJV). Unfortunately, Saul didn’t learn his lesson. He continued disobeying God and eventually lost his kingdom. Fear of man was at the root of his rebellion, but rebellion grows from many roots. If you see rebellion operating in your life, find the root and rip it out!
Jezebel’s Word Curses
Then there’s Jezebel’s witchcraft. In 2 Kings 9:22, right before the wicked queen’s demise, Jehu offered insight into an open door for the Jezebel spirit when he told her son, “What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” The spirit of Jezebel is essentially a spirit of seduction that works to escort believers into immorality and idolatry (see Rev. 2:20). And this spirit uses witchcraft against its enemies.
Jezebel’s witchcraft was rooted in rebellion, but the type of witchcraft in this verse refers to incantations and spells. In the modern church world, we call them word curses. Jezebel released a word curse against Elijah that carried a spirit of fear when she sent him this message: “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time” (1 Kin. 19:2, KJV).
In modern times, word curses aren’t always so dramatic. When we speak negatively over someone’s life—“They will never hold down a job acting like that,” “Their marriage is bound to fail the way he treats her,” “The doctors said he’s going to die in 30 days. Isn’t that sad?”—we are agreeing with the enemy’s plan and giving power to it with our anointed mouths. The power of death and life are in the tongue (see Prov. 18:21). If you are inadvertently—or purposely—releasing witchcraft over people with the words of your mouth, repent and get your mouth back in line with the Spirit of God.
Works of Your Flesh
Make no mistake. The Spirit of God is against witchcraft in whatever form it takes, from divination to magic to rebellion to word curses—to works of the flesh. Paul explained that the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. What are the works of the flesh? Galatians 5:19-21 lists them: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.
Notice that witchcraft is listed right alongside adultery and fornication. Witchcraft is a serious offense in any manifestation. As a work of the flesh, witchcraft violates the First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.” The flesh opposes the move of the Spirit and resists all things spiritual. This is a serious struggle because Paul assures us that those who practice witchcraft will not inherit the kingdom of God (see Galatians 5:21).
But there is yet good news. If you walk in the Spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (see Galatians 5:16). How do you know if you are walking in the Spirit? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When you walk in the Spirit, this fruit manifests.
If you know you are disobeying God in an area, repent of this sin, which God views in the same way as witchcraft, and get back in line with the Spirit. If you are cursing people with your negative words of gossip and death, stop practicing this witchcraft and begin blessing. If you are flowing in fleshly witchcraft, crucify your flesh with its passions and desires. If you live in the spirit, walk in the Spirit—and walk free from the practice of witchcraft. Amen.
Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.
Dare to go deeper in your faith. Our "Life in the Spirit" devotional takes you on a journey to explore who the Holy Spirit is, how to interact with Him, and how He works in your life. Are you ready to go deeper?