Enemy Rules of Engagement
Satan and his demons are able to do nothing without the permission of God or outside of His created order, which means that the demonic cannot act in a way that is above their pay grade. They cannot conduct activities set aside for the Creator such as reading our minds, creating new life, possessing our souls, etc. The lower demons, cannot act above their pay grade which speaks to which demons can influence what. This will be described in detail in the next post regarding who makes up the Army of Darkness The creature can never be the Creator, which is how sin entered the world to begin with. The enemy does have to adhere to rules of engagement, meaning he can only strike under certain circumstances and for the most part is extremely weak compared to the heavenly army. With that being said, he is stronger than a human who is outside of the grace of God because as humans we can do nothing apart from the Lord.
Satan never ceases to watch and study us so that he can tempt us. Temptations are always allowed, even until our dying breath. In this way, the enemy is always allowed to engage us in ordinary demonic assaults. You can expect this to be constant and non-stop, however in my experience, personal holiness can limit these temptations, but always be on guard because God does allow us to fall if we become too arrogant. Complacency kills. One of the most important parts of the Our Father Prayer is “lead us not into temptation.” This should be recited frequently and meaningfully.
Sin is the primary way in which we allow the enemy to engage us. Sin is anything that takes us away from God. To strive to be free from sin, is to make yourself a hard target. To live a sinful life, opens you up to all kinds of attacks both ordinary and extraordinary and makes you a soft target. Simply put, the demonic are able to influence our lives when we sin with the goal of enslaving us to the sin in this world and to hell in the next.
When we sin, we go AWOL from God’s army and join the Army of Darkness at which point we are commanded by the diabolical. We are genuinely enslaved to these powers if we do not reconcile with Christ to be allowed back into his ranks, the only truly safe place. For something to be a sin we must first know that it is wrong. In our current world of rationalism, we must always refer to the commandments of God as our compass or, if you were in country when I was, Blue Force Tracker (don’t worry God’s ways work better than the BFT). Sins can be venial or mortal with the latter meaning they lead to death. They can also be sins of omission (you fail to do something) or sins of commission (you do something bad).
Sin is nothing else but revolt and disobedience to God (Rom. 4:15). The sinner throws off the yoke of God, saying “I will not serve” (Jer. 2.20). When we commit sin, we take up arms against God. Sin is the ultimate betrayal of our Commander in Chief who so greatly loves and fearlessly leads us to victory. Nothing pains Him more, than a soldier who betrays Him.
Common mortal cultural sins today are sexual sins, especially in the areas of adultery and fornication which can lead to other mortal sins such as abortion and homosexual behavior.
Refer to the teachings of the church for complete knowledge of sin. The most important thing to remember is that when we sin, we give authority to the enemy to engage us because we have stepped outside of the protection of God’s ranks. The enemy is a coward, so if you are living in a state of grace, you become a hard target to him because you’re are under Holy protection which he is terrified of. I think of it as a soldier who decides to go off on their own and wander away from the hardened protections of their unit’s base. They open themselves up to attacks and could become lost and disoriented. Eventually the enemy will pick them up and either kill them or make them a POW. The more we sin without reconciling with God, the more disoriented we become to the fact that we are even living in sin and the further outside the wire we wander. When we die in a state of unrepentant sin, we risk eternal damnation as we have decided to join our leader of darkness, Satan, in FOB Hell. It is important to note when reading the next ways in which the enemy is allowed to engage us, many originate from sin even if it is far removed or not committed by the person that is being assaulted.
Generational demons and curses are a widely debated topic. Some exorcists seem to think that the effects of mortal sins can be passed down generationally as well as curses, and some do not. I personally think there is a scriptural bases for this theory. With that being said, the enemy may sometimes be allowed to engage us as a result of sins committed in prior generations, or generational curses, especially involving the father of a family as the father is the head of the family and holds the authority. There is a story in my family regarding a certain curse. My paternal grandmother’s family hailed from Matera Italy. During the 1500’s Giovanni Carlo aka Giancarlo Tramontano, an ancient relative of mine, was made Count of the area by King of Naples, Ferdinand II of Aragon. He was not received well as the people of Matera had worked to become a free city. However, Giovanni was a noble and had a claim because he belonged to the ancient noble feudal family of the barons of the House of Tramontano. Therefore, he was given Matero as his county and he began to erect Castello Tramontano which is still standing, and still unfinished today. Long of the short was that he was a tyrant and raised taxes to an unbearable rate which ticked off the working class. He had no mercy, and it is also noted in some places with little proof, that he also had a reputation of sleeping with the newly married brides. In response to his refusal to show mercy to his people so that he could live in luxury, the people revolted. After mass one night, the townspeople brutally beat him to death and it is said, a curse was put on my family that was to last seven generations. To make matters worse, the crown took this as a political assassination and sent 4 investigators to Matera, who being unable to find the guilty parties, hung 4 innocent men. I am unsure if there was an effective curse put on my blood line, but this is an example of what one may look like if in fact it is possible. Just to be on the safe side, as part of my daily prayers I pray a deliverance prayer from generational issues.
In this same way, a demon can be given authority and let into a family if someone in that family commits a mortal sin. Usually this person is the father because again, the father is the one tasked by God with protecting the family. If the father fails to take on his responsibility of spiritual protector, he is putting his entire family at risk. A mother has authority over her children and can bless and protect them, but she wields no spiritual authority over the father. Naturally because of this, the demon will try to take out the father first in order to get to the rest of the family. If he is successful, then he can engage the family for generations and wreak havoc if left unchecked in theory. Again, using myself, as an example, 11B refused to take on the role of spiritual protector and the diabolical was able to engage us. My efforts may have saved my children and I from total destruction, but did not save my family unit because I was not the one with the authority to do so, spiritually speaking. Sin and therefore demons can enter the family through another family member, but if the father is taking his role as spiritual protector seriously, the family has a much higher success rate of winning the battle and kicking the demon out. One cannot underestimate the importance of a spiritually strong father in the home.
Acting out of Authority
People acting out of authority can make themselves a giant enemy target. Imagine if you will for a minute, a private making the decision to invade a country. The private could by all means command his peers to invade the country with him but they do not have to obey him because he holds no authority over them. In fact, everyone will most likely laugh at him. Even worse than not being obeyed, he could be severely punished for acting outside of his rank. There is a chain of command for a reason. It is no different in the spiritual world, there are some areas that need to be addressed by certain roles. Self- proclaimed exorcists and demonologists are acting outside the backing of the spiritual military, the church, and could put themselves and their loved ones in grave danger. Furthermore, these ghost hunters and paranormal investigators are not only putting themselves in danger, but they are most likely being laughed at by the diabolical who will most certainly take the opportunity to mock and attack them.
Participation in or Associating with People involved in the Occult
One way Satan is given authority is by you or a family member or acquaintance participating in occult activities or being around people, places, and things that these nefarious practices are occurring. Warlocks, witches, African magic practices, Satanism, voodoo etc, are all the active participation and cooperation with the powers of darkness aka Satan and his demons. The lure of these practices is that one will receive powers to manipulate the natural world in exchange for worshipping the diabolical. These practices are a grave violation of the 1st commandment which is that we shall have no other God’s before the one true God. These people often take pleasure in ruining the lives of others because it makes them feel powerful. They also do it for financial gains. The problem with this mindset on behalf of the practitioners is that Satan and his minions are all liars so the person pays a high price and becomes enslaved as a result. Even in cases where the outcome may appear to be something such as a physical or emotional/spiritual healing, one must understand that there is no true healing outside of the one true Lord. The diabolical can fake many miracles to lead people away from Jesus with the goal of then enslaving them. All practicing of any kind of magic is condemned by the church for our own benefit. It is condemned because it is known that the powers or entities being “tapped” into, are demonic. The Catechism states the following in paragraph 2117; “ All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have supernatural power over others- even if this were for the sake of restoring their health- are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible.”
It is also important to note that even one who contracts such a person to conduct such activities is opening themselves up to demonic influence. Furthermore, innocent people can be affected by this dark magic, especially when the person contracting it is a blood relative. Curses, while rare, can be extremely hard to break in these cases. Common reasons why someone would participate in such a practice is to break up a marriage or engagement, seek revenge or obtain a desired outcome in the area of money, lust, or power. Magic rites and rituals are conducted to work with the demons to obtain a desired result. In doing my research, I was surprised to learn that people can be affected by things such as unknowingly ingesting cursed food, or being in the presence of a cursed object or amulet (Amorth 2016). It is also worth noting that if the person the curse is contracted to affect is a holy person, the affects can be lessened because the demon is scared and miserable in the presence of that person because that person is in the presence of God and his heavenly army.
Even more subtle and widely accepted practices that seem harmless such as Ouija boards, new age spirituality, eastern spiritual practices, tarot cards, consulting psychics, etc, all give the enemy the right to engage you because while you may not be actively and knowingly worshipping darkness, you are still trying to gain some type of advantage and manipulation over the natural world or in the case of spirituality you are again in violation of the 1st commandment. To me it also signifies cowardice especially in the practices of divination, or telling the future, because it shows that the person engaging in such behaviors is scared to suffer the unknown. We as Christians must never be afraid to suffer, but especially not at the cost of sin. Our Lord suffered on this earth immensely, and a servant is not above his master. We are not promised earthly riches or happiness, but eternal.
Sometimes God will allow holy people to be assaulted by or even partially possessed by demons through no fault of their own. It is thought that this is done so that they can become, holier, and so that they can become the nemesis of the demon that is assaulting them. The lord I believe, takes great pleasure in using his lowly humans to beat up on the proud enemy demons. These souls are also able to use their suffering for redemptive purposes to save and convert other souls and for the glory of God. Saints who endured particularly brutal attacks are powerful allies for us and especially for exorcists.
Amorth, Fr. Gabriele. An Exorcist Explains the Demonic; Audiobook. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institue Press, 2016.
I came home from Iraq in 2010 at the age of just 20 years old. like many of my generation, I struggled for years with trying to find my place in the world (sometimes with disastrous consequences). I often felt restless and that everything I was ever going to do paled in comparison to the war I had just been a part of. Oh how wrong I was. The Lord in all of his mercy woke me up to the fact that the most important battle I will ever fight is one that can't always be seen; The one for my soul and for the souls around me. It is against powers and principalities who influence the earthly enemies I had just encountered. Over the last 5 years or so, I have become intimately aware of this battle, and more importantly how to fight it! Although the weapons are different, the concepts are the same. My mission is now to share my knowledge with others, especially my fellow combat veterans who are struggling in the midsts of dysfunction or an identity crisis. I assure you brothers and sisters, we are in the fight of our lives.