The Need to Know God - The Warrior's Journey®

The Need to Know God

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“Some Jewish exorcists tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those where demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus who Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. …the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’  Then the man … jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” (Acts 19:13-16) 

This passage touches on a debate that has raged in the church through the centuries. “Does the personal piety and spirituality of God’s minister affect the efficacy of his Christian service?” In the 4th to 6th Centuries a group called the Donatists flourished. They taught that the life of a priest must be holy in order for the sacraments he administers to be valid and effective.  However, Augustine of Hippo, argued that the sacraments receive their power from Christ, not from the priest. Eventually, the Donatists faded out. But their concerns over the piety and spirituality of God’s minister continues to be raised to this day.   

The passage in Acts 19, should alert us to another aspect of the question. How will the so-called “Minister of God” fare against Satan – or far worse, before God – if his life is sinful? Acts 19:13-16 answers the first part of the question. Without knowing Jesus personally, these sons of Sceva tried to use His name as an incantation to cast out a demon. But they lacked the seal of the Holy Spirit, nor were they washed in Christ’s blood – as is the case for every true believer. As a result they had no protection against the demonic. Their disaster stands in contrast to Paul’s authority over the demons. 

But the phony minister of God should have a far greater concern about how he will stand before Christ at the Judgment. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus warned that many will say to Him, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name drive out demons and in Your name perform many miracles?”  But Jesus will answer them, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you evildoers” (Matthew 7:22-23).   

Today there are many who claim to be serving Christ and claim to be doing great works and miracles in His name. Yet their hearts are consumed by greed, a craving for power, and a love for men’s praise. In any real contest with the spiritual forces of wickedness they will have no power. Far worse, when they face God’s judgment they’ll be condemned to hell. We must know God personally through His Son Jesus Christ. “This is eternal life,” Jesus said, “to know God and Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). Without a personal relationship with God we cannot stand before the devil or God. 


  • Do you feel prepared to face the demonic attacks that await every believer? 
  • Do you know God personally through His Son, Jesus? Or is God a stranger? 
  • We must turn to God, repent of our sin, and trust in Jesus to save us. 

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