In his book, Rising to the Call, Os Guinness describes the seductive look-alike to a champion devoted to God. He calls it the ideal of Faustian striving. All through world literature until recently, there were powerful warnings that ‘those who transgress boundaries in their all-consuming life search for knowledge, riches, power, and sexual prowess will overreach themselves until their pact with the devil destroys them.’

However in Goethe’s version of the often-retold legend, Faust is not damned but saved by his pact with hell. Instead of responding to Isaiah’s call to repent of our false refuges and renounce our covenants with Death and hell, we’re now encouraged to believe they are the means of our salvation. ‘We pretend,’ Guinness says, ‘that striving has no limits and no sting. Call it ambition, call it enterprise, call it the competitive spirit, call it the pursuit of excellence, call it the full expansion of human potentialities, call it the will to power—Faustian man bestrides the stage of modern life with a rage to transgress. Applauded and unchallenged, he leaps over barriers, flouts convention, disarms moral judgments, and disdains prohibitions—blind to his own excesses, and oblivious to his fate.’

The desire for control over the circumstances of our lives is ever-present, even from the earliest age. The great attraction of children’s books like the Harry Potter series, even for adults, is not so much the magic as the power it represents—the power to shape the world the way we want it. This is why so many believers understand our God-conferred authority in terms of power granted to us to wield as we will, rather than the backing of God to uphold His will.

In the last session, we saw how easy it is to misuse authority and thwart God’s will—not, of course, in the ultimate sense but rather temporarily. Even some of the greatest prophets chose to withhold the anointing God had asked them to bestow and so delayed His plans for many hundreds of years. It may seem unthinkable that God’s plans could be put on hold by human defiance but, in fact, it’s no threat to His sovereignty to realise that His will isn’t always done on earth as it is in heaven. In fact, His sovereignty is greater because He has to work His will and bring it to pass despite the unreliability of His best servants.

Our desire for power over our own lives is the reason we fall so easily into Belial’s clutches—and, more significantly, come to believe he’s got our interests more at heart than God does. Only when the group mind control starts to crumble do we begin to realise how much of Belial’s reverse thinking we’ve taken on board. Only then do we begin to realise that even when we’ve sided with the spirit of abuse, God has pursued us—not with gifts of power but with grace, honour and acceptance.

This is Grace Drops and I’m Anne Hamilton. May God pursue you, relentlessly, today.

Thank you to Lorna Skinner of for the background music.

More on the spirit of Belial can be found in the paperback, Dealing with Belial: Spirit of Armies and Abuse, Strategies for the Threshold #8. More on the spirit of Kronos (another face of Belial) can be found in the paperback, Dealing with Kronos: Spirit of Abuse and Time, Strategies for the Threshold #9.