Dealing with DEMONS! #6
There is a battle going on, a spiritual battle, in which we
wrestle "against principalities, against powers, against the
rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness [margin: wicked spirits] in high places" (Eph.6:12).
We know that some temptations and problems are simply
natural or fleshly - things common to all mankind - and are not
necessarily demonic in nature. How, then, can we know the
difference? How can we identify the work of demons? I would
suggest, as a general rule, that when a person is driven by an
overwhelming power, a power greater than natural or normal, when
it is an obsession in the wrong direction, demons are involved.
It is more than just a natural or fleshly problem.
It is not too unusual to read in the newspaper about cases
of murder in which the offender exclaims, "I don't know why I
killed this person, it seemed like a strange power, an
overwhelming urge, came over me. I was forced to do it!" Or other
stories may go like this: "I didn't want to kill my children ...I
heard a compelling voice tell me to kill them ...a power greater
than my own seemed to take hold of me." I knew of a woman once
who would not keep any large knives in the house. She said at
times a strange power would come over her - an urge to kill her
children! Such bizarre behavior is not normal, but demonic
We might sooner understand a person who murders another to
get even for some wrong done, but what about murders of innocent
people, unknown victims, and murders that are torture deaths?
Cain, the first man to ever commit murder, did so because he "was
of that wicked one" (1 John 3:12). The Devil "was a murderer from
the beginning" (John 8:44).
Suicide fits into the same category. More understandable in
a way is suicide when someone is incurable, their life is behind
them, and they are suffering great pain. But even young people,
often only over trivial problems, commit suicide. That voice that
says, "End it all; life is not worth living" is a demon. Of the
demon in the boy brought to Jesus, it was said: "Ofttimes it hath
cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him"
(Mark 9:22). When the demons entered the herd of swine at Gadara,
they ran down a steep place into the sea and were drowned - a
form of suicide.
It seems clear that when some people become so obsessed with
gambling that all reason is cast aside, there is another spirit
involved. Why else would a person gamble away his home, his
money, his family, his peace, his happiness? It is a strange
power in such cases that says, "You are about to win the jackpot;
just a little more gambling and you are sure to win." It is
believing a lie; it is demonic deception.
What about habitual liars - people who lie about things that
do not even matter? Some say: "I don't know why I tell lies, I
just do." The Bible tells how a lying spirit caused four hundred
false prophets to lie. Only one prophet, Micaiah, stood for the
truth without fear or favor (1 Kings 22).
There are thousands of kleptomaniacs that apparently can't
resist the temptation to shoplift. Such is irrational behavior -
they steal, not because they are hungry (cf. Proverbs 6:30), but
for the sake of stealing.
Sexual fulfilment within marriage is certainly within the
norm (Heb.13:4). But what about twisted, abnormal desires that
drive people to rape, child molestation, and foul perversions?
Why would some pursue this path, knowing it will shame their
family, put them in prison, and ruin their lives?
If someone angers us and we respond with hatred or anger,
this is fleshly. It is not right, but it is understandable. But
what about cases in which people hate other people without a
cause? Or they hate a person for something the other person has
no control over? When hate is intense and abnormal, this
qualifies as demonic activity.
In general, those strong, uncontrollable urges that are not
normal, or natural, stem from those "powers" or "wicked spirits"
about which Paul warned. But whether problems are fleshly or
demonic, either way, the solution is through repentance and faith
in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We come now to the oft-debated question: Can a Christian be
demon possessed? If we say no, this could be taken to mean a
Christian is automatically immune to demonic attack. This would
not fit with Paul's words: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in
the Lord ... Put on the whole armor of God ...for we wrestle ...
against wicked spirits" (Eph.6:10-12). If we answer yes - that a
Christian can be demon possessed - we would have to ask: How
could a person be full of the Holy Spirit and full of the devil
at the same time? Obviously he could not. In this sense, a
Christian could not be demon possessed. But we need to define our
terms and avoid confusion.
Though our translators have commonly used the expression
"possessed of devils" - which is usually taken to express the
intensity and degree of demonic takeover - in the Greek text
there is only one word: "daimonizomai," meaning, simply,
"demonized." The word itself would not require the idea that a
person is totally possessed.
Like it or not, there have been Christians - even
missionaries and ministers - who have become demonized. I mean by
this, a demonic spirit has latched on to them in some area of
their life that required deliverance. Only by having others join
in prayer and casting out demons has victory been obtained. If it
were impossible for demons to ever find any place within the life
of a Christian, why are there warnings about the need for having
on the armor of God as protection against wicked spirits?
James warns against envy and strife among Christians. He
comes right out and brands such as "devilish" (James 3:15) - from
the Greek word "daimoniodes," meaning, demonic. When there is all
manner of discord, we call it "pandemonium," and rightly so, for
this word is based on the Greek word for demon! It means disorder
caused by demons. Pandemonium, in Milton's "Paradise Lost," was
the capital of hell!
The woman Jesus healed that was "bowed together," worshipped
in the synagogue, was a daughter of Abraham, and of faith. Yet,
she was bodily afflicted with a "spirit of infirmity" - had been
bound by Satan for eighteen years! (Luke 13:11,16).
We notice in this case that Satan had bound her, yet her
deformity was caused by a demon of infirmity. So also in
scripture, casting out devils was equated with casting out Satan
(Matt.12:24-28). The fact is: Satan carries out his work through
his agents - his demonic army.
Since omnipresence (being everywhere present at the same
time) is not ascribed to Satan--even though we may speak of Satan
as giving us a rough time - in most cases the confrontation is
not a direct personal encounter. A statement that "Hitler killed
many innocent people," can be true even though Hitler did not do
it personally. Satan carries out his work through an army of
principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and wicked spirits.
There are church people who do not recognize this fact. They
may blame certain bad things on Satan, but if one speaks of a
demon of fear, a demon of suicide, a demon of stealing, a demon
of malice, a demon of perversion, etc., they look on this as a
form of superstition!
When the Bible says to Christians: "Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh
about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8), this is taken
in stride. If we make the same statement, but say that demons are
seeking to devour Christians, this does not seem as acceptable!
Fortunately, God has provided us an armor for protection
from demons. "Brethren ... put on the whole armor of God, that ye
may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil ... against
powers... against wicked spirits" (Eph.6:10-12).
If we would maintain victory over demons, we must have on
the whole armor of God. If part is missing, then we lack the
necessary protection. "Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of
God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having
done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about
with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and
your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above
all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to
quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of
salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for
all saints" (Eph.6:13-18).
To live in the realm of total victory in Christ, one must
avoid any demonic link: don't dabble in the occult, don't play
with ouija boards, don't attend spiritualist meetings, don't
listen to demonic music, don't read Satanic literature. Let
fellowship be among the saints of God, not the people of
darkness. There is power and victory through the blood of Christ,
the word of God, and the name of Jesus.
To be continued