Spiritual warfare is a strange concept to our Western minds. Satan has all but convinced us in America that there is no spiritual realm. So we don’t need to worry about resisting the devil. We are taught that there is no such thing as God, angels, or demons.
Our culture says the Bible is a collection of fictitious myths. Of course, Satan is fine with that. Any lie will do. He’s happy as long as we are mired in lies and deception.
He just wants to hurt God and hurt people as much as he can before he is eternally punished. He is the ultimate thief. His goals for our lives are to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).
In reality, the Bible is our source of absolute truth. God’s truth sets us free! His goals are to bless us and give us abundant life to the full now and eternal life forever (John 10:10, John 17:3)!
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.1 Pet. 5:7-10
The 2 spiritual paths: the narrow path or the broad path
Our life choices have powerful spiritual (and even eternal) consequences. There are only two spiritual authorities, ultimately, that can be in control of our lives:
- We can invite the Holy Spirit’s authority to have control in our lives, choosing salvation and yielding to the Lordship of Christ.
- We can go our own way, which is also Satan’s way. This automatically invites demonic authority and demonic oppression into our lives to one degree or another.
But even as believers in Christ, we can open doors to allow Satan to take ground and authority in our lives if we cherish sin or invite him in.
We simply can’t afford to play and flirt with the enemy. All the doors of our lives must be fully shut to Satan’s influence and completely open to God’s influence.
Demonic influences only leave when a stronger authority takes over. When the power of Christ Jesus stakes a claim over a person’s life, the demons have no choice but to flee.
This is a spiritual problem that requires a two part spiritual solution.
- Get rid of the spiritual poison, lies, and sin.
- Pour God and His Truth and love in and walk in obedience to Him.
Demonic Possession happens to unbelievers. It involves a demon(s) taking control of a person’s mind, motives, and life. According to the Bible, this can manifest as:
- Sickness and medical issues (Mark 9:14-19).
- Personality changes, violence, self-harm, strange behavior, and/or superhuman strength (Matthew 8:28).
- Special knowledge of the future that is not from God (Acts 16:16-18).
- Depression, and all kinds of evil and violence, including murder.
- King Saul actually went completely crazy due to an evil spirit that tormented him and tried to kill David many times.
- Judas was influenced by Satan to betray Jesus, and later realized the magnitude and consequences of what he had done and killed himself.
- And other things, as well.
Note – all mental and physical illnesses are not due to demonic possession or oppression. There can certainly be other causes.
But Satan and his demons (fallen angels) do have a lot of power in this world right now
He is currently “the prince of the power of the air.” He is able and willing to cause all kinds of suffering. Sometimes he does this through other means, but demonic activity and influence is one of the tools in his arsenal.
Believers in Christ have the Holy Spirit living in them and are sealed by Him. Disciples of Christ, to my knowledge and understanding, can’t be possessed by a demon because the Holy Spirit possesses us.
We can choose to rebel against God, although the thought of this should make us sick with grief. We should want to repent immediately and return to our Lord the second we notice our sin.
We have the ability to break fellowship with God and roll out the red carpet to the enemy, carelessly inviting him into our lives.
Once he gains access to our thought lives, he does whatever he can to try to destroy us and to try to destroy others through us.
Demonic Oppression can happen to believers or unbelievers. A person is influenced by demons in their thoughts. The person does not take her thoughts captive for Christ and allows the demonic lies to fester.
Oppression results in various consequences like:
- Depression, despair, anxiety, worry, loneliness, and hopelessness.
- Intense fear.
- A feeling of evil, darkness, or doom.
- Seeing, feeling, or hearing demons or dark figures—in dreams, or even when awake.
- Physical illness, at times.
- No appetite for God or His Word.
- Self-destruction and abuse (cutting, self-harm, suicide, anorexia/bulimia, addictions).
- Hatred toward others, God, the Word of God, or self.
- Rage/malice/violence/abuse toward others.
- Intense desire for sexual perversion, porn, and/or immorality.
Of course, demonic possession or oppression are not the only things that can cause some of the above issues.
All illness and suffering is related to sin being in the world, in general.
We live in a fallen, cursed world—so bad things happen.
- Sometimes suffering or illness is a direct consequence of my sin or another person’s sin (ie: STDs due to sexual immorality, or the suffering of someone who was hit by a drunk driver).
- Demons can be involved in tempting us to sin, but they can’t force us to sin. The choice is ours.
- Sometimes illness and trials are related directly to demonic activity (attack, oppression, or possession). Demonic attack is where demons try to hurt us in some way, but we are not oppressed or possessed—ie: Job.
- Sometimes trials are spiritual testing.
- Sometimes trials happen due to persecution for our faith in Christ.
- Other times, these things are just part of living in this world. There can be medical, genetic, and other environmental causes for physical and mental illnesses.
We need God’s Spirit, His Word, and His wisdom to rightly discern what is happening in each specific situation. I may not always be able to identify the root cause of every illness or suffering.
But I can invite God to show me if there is sin in my life I need to repent from and ask what He wants me to learn in the midst of my suffering.
I can close any open doors to the enemy in my life.
I can invite Him to use any suffering in my life for His glory and my ultimate good to conform me to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29).
Ways to open doors to the enemy
THINGS THAT MAY OPEN DOORS TO DEMONIC INFLUENCE
- The occult – horoscopes, Ouija boards, séances, going to a fortune teller/medium, casting spells, witchcraft, Voodoo, Satanism, paganism, idols, etc… (These things are exploding in popularity in our culture today, unfortunately.)
- Idolatry – when we worship, serve, trust in, and desire things/people more than we long for God, we are really worshipping demons and receiving their teachings (Deut. 32:16-17).
- Certain addictive, mind-altering drugs – meth, crack, narcotics, LSD, alcohol, etc…
- Playing with temptation.
- Fascination with demons.
- Obsession with serial killers and mass murderers.
- Music/media that glorifies evil, killing, abortion, horror, immorality, and sin.
- Isolating ourselves from other believers.
- Neglecting time with God, prayer, and scripture reading—starving ourselves of good spiritual food in Christ.
- Listening to false teaching, lies, or ungodly messages.
- Fellowshipping with those who are involved in demonic activity.
- Holding onto sin in our hearts rather than confessing it and turning from it immediately
- Scripture teaches us that holding onto anger overnight is a way to give the enemy a stronghold in our lives (Eph. 4:26-27).
Demons are a lot like cockroaches. They are attracted to the stench of sin, wrong thinking, lies, and any kind of evil.
Demons feel welcome when we foster addictions and unrepentant sin in our lives. They may not have originally caused the mess, but they may be happy to jump in later to try to keep us in spiritual bondage.
How to resist the devil and receive God’s deliverance
There are concrete things we can and must do to find freedom in Christ:
- Repent from all known sin, turning away from sin to Jesus.
- Resist Satan coupled with total submission to the Lordship of Christ (James 4:7).
- Yield my life to Jesus as the Savior and Lord of my life from this moment on for the rest of my life.
- Invite the Holy Spirit to fill me daily.
- Speak the truth of God’s love and salvation from the Bible out loud.
- Sing praise songs to Jesus out loud.
- Think about good things and gratitude toward God. (Phil. 4:8)
- Pray for Jesus to bring deliverance to us.
- Ask other believers to for deliverance for a person (it’s best to have at least one Christian who is experienced with this if there is possession or severe oppression going on).
- Get rid of any lies and rebuild our lives on God’s truth
- Put on the spiritual armor and truth of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-18)
Finding freedom in Christ
The key is to turn away from the darkness and focus on the Light – Jesus, His glory, His holiness, His truth, His Word, His promises, and His goodness.
We praise and thank Him and receive His work on our behalf and His Spirit, He can set us free from sin and demonic oppression/possession.
When the brilliance of the Light and Truth of Christ shines freely in the darkest corners of my life, the cockroaches go scurrying away.
They can’t stand the Light and a soul that has been cleansed of filth. They detest being around gratitude and praise for God. And they hate hearing God’s Word and truth.
When I resist Satan and yield myself to the authority of Jesus, He sets me free.
I don’t have authority over demons or Satan myself apart from the authority of Jesus. I don’t need to get in a big conversation with them. People are much weaker than demons.
Jesus is the one who has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). Demons are required to obey Him. In fact, they tremble before Him. I just need to yield myself to Jesus and declare His Word and His authority over my life in faith.
Note – Every bad thing that happens is not spiritual warfare. Some things are. But not all.
The steps of repentance and submission to Christ are the same for spiritual oppression or for repenting from just plain old sin. Sometimes with severe oppression or possession, we may need experienced believers to pray with us and for us.
Pray with me for spiritual freedom and healing
Please show us any open doors in our lives today. Help us see if we have invited the enemy into our lives and that could be why our lives are being ravaged by turmoil. Help us to identify every door the enemy uses to gain access in our lives and shut it tight and lock it.
Help us consciously resist the devil knowing You promise that if we do that, he will flee.
We purposely and joyfully choose to turn away from every sin, every lie, and every demonic influence that we have allowed in our lives. We yield ourselves completely to Your Lordship.
You are the Prince of Peace. You are the King of kings. We enthrone You, alone, on our hearts as being in control of our lives.
We open every door wide to You. We hold nothing back from You, Jesus. We give you full control.
We declare the authority and victory of Jesus Christ over our lives, marriages, husbands, children, families, and homes. No other authority is welcome any longer.
What Does the Bible Say about Demon Possession by www.gotquestions.org
Why Does God Allow Sickness? by www.gotquestions.org
Questions about Angels and Demons by www.gotquestions.org
Ambushing Satan with Song – John Piper about praying for a woman to be delivered from a demon
A friend’s story of demon possession and healing:
- Depression and Oppression – Part 1 – depression, resentment, fear, and lies
- Possession – Part 2 – this resulted in her desiring sexual immorality and attempting murder
- Salvation and Redemption – Part 3 – thankfully, her boyfriend, at the time, recognized what was happening and knew what to do
My Demon – about demonic oppression and flirting with the enemy
How Satan Would Love to Destroy Your Marriage Through Your Thought Life – Satan’s strategies for your marriage and thought life
If you or someone you love may be suffering from demonic possession or oppression, there are some churches that have prayer teams who can pray for you. Of course, you can pray for yourself or for your friend or loved one. But if you need reinforcements, seek a Bible-believing church with an experienced prayer team.