In this world, there is a reality, and it is called spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is real, as we read in the Bible.
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
This battle is something that people face on a regular basis. On the other hand, you may not even recognize that you are in a battle. But feelings of oppression, depression, despair, anxiety, hopelessness, fear, bitterness, outbursts of anger, and a lack of peace, are usually signs that you are right in the midst of it. This warfare can exist when you are with people, but it can also exist when you are alone.
I’m not saying you will experience this warfare at every second of each day. But you might, if a stronghold exists. A stronghold consists of some “in” in your life, by which you have allowed a demon access to your flesh. The flesh is that part of you that “lusts against the Spirit” — and that is the reason demons can sometimes have access to it.
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire. (Galatians 5:17)
But as for your spirit, if you are indeed born again by the Spirit of God, then the Spirit of God dwells in you, having regenerated your spirit, which was formerly dead in trespasses and sin, but which now has been made alive with Christ. You are a new creation! What part of you is new, your flesh? No, your spirit! Therefore, within the spirit of a believer, no demon has access. It is protected. It is like the “holy of holies” in God’s temple, where no sin or impurity is permitted.
Your spirit is guaranteed to be sacred. But not all of you is guaranteed to be sacred —yet— because you are living in a mortal (non-resurrected, decaying) body. Be forewarned! Though you have trusted in Jesus, not all of you is sacred and immune to demonic infiltration, until such a time as you are clothed in your resurrected body. That which is regenerated by the Holy Spirit is protected against demonization. But that which is not is not. And your flesh is currently not regenerated. That is why demons can indwell the flesh of believers.
Do not believe the lie that Christians cannot have a demon. That lie may cost you, as you attempt to address a problem that is demonic, with a solution that does not have the ability to touch that demon. You may mask a problem, without curing it. You may try to suppress a symptom, and never get free.
In dealing with these problems, it should be noted the first obstacle to be overcome is your personal decision to do what is right. If you are not willing to walk in personal holiness, then you will never get free. Therefore, your first priority should be your willingness to walk in personal holiness, or sanctification, even as Jesus did. If you will strive for this, then you will place yourself in a position to get free from all demonic bondage. To understand this better, please read, “The Eyes of My Heart” (see revivalfire.ca/the-eyes-of-my-heart/).
Even Jesus suffered from temptations of the devil (without succumbing, of course), for the devil did, in fact, approach Jesus many times. For we read,
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. (Luke 4:13, KJV)
Neither could the devil, nor any of his demons, ever enter into Jesus, even though his flesh, at that point in time, was not regenerated. Why not? Because Jesus never once sinned. It is sin that “opens the door” for demons to enter in. However, let us be clear. Demons can certainly tempt you, even though you are not currently sinning, even as the devil himself tempted Jesus. Therefore, you will be tempted from time to time. This war is real and there is an enemy out to get you.
You will recall that the devil came inside Judas Iscariot. Some say this was because he was not a Christian. I agree that Judas was not a Christian, he was a false convert. But that is not the reason why the devil was permitted to enter into him. The reason the devil was permitted to enter into him was because of his sin. And that is the same reason why the devil, or one of his demons, may be permitted to enter into you, even if you are a Christian. Is fear a sin? Unfortunately, it is. Some people, due to fear, have allowed a demon to come in. They may not have known any better, but they still missed the mark and the devil took advantage. God has great compassion and wants them to get free.
The Bible says,
“greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world” (see 1 John 4:4).
What this means is, “greater is (God) who is in you (and to whom you belong) than (Satan) who is in the world (and to whom the world belongs),” —for the devil is called “the god of this world” (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). 1 John 4:4 in no way guarantees, or even suggests, that demons cannot gain access to your flesh. They certainly can, based on Matthew 18:34-35, Ephesians 4:26-27,30, and Galatians 5:17 (more on that a bit later).
1 John 4:4 is about our authority to live a holy life. You do have that authority, if you will it. However, it is not guaranteed any more than your authority to drive a car is guaranteed before you have passed the driver’s test. Practice, discipline, and obedience are needed before you will gain the authority to live free from the oppression of the devil. You’ve got to choose wisely at all times. Use your will. Make a decision to do that which is right. Humble yourself. It will work out in the end, if you do this.
The “proof” that the devil has made inroads in the church is that his own ability to enter into the flesh of believers is often refuted by church leaders. Those who say this are doing the devil’s bidding, even as Simon Peter did the devil’s bidding when he said to Jesus that he would never go to the cross (see Matthew 16:22). Jesus rebuked him, and said, “Get behind me, Satan!” (see Matthew 16:23). Yes, Satan was behind that wicked doctrine of Peter’s, even as Satan is behind the lie that Christians cannot have demons in their flesh.
Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” (see 2 Corinthians 12:7). Was it a disease? Certainly not! It was either a person (who was affected by a demon), or a demon itself. It is called a “messenger of Satan,” because it was a living being, not a disease. Diseases are never called “messengers” in the Bible. This word messenger is actually the word for angel (ang’-el-os), and it is always used to describe either an angelic being, or a person. For example, “To the angel of the assembly in Ephesus write” (see Revelation 2:1) —that word “angel” is the same word. Concerning this thorn in the flesh, Paul wrote,
By reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted excessively, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger [literally, “angel”] of Satan to torment me, that I should not be exalted excessively. (2 Corinthians 12:7)
So, then, Paul was afflicted either by a demon or a person who was influenced by one. What could Paul do to resist it? Paul explains in this passage the reason this affliction came upon him was to prevent him from exalting himself. For he was tempted to exalt himself, on the basis of the revelation he had received (see 2 Corinthians 12:4).
God did not hate Paul, but allowed this situation in order to prevent him from exalting himself. Do you ever feel like a demon, or a person influenced by one, is bothering you? It could be that God has permitted it, because of some predisposition, or tendency, of your own heart. In that case, be humble! The Bible says,
When a man’s ways please Yahweh, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Proverbs 16:7)
Would demons qualify as a man’s enemies? Certainly! Yet be forewarned that this is not a preventive measure that will guarantee that you never experience persecution. All who live godly lives will be persecuted (see 2 Timothy 3:12). Persecution happens to good people, even as Jesus himself was persecuted. But all too often, access may be given to an enemy because of the condition of our own heart. And thus, the Bible says to Christians,
“Be angry, and do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, and do not give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)
From this passage, we can see that you can give access to the devil’s kingdom by refusing to forgive. Your anger, or the unforgiveness due to the pain you have, is a significant cause for concern. Please, find healing, because you can be healed, and God’s compassion can shine upon you once again. He absolutely loves you, so don’t believe the lie that you are hated, or that you have to act in an unforgiving manner. It will only cause you great distress in the end. You don’t want that. What you want is liberty.
My suggestion is that if you are suffering from bitterness, be sure to get connected in with God’s people (the church). Go to church, and start there. It’s a great way to start. God will help you to get free from that burden you have been carrying. Church is one of God’s favorite means to impart a blessing to his people. Make sure you find a good church —one that practices the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including healing gifts which can restore you, and prophetic gifts that can speak life into your spirit.
Jesus speaks about “tormentors” who will be sent against believers, if they fail to forgive their brother from their heart (see Matthew 18:34-35). These tormentors are demons. This is a difficult topic, but your anger (for what happened) may be warranted, but your refusal to forgive is not. The person that you are angry at may not even know they harmed you. Or maybe they do and don’t care. Either way, you cannot bottle up that anger and expect to do well. What you need is community, and people, and love. Get out of that trap, because it’s the devil’s trap.
You do not even need to be unforgiving to have demons infiltrate you. All you need to do is fail to be obedient to God in some area of your life. Did not the devil infiltrate Eve by one act of disobedience? He can do the same to you. What then can open the door? Ultimately, sin. And there are indeed many sins.
Feeling a little heavy? If you are experiencing heaviness in your heart, there is a reason for it. God controls your ability to either experience heaviness or joy.
I had it in my heart one day to do some business work on my computer at about 6 in the evening, but I felt a sudden heaviness when I decided to do that. I realized something was wrong. My focus was wrong! The Lord did not want me working on my business work, but had another plan. I had to open up my heart to him and ask him what he wanted. What he wanted was totally different than what I wanted. What did I want, anyway? I wanted to serve the Lord. Well, then, obey him. So I did. Consequently, I was able to write an article for him. All of the heaviness just vanished.
You see, I had already put in a full day of business work, and that was enough. There is a time for business work, and there is a time to write articles for the Lord. There is a time to use your gift to make money, and there is a time to use your gift to help God’s people. This, too, could be why demons have gained some access to you. You are just not serving the Lord with your gifts.
I have seen people in great turmoil trying to cast the devil out of their circumstances. I think it is somewhat misguided. You don’t need to shout too hard to get rid of the devil. But you do need to submit fully to God. The Bible says,
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Be subject therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (See James 4:6-7)
A lot of your trouble is not your inability to cast the devil out, but your inability to submit to God. If you could only submit to God, then you would hardly have to say a word. The devil would be gone.
The devil is tricky. He wants to infiltrate you, either from the inside, or from the outside, even as he tried to infiltrate Jesus by getting him to sin. When will the devil try to get you to sin? According to Luke 4:13, he will look for an “opportune time.” When might that be? You might be prone to the devil’s attacks in the morning (like I am, sometimes), or perhaps in the evening, when you are very tired. Or perhaps when you are alone. Or perhaps when you are in the presence of your mother or father or sibling.
One day, I experienced almost perfect sleep, and felt fine immediately upon waking. But a few seconds later, I felt the presence of a demon attempting to infiltrate my mind. I could feel the power of a spirit of heaviness attempting to gain access to me. You might say, “How could you discern that?” I could feel it! People often feel spirits but fail to discern them. They end up submitting to that spirit, or trying something that doesn’t work, because of their failure to associate the feeling with a spirit.
There is a song, and it is based on Isaiah 61:3, and it reminds us to put on “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” So I began to gently praise the Lord. I could feel that spirit of heaviness lifting off of me. But when I stopped, it came back again! So I kept gently praising him for about 10 minutes. And then it went away.
What was it? Was it a literal demonic spirit? Yes, it was! But if I had not resisted by gently praising the Lord, then that spirit would have been able to make an “in,” and remain in my presence, for the entire day. Would that have been a blessing? Surely not! And so do not be surprised, if even early in the day, a spirit tries to make its way into your life. The devil wants to ruin your entire day!
Speaking of which, how do you neutralize a Christian and make him or her ineffective? That’s an easy one. Send a spirit of discouragement against him or her at 6 in the morning. How often has this “trick” of the devil worked? Far too often!
There is another instance in which I woke up, and felt such an encroachment, that I could not talk to God with any sense of freedom or liberty. Of course, I could say anything I wanted to, but I could not sense any flow, or any relationship. It was misery. There was a real opposition against me. What was wrong? In my attempts to want to speak to God about it, this 800 pound gorilla, so to speak, was sitting on my shoulder. I rembered Jude 1:9, which tells us not to say too much against Satan. For even Michael the archangel, when he had something to say against Satan, would only say these limited words:
“May the Lord rebuke you!” (See Jude 1:9)
So I said, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan, for all you have done.” No shouting was necessary. I was calm. Yet this oppression was very real. So I simply pressed in and repeated that quite a few times, slowly, and very pointedly. I was speaking directly at this demon that was oppressing me.
I essentially only whispered this command. I kept repeating those words for about 10 minutes. I was not shouting, I was not cursing, I was simply telling the demon to get off of me. With every command I gave, I felt a miniscule movement in the spirit realm. I felt that heaviness ever so slowly start to inch off of me. Within 10 minutes, I was completely free. Suddenly, I could tell that spirit was gone! Then, I could sense the presence of the Lord!
The presence of the Father was right in my midst —perceptible after the demon moved out of the way. Awesome! Why is it that we cannot sense the presence of the Lord, sometimes, and his beauty, and his goodness? A demon is standing in the way!
It is terrible to be encroached upon by a demon, but there are people in mental institutions who are there because of this, because nobody taught them how to deal with demonic powers. Rejoice in God, and never forget you have an enemy. This enemy will try to encroach upon you whenever he is permitted to. Ultimately, permission must come from God, who is watching over you, who wills that you pass all of these tests. The devil might mean it for bad, but God means it for good!
Why then did God allow me to be encroached upon that day when I woke up? Why could I not simply pray to God and have him take care of the problem? Sometimes, you can pray, but sometimes, you are also called to action. Jesus said.
“For most certainly I tell you, whoever may tell this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and doesn’t doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is happening; he shall have whatever he says.” (Mark 11:23)
Well, that is what I did that day. I told that mountain to move, and that mountain was a demonic spirit that was in my midst. What was God’s intention in allowing this to happen? I think God’s intention was to train my hands for war!
Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to battle. (Psalm 144:1)
Yes, and he wills to do that with all his children. So do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you. You are being trained.
Did you know that in the millennium, we will rule and reign with Christ? Who will do the reigning? Christ, or us? Actually, we will do it together. If you know God, and you love Jesus, God has also called you to start ruling right now. He’s given you the victory, if you will exercise your authority in Christ. He has not promised it will be easy, but it will certainly be rewarding, in the end.
Take the authority God has given to you, and do not let the devil encroach upon your life. But if he is encroaching upon your life, ask God why. Be prepared for an answer, and be prepared to obey God at every step of the way. This is your victory — for now, and for eternity.
*The printable tract is provided as a PDF document that you can easily print on any letter-sized paper. Print the page (on both sides). If your printer cannot print both sides, simply print on one side, then feed the paper back in, and print on the other. Then, simply fold the page three times in half. This tract is small (2.75″ x 4.25″ — a bit larger than a business card) and convenient for responsible free distribution.