Are you under attack? Does it feel like you cannot catch a break because it is one attack after another attack after another attack? The Bible says that as Christians we are supposed to be untouchable (1 John 5:18). So, what gives? Why are there so many Christians controlled by the evil one? The Bible says that the entire world lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Yet, we are not of this world (John 17:16). Satan has no influence over anything except this world. He is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is a fact that Satan oversees this world, but we are not of this world, we are just visitors and not citizens of this world (Philippians 3:20). Yet, we are ambassadors of the kingdom of God representing Jesus Christ himself (2 Corinthians 5:20). As ambassadors, we carry the authority of the kingdom we represent. We represent God’s kingdom. We carry His name, His authority, His word, His Spirit and His armor. So, why then are so many of His ambassadors walking in darkness? Can a Christian be possessed?
When I look at some Christians, I certainly must wonder if they are possessed. They act possessed. They looked possessed. They live the same as those who are completely tormented by Satan. In many cases there is absolutely no difference from a person who claims to be a Christian than a person who does not. That leaves me to one of two conclusions; either they are not a Christian at all, but instead they are a pretender who calls Jesus Lord with their lips, but their heart is far from God. This is certainly the case with many people. The other option is that a Christian can indeed be a believer yet be under the power of the devil. It must be one or the other. If you are under the dominance of Satan and he controls every aspect of your life, then you are either not a Christian or there must be a possibility that Satan can gain access into a believer’s life. Sometimes, even to the point where there does not seem to be the life of God in them at all. Is that possible? I used to think it was not, but now I am certain that it is.
Let me be clear that either one can be the case. I have close family members that I thought must be Christian. They have been baptized. They believed that Jesus is Lord and they have even confessed Him with their mouth. I tried to comfort myself that one of my own flesh and blood must be a Christian who is just dealing with deep sin issues. After all, I too have gone through periods where I was in the deep grasp of sin. I have also lapsed into sin for a short period of time and did not understand how such a thing could happen. Maybe my family member is the same. Maybe they love God with their heart, but they are just caught up in sin. That is what I told myself for a long time. It was too much for me to bear the thought of my own family member standing before a holy God on judgment day and being told, “depart from me you worker of sin, go into hell a place prepared for the devil and his angels but you choose to side with him” (paraphrase of Matthew 25:41). Surely, they are a Christian. They know God. They have prayed a salvation prayer and they have gone under the water in Jesus’ name. They know Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross, and rose from the grave. What is the difference between the times that I went into sin for a season and their life of sin?
The difference is I have a heart like David (Acts 13:22). I am a man after the very heart of God. When I sin, I run to God and repent. I turn from my sin. I am quick to repent. Sometimes, repentance is a process if you are getting out of a very long addiction or mindset that you have lived under for a long time, but even then, there will be fruit that you are changing. I finally realized that some of my family members (there are more than one) are not Christians. I know what you are going to say. Are you now the judge and jury? How can you make that call? Only God can judge. That is just not true. The Bible says that a Christian himself cannot be judged, but it is clear that a Christian can and should judge all things (1 Corinthians 2:15). Some translations use the word “appraised” and other translations use the word “judged”. It is the same word in the original language the scripture was written in. Christians are not called to judge the world, but they are called to judge those who call themselves Christians and will one day judge the angels themselves (1 Corinthians 6:3). In fact, the Bible says not to even have dinner with someone who calls themselves a Christian but lives sexually immoral lives, or those who are greedy or those who cheat people. We are told that we cannot judge those who are not Christians but must judge those who claim Christianity, and even to “remove the evil person from among us” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). So, there are people that I know who claim Christianity, but their lives are full of sin. They have not just fallen into a lapse in judgement for a time. They have not just gone through a time of sin. Their entire lives are in service to Satan. Jesus said we will know them by their fruit (Matthew 7:16). Christians will have some fruit. Even if they sin. Even if they have moments of terrible decision making. There will be some fruit. If there is no fruit, there is no Christian.
The first thing you must do is examine yourself to see if you are even in the faith at all (2 Corinthians 13:5). Is there any fruit? Do you have a tender heart toward God and others? Are you quick to repent? When someone points out a sin they see in your life, are you open to that and sorry that you disappointed them and acted in a way that is contrary to your real nature? Do you love Jesus with your heart, mind, soul and strength? Really think about this last question. Some of you say you love God with your heart even though your entire life seems to say you love the devil. Loving God with your heart alone is not what is asked of us. We are called to also love Him with our minds. Is your mind in love with Jesus or with lust, hate, adultery, perversion, sexual deviance, immorality, greed, and the other worldliness? Do you love God with your entire soul? That is your emotions, your will and your intellect! And do you love Him with all of your strength? Strength is what you are good at! Strength is what you put your effort into. If you do not love Jesus and have not really given your life to him, start with that. Give your life to Jesus.
What about those of you who are sure that you love Jesus, but you fail often. What about those of you who love Jesus, but find yourself under the power of the devil all the time? What about those of you that have examined your heart and you know that you are in the faith, but you feel almost possessed by the devil? You are haunted in the night with demonic dreams? You are paranoid and always under anxiety, depression and fear? If you are not of this world, untouchable and covered by the blood of Jesus, then how on earth can the god of this world touch you? Do you know that you may have invited Satan into your life without even knowing it? The scripture says, “Give no place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27). This means that it is possible to give the devil place in your life. This means that as a Christian, Satan can have a foothold and have the right to attack you and to torment you. In order to get the full picture of how a Christian gives the devil access into their lives, I am going to ask you to read the entire passage here in Ephesians 4:17-31 (NLT)
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. 28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. 30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Wow! There is a long list of things that are in the context of not giving the devil a foothold. It would be redundant to relist them all, but I will quickly summarize the notion. It talks about lying, continuing to be angry after the sun goes down, using foul language, being deceptive, lusting, living like the world, using harsh words towards people, speaking abusively, and hanging on to bitterness. People say to me, I have told the devil to leave me alone. I have resisted him. I have rebuked him, but he keeps tormenting me.
You do not yet understand the scripture. The command of scripture is not to “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Someone will say, “yes, it is. That is exactly what the Bible says. I will invite you to read it again. It is found in James 4:7 and it says, “Submit yourself therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Satan only has to obey you to the degree that you have obeyed God. If you are not in submission to God, the devil has a right to hang around and do as he pleases. The scripture says that where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and EVERY EVIL WORK (James 3:16 KJV). Imagine that for a second. Every evil work. I want you to imagine what every evil work looks like. There is a lot of evil in the world and the Bible says that when you walk in strife or in envy you invite confusion and you invite every evil work into your life. Is there confusion in your life? Maybe it is time to clean spiritual house. One translation of James 3:16 says, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be DISORDER and every VILE PRACTICE” (ESV). Yet another translation says it like this, “For where jealousy and self-interest exist, there will be disorder and every EVIL THING” (Berean Literal Bible).
Can a Christian have a demon? Well, it depends on what you mean by “having a demon.” A Christian can have whatever they want. If you want a demon, you can certainly have one. But if you mean, can a Christian be possessed in his spirit? The answer is no. A Christian is a new creation where the Holy Spirit dwells. We are a complex being, but we are not a duplex being. There is only room for the Holy Spirit in our spirit. But remember this, a Christian is a spirit, soul and a body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Satan cannot inhabit the spirit of a Christian, but what about the soul (mind, will and emotions) and what about the body? Think about this, when a bug man comes to your house, he does not spray you with bug spray, he sprays your house to get rid of the bugs. We are a spirit; we have a soul and we live in a body. Our body is not us; it is only the place we live. Our soul is not the real us, it is how we connect with the world around us. When Satan comes to attach himself to our soul or our body, this does not mean we are possessed. The real us is our spirit. Our spirit is untouchable by the devil. But if we have invited Satan into our lives, we must use the word of God to rid ourselves of the devils that have attached themselves to our soul or our body. Just as the bug man is not spraying us to get rid of bugs, he is spraying our house; sometimes we must take the word of God to our house, our body and the soul that contacts this world. We must put our mind, will and emotions under the control of the Holy Spirit and we must submit ourselves to God entirely. After we have done that, resist the devil and he will flee from you. Tell the devil to leave your house, to leave your mind, to leave your will, to leave your emotions, to leave your body in the name of Jesus. You are not of this world. You belong to Jesus Christ. Therefore, honor God with your body and all that is within you. Submit to God totally and you will have the right to stand against all the tricks of the evil one. Stand firm in the strength of God and never again walk in torment. You are free because the Son has set you free. It is now time to act like a free person. Rejoice, you are His and He is yours.
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President, Agape International
Until Every Tribe Has Heard