Pierre Teihard De Chardin wrote, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Although that quote is not technically accurate—we are both human and spiritual beings—it captures an absolute truth.
There is a fifth dimension beyond what we can see. The fifth dimension is not The Twilight Zone but the spiritual world where God, Satan, angels, and demons reside—and it’s a world that impacts our lives every minute of every day.
1. Our Spiritual Adversaries: Demons
Demons are angels. They’re just fallen ones. So if our angelic allies are formidable—and they are—then our demonic enemies are.
As with all warfare, the key to defeating demons is intelligence. The more we know about our enemies’ battle strategies, the better prepared we can be to defend ourselves. So we need to understand the influence demons can have over us.
- Demons Attempt to Lead Unbelievers Astray (Deuteronomy 32:17)
The twisted irony is that even though demons recognize the truth about Jesus, they aim to lead people as far from the truth as possible. Their work in the lives of unbelievers is to exploit and redirect the innate human desire to know God and worship something greater than ourselves. Their first action is to lure people away from the true God using false gods.
An even more insidious way that demons lead unbelievers astray is by subtly tweaking aspects of the true gospel. For example, in the first-century Galatian church, a group known as the Judaizers taught that a person had to trust Christ for salvation and keep the Old Testament law through circumcision and dietary restrictions. Doing all those things would lead to eternal life, they said. They lied. Theirs was a false gospel denying Christ’s death and resurrection sufficiency. It added to the simple gospel message that salvation is by faith in Christ alone. If you think you have to trust in Christ plus do anything else for your salvation, then you’re being deceived by demons.
- Demons Attempt to Harm Believers
Of course, demons aren’t content merely to focus on unbelievers. Satan, their master, has a plan for believers as well—one his demons are only too happy to carry out. If Satan can’t rob your soul for all eternity, he wants to destroy every good thing in your life. Let’s look at five methods demons use to accomplish Satan’s plan:
- Demons can work through nature (Ephesians 2:2)
- Demons can work through physical illness (2 Corinthians 12:7)
- Demons can work through mental illness
- Demons can work through suicide (Mark 9:14-29; John 8:44)
- Demons can work through people (Luke 4:31-36; 40-41)
“Demon-possessed” is not an accurate term for Christians. To possess something means to own it. Christians can’t be owned by demons. Look again at Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:13, “Having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
The moment you trust in Christ as your Savior, you receive the forgiveness of your sins and the sealing by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s stamp of ownership on your life. And God doesn’t believe in joint ownership. He doesn’t share His possessions with anyone. If God owns something, no one else can own it. That means demons can’t possess believers.
The same is not true for unbelievers. Satan and his demons possess every person who the Holy Spirit does not seal. We’re not born into this world as free agents. We’re born into Satan’s kingdom, and he has ownership over every person in it. Only through Christ are we rescued from the kingdom of darkness and placed into the kingdom of light.
3. A Strategy For Spiritual Victory (1 Peter 5:8-9)
What is God’s remedy for people—either non-Christians or Christians—to be free from demonic influence? Are there some cases of demon influence so severe that they demand extreme actions like an exorcism—a ritual that casts out demons from the lives of individuals?
Let me explain three reasons why exorcism is neither an appropriate nor effective way of dealing with demonic influence:
- The gift of exorcism is attached to specific individuals (Matthew 10:1-4)
- The gift of exorcism is rarely mentioned in Scripture (1 Corinthians, 1 Timothy, Ephesians 6)
- The gift of exorcism has limited effectiveness across time (Luke 11:24-26)
The most effective way to neutralize demonic forces in our lives is to limit their staging area. We do that by placing every part of our lives under the Holy Spirit’s control. We’re putting a key battleground in play if we insist on holding back anything from the Spirit’s power. We’re allowing demons to establish a foothold in our lives.
We must resist the urge to hold back certain areas of our lives. We must be willing to give the Holy Spirit to all of us. And it’s a decision we must make every day—multiple times a day, if necessary. Because the temptation to grab the wheel never goes away. Demons looking for a way into our lives will try to convince us that we’re capable of handling our finances, resisting sexual temptation, or controlling our anxiety without the Spirit’s help.
We must continually examine our motives, aims, and priorities to ensure that every bit of our lives remains under the control of the Holy Spirit. That’s how we emerge victorious from the cosmic battle in which we are engaged.
Full Passage: Hebrews 1:13-14