Monday, January 14, 2008
Is Casting Out Devils for Today?
It is not God's will for His people to be troubled by demons
A lot of Christians get demonic vexation (oppression, harassment, torment and troubling by evil spirits) and spiritual warfare confused. Many of God's children live their lives being troubled by evil spirits simply because they think it's normal and consider it spiritual warfare. I have news for you, I see people break free from what most people live their lives battling with, because they recognized the vital difference and sought the help they needed to break free!
Contrary to what many believe, oppression is not normal and to be expected in a believer's life. It is certainly possible for a believer to be troubled by demons, but as Acts 10:38 tells us, Jesus made it clear that God's will was not for His people to be oppressed, harassed or troubled by evil spirits:
"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."
The term healing here actually includes casting out demons according to the NT Greek. It means to be made whole. Luke 8:2 shows us that Mary Magdalene was one of those that were healed from demon spirits:
"And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils."
Mary Magdalene was made whole because Jesus cast seven demonic spirits out of her.
Spiritual warfare is often blamed for many cases of oppression. Spiritual warfare includes three basic elements that we need to be on guard for and war against. The problem is, those three areas are very limited and does not begin to explain the harassment that many believers face with evil spirits. The three basic elements of spiritual warfare include:
- Temptation: This is where the enemy is known for tempting God's people, and trying to cause them to sin. The more we grow in our relationship with the Lord, the less this remains a problem in our lives.
- Accusations: This is where the devil will try to beat a person down through accusations that he throws at them. He tries to constantly beat them down because of their past. The way to overcome this is to learn that your sins, once repented of, we forgiven and no longer to be dwelt upon. They have been washed away by the blood of the Lamb, and continuing to think about our pasts is giving the devil the ability to beat you down spiritually, causing you to feel guilty and worthless before God. If you allow this to continue, eventually a stronghold will form in your mind that will need to be torn down later on if you want to experience freedom and feel clean again.
- Deception: This is where the enemy tries to deceive a person by planting thoughts in their minds. The enemy is known as the deceiver. If he can get you to believe his lies, you will feel the effects and be dragged down by those lies. I often see the enemy trying to deceive people into believing there is no hope for them, or that God is angry with them (even after they turned from their sin and repented of it). It is not uncommon for a person to have a hard time accepting the fact that they are forgiven, because the enemy has been constantly telling them that they messed up too much to be forgiven or that God doesn't love them anymore. If a person allows themselves to feed on the lies the devil feeds them, strongholds can form. Strongholds are incorrect thinking patterns, such as seeing God as a distant cold taskmaster, which makes it hard for a person to draw near to Him and have a close living relationship with Him as long as they see Him that way.
Physical warfare is when you are guarding yourself against the bullets of the enemy, and sending bullets against your opponent. Spiritual warfare resembles physical warfare in that you are guarding yourself against the fiery darts of the evil one, and tearing down his strongholds that have formed in your mind. In physical warfare there are prisoners of war (POW), where a person it captured and the enemy gains the ability to torment, harass or even kill the person. In the spiritual realm, if a person falls into temptations and takes the bait of Satan, he or she can fall into the enemy's hands in one or more areas of their lives. The enemy then has the ability to harass or torment the person. In Ephesians 4:26-27, Paul tells us not to give place to the devil through sin, and in 2 Corinthians 2:10-11, we are told not to hold unforgiveness in our hearts, lest Satan gain an advantage of us:
"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
We can expect to be thrown temptations, deceptions and accusations, but if they find themselves being troubled, harassed or oppressed by the enemy, then it's time to step back and figure out what is going out and seek the help they need to break free.
It is true that spiritual warfare can bring a certain amount of torment if the person falls into the devil's trap and takes his bait, however, spiritual warfare by no means explains the things I often see God's people being tormented with by demonic spirits. There is no excuse for a believer to have to live with demonic oppression or harassment from evil spirits.