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01.01.1970 01:0000    Comments: 2    Categories: You Asked (Text Files)      Tags:

You asked...


"Can a believer in Christ be possessed by a demonic spirit?"


Ed's response...


It is my opinion that Satan is defeated in the life of the believer because of what Christ has accomplished.  No true believer in Christ (those who possess the Spirit of Christ) can be possessed by any spirit other than the Holy Spirit. (Keep in mind that this is my opinion as many others disagree.) I do not believe that the Devil has the ability to make a child of God do anything that the he or she does not willfully choose to participate in.  Possession means control and control suggests power.  If I am made to do something that I am not a willful participant then my free will is being violated.  The Devil cannot violate my will.  Those who believe in the Lord and have become children of God cannot be possessed by any demon at any time, even though some people's experiences may appear contrary.   


It is also important to differentiate between possession (complete control over the person) and oppression (harassing, attacking, bothering etc.)  Many people report being oppressed from demons for one reason or the other whereas I have never encountered a person completely overtaken and under the control of a demon.  It is also important to note that not everything that is going on demonically within the thoughts of some people is necessarily being caused by demons that are inhabiting them.  Much goes on in the spirit world that is not considered demonic inhabitation.  Demons can implant thoughts into people's minds while residing outside of their physical bodies.  This awareness may help those who struggle with the possibility of Christians being inhabited by demons.  Just because people report hearing demonic messages in their minds does not mean that they are demon possessed.  I believe that it is even possible for demons to physically manifest (contort the face, distort the voice, etc.) through a person while residing outside of the person physically.  I would liken this to what happens in a hypnotic trance.  The hypnotist can instruct the one hypnotized to perform strange and bizarre behavior that the person might never choose to do otherwise.  I have heard that even though a person may act out on a suggestion, the acting out is never in violation to the person's will and or choosing.  I believe that some (if not most) of demonic manifestation is not inward habitation, but rather somehow "demonically hypnotically" accomplished. 


Demons can manifest in many different ways during a ministry session.  A common ploy is when it conjures up a picture of Jesus visually in the person's mind or audibly pretend to be Jesus.  A demon may provide a visual picture of Jesus wearing a bright, shiny robe and even speak "comforting" words to the person; nevertheless, he is still the deceiver if he is false.  Keep in mind that even in this form, the demon is acting within the true will of the person, providing, in some fashion, a way of escape from pain.  These false demons tend to show up when a person wants to hear truth before dealing with a memory or the pain within the memory.  The purpose of these "jesus" demons is to provide a quick and easy answer for the person apart from the difficult task of facing the pain the person is harboring.   


As people are willing to own the reality of their painful experiences and confront the false beliefs they hold, the Lord will give His peace and the pain will be lifted.  Anytime that you have a "jesus" asking to carry the lie-based pain in a person's memory, use careful discernment as to its true identity.  The best test is to get the person's permission and then command any questionable "jesus" to expose itself.  Have it reveal its true heart in light of the heart of the "true" Lord Jesus.  Or you can just command it to stop doing what it is doing.   With all of this said, keep in mind what I just said that none of these types of manifestations require the demon to be inside of the person.  All of this can be accomplished mentally through the thought process externally in the same way that a demonic spirit might speak to a believer's mind giving a temptation.


Therefore, do not jump the gun by trying to cast a demon out whenever one shows up because demons are always connected and operating on the lie-based beliefs of the person.  Another reason for not rushing in and casting out the demon is that it seems that most demonic manifestation is being accomplished from outside the person anyway.  As in other ministry situations I have described, ask the person how he feels because of what the imposter "jesus" is doing or saying. Encourage the person to follow the pain attached to the message or behavior of the demon to its lie-based source and to receive truth.  Once the person knows truth, have him resist the demon's ploy. The demon's behavior and/or message can only have impact on the person based on what the person believes.  An example from everyday life would be when someone tells you something untrue about yourself. This experience will have little impact on you unless you believe that what is being said is true.


Also know that the person can create an image of Jesus in his mind.  When a person wants to bypass pain, or get to the "truth" quickly, he may do this.  He may speak for Jesus and come up with truth himself.  To help you discern if a person is doing this, remember that an encounter with the "true" Jesus will result in the person moving forward during ministry to freedom and life transformation.  


When I am certain that I am dealing with a demon, after asking permission from the person, I simply forbid the evil spirit to interfere and command it to stand aside.  I would encourage you to always test to see if the Jesus that the person is seeing is indeed the true Christ.  Otherwise, you run the risk of allowing the person to be deceived into thinking the visual that the demon has created is Jesus.


     However, all this having been said, never forget that the demon is only present due to something that the person is holding onto and believes.  The demon is operating within the true will of the person.  Demons cannot and will not violate the will of an individual.  Demons operate in the experiential lie-based thinking of the person.  This is why the struggle is not with the demon, but with the person's will and choosing.


I do not believe any person is ever completely "possessed" - that is, completely controlled by a demonic spirit.  Although, there is evidence of demons acting out to the degree that it appeared the person was helpless.  My opinion concerning a situation like this is that the person was so deceived that he simply succumbed to the demon's desires. 


The examples in the gospels in which demonized people act out {such as the man in the tombs cutting himself (Mark 5:1-5), or the boy throwing himself in the fire (Matt.17:14-16)} does not necessarily indicate control.  Some may assume that the man in the tombs and the little boy where victims and thus being forced to do something that they did not choose to do.  People do all manner of destructive things to themselves today, but we would not say that demons made them do it.  People jump off of bridges, set themselves on fire, and self-mutilate because they choose to.  There may be strong demonic influence present, but it is not greater than the human will to choose otherwise.  This destructive behavior is not a controlled state, but a willful state of compliance with demonic thinking and suggestion.


I have encountered people who, I believe had demons indwelling their minds and influencing their behavior.  Nevertheless, the demons did not have control.  In my experience, the only control ever exhibited was rooted in the willful compliance of the person.  This made the person responsible for any demonic manifestations that occurred.  As I have ministered to nonbelievers who manifested demonization, I have found no reason to believe that they were possessed or controlled at any level of their wills.  I did see their willful compliance because they were being deceived, but their choices were still available when they wanted to exercise them.  I believe that we, as ministers/counselors, sometimes perpetuate the "victim's syndrome" with the people with whom we work.  This is especially evident as we "go to battle" ourselves in order to rescue the one held captive.  I have continually found that people find freedom from the demons in their lives as they come to know the truth and then choose God.  Choosing God in faith and trust, in the context of truth, releases all the snares of the devil.  Sometimes it may be easier to believe that we are controlled because then we do not have to be responsible; and we would also require someone stronger than ourselves and the demon to come and rescue us.  


One of the most vivid demonstrations of a person seemingly under the control of demonic spirits is seen in the Gospel account of the man dwelling among the tombs in the country of the Gerasenes:


"When He [Jesus] got out of ?the boat, immediately a man from the tombs ?with an unclean spirit met Him, and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.  Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him" (Mark 5:2-6). 


The one thing I want you to see in this passage is the last sentence: "Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him."  Here is indication of this man's free will and evidence that he was still in executive control.  If the demons were in total control of this man's doings, then they would have surely caused this man to run in the opposite direction from Jesus, but instead this man ran to Jesus and bowed down before Him.  It appears that this man had already heard about what Jesus could do, and he was seeking freedom.  It is also important to realize that Jesus would never have driven the demons out had this man not come to Him for help since this would have required Jesus to have violated the man's free choice.


Hope that this helps,


Ed Smith


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  •  Adam wrote 1917 Days Ago (neutral) 

    No new information to add here - but wanted to say Thank you Dr. Ed for the clarification and theology contained in the basic training, teachings and new book on this most important topic in the area of 'deliverance'. 

    0 points
  •  Brewer wrote 1981 Days Ago (neutral) 

    Yes this did help,brought some clarity to my thinking.

    0 points
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