Someone asked me recently what I thought about demon oppression and their influence upon or around us. What I am going to write about this topic may seem a little weird or out of the ordinary to you but I will back much of it up with Scripture.
For starters, I certainly believe in the presence of the demonic. If I had nothing else upon which to base my conviction, I would point to the New Testament and note that Jesus and the Apostles confronted them on multiple occasions.
Two demon possessed men who cut themselves and cowered in a cemetery (Matthew 8:28-34)
A demon possessed man who showed up to church (Mark 1:21-27)
Demons who overpowered wanna-be prophets (Acts 19:13-16)
Etc., etc., etc.
But, I have also experienced their presence firsthand in my own life.
Let me give you a few of my encounters to show that I’m talking about something that I’ve experienced. And then let me end by saying what a Christian can do to be victorious over the demonic army around them.
A Korean Haunted House?
When I was a toddler, my dad took our family to South Korea to do mission work. My dad was able to get us into a house for a great price … because it was said to be haunted.
A banker had owned the house before us and had killed himself inside the two-story residence. It didn’t take long after we moved in until our housewives (Korean women who helped clean, cook, take care of children, etc.) left without a notice one after the other.
On one particular morning, my dad heard our front door slam. He looked out the window and saw yet another housewife leaving with luggage in hand. He ran downstairs and asked her why she was leaving. She told him about the unexplainable noises upstairs when we were at church. She also told him about the ghostly figure of a man that stood at the top of the stairs looking down at her.
There were some really strange and bad things that happened in that house. As I reflect on my memories of that place and the stories that my parents have told me about it, I believe it was because it had a very powerful demonic presence.
Demons Messing with a Church?
There was another time when I was convinced that Satan was getting a foothold in a church I was pastoring. So, I decided it was my privilege and responsibility as the pastor to do something about it. I went into the sanctuary, rolled up my sleeves, and started praying loudly and boldly in the power of Jesus’ name.
During that prayer, a very loud “boom” resonated through the sanctuary. It was as if someone had slammed a large mallet into one of the closed solid doors. I ran to look behind the door. Not only was no one behind the door, there was no one in the entire facility. I remember saying, “Satan, is that all you’ve got?!” I went back to the sanctuary and prayed with even more energy and courage in Jesus’ name.
Demons in a Pastor’s Home?
Around that time, Kim called me and said that something was wrong with Joseph. She pleaded with me to come home quickly.
When I arrived home, I immediately noticed what was wrong – Joseph was as white as a bleached sheet from his neck up. The rest of his body was normal in color, and he wasn’t in any distress. But, his face, neck, and ears were completely white.
Kim placed a frantic call to our pediatrician as I felt a deep impression that this was something else. I knelt down and prayed over my youngest son in Jesus’ name. Kim can testify to the fact that as soon as the prayer was over, Joseph’s complexion resumed its normal color.
Principles in Being Victorious in Spiritual Warfare
1. You and I have absolutely no authority over the demonic world. Left to ourselves, we would be as helpless as the pitiful sons of Sceva in Acts 19:16. So, never, ever feel proud about what you have done or can do because God may choose to humble you. As a former pastor of mine used to say, “Don’t touch the glory.”
2. The authority and power rests in Jesus alone. If you are a Christian, “greater is He (Jesus) who is in you than he (Satan) who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). So, the Victor (Jesus) who has ultimately defeated Satan is within you and has now given that authority to you (Luke 10:17-20) if you are a Jesus-follower. (Again, remember that this authority does not originate in us. We simply have access to the authority of Jesus that can only be used in the way in which He desires.)
3. To make Satan flee, simply submit yourself to God (James 4:7). That means that you place yourself completely under His authority. You live in conscience dependence upon Him. You obey His Word and repent of any short-comings.
4. Further, you need to suit up for battle. Put on the pieces of the Christian’s armor in prayer (Ephesians 6:10-18).
5. Again, let’s go back to the attribute of humility. Your confidence and victory in the battle doesn’t come from you. If you think it does, you will be setting yourself up for defeat. Your confidence and victory comes from Jesus, submitting to God, and putting on the armor that God has provided for you.
6. Finally, the warfare is done with prayer (Mark 9:28-29) and the Word (see Matthew 4:1-11 where Jesus fought off Satan with Bible verses that He had memorized). You may want to quote Scripture and pray out loud just as I did. As long as you know that you are within God’s will, use Jesus’ name to make it clear that the demons are not welcome and must leave (Acts 16:16-18).
In conclusion, I believe that some Christians are too sensational. They see a demon around every corner. Yet, other Christians don’t acknowledge the presence of demons nearly enough. Be careful not to be out of balance in your view.
But, ultimately, realize that you have no reason to fear the demonic hosts, friend. The One who is in you, if you are a Jesus-follower, is infinitely greater than Satan who is in the world. So, fight from victory. Jesus has already won. Satan is a defeated foe. Just remind him of that when its time to do battle.