11. Breaking Free
Demonization is more than just vain imaginations and false arguments or lies that a believer may be partaking in. While such lies may become an entry point for the establishment of a stronghold in a believer, it can be demons that are influencing or controlling the thoughts and actions of the person.
Just because we get saved, water baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit, the enemy does not declare us "off limits"! No, because we are in a war, such actions only paint a target on us.
It is not the knowledge of Jesus, nor of understanding out identity in him, that frees us from sin, but it is the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul says he did not come with the persuasive words of men but with the demonstration of power.
The power of the Holy Spirit must be exercised against our enemy the devil and his demons. We do so in spiritual warfare. Sometimes this is through the renewing of the mind. But sometimes we must engage in "hand-to-hand" combat with our foe, who are real entities - not just figments of our imagination.
Deliverance is such hand-to-hand combat, and it is primarily for believers. After all, someone who is not in Christ who has a demon cast out of them is not free at all and in fact is open to worse demonization than before!
The bible demonstrates many places where Christians are demonized as well as non-believers. We must be vigilant and ready to take on our enemy whenever and wherever he appears.
In this conversation we are going to talk some more about the struggle with sin and defeating it.
We are going to start by reading through a long passage of scripture:
"So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?..."
Who is writing this? Paul
Who is he writing to? The believers in Rome
As a believer he is saying "Because I am a believer and love God's law I hate it when I break His law. But when I do, it isn't me - but sin at work IN me.
"...Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit..."
So the power of the Holy Spirit is required to do what no amount of knowledge of God, nor love of his ways was able to accomplish - to live in righteousness. But that righteousness does NOT come from being free from sinning any longer. It comes because God declares us free from the judgement due to by Jesus satisfying that judgement as the sacrifice for those sins. So even when we do sin, there is no judgement!
"...Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God."
So sin remains at work within us - that is why our bodies die, but we are no longer slaves to forced to follow the dictates of that sinful nature - the power of the spirit frees us to choose.
Notice that it is the POWER of the Spirit of God that brings our freedom, NOT the KNOWLEDGE of Jesus, or our identity. And this is what Paul is saying. DESPITE his knowledge of and love for God, it was only the POWER of the spirit that allowed him the freedom to choose.
It is Power not Knowledge that brings Freedom
Paul understood this. This is why everywhere he went, his focus was on the power of the Holy Spirit - despite his incredible training in the scriptures, as a Pharisee under Gamaliel. (See Acts 22:3)
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
"When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God."
The Power brings freedom from the Lie
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV)
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."
Where is the "battlefield" in this scripture?
What is the "enemy"?
What do you think the "weapons" are?
Enforcing the Power
Jesus asked Peter "Who am I" and Peter recognised Jesus as "the Christ, the son of the living God".
"Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Jesus gives an awesome indication of the fight that was coming and the power He was going to release to His Church
He would build his church
All the powers of hell would come against it but not conquer it
He would give the keys of heaven to chuch
He would give the power to declare things "Yes" and "No" in heaven.
So there is an indication that there is MORE than just fighting against lies - there is a very real and powerful enemy at work.
Question: What "heaven" do you think is being spoken about here?
Jesus knew a war had started and was about to get bigger -
"And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it."
Question: Who is the enemy is in this battle?
1 Peter 5:8
"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."
Question: Where is this battle taking place?
The Unseen Realm
We know that it is in "heaven" but surely it can't be where God is! We actually know that in the heavenly realms, there is a contested region we refer to as the "second heaven". This is most poignantly shown in the story of Daniel.
Daniel the prophet had been praying and fasting for 3 weeks when he saw a tremendous vision that literally knocked him off his feet:
"Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.
Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”
This "second heaven" is not so much "in the sky" but is an unseen spiritual realm that exists in a higher dimension and is where we are also called now to "do battle".
"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."
The enemy we fight in this unseen realm we refer to as demons. We see them in many places throughout scripture. Perhaps the most widely known story is this one:
"So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in the tombs outside the town. As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power.
Jesus demanded, “What is your name?”
“Legion,” he replied, for he was filled with many demons. The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged him to let them enter into the pigs. So Jesus gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned. Then the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran."
There is a lot to learn from this scripture, but it is important to note that casting out demons makes up part of the mandate for every believer:
"Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages..."
"Possession" and "Oppression"
One of the questions many people ask is can a Christian be possessed by a demon? This is the wrong question.
"Possessed" is a medieval idea that has been overlaid across the english translations of the Bible. In the original Greek, the word used is simply "demonized". It makes no distinction between "oppressed" or "possessed"; whether a spirit is "around" or "in" a person. Such delineations are not helpful. The bottom line is the person is affected by demons - so lets get rid of the demons!
Homeless and Naked
Demonization can have a POWERFUL impact on a person's life. Controlling, anti-social, and life destroying practices are often signs of demonization.
Screaming and "Manifesting"
Manifesting is a term we use to describe when a demon has such control over a person that it acts out through their body. These can be sometimes be disturbing and violent experiences.
There is a misconception for some that Jesus always had instantaneous results whenever he cast out a demon. This story shows that it is not the case. We are told:
"As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him."
So first, Jesus commands the evil spirit to come out - THEN he shrieks and falls down and starts arguing. So this shows even Jesus had to contend at times to effectively unseat the demons.
Demons have personalities and even names
The demons identify themselves corporately as "Legion"
Demons can occupy animals and even inanimate objects and places
This is demonstrated by the way they first entered the pigs and then went down into the sea. Spirits dwelling in water is a VERY common concept in the non-biblical third world nations.
Deliverance is for Believers:
There are many examples of believers in the Bible being demonized:
– Peter (Matt 16:23)
– Judas (John 13:2)
– Ananias (Acts 5:1-11)
– Simon (Acts 8:9-24)
– A Corinthian Believer (1 Cor 5:1-5)
– Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:19-20)
– The whole Galatian Church! (Gal. 3:1)
“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.”
Question: What does "finding the house empty" mean?
How does a believer get demonized?
Do not give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:27)
Magic (black or “white”)
Life Circumstances (A VICTIM of Sin):
Abuse or Trauma
In these cases, being a VICTIM causes a foothold
(Ex 34:6-7; Deut 5:8-10: Sins of the father)
Family Sins, Abuses or Traumas
Sexual Abuse etc.
Demonization causes spiritual bondage the stops the believer entering into the divine inheritance and calling. These issues run deeper than believing a lie, although a lie may be at the root of the entry point of such demons. But these are not just "arguments" and "vain imaginations" as we read in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, these are spiritual entities - controlling thoughts and actions and they must be forcefully remove to allow you to appropriate the freedom that is rightfully yours.
Question: Is there anything that we have spoken about that might suggest to you that you are demonized in any area?
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