Dealing with Demons (1)

The word translated “demon-possessed” really means “demonized” – that is, subject to the activity of demons. In this case, the demons actually “inhabited” the men, so “demon-possessed” is the correct meaning. Indeed, many of the Gospel accounts of demons do involve such infestation, which can only be cured by casting out the demon. In this case, the demons caused, as we have seen, mental torment, social alienation, and self-destructive behavior. Sometimes, however, demons cause other damage. Jesus delivered people whom evil spirits had rendered ill, deaf, mute, crippled, deformed, and subject to seizures. We should not think that evil spirits inflict only physical or emotional damage, however. Paul warns against those who heed “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Since Satan is the “prince of demons” (Matthew 9:34), we should not be surprised that his servants engage in the sort of deception he always has. That is why the same Apostle says that our conflict is not “against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” and urges us to “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:12, 11). In other words, whenever we are tempted to disbelieve or disobey the Word of God as revealed in the Bible, the devil and his army of demons are at work. Then our task is not to cast out an evil spirit, but to stand firmly on the truth of God. The enemy seeks to mislead us, and thus to control us. These tactics are more subtle, and thus more dangerous. To deal with demons effectively, therefore, we must recognize their various types of attack, and respond appropriately. Most of the time, that means putting on the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-20) and resisting spiritual foes with the Word of God, relying in faith on the Spirit of God, as we pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus.