Thursday, February 26, 2009



I am sure that many of you wondered if I had taken leave of my senses, when I embarked on this topic of the demonic over the last three weeks.

Someone might say: "Aren't the things called "demon-possession" in Jesus' time in the bible based in their ignorance of what was happening." For instance, epilepsy. Actually, this is a perfect illustration. Epilepsy is a real problem and doesn't have to be caused by the devil at all. However, there are cases where Jesus encountered a person with epilepsy that had its cause in the demonic. Note Jesus didn't cast the epilepsy out, but cast out the demons.

To say it isn't true, you must come to the conclusion that Jesus was ignorant about what was really happening. But that seems a bit illogical. Jesus seems to be convinced of the presence of evil in His world. In modern times I have seen the devil and his demons work in the lives of perfectly normal people. The effects are absolutely real and for the most part, real bad.

Some say Jesus was using the devil and his demons to communicate something else, maybe the truth of the effect of Muphy's Law to explain why things go wrong from time to time. Yet Jesus is clear about Adam and Eve in the Garden, about His own experience with evil in the wilderness. He warned Peter about the evil one who had requested personally to "sift Peter like wheat."

In 1983 Dr. M. Scott Peck wrote a ground-breaking book, PEOPLE OF THE LIFE: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. Dr. Peck was certainly the first popular and highly-accepted psychiatrist to write a popularized book on the subject of evil. This book gave lots of credibility to the truth of demonic activity in the lives of human beings. If you find it difficult to accept such a premise, this book goes a long way using scientific evidence to illustrate its reality.

I have seen lots of people who have become demonized at some level. Two psychiatrists in Orange County who are not believers in Jesus actually sought me out to ask me to help with cases of evil they were unable to understand. You see, there comes a point where there just isn't any other explanation of what is going on, when someone is overcome by evil and its effects.

How do you know when evil is doing its thing in your life? You can tell evil by its intent in your life. Whatever is out for your destruction is of the evil one. You can see this as you simply read the many illustrations in the Gospels where people are demonized. You just don't see any demonic behavior referenced where the person is made better, encouraged or empowered by the devil and his demons.

This can be experienced at the simplest levels. When you are depressed and thinking destructive thoughts about yourself and others, you can count on it there is a demonic participant in there somewhere. I'm not saying that the devil is the cause of everything like this. I am saying that there are many levels of problems that may come up against you-physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual. No matter what the cause of your problem, you need to have an awareness of the spiritual warfare. When I don't know whether or not there is a demonic involvement, I still pray this way: "God, if this is of you, then I accept it. But Lord, if this is of the devil and his demons, then I don't want anything to do with it and resist this evil one in the power of the name of Jesus."

There is an interesting passage Paul wrote regarding depression and sorrow. I think it's interesting how you can decipher where this depression or sorrow is coming from. Paul says: For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (II Corinthians 7:10) Sorrow from God will move you toward repentance-move you toward making changes in your life. However, the depression or sorrow from the world system always moves you toward death and dying and your destruction.

Let me offer a few suggestions for you as we summarize how to handle yourself in the midst of the spiritual warfare-a summary of the battle plan. Four things are necessary.

FIRST-Go with God! The only thing you really have going for you is that God is on your side; He loves you unconditionally. He loves you just as you are. All acceptance and approval must come from your Creator-God. So, receive His acceptance and approval!

SECOND-Gear up for battle! Walking in relationship with God does not hermetically seal you up in a mayonnaise jar so that you are protected against the evil in this world. Be careful to renew your mind with the spiritual armor of God to fight this battle. All God guides you to do He will provide protection for you in the process.

THIRD-Grow with others! Don't allow yourself to get separated from your vital support system. You need the affirmation of others in your life to encourage you and hold you accountable to being all you want to be. Don't try traveling alone. You are as sick as your secrets.

FOURTH-Guard yourself and others! Remind yourself and others of the spiritual warfare. Be ready to resist the evil one and his demons that come up against you.

If you are careful to acknowledge the presence of God and the devil and his demons in the happenings of your life, this will give you the big picture of what's really going on in the real world. Have you ever noticed how those who seem to suffer the most have an unusual perspective on life. And, for the most part, there is a deep sense of what the spiritual warfare is all about.

Some of the world's greatest men and women have been saddled with disabilities and adversities but have managed to overcome them. Cripple him, and you have a Sir Walter Scott. Lock him in a prison cell, and you have a John Bunyan. Bury him in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington. Raise him in abject poverty, and you have an Abraham Lincoln. Subject him to bitter religious prejudice, and you have a Benjamin Disraeli. Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes a Franklin D. Roosevelt. Burn him so severely in a schoolhouse fire that the doctors say he will never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham, who set a world's record in 1934 for running a mile in 4 minutes, 6.7 seconds. Deafen a genius composer, and you have a Ludwig van Beethoven. Have him or her born black in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have a Booker T. Washington, a Harriet Tubman, a Marian Anderson, or a George Washington Carver. Make him the first child to survive in a poor Italian family of eighteen children, and you have an Enrico Caruso. Have him born of parents who survived a Nazi concentration camp, paralyze him from the waist down when he is four, and you have an incomparable concert violinist, Itzhak Perlman. Call him a slow learner, "retarded," and write him off as ineducable, and you have an Albert Einstein.

The devil and his demons do a lot of damage in our world, but only God through Jesus has the last word on the ultimate results. Walk with Jesus through whatever trials come your way. Walk with others who walk with Jesus for enormous support and then leave the results of your life to Him. Evil never wins out when Jesus is present, so don't leave home without Him-ever!