The Pursuit of God

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Better than Exorcism: Dealing with Persistent Demon Problems

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Demons are scary. Maybe when you first met yours, they put on their friendly act in order to lure you in. But at some point, they started showing their nasty side and now you’re in serious torment. Maybe demons are attacking your body. Maybe they’re attacking your mind. Maybe they’re attacking your surroundings. Whatever their methodology is, we can teach you how to deal with these persistent pests in a way that will help your soul.

When it comes to addressing persistent demon problems (PDPs), the Church can be counted on to point you in the wrong direction. Instead of teaching you how to grow through the experience, she teaches you to view the whole thing like a power struggle between God and angelic beings. The Church encourages you to be afraid, and then to imitate dark magic techniques by casting spells, wielding the power of magic charms, and calling upon powerful, more experienced sorcerers to come cast spells on your behalf. Don’t believe it? That’s because you’ve been blinded by the way the Church has dolled up her forms of sorcery. Rebuking in Jesus’ Name and shouting out Bible verses—that’s just basic spell casting. Holding up the Bibles and the crosses while you fling around the holy water—that’s just playing with magic charms. Calling the priest to come perform an exorcism ritual—that’s just networking among sorcerers. Fasting—that’s just you trying to coerce God into doing what you want. All of these theatrics are based on the same flawed assumptions that what’s happening to you isn’t supposed to be happening to you. In other words, God has dropped the ball. You simply can’t justify going through a bunch of hoopla in order to get God’s attention unless you first accept the lie that God isn’t already in control of the situation.

Thanks to the Church’s idiocy and the human lust for power, most Christians have bought into the theory that their God is some impotent ninny who has had His own creation run amuck on Him. He’s now up in Heaven feeling totally overwhelmed by the chaos that is currently happening in this world of ours, which is why it is so critical that we constantly bombard Him with instructions on how to run His own universe. “Do this. Stop that. Fix him. Save her.” How can we sincerely admire a Being who is so stupid that He takes our shortsighted foolishness for wisdom? What kind of weird trip are Christians on when they stand around singing about how God is in control when they don’t really think He’s in control at all?

How a man prays tells volumes about his theology. When’s the last time you gave God an update about the current events in your life? Clearly if you think you have to tell God what’s going on with you, you believe He doesn’t already know. So in your mind, what is God doing if He isn’t involved in every aspect of this world? Do you honestly think that a universe as complex and fragile as this one can run on some kind of autopilot? Such logic is insane. But even more insane is when we sit around telling God what to do in our lives and in the lives of others. Really?? So you want your God to take the advice of a shortsighted fool such as yourself?

If we set our egos aside for a moment, we all have to admit that we humans are a pretty dense lot. We don’t even understand how our own brains work, but we’re telling the One who created our brains about what’s best for us because we think that somehow we’re so much smarter than He is. Then when He doesn’t do what we want, we go into these bratty little meltdowns instead of realizing that maybe, just maybe, the God who created humans in the first place knows better than we do what those humans need. This is the great irony of the human race: we’ll gladly take our cars into a mechanic and admit that we don’t have the first clue how to fix what’s wrong with their engines. But when it comes to our own lives—which are far more complex than a manmade machine—we get all huffy at the suggestion that we don’t know what is really best for us. We are swift to defer to experts in the medical field, but we always act like God’s expertise is dubious at best. When He doesn’t give us what we want, we gripe that He’s against us. When He sics demons on us we rush to assume that it was some terrible mistake because God couldn’t possibly want us to be in a state of torment. Well, since when do things happen in God’s universe that He doesn’t want to have happen?

Suppose you set up a chessboard to play a game. Do the pieces get to choose what squares they will start on? No, you put them where you want them to go. After all the pieces are in place, do they start moving about on their own? No, they can only move when you make them move, and then they can only go where you want them to go. You are in total control over your own game. Well, God is in total control over His own creations and this universe is one of His creations. Nothing happens in this world that God doesn’t want to have happen, and that includes demons making your life hell.

The Church teaches you to view God as your very capable Servant. She teaches you that God exists to assist you in life and to carry out your will. She teaches you that it is possible to manipulate and coerce God into doing whatever you want if you just learn the right tricks. The Church is delusional.

God teaches that He is our Master and the Supreme Ruler over all things. God teaches that He is an autonomous Being who does not depend on anyone or anything. God says that He created us to be utterly dependent on Him in every way. Sure we have choice, but that choice is always limited to choosing between options which God has preselected for us. Heaven or Hell—these are the options God gives us in eternity. There is no other choice. We don’t have the option of making choices up just because we don’t like the ones God has put on the table. The next time someone tells you that you have free will, think about the whole Heaven and Hell issue. How free are you when all of your choices are being defined by Someone else? We are not autonomous beings. We are dependent creatures who are incapable of existing apart from God willfully sustaining us. Demons are the same—they also depend on God to sustain their existence. Like you, demons can fantasize about what they’d like to do, but the only things they’ll ever get to do are the things that God approves of. This means that whenever demons interact with you, it is an interaction that God wants to have happen. He is the One controlling what kinds of options demons have when it comes to messing with you. He controls when they can mess with you, how they can mess with you, and how long they can mess with you. Be very clear about this: demons want you dead. So the very fact that you’re reading this post demonstrates that God is continuously blocking demons from having their total way with you. Maybe the things He is allowing them to do are pretty bad. But no matter how bad they are, they’d be doing a whole lot worse if God weren’t intervening.

Understanding that God is intimately involved in every aspect of your life and that He is with you at all times is a vital step in learning how to deal with persistent demon problems. Whether or not you are a Christian, God is always with you. This theory that non-Christians are free game to demons is utter hooey. No one can touch you in this world without God’s permission—that includes both demons and other humans. You have to get this, because as long as you aren’t acknowledging God’s involvement in your life and His supremacy over all things, you are not going to learn the lessons He wants to teach you through this experience. What happens when we don’t learn our lessons? We have to keep going over and over the same ground until we choose to submit to our Teacher.

When a PDP arises in your life and you turn to the Church for help, she focuses you on the goal of making the demons go away as quickly as possible. As appealing as this sounds, it’s actually the wrong goal. The goal you should be focusing on is improving your relationship with God. This is the goal that God is focused on, and aligning with God’s goals and priorities is the only path that is going to lead somewhere productive. As long as you are working at cross purposes to God by trying to attain a different goal than He has chosen, you are going to be fighting against Him. Fighting against God is an epic waste of time, for God will not be trumped by anyone. He counters rebellion with discipline, and the longer you rebel, the more severe His discipline becomes until you find yourself dead and in eternity suffering some terrifying consequences. We’re not just talking about Hell, here. Hell is the ultimate form of discipline for the unsaved who refuse to cooperate with God on earth, but God has plenty of consequences waiting for defiant Christians as well. We simply don’t get the option of spitting in God’s face our whole lives and not paying any price for it. There is always a price.

So then, step one is to commit yourself to the correct goal: improving your relationship with God. This is the goal God is always going to be working on when He brings PDPs into your life. Step two is to be receptive to the lessons God wants to teach you through this experience with demons. Every trial that comes into your life is intentionally designed by God to change you in positive ways.

Because they’ve got their heads crammed full of bad theology, most Christian leaders are going to give you some very lousy advice when you come to them with your demon problems. The knee jerk reaction for many clergy members is to simply say “It’s because you’ve sinned.” This answer is far too simplistic. To say that your sin has brought on your PDP is to say that God is punishing you. This is when you’re told to start searching through your life for every rotten thing you ever did and tearfully confess yourself into exhaustion. You’re often told that the demons are prevailing over you because you are giving them an opening through your rebellion. Well, no, this is just human ego talking. Let’s go back to the chessboard: whose world is this? It’s God’s, not yours. No one makes a move without His permission. This business about “opening a door” to demons in your life makes the ridiculous assumption that you—a powerless dot of a creature—actually have the ability to control the movements of angelic beings. No, you don’t. You can’t even find the door to the supernatural realm, let alone open it.

Picture yourself standing in a room that has no doors or windows. You can hear demons scrabbling around on the other side of the walls of your room, but you have no way to let them into the room because there is no door. The Church teaches you that you are actually standing in a room with many doors, and that you have total control over how much access demons have to you by opening or closing those doors at will. Whenever a demon ends up in the room with you, the Church then blames you for letting the little rat in, and it’s on you to try and drive them back out with a bunch of holy rituals. But this whole idea is ridiculous, because in reality there is no door that you can open. The most you can do is lean against one of the walls and whine about how much you wish you could let the demons in to play with you. This is what is going on when people try to contact spirits through things like Ouija and séances. There are many activities we engage in which are attempts to try and bring demons into our lives. But the reality is that God is the only One who can give demons access to us.

The walls of that door-less room are like God’s continuous protection which is surrounding you at all times. When you start aggressively trying to make contact with supernatural beings other than God, God finds this irritating. Often in such cases, He will allow a demon to come into the room with you in order to teach you a lesson about how stupid you are being. When God does this, it’s like a demon is suddenly able to pass through one of the walls in front of you. Now you’re totally trapped: that nasty demon is in your face inside that room and there is still no door that you can open, so you have no way of booting the demon out. Even if there was a door, the demon is far stronger than you are and you’d never be able to overpower him. But here again, the Church lies her face off and makes you think you are some super powerful sorcerer who can triumph over demons with your great faith. You really aren’t. Demons aren’t afraid of you, they’re afraid of God. He is the only One who has the power to drive demons out of the room where you are and He will only do so when He’s good and ready. The point is this: you do not control demons’ access to you. You do not have the power to “open doors.” So the next time someone tries to tell you that you let demons into your life, you need to realize that their theology is seriously flawed.

God is the One who brings demons into your life, and He does so for specific purposes. His purposes fall into two categories: discipline and refinement. Discipline is about God spanking your rebellious behind back into alignment with Him. Refinement is about pushing obedient souls on to the next level of spiritual maturity. Either way, God is focused on improving His personal relationship with you. He is doing this to you for positive reasons—that is an essential point to keep in mind.

So how do you know if God is disciplining you or refining you? This is actually easy to sort out once you understand a few things about how God communicates. You see, when God is upset with you about something, He tells you exactly what the problem is and He also tells you what you can do to fix it. This is something you can absolutely count on God for. Contrary to what you may have been taught, God is extremely easy to succeed with and He never expects you to read His mind and figure out why He’s mad at you while He sulks in a corner.

Nothing is going to wipe you out faster than thinking God is angry with you when He really isn’t. This is why it is essential that you understand how to sort out real conviction from God from the false conviction that demons pump out. Whenever possible, demons try to impersonate God’s Voice in your mind and get you to think He’s saying things to you that He really isn’t saying. Since demons are such clever little liars, can you really learn how to see through their games? Absolutely. It’s surprisingly easy to sort out true conviction from false conviction, and we break this down for you in three simple steps in Identifying False Conviction: Three Easy Tests. A proper understanding of how to recognize God’s conviction will take a lot of stress out of your life.

If you are a Christian and God is convicting you about something, then you need to get off the stick and do it. When God is using a PDP as a disciplinary measure, He isn’t going to throw the demons off of you until you get out of brat mode and do what He’s telling you to do. Keeping unfinished business between you and the Holy Spirit is a very stupid stand to take. In this post, we are teaching you how to deal with PDPs in effective ways. Remaining in a state of willful rebellion is only going to motivate God to increase the persecution you are experiencing. Considering that this is the God who dreamt up the horrors of Hell, you really don’t want to be messing with Him. So if He’s convicting you about something, do it. Whenever God convicts us, He always makes it possible for us to return to a good place with Him immediately, so there is no excuse for you to be stalling around. We have many resources on this site to help you over the hump. If you’re feeling too chicken to do what God is telling you to do, see Confronting Your Convictions: When You Don’t Have the Courage to Obey.

Now once you have dealt with any outstanding convictions, the next step is to make sure that you are currently in a state of alignment with God. Alignment and rebellion are two opposing soul attitudes, and only alignment is pleasing to God. To learn about alignment, see What it Means to be Aligned with God.

Once you have established that you’re in alignment with God, we’re ready to talk about refinement. It’s quite possible that you were already in alignment with God when He dropped this PDP on you. If that was the case, this has never been about disciplining you—it has always been about refinement. If this PDP is just being used as a disciplinary tool, then once you get back into alignment with God and out of rebel mode, He will flick the demons off of you. God doesn’t need a priest going through a bunch of hoopla in order to throw demons off of you. Whatever you do, stay away from deliverance ministers, because those guys will only scramble your brains and make everything worse (see Deliverance Ministries: Scamming You in the Name of Jesus).

Now let’s assume that you have ruled out disciplinary issues and your PDP is not resolved. This is an extremely common situation, which is why “you must have sinned” is a really lame answer to give someone who is being tormented by demons. Sin is not a given, and even if sin is playing a role, it can be easily dealt with. Among obedient Christians, God frequently uses PDPs as growth tools. Refinement is a term we use to refer to the process of God pushing you to new levels of spiritual maturity. If discipline is a spanking, refinement is an intense workout session at the gym.   While discipline is about getting your car back onto the right road, refinement is about moving your car further down the right road that it is already on. The point is this: your PDP is not an indication that God must be mad at you. God could be quite pleased with you in this moment, and He is using demons as a tool to help you grow closer to Him.

So how does getting plagued with a PDP help you get closer to God? It’s all about correcting and deepening your understanding of truth. When we talk about your theology, we are talking about everything you believe about God. Your theology is seriously flawed. This doesn’t mean you haven’t been listening to God. The reality is that everyone’s theology has some major problems. We’re all lugging around a lot of false assumptions about God. We’re all mistaking lies for truth and truth for lies. Simply put, spiritual growth is the process by which God fixes your beliefs about Him. He doesn’t fix them all at once, for that would completely overwhelm you. Just as a five-year-old isn’t ready for a lesson on calculus, you aren’t ready to have God download a comprehensive knowledge about Him into your tiny little mind. If you’re going to thrive in your walk with God and not end up utterly confused, overwhelmed, and terrified, God needs to fix your beliefs about Him one teensy little step at a time. This is something which God thoroughly delights in doing. Nothing pleases Him more than teaching souls who are eager to learn. God absolutely loves taking care of human beings, and He finds immense delight in helping you understand more and more about Him.

If you want to teach your physics student about gravity, you can lecture him in a classroom, draw diagrams, and talk about formulas. That will certainly give him the basic idea. But if you were to then take him up in an airplane and skydive with him down to the ground, he would understand the force of gravity in a much more personal way. To God, demons are excellent tools for really drilling home certain key principles into your mind. When you are aligned with Him, God doesn’t stick you with a PDP just to torment you. Instead, His goal is to help you get a firm grip on concepts which can be very hard to get your mind around without hands on experience.

When it comes to thriving in your walk with God, some truths are more critical than others. Understanding your absolute dependency on God is one of these more critical truths, and saddling you with a PDP is an excellent way to help you grasp this concept on a core level. As obvious as it should sound to say, “We can do nothing without God”, the reality is that Christians work overtime to downplay their dependency on God. Humans are very prideful creatures and we lust after control and power that we will never have. We fight intensely hard against accepting just how utterly dependent we are on God. The way we direct God about in our prayers, the way we treat the Bible like some contract that He is bound by, the way we fast and go through other holy motions to try and get Him to do things—these are all ways of trying to assert our independence and reject our role as servants. We don’t want to serve, we want to lead. Dependency and submission are two concepts which our pride really gags on, yet these are concepts which we must learn to embrace if we are going to thrive in our relationship with God. By plaguing us with an upsetting PDP, God forces us to acknowledge how frail and powerless we are. It is so beneficial for the developing Christian to experience rebuking his brains out only to have demons laugh in his face, totally unaffected. We must get a real faceful of how impotent we are. We must be forced to see that we are totally at the mercy of a God who will not be led by us.

If God were to always drive demons off the moment you command them to leave, you are guaranteed to conclude that you are the one causing them to leave. All of this guff in the Church about prayer warriors, powerful intercessors and the power of faith is nothing more than humans running amuck with the notion of being in control. We are not in control. God says this over and over, but we don’t really believe Him until He sics demons on us. When all of your prayers, fasting, and other rituals accomplish nothing and all of the so-called experts in the Church are tossing up their hands in defeat and saying you’re a lost cause—that’s when you’re in the perfect position to get over this crippling delusion that you are in control.

God will not be led by us. But we will not really believe this until He puts us into situations where we are desperate for help that He refuses to give us. It’s ideal if such situations involve God not doing something which we are certain must be in His will—such as healing us from some disease or throwing demons off of us. Remember, your theology has some serious flaws in it and God is in the process of fixing those flaws. The topic of God’s will is one that we all start off massively confused by. The Church really leads you astray by teaching you it’s not God’s will for there to be evil and suffering in the world. Some denominations really push for the idea that it’s not God’s will for Christians to ever be sick, poor, or miserable. Such things are absolute lies, and when we go through life totally confused about what God’s will for us is, we end up with all kinds of problems. Wrestling with a PDP is a great way to realize that God’s will is a lot more complex than you’ve been led to believe, and this kind of realization is going to do a lot to strengthen your bond with God.

PDPs are great ways for God to work on correcting false beliefs that you have about Him. But in the process of showing you what’s wrong with your thinking, God also shows you what’s right, and then He uses PDPs to challenge you to rehearse the new truths He is revealing to you. For example, most Christians have enormous difficulty believing that God is really in control and that He is good. They claim to believe these things with their lips, but they don’t really believe them, which is why their prayers are so filled with angst and criticism about the way God is running the world. When you’ve got demons in your face freaking you out with their antics and God isn’t rushing to throw them off of you, suddenly you are going to find yourself seriously questioning God’s Character and His control over the situation. After all, does a good God really let demons torment His obedient kids? Yes, He does. Trying to measure God’s goodness by the kinds of the trials He brings into your life simply doesn’t work. God works on the principle of “the end justifies the means”. This means that you’re often not going to see what’s so good about God’s methods until He makes a certain amount of progress. What we can tell you is this: when you are aligning with God in the midst of your PDPs, you’re going to end up looking back on them as experiences that taught you critical truths about God and greatly strengthened your personal bond with Him.

PDPs are not signs that the universe is spinning out of control or that God has turned His back on you. PDPs are critical opportunities to grow closer to your Creator, and you get there by focusing your energy not on a bunch of religious rituals, but on praying a prayer like this:

“God, I know that You have brought this trial into my life for a good reason. Help me to learn everything that You want to teach me through this. I want to grow so much closer to You because of this. Make me all that You want me to be.”

A prayer like this is a billion times more effective than shouting “In Jesus’ Name, I rebuke you!” When you rebuke, you’re just trying to escape discomfort and you’re not open to learning anything. When you pray something like the prayer we suggested, you are submitting to God’s will for your life, and you’re trusting in the critical truths that God is for you, that He is in control, and that He wants to draw you closer to Himself.

Suppose God were to materialize in your bedroom and say, “I’ll throw the demons off of you right now if you want, but if I do, you’ll never learn certain things that I wanted to teach you and you and I will never be as close as we could have been.” What would you say? Is momentary relief really worth missing out on some eternal gain? God is for you and there is so much that He wants to give you. But He’s not going to give it away for free—you have to choose to cooperate with His program, and that means submitting to His Authority in your life and putting His wisdom above your own. Of course we want the demons to leave—demons are terrifying monsters and they make us feel vulnerable, weak, and helpless. Demons tell us that we are all alone and that the only reason they are in our faces is that God has left us. But demons are chronic liars. The truth is that God is with us, and that He wants to use our PDP to unearth some fabulous spiritual treasures that will eternally change our dynamic with Him. Don’t settle for spending all of your energy searching for the quick fix. Choose to go for the higher prize and ask God to help you get the most spiritual gain out of this experience. When we align our goals with God’s, we end up in such an awesome place.

It’s a given that God will oust the demons once they have served their purpose in your life. Trying to push His schedule up is the wrong focus. You need to grow from these experiences, not just run from them. Choose to trust God. It’s a decision that will change your life.

FURTHER READING:
Spiritual Bondage: Exposing the Scam
Spiritual Warfare in the Church: Delusions vs. Truth
The Spiritual Benefits of Being Trampled by Demons
Demons Cannot Control Your Prayers
Satan: Q&A
Mind Wars: Defending Against Demonic Voices in Your Head

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