The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Demonic Possession: When Should You Get Involved?

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If you can see that someone has a problem, is it your moral duty to try and fix that problem for them?  Many Christians would say yes.  God says no.  You see, God is the One dishing out the problems in the first place, and He has very strategic reasons for giving people the problems that He does.  When you then come along and condemn what God is doing, where is your respect for God’s Authority?  Where is your acknowledgement that His wisdom is vastly superior to yours?

Now we humans certainly don’t like problems, and this means that we don’t like or approve of much of what God does.  Happily, God doesn’t expect us to like what He does, but when we start setting ourselves up as the judges of His work, then He’s going to call us out on our lack of submission.  You see, it’s not our place to approve or disapprove of God.  We’re not His supervisors.  He doesn’t owe us an explanation of His reasons for doing what He does.  Certainly we will have our opinions about what God does, but while we’re busy having opinions, we also need to be embracing our place as creatures who have zero authority over their Creator.

Demonic possession is a major problem for humans.  When God allows demons to take temporary control of our earthsuits, we can find ourselves in quite a panicked mess.  Demons can make us do things that we don’t want to do, they can enable us to do things that we’re not normally capable of doing, and they can cause us to act quite crazed and dangerous.  Of course they don’t always choose to turn on the drama.  There are many factors that influence how a demon will choose to manipulate his human pawn.  In an atheistic culture like America where demon problems are often misdiagnosed as psychological disorders, it’s more strategic for demons to remain unidentified, so they tend to avoid flaunting their supernatural abilities in public.  Getting out the magic tricks is far more useful when demons are playing to audiences who are already lusting after supernatural power and chasing after the wrong kinds of spiritual connections.  In cultures where people are obsessing over spirit beings and seeking out ways to manipulate the supernatural realms, you’ll find demons acting far more dramatic.  But in cultures where the notion of supernatural beings interacting with humans is ridiculed as superstitious nonsense, you’ll find demons using much subtler manipulation tactics.  Their goal is the same in every culture: keep humans spiritually deluded.  But just as a smart fisherman knows what kind of bait he should use to lure a certain kind of fish towards him, demons have learned how to size up an individual human and assess what kinds of deceptions that human is most prone to believing.  Some of us are suckers for the classic ghost routine.  Others of us are more effectively lured by a good séance performance (see Seances, Mediums & Ghosts).  Some of us are enticed by horoscopes and fortune telling (see Christians & Astrology). Others of us are better enticed by a sensual round of astral projection (see Astral Projection: A Dangerous Delusion).  How demons attempt to toy with and torment you depends on what their personal assessment of you is.  And since they can see all of your secret fears, access all of your memories, hear all of your thoughts and accurately assess your soul’s current attitude towards God, they end up knowing you better than you even know yourself (see Can demons read our minds?).

Humans can’t compete with demons.  We’re at a complete disadvantage to them in every area that counts.  Ah, but here is where many Christians will argue that they can best demons, because they’ve got Jesus on their side.  But do they really, or is all of their confidence built on delusions?

What does it mean to have Jesus on your side?  Does it mean that you are the mob boss and Jesus is your holy Hitman who takes out demons on your say so?  This isn’t at all how things work in real life—it’s just how Christians want them to work.  But in real life Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not take orders from us, and this means that there is absolutely nothing you can do to force your Creators to flick demons off of you or anyone else.  When you go down the road of using religious props in exorcism rituals, you’re just being ridiculous.  If Jesus feels that demonic harassment is the best thing for you right now, He’s not going to make the demon leave just because you’re waving a cross around, quoting Scriptures, or flinging holy water.  When you drag some priest into your problems and ask him to boss God around on your behalf, how effective do you think that’s going to be?  God wants submission from you, and submission is a soul attitude which says, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”  Exorcism rituals have nothing to do with submission and everything to do with humans saying, “God, we’ve decided that it’s time for this demon to leave, so now You need to make our agenda happen because You’re supposed to serve us.”  During an exorcism, no one is asking God what His purposes were in allowing possession in the first place.  There’s no real respect for God’s agenda, there’s just humans rolling up their sleeves and saying, “Holy Spirit, it’s time for You to do Your thing: sic ‘em!”  And with such foul spiritual attitudes and wrong priorities being focused on, it’s hardly a surprise that so many exorcism attempts only result in more people having problems.

Career exorcists are notorious for taking the credit for something which only God can do.  Saying that you played some critical role in driving a demon out of someone is as asinine as saying you played a critical role in getting someone saved.  Humans don’t save each other, because humans can’t force each other to submit to God, nor can they even make each other understand who God is just by yammering at each other.  In the same way, humans can’t drive demons out of each other.  When it comes to what God and demons are doing in someone else’s life, your prayers are utterly useless.  When you sit around praying for God to make demons leave someone alone, or when you try to directly engage with the demons yourself, all you do is drag yourself down by veering off into a bunch of delusions and focusing on the wrong priorities.  Demons aren’t threatened by you—they aren’t threatened by any human.  When you try to face off with a demon, you’re like a kitten who is trying to take on a wolf.   You’re picking a fight that you can’t possibly win, and your enemy sees you as the impotent fool that you are.

If you want to avoid drowning in the same ocean of deluded arrogance that so many Christians are currently splashing around in, then you need to get clear on a few essential facts.  The Gods who created demons are the only Ones who have the power to flick them out of humans.  If those Gods were the sort of Beings who were willing to take orders from the specks that They create, then you actually could get your hands on all the power that so many Christian braggarts claim to have.  But since you’ll never see the day that your own Creators will play the role of your Servants, you’ve got nothing.  You’re just a powerless speck of a creature who demons are utterly unimpressed by.  You see, all of these bloated Christian egos have it wrong.  It’s not your connection to Jesus that demons fear—it’s Jesus Himself.  Your connection to God doesn’t give you the ability to control God.  Demons know this, which is why they have no fear of Christians.

All of the guff Christians fling about Satan trembling in their presence just proves how completely conned so many Christians have become by demons.  You see, demons love it when humans set themselves up as being “experts” about creatures who they know so little about.  Start paying more attention to what Christian prayer warriors, intercessors and deliverance ministers preach on the subject of demons and you’ll find that these people all end up getting sucked deeper and deeper into a useless obsession with trying to track, identify, sense, and manipulate supernatural beings.  Christians who refuse to listen to God’s warning not to focus on supernatural beings other than Him soon discover that the more they obsess over demons, the more those demons start interacting with them.  The humans start having more and more demon sightings, and while they foolishly interpret this as evidence of how “dialed in” they are to the supernatural realm, what’s really happening is they’re becoming increasingly duped by the most basic of parlor tricks.  Demons love it when Christians focus on them, talk about them, obsess over them, and rebuke them.  They love this baloney about Satan trembling in our presence, as if he actually considers us to be God’s handlers.  Soon we’re such spiritual nimrods that we actually think the Holy Spirit is the One throwing us onto the ground and causing us to convulse, laugh, bark, and vomit uncontrollably.  We can’t tell a movement of God from a movement of Satan, and yet the stupider we get, the louder we boast of our great spiritual wisdom (see Is getting drunk in the Spirit worth an eternal hangover?).

INTERACTING WITH POSSESSED PEOPLE

The only reason you’re currently able to focus on what’s being said in this post is that God is currently holding demons off of you.  Were He to ever let them have their total way with you, you’d die some long, hideous death and be transferred out of this dimension.  Demons don’t want you here.  They’d much rather know that you were in Hell being eternally tormented by your Makers for your refusal to submit to Their Authority.  If they know that you’re heading to Heaven instead, then they want to get you there pronto so that you can no longer have any time to please God with your soul choices in this world.  The fact that you’re still here is annoying to them, and they want to make your life as miserable as possible.  If you’re not currently miserable, you have only God to thank for that, not your prayers or your non-existent spiritual prowess.

In case you haven’t figured out what we’ve been trying to say so far in this post, here it is in a nutshell: get over yourself. This is the first critical step in interacting with demons in a way that honors God.  The reason we’re so ego smashing in our discussions on spiritual warfare is that bloated egos abound in this field.  It is nearly impossible to find God-honoring teaching on this subject, because really honoring God means that He is the only One being exalted.  When Christians teach about demons, they spend far too much time exalting themselves and demons while God is reduced to some kind of stage prop.  And yet the truth is that God is the true Star of all demon encounters.  God is the One who controls all demonic activity, and if you’re not focusing on Him, you’re going to do it wrong.

Now as we said at the beginning of this post, God is the One who dishes out the problems in every life.  He’s not just a blessing dispenser, He’s also the Creator and Director of all trials.  Getting possessed or intensely harassed by demons is just one of an infinite number of trials God can saddle someone with.  When you come across someone who is being persecuted in this way, what would be the God honoring response?  Well, before you start trying to interfere, you need to ask God if He even wants you getting involved.  Most of the time, God is going to tell you to stay out of it and mind your own business.  This will come as quite a shock to those of you who have been hanging out with fatheaded Christian prayer warriors who make a career out of telling God what to do in other people’s lives.  And of course the problem with all of these fools is that they are ignoring that first critical principle of spiritual warfare: get over yourself.  Instead of facing the fact that they are powerless specks who are totally incapable of helping God manage demonic activity, spiritual warriors never tire of boasting about the mountains they’ve moved and the strongholds they’ve flattened.  If you are serious about honoring God, then it’s time for you to ask Him what He thinks of humans elevating themselves as His indispensable assistants.

So then, in most cases of demonic harassment and possession, you’re not going to have any role to play, because God is going to tell you to butt out.  Once you get over yourself, you won’t get all huffy when God tells you to stay out of a situation.  Instead, you’ll be glad to stay out it, because engaging with demons is like leaping into a stream of molten lava: unless a miracle happens, you’re going to die an ugly death.  Contrary to what so many spiritual morons will tell you, there is no skill you can acquire that will enable you to hold demons at bay.

Now many Christians delight in the idea of engaging with demons because they see the whole thing as a chance to star in some show that God puts on.  They want to experience the rush that comes with being up close to creatures who could mop up the floor with them yet are not being allowed to because God is forcing them to stay back.  Well, once again, this glory craving crowd is disregarding that first critical rule of engagement: get over yourself.  God doesn’t set up demonic dilemmas as shows for you to star in.  God isn’t interested in making you look good, He’s about exalting Himself.  When you rush into possession situations and hope that God will back you up with some miraculous performance, you’re just begging for God to sick some demon on you and give you a thorough going over.  Don’t try to steal the stage from God.  That’s beyond stupid. God isn’t neutral on the glory issue, He’s a very egotistical Being who has an insatiable appetite for praise and worship.  When you start trying to steal His thunder, He will retaliate, and His form of revenge will catch you totally off guard.  If you’re no match for demons, you’re certainly no match for God, so let’s remember that first golden rule of engaging with demons: get over yourself.

So then, in most cases of demonic harassment and possession, God is going to tell you to stay out of it, and that means you are to stay entirely out of it. Don’t go off and start praying for the person, because praying for someone else is just your way of instructing God on what He should do, and given what an ignoramus you are on spiritual matters, why on earth would God follow your advice?  You’re not God’s advisor, judge, or critic, so when He tells you to stay out of it, you need to stay completely out of it.

Now should the rare occasion arise when God actually tells you to get involved with someone who is being tormented by demons, you need to be very clear about exactly what God wants you to do before you act.  Since God is not your Servant, you need to be very cautious about confusing what God is actually saying with what the Church has told you to expect that God would say.  Is Jesus really telling you to boil up some holy water, or are you just doing that for your own benefit?  Is Jesus really telling you to wear a cross and bring your Bible, or are you just trying to surround yourself with comforting props?  Don’t bring anything to the scene that God hasn’t authorized you to bring.  While God does sometimes choose to work through props, you need to empty your brain of any belief that the prop itself contains power, because it doesn’t.

Honoring God while engaging with demons means you are embracing your place as a powerless nothing and focusing on God as the One who is controlling every aspect of the situation.  Demons do not control these situations.  No matter how much of a fuss they make, they’re not going to be able to do anything to you or their human pawn that God doesn’t want them to do.  In cases of demonic possession, you should never view yourself as someone who is going to help oust or restrain the demon.  You are utterly incapable of assisting in these matters because God simply hasn’t equipped you with those kinds of abilities. The most you can do is function as a living prop in God’s show.  There is no rule that says God promises to keep His props in good condition, so when God calls you to get involved, you need to realize that His call doesn’t come with a bunch of guarantees about your safety and well-being.  You simply don’t know what God is planning when He tells you to interact with a possessed person.  Maybe you’re going to be the one that gets chucked across the room because God wants other people to get an eyeful of what demons are capable of.

When we first sign up to serve God, of course we’d prefer the glory jobs.  But in real life, serving God results in a wide range of experiences, and many of them are quite unpleasant.  If you’re going to engage with a possessed person, you naturally want to be the untouchable exorcist who makes the dramatic declaration and sees the demon leave at your command.  This is the kind of show your ego would prefer, but God will probably have something quite different in mind.  Perhaps He’s planning to let the possessed person attack you in order to further your own education about how dependent you are on God to protect you.  Here’s one thing that you can know for certain: if God is telling you to get involved, then there is going to be a spiritual lesson that He wants you to learn.  It won’t just be about the possessed person.  It won’t just be a chance for you to play the hero.

We all need continuous education from God, and there are many fabulous and humbling lessons that can be learned through interacting with a possessed person.  The more information God is willing to give you up front about the role He wants you to play, the better. But God often remains tight lipped about what His plans are, and He’s famous for springing some wild surprise on humans who are trying to obey Him.  If you’re going to do well in your assignment, you have to go into it focused on the goal of pleasing God.  It can’t be about you looking good, helping the other person, or besting the demon.  Your focus needs to be on pleasing God and getting whatever He wants you to get out of the experience.  When you make pleasing God your top priority and remember that first critical rule of engagement, then no matter what happens, you’ll end up better off for having gone through the experience.

By now you might be thinking, “Gee, I thought this post was going to be about how to exorcise demons, and instead it’s much more general.”  Yes, and this is because God is far more wild and unpredictable than Christians are willing to acknowledge.  You simply can’t assume that exorcism is the only reason God would have you engage with someone who is possessed.  Exorcism is a breeze for God: He just flicks demons out of people and the crisis is over.  If exorcism was all God was after, He wouldn’t involve you at all.  So the fact that He is choosing to involve you tells you that He has another agenda in mind.  It’s not just about freeing the human—it might not be about freedom at all.  But it’s definitely about teaching you something, and it’s your own lesson that you need to look for, not anyone else’s.

FURTHER READING:
Demons in the End Times: Understanding Possession & Exorcism
Better than Exorcism: Dealing with Persistent Demon Problems
Identifying False Teaching About Demons: Three Easy Tests
Spiritual Warfare in the Church: Delusions vs. Truth
Correcting Your End Time Theology: Revering the God of Satan

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