It’s not popular anymore to believe in the devil and I understand. If we blame the devil, we don’t take ownership and responsibility for our actions and that’s just wrong.
Instead we say, “The devil made me do it.”
In some cases, I believe this could be true. But not most cases. In most cases, we are still very much in control of our wills. And only when we’ve given ourselves over and over again to opening doors of darkness and inviting the devil in do we begin to surrender our control. (Thus, Jesus taught us to cast out demons. Mark 16:17.)
In America we’ve romanticized the demonic in movies and desensitized our minds to the possibility of real demons. If you visit the darker places in the earth today, most people don’t question the existence of the spiritual world and demons are just as real as angels. The barbaric acts of torture, murder, child sacrifice and sexual violence are without a doubt demonically inspired. The level of heart and mind depravity in getting further and further from the love and light of God knows no limits. Can we not see this in wars and chemical attacks and sex slavery and child abuse?
The devil is all things dark and scripture tells us plainly, “The thief (devil) comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. ” This is Jesus talking in John 10:10. Jesus not only told us about the devil, He told us He is the answer to the devil. And anytime we talk about the devil, we better be talking about Jesus louder and clearer.
Jesus didn’t leave the devil out of His story but He defeated the devil in the story. He didn’t shield us from knowing the devil is real but told us that we too have power over him. My understanding and my conviction when it comes to the devil is to neither exalt him or ignore him. Sometimes the devil needs to be dealt with and we must not be afraid in Jesus Name to deal with him.
When the devil came to Jesus after His forty day fast in the wilderness to tempt him, Jesus used scripture to resist him. (Luke 4:1-12) The devil finally left him alone. The devil still comes to tempt us in various ways but Jesus provides the way to escape those temptations through God’s Word and our faith in Him. Simply put, our Father, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are bigger, stronger and more powerful than spirits that come in the form of fear, jealousy, anger, lust, rage, perversion…you name it, it’s got to go when we speak the truth of His Word and Name.
Jesus not only used Scripture when personally approached by the devil, He also cast out demons in others who the devil already gained access to. To ignore the devil because we are afraid or to deny he exists is to shrink back from the command “These signs will accompany those who have believed; In my name, they will cast of demons….” Mark 16:17
Before we start casting out demons, however, we need to look at Acts 19:11-18. We don’t just use the name of Jesus like it’s magic. To have power using His name, we first have to be joined in His name with Him. We have to know Him and be known by Him. When these men, the seven sons of a Jewish high priest, tried to cast out demons they were mocked by the demons who said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” These demons weren’t threatened by someone who wasn’t a true follower of Jesus. I mean if you don’t know Him, don’t mess with demons, okay? These brothers ended up getting their butts kicked.
I’ve believed in real demons since I believed in anything spiritual. Though I don’t fear them, I’m aware they try to provoke fear and anxiety in the human heart. I minister often to people who are bound in fear but don’t know they don’t have to be. It’s not always as simple as saying, “Use the Name.” (See the Acts 19 passage) In fact, it’s irresponsible at best to assume someone truly knows and is known by His Name. We must start there. We don’t send people to battle unless they have the proper “clothing” or armor on. Jesus not only clothed us, He stripped the demonic powers of hell by publicly shaming them when He shed His blood on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins. (See Colossians 2:15)
As God’s children, we now have access to the same power that rose Jesus from the dead and defeated demons. In fact, that power lives in us. But IF we don’t know and don’t believe it, demons can lie to us and we will believe them. All they have to do is to get us to believe lies about their power and we will shrink back.
I know it’s not trendy to speak of demons but Jesus spoke of them, defeated them and told us to use the authority He has given us to casts them out. He showed us the truth of God will overcome temptations the devil tries to entice us with. I’ve learned to make my conversations very short with the devil and bring to his attention the blood of Jesus that defeated him.
The devil wants to play mind games and we can’t go there church. We are told to renew our minds in the truth so we can discern what is God and what is not. The devil never comes with a pitch fork and horns. He comes with the thing we would be tempted to leave God for. And if he can get us to take one step at a time away from the light and love of Jesus, he eventually goes for the jugular.
For full disclosure, I can get caught off guard at times (Usually dreams) when demons try and evoke fear in me. I recognize it as soon as my heart races, and then it’s quickly over. When we know Him and are known in hell because we carry His name, they flee when we use His Name.
If we are going to go into the dark places of the earth and the dark places of the human heart to deliver hope, we can’t go with fear. We must go with the perfect love of Christ (Perfect love casts out fear 1 John 4:18) and speak of the Good News. The Good News of His Cross, His Resurrection and our freedom. Easter is coming up and I pray His perfect love will be revealed to your heart even greater than you’ve ever known. I pray it goes beyond just another Easter and your heart is deeply moved at the love and sacrifice Jesus made on your behalf. Maybe so deep you cry again. Because He loves you…really, really loves you. Let it go deep. Let it wash away every fear, every lie and every ounce of shame that would keep you from Him.