HOW TO DEFEAT DEMONS
By Rev. Jim and Carolyn Murphy
PART TWO - LEARNING ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE
CAN A CHRISTIAN HAVE A DEMON?
For the purpose of this book, I use the term “possessed” to indicate that a demon(s) has complete control of a person. The demon has total control of that person’s body and mind. That control includes control of the person’s will.
By the term “oppression” I mean that a demon(s) has partial control of a person, usually in one particular area of his or her being. It may be a part of the body, part of the mind, part of the emotions, or whatever. (See Pastor’s Questionnaire, Question 13, Page 38). But the demon does not control the will of an oppressed person. This happens only to the possessed. Oppression is often manifested by an illness, a physical problem, or a personality disorder. It can cause confusion, depression, anger, faithlessness, obsessions, and all sorts of problems in a person’s life. Note that these problems don’t begin immediately. It usually take years for them to manifest. (Again, I want to make it clear that all who have such problems are not necessarily oppressed by demons. There are also valid, natural causes for these conditions. Remember, seek the Holy Spirit’s wisdom in all instances.)
There is ongoing debate in the Western Christian world as to whether a Christian can “have a demon.”
Some believe and teach that a Christian can’t have a demon. This is usually “proven” by the following statement: “The Holy Spirit lives in you, and two spirits cannot occupy the same place.”
If that statement were true the devil could not exist. Why? Because God is Omnipresent. He fills the entire universe. Not only could the devil not exist, but we couldn’t exist either because we also are spirit beings! Obviously the demonic forces do exist and so do we.
The problem with the doctrine that a Christian can’t have a demon is that it leaves its followers in a lose-lose position. When they encounter a Christian with demonic oppression or possession, they must say that either he is not truly born again, or that there is no demon present. If they know the person is truly born again, then they must deny the presence of the demon. Why? Because the presence of a demon doesn’t fit their doctrine. Either way the demonic oppression in the believer’s life remains.
Let us suppose a Christian cannot have a demon. Then the only people who can have demons are unbelievers. But we are called to deliver people from demonic oppression and possession. If that call is only to the unbeliever (i.e., those possessed by a demon), then what legal right does that unbeliever have to be delivered in the name of Jesus? The answer is none! An unbeliever has no legal claim to things of the godly, spiritual realm except salvation. Once saved, then all things in God’s realm are available to that person.
So do we cast out demons only in our own authority in the name of Jesus? Yes, we can do that. People do it all the time. But the problem with that is that the unbeliever is then left empty (spiritually speaking). It is that situation that Jesus warns us against in the story of the one evil spirit that brings back seven more evil spirits than itself when it returns to find the “house” empty.
I believe demons can oppress and/or possess anyone, including Christians, even church leaders. During a leadership seminar I was teaching, a pastor came to me privately. He asked me for counsel about his need for deliverance. I asked him how he knew he had a demon. He told me that every time he began to pray the demon would begin to shake his body. He told me that when he preached his neck would swell from the demon trying to choke him to stop the word from going forth. I asked him why he didn’t get his elders to pray with him for deliverance. He told me that his denomination didn’t believe that Christians could have demons - so he felt trapped. That’s why he came to me with his problem.
On another occasion I spent weeks counselling and praying with a Christian woman who was possessed by a demon. The demon was there from birth. Every time we freed her from the demon it would return within a few days. One day I asked her why the demon kept returning. She stunned me with her answer. “I asked him to come back!”
Why did you ask him back?” I asked in disbelief.
Because never in my life have I had to make any decisions. The demon always tells me what to do. Life is easy then. Without it I have to decide everything and I don’t like that. Besides that, it’s my friend. It keeps me company.”
I truly believe she was a born-again Christian and genuinely knew Christ as her Saviour. But she had another lord! Yes, a Christian can have most anything he or she wants. That is the key - what does the person really want?