What do you know about the devil and demons? Some people think about them too much and others don’t think about them nearly enough. Where do you stand?
A friend reminded me of a famous quote from C.S. Lewis: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors…” (The Screwtape Letters, 1942). It is a huge mistake to not believe in them or to think way too much about them.
All three synoptic gospels include an experience Jesus had with a man we are told is possessed by demons. (Read Luke 8:26-39). This man wasn’t just possessed by one demon; he was possessed by a legion of demons. What happened when this man met Jesus? Was he changed? What does this story teach us about demons? Where do they come from? Could a believer ever be possessed or influenced by demons? How can we be protected from them?
What truths jump out for you in this story? I see seven that are pretty obvious…
Evil is very real in this world and it is scary!
Demons are present and active, doing the devil’s work, wreaking havoc.
Demons know who Jesus is and that Jesus has authority over them.
Nothing (no thing) is more powerful than Jesus.
Jesus can change anyone!
There are people who are dark, distant and fearful of Jesus.
Jesus calls believers to share what He has done and to shine light into darkness!
What are demons and where did they come from? The Bible teaches that demons are fallen angels cast from heaven for helping Satan rebel against God. (Revelation 12:7-9; Matthew 25:41)
- Demons have the ability to possess and influence people. (Luke 8:26-28) We see that in this story and in other instances in the New Testament. (Matthew 9:32-33; 12:22; 17:18; Mark 5:1-20; 7:26-30; Luke 4:33-36; Luke 22:3; Acts 16:16-18).
- Demons know that Jesus is the Son of God and that He has complete authority over them! (Luke 8:28-33; James 2:19).
- Demons know who Jesus is, but faithful followers believe Jesus is Savior and Lord. There is a difference between knowing and believing. You can “acknowledge” Jesus is Lord, but key is, by faith, believing Jesus is Lord! (Romans 10:9). This is a deep, personal conviction. You are not saved because your mother was, or because you go to church, or because you are good person, or because you donate to charity, or even because you know who Jesus is. You are saved because you confess your sin and profess Jesus is your Savior and Lord.
- Demons serve Satan on Earth by luring mankind away from God. (Revelation 12:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4). When you open your eyes, you can clearly see Satan’s influences in this world… greed, selfishness, immorality, envy, pride, hate, maliciousness, bitterness, gossip and unbelief.
- Demons can only do what God allows them to do. We see in this story that Jesus gave them “permission” to enter the pigs. In Job 1-2, we see God giving Satan “permission” to cause great heartache in Job’s life. So why would God allow that? Because God can and will use even Satan to accomplish His good and perfect will, as we clearly see with Judas.
Jesus changed this man’s life. No matter how bad or dark or depraved you think you are or you think someone else is, Jesus can change anyone! Jesus changed him and then told him to share his life-changing story!
When you believe, God will use you to offer light to those living in darkness! (Luke 8:34-39; John 1:4-5)
Some ask, if I am a believer can I be possessed? The Bible offers no examples of a Believer being possessed, but there are examples of Believers being influenced by Satan. It is imperative that you daily commit to follow Jesus, read God’s Word, pray and surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit in your life.
To protect yourself from Satan’s influence, put on the full armor of God! (Ephesians 6:10-17). We face very real spiritual warfare in this world. But remember, Jesus is more powerful than the devil and his demons! Seek Jesus daily to help you and shine the light of Christ in the darkness!
For more, click here to listen to The Jesus Experience - Part 6 - The Haunted.