Category Archives: Spiritual Warfare

Influences Of The Mind

Demonic Influence vs Regular Mental Illness

I’m not about to assert here that all mental illness is demonic, however, in secular psychology it is left out entirely. Even among Christian’s we find the idea that certain mental health disturbances being related to the unseen and invisible as preposterous. Mainly most likely because of our American culture we believe such occurrences seldom exist, but in other parts of the world this idea is not as outlandish.

In Christ’s day and in Biblical history it was recorded however, so if it happened then, them why would it not now?

Paul exhorts believers to gear up for battle against these unseen spiritual enemies and forces of wickedness.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readinessfor the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith,and with it you will be able to extinguishall the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,which is God’s word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

The thing about evil spirits is throughout scripture they seem to have a reoccurring pattern of tactics. I do not for one moment think all mental illness is physiological, but many cases can be spiritual.

Take King Saul as a prime example, his jealousy and disobedience opened him up to such attacks and the later part of his reign was marked by paranoid fear and jealous rage.

1 Samuel 18:10-11 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.

The king had no need to despise David, David had been loyal and faithful to king Saul in spite of David being told he would be the next king. Yet as the scriptures say, “Saul kept a jealous eye on David.”

So one way evil spirits can influence the mind is paranoia. Sometimes people attack those who care about them the most only out of ill suspicion and a misguided hunch.

The name Diabolos where we get the name devil means “slanderer”

The devil loves to slander and stir up suspicion and ill will among people. Not only so, the devil most enjoys slandering God to us and us to God.

Job 1, Zechariah 3:2, Jude 1:9

Lets take a look at a troubled man whom Jesus set free:

Mark 5:1-15 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.

What were the characteristics of this man?

1.) Self destructive and abusive

2.) He thought Christ had come to “torture” him. – We see the evil spirits influencing his life lied to him about the character of Christ and God. Jesus had no intention to destroy the man but set him free.

3.) This man isolated from society. – Satan loves to isolate people in bondage, even Christians, in fact he would delight to see a Christian isolate from fellow believers out of, shame, fear, guilt, or a list of other reasons. Like a lion that tries to isolate its prey from the strength of the herd so the devil and his angels seek to isolate us.

Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Isolation and darkness cause problems, often many psychiatric problems can be traced back to guilt. Guilt can weigh heavily on the mind and heart and eventually drive a person mad, in Edgar Allen Poe’s classic story the “Tell Tale Heart” the man in the narrative murders a man because of his strange eye, and if he was not a lunatic before that the guilt of murder was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Proverbs 28:17 A man burdened by blood guilt will be a fugitive until death.Let no one help him.

Psalm 38:18 So I confess my guilt;I am anxious because of my sin.

A guilty conscience can drive people literally toward insanity.

Paranoia or evil suspicion or over possessiveness can be a drain too, ever heard of a story with a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend who seems to snap and stalk or go crazy in suspicion their lover is cheating, even if it is unfounded or false. They will get sick over it, overly clingy or fly into jealous rages as eventually sanity exits the building entirely. To be so possessive to such a level that you begin to be suspicious without any probable evidence shows both a serious rationale issue and heart issue.

On the mental level the overactive out of control imagination creates fictitious incidences, and from a heart level fear has strangled the life out of the individual so as to make them place their entire trust and security in a human being as the end all be all for life, hope and security. This is idolatry and I wish I could say I do not struggle personally with these temptations but I can certainly to some degree acknowledge how strong they can be.

Not all these things are directly related to evil spiritual forces, some just spring freely out of our fallen nature and sinful brokenness. However, lets consider sociopaths or psychotic twisted killers as an example: Some individuals thoroughly enjoy torturing people and animals and get an intense thrill out of such maniacal behavior, most often the regular garden variety sinful human being does not stoop that low, but it makes you wonder if people that do go that low are no longer just feeding normal sinful tendencies but rather have given themselves so much over to their sin that they are being influenced by demons themselves.

I believe opening up doors can allow evil into people’s lives such as the occult, or unresolved anger as Ephesians 4 speaks of, as well as other sins. Unforgiveness is another terrible prison.

Strongholds can develop if we do not deal with them. Lust can be a terrible stronghold, fear, or unbelief. These all can build fortresses if we are not careful.

If we were computers, when we sin we indeed go into the unknown of the internet of life, as you all know on a regular computer you can get certain viruses from certain types of websites. Now imagine if that were true for humans, demonic influence is like computer viruses that affect our thinking and deceive our minds and hijack our thoughts.

We must as Christians not fear demons or Satan but rather have a healthy fear of God, but we do not want to mock the enemy in our arrogance either, arrogance and a prideful attitude is just an open invitation to temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.

Matthew 26:41 Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Luke 11:4 And forgive us our sins,for we ourselves also forgive everyone in debt to us. And do not bring us into temptation.”

We must pray and fight against such things whether they are sins of the flesh (the fallen nature) or whether they are attacks of the unseen.

The Paranormal vs The Paraclete

The Bible and the “Paranormal”The Truth And Myths About The Spiritual World, Satan, Demons, and How to Overcome them.

The word “Para” in the Greek means to “come along side of”- it is assumable that the “Paranormal” means to come alongside the normal. According to Scripture, demons do exist. However, also God has power to overcome these fallen angelic beings in a believer’s life through his Holy Spirit. The Greek word for the Holy Spirit was, “Paraclete” and it referred to God’s Spirit who would come alongside and indwell the follower of Christ. Jesus spoke of it in the gospels, he said he would send the “Counselor” and “The Advocate”-

The world though has spiritual entities that are not good however. God’s word has sufficient amount to teach us about the unseen spiritual realities. We need not look outside scripture for answers since God’s revelation is pure and safe. If a child asked his mother or father about some form of evil in the world, a wise and loving father or mother would equip that child to know what was necessary to avoid this evil without giving too many details that could prove to be more harmful then beneficial.
(Facts About Demons)

1.) Demons enjoy tormenting people’s minds

1 Samuel 16:14-16 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”

When Saul disobeyed God, God allowed an evil spirit to harass him. The text says, “An evil Spirit from the Lord tormented him,” However, does that mean God’s Spirit was the evil spirit? No, the Holy Spirit of God departed from Saul for his rebellion but what I am led to believe here is God gave this demon authority and permission to harass king Saul. So God ultimately was in control but is not the source of evil or to be blamed for evil spirits.

James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

Also, in other portions of scripture we see Satan and demons first get permission before they do certain things. So we can conclude that this “evil spirit” sent to “torment” Saul was not godly or wholesome in and of itself.

God gave this sinister entity permission and he was the finale authority. SEE (Job 1:6-12 ) (1 Kings 22:18-22) (Luke 8:30-32)

2.) Truth/Demons answer to God and He is more powerful then them. 

He is sovereign even over evil spirits.
-Sometimes God allows even Christian’s when disobedient to be harassed by Satan, but God uses such times to get a believer to repent. He does not do it for their ultimate destruction. When we flirt with evil even as Christians, I believe the Lord sometimes says, “Ok, you want to toy with this then so be it but I’m going to let you see exactly how evil and frightening it is.” Ideally this should get us to avoid the rattle snakes and wasps in life. There is no better deterrent at times not to pick up the stinging creatures then to actually get stung.

1 Corinthians 5:5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

However, how this manifested itself I do not know but I do know that the Lord allowed harm to come into the man’s life which in Paul’s second letter obviously worked to bring about the man’s repentance. So God sent a evil spirit on the sinning man in the Corinthian church but with good results.

3.) Myth: Demons only attack those outside of God’s will.

The truth is it is not that simple, demons and Satan do not just go after people who are in sin and what not, nor do they go after those who play with Quiji boards and dabble in the occult.
The Bible accounts for Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness 40 days. Was Christ outside of the will of God? Absolutely not! In fact many times the enemy will attack the hardest those who are a threat.

The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 had been given a “Thorn in the flesh” which he said “Was a messenger of Satan to torment him.” Paul knew he had seen some neat things and experienced great things about God that not too many had, so he said “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassing great revelations there was given to me a thorn in the flesh”

Basically, he dealt with the proverbial pain in the neck and it came with the intention to destroy him but God overruled and used it to keep Paul humble.

4.) Myth: Demons and the Devil are scary and frightening looking.

Truth be told this is not accurate, although I believe Satan and his fallen angels can appear frightening when trying to strike fear into a person, most of the time however, they will operate under deceptive appeal.

2 Corinthians 11:14-15 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Temptation is not tempting if we freak out and run from it. The devil is not going to tempt people in a counterproductive way. If we saw the vileness of certain behaviors and we were repelled by them it be less tempting then something that is palatable, but of course laced with poison.

5.) Myth: Satan tempts every Christian.

No, probably not, since he is just one being he cannot be everywhere and tempt every individual believer. However, he has fallen angels, many of them that tempt people when he cannot.

Even Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 was not directly attacked by Satan, according to my Biblical study. He said his thorn was a “Messenger of Satan” not “Satan himself”

In the New Testament, I recall Satan directly really only tempting Jesus but he also entered Judas. However, this still hinges around Christ, Judas was possessed by Satan in order to betray Christ so the protagonist which was Jesus was still Satan’s number one target.

6.) Myth: Crosses, Rosaries, incense and rosemary wards off evil spirits.

This is Hollywood nonsense, this may work if your in some cheesy movie with a Catholic Priest who comes to a house waving a crucifix but not in real life.
Biblically speaking even saying the name of Jesus does nothing unless you have a personal relationship with him and are filled with his power.

In Acts 19 there was a Jewish Priest who had seven sons and they tried to drive out demons from a man, they even said Jesus’s name but basically the demons in the man just chuckled at him and said, “yeah yeah I know Jesus and I have heard of Paul but who in the world do you think you are.”

Acts 19:13-16 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. ”

It does little good to just use Jesus’s name as some magic word. His name is not to be used in vain and He does not let himself be mocked by those who know nothing about Him and try to use His holy name as a magic wand.

7.) Myth, Demonic possession does not exist.

The thing about the word “possession” is it is not the most apt word to describe someone who has been inhabited by evil spirits. A better word is demonic inhabitation. Real fact of the matter is before any of us know Jesus Christ and have his power living in us through the Holy Spirit we all belonged to the evil one.

Ephesians 2:1-5 says “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

Jesus said, “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” Luke 11:17-26

The strong man in Jesus’s parable is the devil, but when Jesus said when he came, “But if I drive demons out with the finger of God” he implies that he is the stronger man who binds the strong man and disarms him.

1 John 3:8 tells us “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

So Christ came to reclaim what Satan took possession of. However, it is possibly for a person to be inhabited by demons. Yet no, not every unbeliever has demons living in them, and for Christians I believe it is impossible for demons to take up residence in since we have been given the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit and demons I do not for one moment think will be able to coexist in the same house.

Can a genuine born again believer be oppressed or assailed in their thinking by these enemies? Yes, I think the devil would love nothing more then to attack the way God’s people think, he would love nothing more then to render them ineffective. He would love nothing more then to entice a Christian’s flesh to respond in a way that would make non believers shake their head in disgust or think Christian’s are more miserable then lost sinners.

For example: Westboro Baptist Church holding up nasty distasteful signs. Not that I am convinced the people who do this kind of thing are truly filled with the love and grace of Christ themselves but it does not matter, non Christians still see that devilish behavior from alleged “followers of Christ” and say, “Oh if that is how God is count me out.”

So Satan enjoys anything that would paint Christ or God or Christians in a negative light so those who do not know Christ will join with him in his doom into destruction.

Satan, like a skillfully politician strategically slings mud and tries to destroy the name of the opposition, by doing so he can snag away people who might actually join his enemy, God.
One of the words used to describe Satan comes from the Greek word Diabolos, which means, slanderer.

Jesus said Satan was a liar and murderer,

John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

8.) Myth, Satan and God are equal but enemies.

False, God created Satan originally as a powerful glorious angel named “Lucifer” meaning “light bearer” however, when the Lucifer became proud and wanted to be equal to God, God expelled him from heaven and he then took up the role of the devil. God is stronger and more powerful and by no means an opposite equal.

Isaiah 14:12-15 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens;I will raise my throneabove the stars of God;I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,to the depths of the pit.

Jesus also stated in Luke 10:18 “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. ”

9.) Myth: The devil is to blame for people’s sin.

The devil and demonic forces can tempt a person to sin and do evil but a person who sins cannot blame the devil. In the Garden of Eden Eve blamed the devil for her disobedience, she basically said, “This snake here is to blame,” – it is not much different when a person says, “The devil made me do it.” Not so, the devil is the tempter and if a Christian sins it is because they believed one of his lies or just chose to disobey God. I have been tempted and sinned many times but I cannot play the game of “pin the tail on the devil”- at times it be easier if I could, but I can’t.

Also, not every temptation is from Satan or demons, we all have a fallen sin nature, and in addition we live in a world full of sin. The Bible tells us that we have 3 enemies, the world, (the systems of darkness in this fallen world) the flesh (our sin natures) and the devil (who is Satan)

So it is safe to say we often do not need the devils help finding sin, we can fall into it well enough on our own. The sinful nature entices us to blow up on that person when they cut us off in traffic or the supermarket even though we know it is neither good or wise. The sin nature can pull a man or woman into a forbidden relationship with someone who is not their spouse, or tempt them to fulfill good desires for intimacy and procreation without committing to marriage, and the sinful nature can rise up in us and make us mull over thoughts about how we are more sophisticated and wiser then everyone we are in the room with. Which is pride.

I do not need the devils help personally to sin. Not that I am proud of sinful actions or attitudes but I acknowledge I can do just fine on my own getting into trouble.
Conclusion:

The devil is not hiding in every bush or around every corner. Christian’s should not be afraid of him nor should they treat his power lightly. He is powerful but not nearly as powerful as almighty God. God has complete authority and power and in Christ we can overcome the enemy of our souls.

1 John 4:1-4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

God’s Spirit is greater and gives us power to resist the tactics of the devil. God’s Spirit is the very power we need to overcome all three of our enemies, whether it be, the world’s lies and sinful systems and ways of doing things, or whether if be our own sinister fallen selves, and last but not least, Satan.

1 Peter 5:6-9 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.