It is very obvious that our own human nature works against the purposes of God. We want what we want, and we want it now. We put off seeking the kingdom and its righteousness until we have time, and then when we retire, we say we are too tired, and where are my golf clubs? So, what actually happened when you came to Christ? Was the cross just a pit stop for your soul so you could race off and feel good about doing life your way?
The fact is, we all have our personal demons, and no, that is not just a saying that we like to turn on drug addicts and alcoholics. Demons and demonic activity are real, and you cannot call yourself a Bible-believing Christian and deny their existence and their influence.
Anyone who believes that the power of Satan was eradicated after Jesus was raised from the dead, and that exorcisms have passed away has a lot of explaining to do. After all, it was Jesus Himself who told us that one of the signs that would follow believers was that in His name they would cast out devils (Mark 16:17). The Book of Acts gives us examples of post-resurrection exorcism, and even one case of attempted exorcism that went badly.
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”
Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.
But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?”
And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Acts 19-:13-16
It is important to note that the demon who defied the sons of Sceva knew who Paul was. It could be that this was a demon that Paul had cast out of someone else. Or it might have been a demon who was a former companion of Paul’s. It may be a religious spirit that inhabited Paul before he was saved, or was influencing Paul in some other way. It was a familiar spirit because it was well-acquainted with Paul. Jesus had cast demons out of people who went on to serve Him, so this is not impossible.
There are also demons who know who you are. They have been there to tempt and torment and misdirect you for years. They know all your bad habits, your darkest secrets, and have likely helped create them. Yes, you are responsible for your actions, but let’s not forget that our motivations can be subtly influenced by thoughts that are not your own. After all, It was not Eve’s idea to eat the forbidden fruit.
Before I go any further, I just want to say that exorcism is not my strong suit, and I will not make a habit of writing about things I know very little about if I can help it. I have been on the scene of a few exorcisms, and I’ve personally vanquished some spirits of infirmity, but this does not make me an authority on the subject. The Bible is our only real authority, and I will be sticking with the less flashy spiritual warfare that is part and parcel of every believer’s life who needs to recognize the devil’s devices and resist his temptations.
James 4:7 tells us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The devil is to be resisted, not ignored. We don’t pretend he doesn’t exist. Ephesians 4:27 tells us to give the devil no opportunity, in the English Standard Version. In the King James it says, “neither give place to the devil.” I prefer that one because it underscores the fact that we can give him a place. After all, Paul is writing to the BELIEVERS in Ephesus, not the general public. Christians can and do give place to the devil, or else Paul would not be warning against it.