Over the last few years I have met many Christians convinced that demons were tormenting them and that their behavior or thoughts were a direct result of demonic activity surrounding their life. I want to attack this idea head on.
But before I do, I want to say this: Demons are real. They really do exist and they are an aspect of what the devil has at his disposal to steal, kill, and destroy the world. They really do try to possess and oppress certain people that they have attached to for certain periods of time. I have casted out demons in people and experienced them trying to oppress my life, personally, at different times. So this post is not to discount their reality or undermine the truth that they exist and wreak havoc in the world.
BUT…at the very same time I do not want to give them more attention or credit than they are due. They are a defeated foe that Jesus dealt with fully at the cross. They have no more power than we give them. They are also finite and limited both in number and capacity. They do not have the ability to be everywhere at once, or bothering YOU consistently and indefinitely. I hate to break it to you, but you’re simply not that important! There are over 7 billion people on the planet and not an unlimited amount of demons. LOL.
Yet, even the above points are not the emphasis of my post today. My main point is this: Many Christians want to blame away their own issues on the demonic to keep from having to deal with hard stuff or take personal responsibility for their actions or thoughts. It is so easy to blame a bad behavior, habit, or pattern on some “unseen evil force” than it is to admit you are weak in certain areas and are in need of God’s grace. It is easier to point the finger at the pain of our childhood, or another person’s evil behavior, or any other seemingly justifiable example to defend our right to remain broken. Blame shifting feels a lot better than being naked before God and vulnerably admitting where you need help and freedom.
Somehow many Christians have believed the lie that God never allows bad to happen to us or would never author difficult moments in our life, and therefore any bad, difficult, or anxiety-inducing experience(s) could not possibly be from God. They simply cannot believe that God would let us feel pain. Furthermore, if He does allow pain into our lives then somehow we then reserve the right to be angry at Daddy God because clearly He has dropped the ball at being God, since we have decided for Him how He is allowed to do things.
The thing is, God never promised that we would be free from pain. He never said that life would not be hard once we were Christians. He never said that bad would no longer happen to us. He never said we wouldn’t fall apart. All He ever said was that He would turn everything we experience for our good. He never said that no weapon would ever form against us, He said that no weapon formed against us would PROSPER. He never said that we wouldn’t fall, He just said that when we fall He will catch us with His mighty right hand. He never said the fire wouldn’t come but He promised to be with us in the fire.
So why do we freak out when pain comes? Why is our faith so shakeable when we experience our own weakness? Why does everything that causes us to have stress have to be rooted in the demonic? Why are demons always after us??? Well, they’re not. It’s not that they won’t have a go at you every now and then, but you’re not always being attacked by demons just because you can’t handle life at the moment.
Sometimes the Lord allows seasons of hardship into our life because He is taking us deeper; rooting us down in Him. He is setting us free from the lies we’ve believed about Him, about ourselves, about others, and about life. And sometimes the only way we can truly be built upon the Rock is to first be crushed by it. It is the breaking down and rebuilding of who we are. It is the Wilderness seasons of our walks with God. It is the moments when we feel utterly in lack, broken, attacked, tempted to walk away, tempted to hate God, angry, anxious, lost…that God is doing His finest work. It is in those moments that we cry out “Abba! Daddy!” and explore our own weakness and humanity that He then fully invades. The moments when we realize the truth that “when I am weak, He is strong.” The moments when we decide that to be broken in spirit (or to always know your need for your Savior) is the safest place to be because from there you truly receive the Kingdom. It is the place where we come face to face with our crap and admit that without God we simply cannot do this thing called life. It is in the admitting, in the tears, in the acceptance of ones own need, that we are formed into the image of Jesus.
If my earthly dad had never let me ride my bike without the training wheels as a kid, I would never have fallen. And if I had never fallen I would never have learned how to get back up when he reached his hand out to me. If I had never learned that it’s possible to get back up then I would be convinced that to fall was the end and I would never take the training wheels off. I would never risk and instead stay immature and incapable for years and years, because of fear. Pain is a necessary part of life. It teaches us more than comfort and ease ever will. It teaches us who we are; how strong and how weak, how needy we are, how able God is and a million things beyond that. Pain is one of the most beautiful ways I have learned of Gods love for me. Because in the end, every time we suffer in life, it is chance for us to decide that much more confidently whether God is good or not. Is He still good even when everything falls apart? Is He still good when you have no one? Is He still good when you’ve lost everything? Is He still good when you have no idea what’s next?
When you know that God is good and holy and kind no matter what is happening it changes the way you look at everything you experience. It begins to be much less about how you feel or what you’re experiencing and far more about who you are becoming because of it and how intimately you are coming to know the Father. There comes a point in your life where you not only do not care whether it’s the demonic, or a person, or yourself, or anything else that is causing the suffering, and instead you simply look that much more into the beautiful face of Jesus who heals all.
At this point in my life I have stopped caring “who” sent the suffering my way because at the end of the day it had to go through God to reach me. So does it really matter who’s to blame? Not really. What matters is how you handle it and how you posture your heart towards God in the process. That will determine the time it takes you to move through it and the person you become on the other side.
There’s a lot more I could say on this topic, per usual, but I will leave it here for the moment. If you are going through a difficult trial or season at the moment I want to encourage you to stop looking at who or what is responsible and instead begin to look at yourself. Don’t get all dark and introspective, but simply look at yourself. Imagine for a moment that what you’re experiencing isn’t blame-able on anyone, and then further imagine that God is allowing it to teach you something and to set you free. I know that may be hard to imagine and may even offend your theology, but just TRY to imagine. What good do you think could actually come from this? What deepest parts of you might Father God be trying to reach and heal? Is it possible that if you stop resisting the breaking that your breakthrough may be just ahead? I want to encourage you to bare your naked, broken soul to Jesus and trust His hands. Trust that He is always good. Trust that He will restore to you everything that this season has stolen from you and will build you stronger still.
Surrender and trust.