We know demonic possession is real because it is spoken about throughout the Bible, including during the time of Jesus. There are many references to Jesus and his disciples casting out unclean spirits—better known as demons. Since we are aware that demonic possession has taken place throughout time, the next crucial questions most would probably ask is why and how. I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar, but in my research for my novel, Spell, I discovered the following Christian-based beliefs about the why and how.
The Bible tells us that the devil and his “fallen” angels were cast out of heaven. Since then, they have become the enemy of God and mankind. This enemy seeks to destroy humanity because of his jealous nature toward God. His hope is to hurt God by ruining one of His greatest creatures—man. This mission began in the Garden of Eden with the tricking of Adam and Eve and will continue until the enemy is cast into the Lake of Fire before the creation of the new heaven and new earth.
The enemy’s army is spiritual which means that they do not have human bodies. Without a human body, their ability to influence the natural world is limited. Therefore, they look for human bodies to become houses, places where their spirits can reside and have a greater negative impact on the natural world. This is where it is important to understand the how. Spirits without a human body can only oppress people, but some find a body to reside in, and those persons are considered possessed.
As stated, most spirits reside outside of the human body and only have the ability to oppress. Demonic oppression is simply having an influence on a person via their thoughts or emotions, but unable to have access to the person’s mind and body. The spirit can only impact the individual using their senses (what the person sees, hears, smells, touches, tastes). An oppressive spirit might try to get the person to believe they are depressed, angry, lonely, vengeful, tired, etc. Simple prayers and a refocusing of thoughts are enough to overcome an oppressive spirit. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” We are encouraged to keep our thoughts on what is positive right after we are told not to be anxious for anything, but to use prayer and petition, as well as to allow God’s peace to guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7).
Alternatively, demonic possession reflects the inhabiting of the person’s body, giving the evil spirit more influence and control than oppression. In most cases, people who are possessed must be delivered and the possessing spirit must be cast out. Often we think of exorcisms as the typical method of casting out spirits, but it is possible that salvation itself could remove the spirit. Spiritual guidance is warranted in these cases.
Based on my research, Christians can be oppressed by evil spirits, but not possessed. The Bible states that light and darkness cannot exist together. However, Christians can make themselves vulnerable to possession through sin. Christians are encouraged to stay far away from witchcraft and occult practices such as Ouija boards, horoscopes, tarot card, palm readings, psychics, séances, etc. Christians are also told to flee from all sin because sin creates holes in our spiritual armor, making us more prone to the tactics of evil.
So let’s recap. Demonic possession is real. The enemy wants to destroy lives and often does so through demonic oppression and possession. Demonic oppression is influencing the individual from outside of the body while demonic possession occurs within the body. Salvation is key to avoid possession, yet a saved individual can still be oppressed, and if they open themselves up through witchcraft and/or sin, can also be possessed. To avoid oppression, think on good things. Keep your mind stayed on God who is able to keep you in perfect peace. To avoid possession, receive salvation, avoid sin and witchcraft, and repent (turn away) from committed sins. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:11-13). True story.
***This blog entry was originally written and posted as a guest blog article for Mayne Man. The original guest spot can be viewed at http://mayneman.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-difference-between-demonic.html