Can A Christian Be Demon-Possessed?
A More Accurate Question
I think the more accurate question is, “Can a 'professing Christian' be demon-possessed?” These are the ones who 'honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him' (Mat 15:8). They are also known as 'carnal Christians' and some as down-right 'wolves in sheep's clothing'. Prov 26:24 states, "A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit." (NIV) Profession without confession:
Let's look at the difference in definition between 'profess' and 'confess', which is pertinent:
- Profess: Declare something openly; Declare something falsely - to make a statement falsely stating something is the case.
- Confess: Admit having done something wrong; acknowledge something to be true; admit sins.
Know that true, born-again, Holy Spirit-filled Christians cannot be possessed. An evil spirit cannot dwell in the temple of the Holy Spirit (Mat 12:25). The Holy Spirit is the power of God, and 2 Tim 3:1-5 states:
"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these."
How can ANYONE harbor these things, yet hold to a 'form of godliness' in the public eye??? Unger, an authority on demonology says: The chief characteristic of demon possession is the automatic projection of a new personality in the victim, the inhabiting demon using the body of the possessed individual as a vehicle for his own thought, words and acts. (See DEMONS IN THE WORLD TODAY, pp.102ff. - see Amazon link above).
Physical or Spiritual?
We all know that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). He is the most proud, the father of lies and the master of deceit (John 8:44). Now, in these two passages, we should note that people do the same as their ‘father, the devil’. This could involve demonic influence, if not possession. The spirit will first deceive the victim; then, it attempts to deceive others through the victim. Satan is the accuser of believers; he spews hateful speech and will go to great lengths to inflict harm. His demons do the same. If a person seeks to harm him/herself or others, demon possession may be the issue. There are many different ‘stories’ out there, yet I will share with you some things I’ve observed about the phenomenon.
When an otherwise rational, ‘professing Christian’ has a marked, but temporary change in spiritual soundness and exhibits the above behaviors, demonic possession is suspect. Some people have mental illness; they may be bi-polar or have multiple personality disorder or perhaps, just a general personality disorder. For instance, demons often spoke in plurals in the Bible (Mark 5:7-9), yet those who manifest this in today's world are said to have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), aka Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). It takes spiritual discernment to know whether the change is physical or spiritual in nature. They could tell the difference in Biblical times (Mat 4:24) and we should know the difference by the Holy Spirit. I personally think possession has less to do with the mind and everything to do with the heart, namely the manifestation of hate and fear. It is always about self edification at the expense of others.
I find it strange when a ‘professing Christian’ goes through cyclical episodes of absolutely wicked behavioral/personality changes. They go from what appears to be normal ‘Christian’ behavior for a reasonable period of time (up to two or three months) to sudden lying, deception, manipulation, accusations, spewing hateful speech, and so forth, without accurately remembering what they did. In fact, the victim will NOT sense they’ve done anything wrong (no conscience). Though I used the word 'sudden', let me clarify that it's the 'hidden' things of the heart that are suddenly made manifest - visible. I have to wonder if it's really that they don't remember, or if this is yet another lie to escape accountability.
Amazon title: Read pgs 55-57 online now!
The Chief Sin of Pride
While a born-again believer is submissive to the Holy Spirit (humility), a 'professing Christian' submits to no one (pride). Satan and his demons are prideful. Pride is exhibited in two major forms. I will call them 'Light' and Dark. The pride of 'Light' is hypocrisy. The person feels piously empowered and loves to be admired and seen by others. This gives them a feeling of 'righteousness' (the opposite of what they are) and feeds their ego. To talk 'about' God is as close to being a 'god' in their own mind. At the same time, sinful living is hidden from the public. That person is fornicating, abusing drugs (even prescribed) and/or alcohol, stealing, lying and so forth. They appear to be completely blinded to what they’re doing, 'justifying' (excusing) themselves and their behavior (aka DENIAL). Demons know they are guilty and tremble ~ they are without excuse (Rom 1:20; Jam 2:19). This guilt (conviction) breeds self-hatred in the possessed, which festers until the next episode.
The pride of Dark is when control and manipulation of others is manifested. As with the 'vampire' concept, it's 'feeding' time. While the 'Light' of hypocrisy involves many people, the 'Dark' manifestation is selective about its victim(s). It feels entitled to take whatever it wants from another and/or to project its own guilt and self-hatred upon that person, if met with opposition. Manipulation and lies are used to falsely accuse, belittle and shame, in order to gain. Satan loves to go after children of God, for they ‘have’ to ‘give’ and ‘forgive’. It also feels entitled to forgiveness, with zero accountability. The spiritual Christian will often struggle with this. It steals their peace and makes them feel like they've been 'poisoned', resulting in a nauseating oppression…see how it works? This is NOT OF GOD. Once again, 2 Tim 3:5 tells us to AVOID THEM. While true Christians can be oppressed by demons, they cannot be possessed.
Confronting a Demon
Should you ‘see’ with spiritual eyes and confront a spirit-possessed individual, don't expect NOT to get hurt. Whatever you say will be projected back on you. It's the "I know you are, but what am I" game. The person won’t ‘hear’ you, only the demon will speak. When demons speak, they LIE, and if you love the truth, lies will alarm and hurt you. Regardless, if you care about the person, you want to see them set free. This is a sickening battle. You will feel undoubtedly nauseous, while the possessed will feel more and more empowered. God is compassionate; the devil is hateful. I’m not talking about mere anger, but a murderous hatred is present.
Engaging a demon will bring ongoing harassment. The more you quote the Bible, the meaner it gets. Evil despises correction and conviction. Because it is more concerned about ‘winning’ than sinning, it will not let up and will become like a ‘stalker’ to wear you down (Dan 7:25). For the child of God, this will not work; it is just incredibly exhausting. A ‘professing Christian’ possessed by a demon will quote the Bible right back at you. Satan has quoted the Bible since the beginning. The difference is the motive behind the use of the passage. One seeks to set free, the other seeks to harm.
Experts say believers shouldn’t communicate with demons at all. We are simply to tell it to be quiet, in the name of Jesus. That is what Jesus did (Mark 1:25). If it won’t be quiet, cut off communication ~ however you can (2 Tim 3:5). Pray that the afflicted will be convicted of sin, of Christ’s righteousness and the certainty of judgment. Pray that the Lord Jesus will release this person from the bondage of the demon(s). Keep in mind, however, that if that person will not repent and get filled with the Holy Spirit, deliverance may cause a later, more wicked possession than at first (Mat 12:43-45).
Seared Conscience: Pride and Paranoia
Back to pride: the prideful spirit feels no sense of right or wrong (1 Tim 4:2). Everyone else is wrong (lie) and it is right (lie). A person with a seared conscience is labeled a 'sociopath' by the world today. It is estimated 1 in 25 Americans fall into this category. As prideful as this demon is, it is amazing it will also feel paranoid, believing the whole world is out to destroy it. It’s like the testimony of people who have experienced being high on drugs. They feel a sense of supernatural power, yet can get extremely paranoid. Prov 28:1 rightly states, "The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion." This is not to say demons aren't BOLD. They're viciously bold! Again, it comes down to LIES or TRUTH. Frankly, demons are terrified of being exposed and know they are condemned.
People who live in fear have an insatiable need to control others and their environment. They are so competitive that envy, hatred, strife, covetousness, jealousy and many more sins envelop their hearts. They will use any means to 'one up' and defeat anyone who stands in their way. I liken this paranoia to a victim who is drowning and flailing in panic. First Aid classes will tell you to use wisdom in 'rescuing' them because you can surely get injured or pulled down with them (2 Tim 1:7; Mat 7:6).
Root of the Fruit
Jesus said we will know them by their fruit (Mat 7:16-20) and I'm telling you ~ you best NOT EAT OF IT. What is the ROOT of this poisonous behavior? What is the spirit behind it? Jesus also told us that, in addition to being the father of LIES, Satan was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). While some possessed people won't literally murder, the hate they have in their hearts is the same in God's eyes (Mat 5:21-22).
Satan and his demons are not out to make themselves obvious. They accomplish far more damage disguising themselves as everyday, 'normal' human beings. So, why can't they just stay hidden? Some are provoked by the presence of the Holy Spirit, others when fear and anxiety take hold. In combination, this is explosive. Once the demon is calmed (no longer provoked or has successfully manipulated its way to not feeling fear or anxiety), the possessed comfortably reverts back to the ‘professing Christian’ personality again, covering up their sin, shame and guilt. The prideful, ‘Light’ spirit is back in town.
Again, the fact that the person won’t acknowledge or 'remember' the severity of their sinful behavior or the damage imposed upon others is a sign that possession has occurred.
Someone under the power of demonic influence, if not possession, will no doubt read this and conclude that they are therefore, not responsible for their behavior, but will declare, "The devil made me do it."
Rom 6:16 states, "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?"
Dealing with demons is not a pleasant experience, to say the least. I truly feel compassion for people tormented by such things; however, the possessed are responsible for letting the demon(s) in by committing some serious offense(s), denying responsibility for those offenses, engaging in sinful living and refusing to submit to God. Preaching the Bible to others is not an issue for the ‘professing Christian’, but receiving the Word of God from an anointed believer will only provoke yet another demonic encounter.
- Demonic Possession - The Many Causes
A list of the many causes that can cause a person to be demon possessed.
A Step in the Right Direction
Demonic possession does not happen overnight. Though the ‘quick fix’ is to get delivered all at once, there is a lot a work to be done to make sure your house stays clean and locked to outside influence and unwelcomed guests. There are no short-cuts. The Christian walk is an ongoing battle between sin and obedience. A garden must be weeded and pruned regularly to reap the harvest. Jesus is the Gardener, and you must trust Him to keep your ground productive (Mat 13:25-27; John 15:2).
If you are seeing the behavioral elements shown in this hub in your own life, whether or not you understand the spiritual side of these things, there is only one solution that involves two: God and YOU. You have the power to make the decision to DO something about your situation. You do not have the power to change on your own. Know that it is not hopeless. While many who possess such characteristics abuse alcohol or other drugs, or may have even dabbled in occult practices, not all have or do. The 12-Step Recovery Program has worked for countless victims enslaved to darkness (and false 'Light'). If you're ready to get help, click on the link below to find a 12-Step Recovery Program near you. Take the first step to HOPE. The God that loves you is there to heal you.
- Official Links to 12 Step Recovery Groups
Links to various official 12 Step Recovery Programs Web Pages.