In case you didn’t believe me because I’m not, er, someone like Francis Chan.
Actually Chan approaches the issue differently than I typically do, but his teaching is spot-on and it’s exactly why I want you to hear it.
I spend more time talking about different kinds of demons – anger, unworthiness, rebellion, fear, etc. – and how they operate and manipulate you, usually working primarily in your subconscious.
Chan’s focus is on how the enemy uses things that masquerade as light to entice people into demonic deception, and his examples are both powerful and familiar:
I especially found the example compelling of people trying to talk to their dead loved ones, precisely because it’s the sort of thing that’s so sentimental that almost no one is willing to tell you there’s anything wrong with it.
Coincidentally, the very warning against this that Chan cites from Deuteronomy was in my reading this morning, and it’s precisely because God is a jealous God, and doesn’t want us seeking our wisdom, comfort or satisfaction from any other source. The same goes for people who pray to saints or pray to Mary. You don’t need to do that. You just pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ. When you choose to pray to someone else, you’re detracting from the glory of God, and there will be consequences in the form of demonic influence over your mind, because you’ve rejected what Jesus told us about His own sufficiency.
Also very powerful is his explanation about how everyone is not necessarily a Christian just because they claim to be. The example he cites, of Mormons, is an excellent one but it’s not the only one you can use. You’re a Christian when you adhere to the Word of God and obey it in your life. If you don’t do that, then calling yourself a Christian is meaningless.
Here is my one quibble: He says at the outset that Christians cannot be possessed by demons because we have the Holy Spirit. There are some who believe that’s flat-out not true, becausee you can be indwelt by the Holy Spirit but ignore His power and seek your own agenda, in which case God could still give you over to the wiles of the enemy.
What I know is that demonic enemies will still try to speak to your mind even if you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit – in fact, especially then – and you still have to make a decision to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh. If that were not true, then no Spirit-filled Christian could or would ever sin, and we know that’s not the case.
It may be that they can’t fully possess you, but if they can still confuse, deceive, tempt and mislead you, then I’m not sure it’s wise to suggest to Christians that they have nothing to concern themselves with about demons. There is still a lot of damage demons can do to you even if you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, because it’s still your decision whether to follow the lead of the Spirit.
And the deceptions take the form of the kinds of things Chan talks about here, especially becoming influential with people who don’t really know the Word of God, or don’t live their lives as if it has authority over them.
Great teaching, in an easy-to-listen-to style that is one of the reasons Chan has made such a difference in his ministry.
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