Q. What’s a demon?
Nobody likes thinking about demons and nobody likes talking about demons, but the fact remains that if there is a Holy Spirit then there are unholy spirits, and if there are angels then there are demons. God calls them unclean spirits (Revelation 16:13). Nobody understands how the Holy Spirit can indwell the body of a Christian, but if that’s possible then it’s also possible for an evil spirit to do the same.
Examples of Demons
Demons seem to have different primary functions and can be single or multiple e.g. lying spirits (1 Kings 22:23), spirits of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), King Saul, the Gadarene (Mark 5:9), spirit of divination (Acts 16:16), Mary Magdalene, boy thrown into the fire, spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11)
The church believes that if you are a Christian then you are occupied by the Holy Spirit and you can’t be occupied by a demon, but is that the case? Think about King Saul, Samson, Peter, Korah, and Baalim.
The church believes that if you are a non-Christian then you can’t be occupied by the Holy Spirit, but is that the case? Why should creator God be restricted to our thinking when He owns His creation, both good and bad? Both King Saul and Baalim suggest otherwise, as does Judas, Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:37), and Cyrus (king of the anti-christ kingdom of Persia, 2 Chron.36:22).
Everybody has been indoctrinated to think that we are born good and are inherently good; but the Word of God says the opposite. God flooded the whole earth because His creation had been contaminated from birth by the Evil One, Genesis 8:21. David confirms this in Psalm 51:5. The fact is, we’re all born under the power of the Evil one, and, from birth, God is fighting for you to be freed from Satan’s power over you; that’s why Jesus died. He’s just waiting for you to concede to His will.
Everybody thinks that demons are beings that inhabit people and cause them to rant and rave and froth at the mouth, but is that the case? The fact is that demons lay low until cornered. They don’t want to be cast out of the carrier. They hate exposure, but at the same time, like the spirit of divination in Acts 16, they like to promote their prowess. They come as wolves in sheep’s clothing, and angels of light. However, as society disintegrates into more sin, and the Holy Spirit backs-off His defence, demons will feel safe to come out of hiding and be more confrontational and aggressive because no one is spiritually capable of confronting them.
Characteristics of Satan (John 8:44)
In John 8:44, Jesus described the Pharisees as demons when He said that they were sons of Satan. They weren’t frothing at the mouth; they were practicing the rightness of religion and worshipping the same God as Christ. Yet, Christ could easily discern the façade. Secretively, they displayed the satanic characteristics of (1) Envy (2) Murder (3) Liar. These are the signs of a demon operating either in you or against you. The ultimate liar is someone who smiles to your face whilst plotting to stab a knife in your back.
A demon’s main objective
Demons are servants of Satan with the same characteristics but with different levels of power. The main objective of a demon is to kill you. When King Saul opened his heart to envy against David, his one and only objective in life was to kill David. That was the objective of Joseph’s brothers; that was the objective of Cain; that was the objective of the Pharisees against Christ; and whether you realise it or not, that’s the objective of any person who opens their heart to envy of their neighbour.
How does it work?
From birth, we are all under the influence of the demonic. Demons are able to speak into our minds; this is called temptation. The temptation is always to get us to elevate our position. God calls this ‘pride’, and in 2 Timothy 2:25 KJV, God calls it ‘opposing yourself‘, ie. you become your own worst enemy and thus in your blindness, your own pride starts to destroy you under the occupation of demonic spirits. Once we fall to our pride, demons have right of power over us (2 Timothy 2:26), and only repentance will resolve the problem. The opportunity for repentance will usually occur at a point of correction. If one resists this correction, then demons will take more ground and eventually the person will be possessed. King Saul became possessed because he was too proud to repent even though he said sorry, whereas David repented and was freed from his sin and the demonic influence that stirred him to commit murder and adultery.
The confusion of pride
Most people think pride is walking around with your nose in the air and acting pompous; but it’s much more subtle than that. Pride is exposed when I think I’m special; when I think you’re an idiot; when I think I’m better than you; when I murmur that I haven’t done anything wrong yet you are being mean to me; when I selfishly want something; when I can’t forgive or repent; when I wallow in rejection; when I have a mood because someone else is having a mood; when I have a mood because someone hurt my feelings; when I have a mood because I can’t get what I want; that is, basically whenever I regard myself higher or lower than my neighbour, or submit to my moodiness.
What’s the opposite to pride?
The answer is Faith; that is, trusting God’s outcome, rather than having a mood that it isn’t working out to your expected outcome. It’s this walking by faith that God calls HUMILITY.
James 4:5 “The spirit in us lusts to envy”.
When God talks about lust, He’s talking about envy. Envy then leads to all sorts of immoral behaviour. The Greek word for envy is Phthonos (*5355) = pain felt and malignity conceived at the sight of someone else’s excellence or someone else’s happiness. In other words, to us the English word ‘envy’ just means we are simply jealous. We all think of it as a ‘soft sin’. It doesn’t sound that bad, nor does envy feel bad, but in the Greek it means that I’m so unhappy with you having more happiness than me that I will kill you.
Anyone who practices envy is practicing murder from their heart whether they know it or not. Thus God clearly states in 1 John 3:15 that if you hate your brother you’re a murderer and you will not access heaven; but to even clarify it further, if you envy your brother then you don’t love him, you hate him and wish evil upon him. Thus your true hidden murderous heart is exposed by your relationship to your brother.
People think jealousy is just a normal characteristic of humanity. Everybody does it so it’s ignored as acceptable normal behaviour. What people don’t realise is that when they practice envy against their neighbour they’re actually operating under demonic power and wishing their neighbour dead. Envy is anti-Holy Spirit and the practice of demonism whether you want to know it or not. If envy is routinely practiced in your heart; if you desire the No.1 position, if you believe you are special to God, if you believe you have a special spiritual call, then know you are not saved; that’s the heart of Satan and you are under his demonic power. Like Isaiah, Peter and Moses, anyone called of God knows they’re not special or worthy.
Goodness isn’t the measurement
When you practice envy against your neighbour, you are demonstrating that you are under the influence of Satan and not Holy Spirit. Be as good as you like, e.g. the rich young ruler, it won’t save you. Envy is the sign that you are not under the Holy Spirit because it contradicts the law of ‘loving your neighbour as yourself’.
Signs of a demon
Genesis 3 spells out the side-effects that Satan has over you when you concede to his temptations, viz. envy, fear, blame, lie, bossing, sickness (in some instances). These were all exposed in Genesis 3 when Satan conned Eve, and Eve changed character as a consequence. The human spirit was made in the likeness of God. Envy was not a characteristic of Adam and Eve until they were tempted into it by Satan. From that point on, man inherited satanic characteristics.
1. Blame is the fruit of defending your envy. Blame is expressed by accusations against your neighbour e.g. if you make me feel bad, then you’re the baddie, you made me do it, it’s your fault I’m in trouble, it’s your fault I’m not getting what I want.
2. Searching for happiness is another fruit of your envy.
‘Demon’ in the Greek = daimon. ‘Happy’ in the Greek =eu-daimon. In other words, the Greeks believed that if you got lucky you were happy because the demon gods looked well on you. Seeking happiness is of the Devil; it’s not of God.
3. Bossing and hating to be bossed is another fruit of your envy.Demons love to boss, tell everybody what to do and tell everybody what’s right and wrong. They think they’re special and they don’t like being told what to do; they certainly don’t like being corrected or put in their place.
4. Moodiness because it won’t work out the way I want.
Demons don’t love each other; they can’t, they can only hate. They hate other demons for being higher than them. They only link together for the purpose of hate, and if you open your heart to envy they impart this hate into your heart.
Demons hate your happiness. They want the No.1 position.
Demons are happy when you’re helping them, but they’ll hate you when you’re not or when you’re higher than them. Thus if a sibling hates their brother for being more liked by a parent or friend, that sibling, in every single case, will plot to kill their brother. It may not be with a knife or gun, but it will be in their heart, even to the point of putting cancer on them. They’ll wish evil on their brother; anything that will remove him from the top position so they can replace them. Joseph is not an isolated case; his brothers are an example of the spirit of evil that lurks in the heart of every human being.
Confusion (James 3:16)
Wherever there is bitter envy there is confusion, and demonic, and every evil work.
Most Christians have split personalities. Consistently, one moment they’re really nice to you and the next time you meet them they’re sharp and bitey. This is confusing and thus it’s a sign that something else is going on in them that you can’t see. If you’re confused about someone’s inconsistent behaviour and you’re not sure whether they’ll bite you or be kind and considerate towards you, then know that you’re talking to two different spirit personalities in the one body.
Demons often tell the truth
It’s also confusing because demons often tell the truth, but it’s always selective and designed to manipulate and divert you from your course, or to hide them from exposing their course. Satan told Eve she wouldn’t die and it was the truth; well, almost. The spirit of divination in Acts 16 told the truth about Paul, and demons often worshipped Christ with the truth.
If you listen with your spirit, you can hear demons talk to you. These are the voices of temptation and they include feelings of guilt, fear, lies, intimidation and presumptions. You can diagnose these voices by comparing them to what the Holy Spirit would say to you.
The rise of demonism
Murder is on the increase; immorality is on the increase; drug abuse is on the increase; homosexuality is on the increase; the disintegration of the family is on the increase; divorce is on the increase. This is all due to the church’s de-valuing of the Ten Commandments which were written as life’s boundaries to inhibit the growth of evil. The church has lost its saltiness; it doesn’t deal with sin by separation, as instructed in 1 Corinthians 5, it accepts sin under the lie of love, and thus evil is propagating like an infection.
Death to self
Self likes the glory; death-to-self gives Him the glory. If you’re the axe and you tell the axeman what to do, know you’re under a demonic power (Isaiah 10:15).
To become a Christian, these satanic characteristics that indwell the heart of man, must be killed. You either die to your demonic character by letting God have His way with you, or you will die eternally. Man can’t do this by his own ability and will-power. Only the Holy Spirit can do it for us, and He does this when you fully surrender to His will = death-to-self. Even before you were born, God’s been fighting to free you from the power of demonic spirits we are all born under. If you could do it yourself, you could save yourself. You can’t; it’s only by His grace (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Pastor Mike Stanford