CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS, CHANGE YOUR LIFE
HINDRANCES TO GODLY THINKING
“Carolyn, have you ever considered that some of the struggles you are experiencing are the result of demonic interference?”
WHAT??? I grew up in an evangelical pastor’s home. I gave my heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ at a very early age. We didn’t talk about such things as demons. After all they don’t exist. Right? I found out I needed to take another look at scripture, at the Word of God that I had grown to love so dearly. I don’t know about you, but the religious culture I grew up in had big gaps in understanding the fullness of the Gospel message and had a tendency to be silent about the things we didn’t understand. We were uncomfortable dealing with them, so we either taught it wasn’t true for today or that it didn’t exist.
As I began a journey into the scriptures I was both saddened because of what I had missed, and relieved there really is an answer available to our cries for wholeness. Jesus wants our whole being to be “saved.”(1 Thessalonians 5:23) To be “saved” includes salvation, healing and deliverance. Salvation means to be saved out from under the devil’s power and restored into the wholeness of God’s order and well being by the power of God’s Spirit. In a real sense, Jesus came to rescue us from the work of the devil. (1 John 3:8)
As we embrace the reality of being a new creation, we recognize that our soul (our mind, will and emotions) starts a journey of transformation. God desires for us to be like His Son, Jesus Christ. This is a process of the initial experience of yielding to Him, and the decision to continue to yield in every situation, every day.
Since the enemy of our souls does not want us to know and walk in freedom, he has worked diligently to deceive us about who he is and how he operates. He delights in using some of the hindrances we have been addressing in this series: unforgiveness, ungodly thought patterns, curses, unhealed life hurts, ungodly generational patterns, judgments, and trauma. He takes advantage of every opportunity presented to influence us to adopt harmful views about God, others and ourselves. His influence leads us to death rather than life, to condemnation rather than freedom.
The truth is, satan and his demons are real. They are not imaginary beings. Some Christians have difficulty accepting the reality that Christians can be oppressed by demonic interference. While a Christian is “possessed” only by God, not demons, they can experience oppression. Interference from demonic activity affects areas of the soul that are still in the process of being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. The habits of the old man nature need to be replaced with godly fruit. Much of the New Testament epistles are written to instruct us how to walk in newness of life as a new creation. Change is going on.
It is not necessary for us to walk in fear of demons or to look for them every time we turn around. We are instructed in 1 John 4:4 that the Jesus who lives in us is greater than the one who is in the world. We live and walk in the same power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. (Ephesians 1:19-20, 3:20, Romans 8:11) We can say “no” to the enemy by having a continual “yes” in our hearts toward Jesus. We are totally unavailable to the enemy when we are totally available to Jesus.
Recognizing the areas of our lives that have been influenced by demonic interference gives us the opportunity to break their power. Through confession and repentance we can begin to renew our minds to agree with God and live changed lives. (Romans 12:2)
We must be aware of how satan and his demons operate so he can’t continue to take advantage of us. (2 Corinthians 2:10-11) Satan can influence decisions we make, blind us to the truth, catch us in traps, deceive us, and influence our thoughts by planting seeds of doubt and unbelief.
Descriptions of satan and demons included in scripture are: crafty, schemer, accuser of the brethren, prince of this world, god of this age, ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now in work in those who are disobedient, evil spirits, impure spirits, rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, roaring lion, serpent, angel of light and dragon. Very descriptive. And as you can see, satan and his demons are nothing like our God. Their nature is the total opposite of God’s.
They are powerful and evil, but not more powerful than God. They are not all-powerful (omnipotent), all knowing (omniscient) nor present everywhere at the same time (omnipresent). Very few people encounter satan himself. He works through demons to accomplish his goal – to keep as many as he can from intimacy with Jesus and an eternal life with Him.
He hates us because we are made in the image of our Creator. He hated God enough to start a rebellion in heaven and he fell with some of the angelic beings. (Luke 10:17-20, Isaiah 14:12-14, Revelation 9:1, 12:3-9)
He is a liar, a thief and a murderer. (John 10:10) You can surmise there is a good chance demonic interference is at work in your life anytime you have fruit in your behavior that looks like him instead of Jesus. Passages of scripture in Galatians 5, Ephesians 4 and 5 and Colossians 3 describe ungodly as well as godly behavior.
The good news is with God’s help we can learn to resist the enemy by standing firm in our position in Christ. We actually “put on” His nature. We have been given both authority and power to be free from demonic influence and interference. (Luke10:17-20) We are empowered with His indwelling presence that enables us to walk in newness of life. That means learning to recognize and repent of ungodly thinking and behavior. It means intentionally renewing our mind to godly ways of thinking. (Romans 12:2) We are learning how to be the saints God says we are, one thought at a time. The old man is dead to sin and alive to God and He empowers us to walk in newness of life. (Romans 6) There’s no better news!
Pause, Ask & Listen (PAL) these journaling questions: “Holy Spirit, are there areas of my life that are influenced by demonic interference? Would you help me identify them so I can repent and change my behavior? Would you search my heart and see where I am walking in old man ways of thinking?”
As you listen, He will instruct you what thoughts/situations to ask for forgiveness. Then you can make a choice to receive a new way of thinking so you can change your behavior. Expect change to be on its way!
This is the final post in this 9-part series. The first post in this series is here.
Rev. Dr. Carolyn Allen has partnered in pastoral ministry with her husband, Ron, for 50 years. She has seen and lived a wide spectrum of church life in rural churches, suburban and city parishes. She has experienced several streams of the expressions of the Body of Christ.
Carolyn has a Masters in Christian Counseling and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. Her own journey into wholeness evolved while raising a family and caring for others. She is an ordained minister on staff at the Heartland Parish, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Carolyn recently published Journey Into Wholeness, a book that helps you learn foundational biblical principles that will lead you through practical ministry and personal application. Learning to ask key questions will enable the reader to evaluate thoughts that produce feelings that lead to ungodly behavior, if not challenged and changed.
Journey Into Wholeness is available on Amazon.
You can reach Rev. Dr. Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.