Could Demons Possess Me?
Can people still be demon-possessed today like in biblical times and exorcism movies? Can demons possess Christians?
The possibility of dramatic and torturous demon possession is enough to make your head spin! (Oh, sorry, that was just an Exorcist special effect).
Actually, the Bible does teach that demons are real, and that they do torment people. But most mature Christians I know have never seen a demonic attack that's as weird as in the movies. Demons don't need to produce special effects to have their desired effect. Instead, they work to simply prevent people from having faith in God. They can succeed in that by creating fear, or by merely distracting people with entertainment, conflict, greed, envy or a host of other preoccupations.
Can a Christian be demon-possessed? That question produces lots of disagreement among theologians. Most would say that a believer probably won't be totally possessed, but might experience some form of oppression (or very strong influence) by demons. The Bible does describe followers of God coming under the influence of evil spirits—King Saul disobeyed God's instruction, and the Bible says, "The Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit … tormented him" (1 Samuel 16:14, NIV). Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was possessed by Satan (Luke 22:3). And an evil spirit influenced Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife, to lie to their fellow Christians and to God (Acts 5), leading to their deaths.
It's safe to say, however, that a Christian who is filled by God's Spirit cannot be possessed by a demon. Christ has delivered believers from the kingdom of darkness, and no demon or anything else can separate them from the eternal and everlasting love of God (see Colossians 1:13 and 1 John 4:4). Romans 8:38-39 says, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (NIV).
If you want more on this subject—and there's lots more to cover—I'd recommend 99 Answers to Questions About Angels, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare by B.J. Oropeza (InterVarsity Press).
Copyright © 2006 by the author or Christianity Today/Ignite Your Faith magazine.
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