It was a Wednesday morning.
I was just settling into my office when the Church receptionist popped her head in and asked, “Hey Shegz, would you take this call? I have a frantic young man on the phone asking for a priest to come do an exorcism in his house.”
The breakfast sandwich I had in my hand immediately lost all its bacon-juiciness! This strange request was the first of its kind in all my ministry experience.
Getting on the phone with the young man and listening to him describe the situation at home with his mother, I immediately knew I was dealing with demonic possession . According to him, there had been some bizarre manifestations around the house and she [mom] had recently begun speaking in an “other-worldly” voice that was clearly not hers.
Providentially, the night prior, I experienced my own peculiar other-worldly moment. Right as I was about to go to bed, I received a strong impression from the Holy Spirit, cautioning me to spend some time praying and fasting if I were ever asked to help someone experiencing a demonic possession. It seemed random and strange at the time because those are usually not thoughts I entertain right before kissing my kids goodnight and hitting the sack.
So of course, when I got the call on Wednesday morning, I immediately understood that it was indeed the indwelling Spirit of God prepping me for this spiritual experience I was about to encounter. As a result, I told the young man to give me a day to fast and pray because Jesus just told me through His Spirit that I would need His help facing this demonic entity.
After spending a day praying and fasting about it, rallying a few prayer team members, and inviting two ministry partners to join me on my visit, we showed up at the young man's doorstep on Friday morning. We met him outside his house and he escorted all three of us into his mother’s bedroom to meet her.
Upon entering the room, I saw an elderly lady sitting upright in her bed staring straight ahead. Walking a little closer to introduce myself, I barely got out of my mouth the words, “Hi, we’re pastors from Grace Church on….” when suddenly, in an unearthly voice that sounded like gravel being shoveled, she screamed at us, “NooooOoooooo…GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!" Her face was contorted and her eyes looked inky black as she got off her bed and darted past me, racing into her living room.
I would love to tell you that I wasn’t phased by any of it and immediately asserted my authority as a follower of Christ, but that would be a lie. I wouldn’t describe my immediate reaction as petrified, but I was seriously unnerved and immediately felt ill-equipped. For a brief moment, I actually thought to myself, “This woman makes a great point! I SHOULD get out of here while I can! Cos this ain't normal!”
Gathering my wits [and my faith] about me, I followed her into the living room with my ministry companions, who admittedly were just as taken aback as I was. Her son, who was also with us, had chased her down into the living room and was holding her down as she writhed and thrashed under what was apparently the control of a mysterious invisible entity. We, in turn, began asking some clarifying questions of her to ascertain if we were speaking to a person or an actual demon. After a series of snarling hisses, blasphemous cussing, spitting, mocking laughter, and attempted kicks, it became clear that we were dealing with a full-on demonic possession.
We responded by rebuking the demon in Jesus' name, stating that we were there in the authority of Jesus Christ the King. The demon threatened to kill her, claiming the woman belonged to it. Once again, we responded by commanding the demon to leave her in Jesus' name, quoted the scriptures, and prayed that the Spirt of God would prevail.
This went on for almost 30 minutes. In hindsight, it was apparent that we were not only inexperienced in handling such demonic confrontations, but she herself personally needed to renounce whatever invitations she had extended to this demonic entity that apparently had a rather strong claim over her body.
Whatever the case may be, by the grace of God, the demon eventually began to release its hold as her stiffened body seemed to relax and her head dropped to the floor. We waited and watched as her son called out her name. After a minute or two, in a voice much gentler and softer than the one we’d been confronting, this poor fragile lady asked, “Uh…Where am I? What happened?”
The power of Jesus Christ had prevailed.
Though she didn’t remember much of anything that happened, she tearfully recalled being physically tormented in pain by a “shadowy” entity. We tried explaining to her as best as we could all she had just encountered. We shared the Gospel with her, prayed for her and assured her that at the name of Jesus Christ, every knee would bow. We stayed as long as we could and encouraged her from the scriptures. Then we left.
I wish this story had a happy ending. It didn’t. When I called a few days later to see how she was doing, her son reported that a similar situation had occurred a few days later. I offered to bring in some Church ministers with more experience, but in the process, the family broke contact and it became impossible to follow up. Till this day, I have no idea what became of that poor lady.
It’s not my intention to be sensational with the telling of his account. I went into great detail about this story for good reason.
Recently, on my online newsfeed, I picked up some news about a new occultist social media trend going viral, where kids are challenging each other to summon an ancient Mexican demon named, “Charlie”. I don’t want to plant any ideas in your head [that you won’t read online anyway], but I’ll just say the game involves pencils, paper, “yesses’” and “nos”, and the asking of a spirit-being for guidance. Though I originally suspected it to be a mass hoax or an internet stunt to generate buzz about another restless-demon-in-our-house movie [it very well might be], I tracked down and found some Twitter and Instagram users reportedly coming in contact with one or several demons and experiencing strange paranormal activities around them. More disconcerting is that, as of this blopost, #CharlieCharlieChallenge has been tweeted more than 1.6 million times. More people are Googling “Charlie Charlie” than virtually any other news event. CNN actually covered it as a legit story.
Whether hoax or real, the fact is that our culture has an unhealthy fascination with all things demonic. So, if you would, allow me to be an ALARMIST for the next few minutes.
DEMONS ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND! Whether they are Mexican demons, Puerto Rican demons, American or Nigerian demons, they are not looking to come out and play nicely nor are they interested in simply showing you some cheap parlor trick by “moving pencils”! [Side Note: if you ever meet a Nigerian demon, you should immediately go to THIS Church - MFM!]
The fact of the matter is, demons have one mission. One motto: To steal, kill and destroy!
They are very real and were once holy angels who rebelled against God and were expelled from heaven. Today, they roam in our spiritual realm looking for any and every open door to access the lives of men and women created in God’s image. However innocent #CharlieCharlieChallenge may seem, understand that engaging in it is tantamount to handing a demon your house keys and inviting it to stop by anytime [to steal, kill, and destroy]! Make no mistake about it, demons A.L.W.A.Y.S intend to do you great harm!
Listen to this Biblical account where they got hold of one man; (Mark 5:1-4) “….When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.” In case you missed it, his point is that these evil spirits possess great strength. Matthew 8:28 records the same account and adds that these demons were “exceedingly fierce”. When they indwell or posses a human being, they have the ability to cause incredible physical and mental damage to the individual and to others.
While those remain true, here’s the greater truth you must hear: IF THERE’S ONE PERSON DEMONS ARE TERRIFIED OF, IT IS JESUS CHRIST.
In the Bible, NOT ONCE do we ever read of any demon encountering Jesus and deciding that it’s going to stand its ground against Him. Instead we read of sentiments like “terror,” “fear,” “timidity,” and “hopelessness” among demonic ranks when they encounter Jesus. Fascinatingly, demons seem to have the highest Christology among all of God’s living breathing creatures. Their beliefs about who Jesus really is are more Biblical than what many Christians (and non-Christians) believe about Jesus.
Here’s a short Biblical survey of encounters between Jesus and demons [pay close attention to the authority Jesus exerts over them]:
- Mark 3:11, “Whenever the impure spirits saw him [Jesus], they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
- Matthew 8:16, “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.”
- Luke 4:33-35, “In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.”
- Mark 9:25-27, “When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.”
My point? Jesus is greater than Charlie! [Or whatever demonic entity is behind the scenes posing as a game-spirit]. It's for good reason that the scriptures picture the ressurected Christ as a "Lion" in the book of Revelation.
To give you a deeper appreciation of just how much greater Christ is than demons, I need to show you where they rank in the spiritual realm in relation to where Jesus Christ is presently seated [and reigning] in the heavenly realms.
The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 1:19-23, “That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
When the passage speaks of “all rule, authority, power and dominion” in verse 20, understand that those are traditional Jewish terms used to refer to high-ranking powerful fallen angelic beings, (demons) in positions of authority in the spiritual realm. Even more important is to note where Jesus Christ is “seated” in relation to these powerful spiritual beings. Verse 20 says the resurrected Christ is seated in the heavenly realms at the right hand of God "FAR ABOVE" all rule, authority, power and dominion…and [has] placed all things UNDER HIS FEET. Did you see it? Jesus isn't “peers” with demons. He is in a supreme position of great authority over them, which explains why we see demons in the scriptures in a bowed posture pleading for mercy when they meet Jesus.
Should you ever encounter a demon, hear me on this – JESUS CHRIST IS THE ANSWER!
In spite of my inexperience in the story I shared at the beginning, here’s what I didn’t tell you. Several other religious leaders [of other faiths] had stopped by that same home and tried to help that lady, but to no avail. The son reported that our encounter was the first time he had observed his mother coherent after any of the “religious” leaders had tried to interact with her. I share that, not to highlight any strength in myself, but to point to that fact that JESUS is greater than demons.
Even better still, Jesus had entrusted His authority to His followers here on earth. It’s what Ephesians 2:6 is getting at when it says, “ …And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…” If you followed my earlier case about Christ being seated far above demons, then its inevitable conclusion is that those of us who are “seated with Him in the heavenly realms” also carry that same authority over demonic forces. We simply need to learn how to wield that authority.
Against the schemes and weapons of demons, understand that you [as a follower of Jesus Christ] are not fighting the battle in your own strength, or in your own privilege, or in your own right or righteousness! Rather, you are operating in the authority of the One who is seated at the right hand of God, who is FAR ABOVE all rule, authority, power and dominion…and placed all things UNDER HIS FEET.
Understanding where you rank positionally, is the first step in engaging in this battle and applying the wisdom of James 5:7 where it says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Note the order: First, submit to God, as in surrender your life and will to Him as the only one who can reconcile you to Him through faith in Jesus. That salvation decision is a one-time deal, but thereafter, there is a daily need to submit your will to His. As you do, the enemy will inevitably attempt to lure you away, but because you’ve already placed yourself under “God’s authority” through Christ Jesus, you now posses the boldness and authority to resist the devil/demon by declaring, “In Jesus' name, you may not operate anywhere near me or my family.”
When you do, the Word of God assures us, that demons will flee.
So, may the Lord God be your strength in spiritual battle. On your behalf, may He make war against your enemies and may the Lord Jesus help you grasp the fact that the power of His Word residing in you can only be measured on a nuclear scale.
Just sayin! […incase you ever run into Charlie.]