Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. . . . For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:10, 12.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. . . . And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9, 11.
I read something the other day from a wonderful Sister-in-Christ and it reminded me of things I have heard and read personally for many, many years. It truly upset me because I have seen this over the years in my own ministry. I want you to read it before I speak to the importance of this:
I HAVE HEARD a lot of theories about mental illness over the years. One that comes up with alarming regularity is that mental illness is demon possession. When a believer is already struggling through the darkness of mental illness, hearing that is a devastating blow.
First off: Very few things infuriate me more than that statement. It is utterly unhelpful and incredibly cruel to someone already suffering in ways you can’t begin to imagine. If you have suffered from that blow as a mental illness patient, I am so sorry. I want to wrap my arms around and tell you that it is NOT true and that is not what God is thinking. The person saying it is probably trying to be helpful and simply doesn’t understand mental illness.
Second: If mental illness is demon possession then every other illness has to be too. The brain is no different than the heart, the kidneys, pancreas, etc. Sure, it’s pretty complex but it is still an organ of the body. So if mental illness is demon possession then so is diabetes, cancer, heart conditions, and etc.
Mental Illnesses are complex, difficult to understand, and can look a little scary. I think that’s where some of the stigma comes from. We don’t understand it so we label it. It looks a little weird and crazy at times, so people decide “hey, it must be demon possession” when it’s really just the balance of all the things in the brain getting a little wonky. Those things don’t look as socially acceptable as diabetes, heart conditions, etc. BUT THEY SHOULD BE.
So to clarify at its simplest:
- it’s insulin not working right
- it’s a faulty heart valve.
- it’s the immune system attacking the wrong thing
- it’s just unbalanced chemicals. 1
I can tell you that I have had experiences firsthand, personally and in the area of ministry (serving), with some who see, shall I say, “demons behind every bush!” Yes, you read that right. I have known many who believe that every little thing that is wrong, whether health-wise, mentally and/or emotionally, financially, and even in the area of relationships, if it goes wrong, it is caused by a demon! Have problems in your marriage, it’s the demon of divorce at work.
I don’t want to seem cruel or even crude, but those ideas come from spiritual ignorance. Now don’t misjudge what I wrote, I wrote ignorance, not stupidity. Stupidity is willful and has no cure except repentance. On the other hand, ignorance is a lack of knowledge and/or understanding. It’s cure is study, meditation and prayer, especially in relation to spiritual things relating to the Word of God, the Holy Bible.
As far as our created selves, God created a most marvelous and wonderful thing when He created humankind. However, as you well know, inherent sin, from our first ancestral parents, Adam and Eve, caused corruption in God’s beautiful creation and that sin affected all of God’s creation that mankind is a part of. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote:
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. – Romans 8:19-21.
What the Word is telling us is that creation itself is waiting for our complete redemption so that it also will be set free from the curses brought on by sin. However, this brings me to the point I want to make and stress. If we truly are brothers and sisters in Christ, it is because we have been set free from the spiritual bondage of that inherent sin. We also are sealed with the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption and before that redemption is complete, we have an Advocate with our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, who is standing at the Father’s right hand. Whenever you see mention of God’s right hand it simply means, that it is the power, strength, and authority of the Father in regards to His creation.
One of the scriptures I gave above assures us that “you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
Does this mean that we are free from the corruption of the flesh? Absolutely not. We are “saved” spiritually from sin, we are born-again into a new creation spiritually (2 Corinthians 5:17-19) and reconciled unto God, but we are not yet redeemed from the corruption of the flesh. That means, there is still illness resulting in health issues, mental and emotional, there are financial issues, there are relationship issues, and there are spiritual issues that still plague us until we experience full redemption.
Jesus, Himself stated that our Heavenly Father “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” – Matthew 5:45. Things in the natural, do happen and will continue to happen on the saints and on the sinners, until full redemption is realized.
This leads me to something that I want to make clear especially and most importantly in the way of health matters. I personally have had peers actually tell me that the reason I have nerve damage in my legs and have to rely on a wheelchair for extended periods of time is due to unconfessed sin in my life. You know what that reminds me of? Job’s three friends, the ones we sometimes affectionately call his “comforters.” That kind of thinking would also lead some to believe that Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” the messenger of satan sent to buffet him, was due to unconfessed sin and not to prove the effectiveness of God’s grace in Paul’s (and thus man’s) weakness as the Bible states (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). That thinking is just not scriptural.
The Bible tells us that God gives His children power, love and discipline, or good judgment (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV). When you study the Word of God, you will see that He doesn’t promise a strong BRAIN, anymore than He promises everyone to have a strong HEART or strong MUSCLES. We need to actually study the Word and not make assumptions based on predetermined beliefs or assumptions. God is always faithful in His promises and He always delivers!
So to make it very clear, it’s not a demon that causes many of these health disorders; it’s a corruption of the flesh due to the inherent sin that we are no longer under spiritual bondage too. However, we are still affected by that inherent sin in the natural, and that is why people still get sick! This is why Jesus told us the sun shines on all and the rain falls on all. Things in the natural, good and bad, affect everyone born in the natural. The difference is all the spiritual benefits that come to God’s children despite the things in the natural.
If we are willing to truly understand God’s love for all His creation and especially those who are our sisters and brothers due to reconciliation with God, through Christ Jesus, we should truly be more loving and prayerful in our actions and words, rather than condemning and judgmental and trying to find fault with things we might not know much about.
I hope that what my Sister-in-Christ wrote will stand as a learning experience, and a growth in wisdom when dealing with other brothers and sisters who are having to go through things in life just so they can learn that God’s grace “is sufficient for you, for My [God’s] strength is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9. This is one of the forgotten or often-times neglected blessings of living in the spiritual; despite things that come to us in the natural, God is still sovereign above all and will continue to bless those who are His.
Demons are real and at work in the world system, they always have been. BUT – they have no way to enter into a person that has accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, and has been reconciled to the Father through Christ, and has been sealed by His Holy Spirit; thus demons have absolutely no power over those who belong to and abide in Christ Jesus.
If you are going to believe that others are possessed by demons (which can still happen), you better be prayed up, devoted to fasting, and walking in the spiritual gift of discernment. Otherwise, with your accusations you are going to cause much more pain and hurt than any demons will.
I hope many will meditate on this and allow the Holy Spirit to correct the false and inerrant teaching that is becoming much more prevalent in the world today. Don’t be part of the problem, rather, become part of the spiritual solution!