Last week in Casting Out Afflicting Spirits I shared how I was surprised to learn how often sickness or pain is caused by an evil spirit attacking someone’s body. I mentioned that at that time, most of the people I was praying for were Christians. At that point, some people protest, saying it’s not possible for a Christian to have an evil spirit. After all, scripture says the Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Today we’ll examine this issue and I’ll share what I tell a Christian when an afflicting spirit manifests in their body.
The Temple Of The Holy Spirit
The fact that the Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit doesn’t imply that nothing else can be in there. The temple of the Old Testament was a shadow of the time when the Holy Spirit would inhabit our bodies, and several Old Testament passages deal with idolatry in the temple.
2 Chronicles 33:15 (NIV) He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city.
Jesus cleansed the temple in the New Testament:
Matthew 21:12-14 (NIV) Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.
The apostle Paul wrote that we have been given fullness in Christ in Colossians 2:10. He also wrote about being filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19 (NIV) …and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Are these scriptures contradictory? No! God has given us all of himself, putting the Holy Spirit in us, but that fullness fills and permeates every part of our being as we come to know, experientially and by participation, God’s love that surpasses mere head knowledge. That’s why various Old Testament passages also talk about the temple being filled with God’s glory.
2 Chronicles 5:14 (NIV) and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.
Can A Christian Have A Flu Virus?
Some people believe that if someone has an evil spirit, they must not have ever really been saved. When Christians wonder how they could have an evil spirit in their body, I ask “Can a Christian have a flu virus.” Of course! I don’t know anybody who assumes a person was never saved if they get the flu!
Yet the flu virus, like an evil spirit, is something that doesn’t belong in the temple of the Holy Spirit. So is a cancerous tumor. God’s manifest presence also can destroy both of these. One time when I was exhausted and had a horrible sore throat, I was singing to the Lord and my face and hands started to vibrate with God’s presence. Within a few minutes, I no longer had the flu. God’s presence released a frequency that destroyed the virus.
That brings up another point. If a Christian gets the flu or cancer, it’s rarely because of some terrible thing they did. It’s just because they were vulnerable in some way. It’s the same with an afflicting spirit.
Some Christians, for lack of understanding, might feel really embarrassed or ashamed when they realize it was an evil spirit causing their pain. That’s why I explain that it’s a bit like a virus. It doesn’t mean you did something terrible or that you aren’t saved. It’s just something that doesn’t belong, it’s attacking you when you’re vulnerable, and we kick it out.
We talked about vulnerabilities in Does The Devil Have Legal Rights? I don’t believe the devil has a “legal right” to afflict anybody. He claims that he does, but he is a liar. He is not law-abiding. Sin can make a person vulnerable to attack, but it is not the only thing that can. In the case of an afflicting spirit causing physical pain, it often entered when the person was weak or tired, or experienced trauma.
When we don’t realize that a problem is being caused by an evil spirit attacking our body, Christians often assume it is natural or normal. For example, a believer might think “It’s common for people to have knee pain when they are over 50.”
I don’t want to paint a picture that Christians are weak and powerless, prey for the enemy. Jesus has given us all authority in order to plunder and trample over all Satan’s power. However, if we don’t recognize an attacker for what it is or even accept it as normal, we will not resist that invader. Instead, we’ll tolerate it.
That is why it’s so common for Christians to be afflicted by spirits attacking their bodies. Yet when we realize what the thing is and resist it in Jesus’ name, it’s really easy to kick out! I hope last week’s and today’s posts may help some of you to recognize how an overly naturalistic worldview can sometimes trick us into tolerating invaders.
Try this. If you or somebody near you have pain anywhere, rebuke it aggressively in Jesus’ name. If it moves or increases, you’ve uncovered an invader, and its time is up! Keep rebuking it until it leaves.
For another take on this issue, including the difference between being “possessed” and “demonized,” check out this article by Jennifer Eivaz: Can A Christian Be Demon Possessed?
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