Demons are not as difficult to expel as you might think. Did you know that devils only came around when Jesus showed up in history? The Old Testament doesn’t have any devils or demons. The word “satan” from the OT means “adversary” or “that which causes one to turn aside or go astray.” Christianity may have been influenced by the Greeks and made an anti-God type of being out of references to a satan. But I’m not talking about satan here. I’m talking about devils and demons…daimonion in Greek.
Jesus said, “Go, tell that fox (Herod), ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be finished.’” When you look up the meaning of the Greek word translated as “demon or devil”, this is what you find: 1) a divine power, deity, or divinity 2) a spirit, inferior to God, superior to man 3) evil spirits, messengers of the devil. The first definition is opposite of what we expect and the third definition must have been added to support the Christian theology of the translators of the KJV. That happens a lot in the Greek commentaries because most are written by Christians.
Guess how many times daimonion is translated in the New Testament according to the first definition? (Once.) Guess how many times it’s translated according to the third definition? (Fifty-nine.) I suppose it’s hard to imagine that Jesus would want to cast out a divine power.
My guess is that the most accurate and usable definition is the second one. A demon is an internal spirit that is inferior to God and superior to man. It sounds like something that is labeled today as the false self—the old Adam, the adversary that grew in your being when people called you stupid, ugly, worthless, inept, a poor and miserable excuse for a human being. Every time someone denigrated you, the demon grew bigger. Every time you failed in an effort, the demon ate it up and got stronger. Every time the Sunday school teacher said you were a miserable sinner in God’s eyes and deserved to be damned forever, the demon increased. “I’m no good. I don’t deserve to be with a good God.” These are the words of a demon.
Then along came Jesus and started casting out these “new testament age” demons. He gave his disciples the power to do the same. And I’m going to share four methods so you can know you have the power to cast out some demons, too. Here they are:
- Spend time with sinners. Eat with them. Sinners are full of demons. Lots of people have told them they are worthless. How can you cast out any demons if you’re not around people who are possessed? But here’s the trick. Don’t tell them that you’re there to get rid of their demons. It will make them defensive. Ask a lot of questions. Where did they come from? What do they like to do that you like? Just enjoy their their company, and laugh a lot. Demons hate laughter.
- When you know a friend who is down in her spirit, you can be sure a demon is sticking its pitch fork into her. There are too many awesome things in this created world for anyone to stay down for long. To cast out her demon will again take a little time. You can’t find out any details about the nature of her demon unless you show some sincere concern and interest. If you don’t have any time to give, then you probably can’t be an exorcist. I suppose Jesus had more time than most of us in the twenty-first century. Sometimes all it takes to cast out a demon is a few shared tears, the touch of a hand, a hug, a kind word (in person, not email or Facebook alone). Demons hate contact and compassion.
- Another way to cast out demons is to open your eyes wider. Be perceptive. Get to know people well enough that you recognize when they aren’t being themselves. When they aren’t themselves, they are possessed by a spirit that is stronger than their physical self, but not stronger than the One in whose image they are made. Some demons can actually disrupt physiological functions of the body. They can cause a person’s blood pressure to rise, sugar levels to drop, immune systems to fail. If you can recognize little things that reduce a person’s capacity to be joyful and full of life, you can guide them to do some things that might improve those mental and physical functions. Some words of wisdom can help them get rid of a few demons. Demons hate common sense.
- Honest encouragement. This is a great tactic for expelling demons. When people hear positive things about how they look, what they’ve done, how they’ve are of value in the world, this makes demons shrink faster than anything else. But it has to be honest and real, from the heart validation. Forget the false praise, demons can pick that up in a heartbeat and feed on it. Always seek the good in others because you will have found God. When you offer truth, the demons will start running.
Just be aware that demons like to return to the places from which they were expelled. It may take some additional effort, and often, prayer. But when the demons are run out, then the light can begin to shine and the One who dwells within them can rise again.
Now go out there and cast out some demons!