They came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind.
How do demons operate in our world today? The Bible says they manifest through nature and through physical illness, though not every natural event or every sickness is a demonic influence. Demons also manifest themselves through mental disorders. Again, it is a mistake to say all mental illness is a result of demonic activity. The fact is, our thoughts and our emotions are a series of chemical and electrical impulses in the brain, and it is possible for those to get out of balance. Many times those things should be treated with medicine. But it is also true that our thoughts and our emotions can be impacted by external, spiritual sources. Look at Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When we are feeling anxious, there is a positive spiritual exercise we can engage in, and it is called prayer. If there is a positive spiritual force that can affect our thoughts and emotions, doesn’t it stand to reason that there are also negative spiritual forces that can impact our thoughts and emotions?
A good illustration of this is the demon-possessed man in Luke 8. This man would not wear clothes and he had strange voices emanating from his mouth. But notice what happened after Jesus cast out the demons: “The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind” (v. 35). This man’s healing did not require years of drug treatment and psychotherapy–his healing was immediate and permanent. Now if you or a loved one is suffering from a mental disorder, it very well may be there is a chemical reason for your illness. But do not negate the possibility that there is a spiritual force at work as well.
Another way that demons sometimes manifest themselves is through a particular kind of mental illness: suicide. Mark 9 tells about a young boy who was controlled by an evil spirit, and the evil spirit would throw the boy into the fire and into the water to destroy him. You see, it is our natural inborn tendency to want to protect our bodies. It is almost always a demonic force that causes us to want to destroy our lives. Do you remember how Jesus characterized Satan? He said he is both a liar and a murderer (John 8:44). Jesus did not combine those two words accidentally. When you are discouraged, do not be surprised if one of Satan’s demons begins to whisper into your ear lies like, “Your situation is hopeless. There is no way out of this,” or, “Nobody cares about you,” or, “You have become a burden to your loved ones.” Unless your goal is to inflict as much pain as possible on those who love you the most, do not listen to the lies of the one who hates you the most. Thoughts of suicide come from nowhere but the evil one.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “What Demons Want To Do To You” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.