In later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.
–1 Timothy 4:1
Have you ever felt an inexplicable weight of depression upon your shoulders, and there is nothing you can do to shake that feeling? Have you ever been in an argument with another person in which the tempers flare hotter and the words become more vindictive than the situation calls for, almost like a third party is in the room egging on the conflict? Have you ever been in the middle of a really productive day when suddenly this fear seizes your mind and paralyzes you with inactivity? Have you ever been in a situation where temptation comes out of nowhere into your life, and it seems perfectly suited to meet the need you have at that very moment? If your answer is yes to any of those situations, then you have come face-to-face with demons.
You might be thinking, “Pastor, are you really saying things like depression, anger, temptation, and fear are attributable to demons? Aren’t those just weaknesses that we carry within us?” Last week we saw in James 1:14 how temptation comes into our life. James said, “Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” Yes, temptation does start with our own corrupt desires, but there is also a fisherman on the outside who knows exactly what bait to dangle in front of us. Who is that master fisherman? Up to now, we have identified our adversary as Satan. But remember, Satan is not God’s equal. He is not omnipresent–that is, he cannot be more than one place at the same time. Practically speaking, Satan cannot be tempting Walter over here and at the same time be tempting Alice over there. Satan cannot be in more than one place at a time, and he does not have to be–he has a whole army of demonic helpers who assist him in carrying out his deceitful and destructive plan for your life.
Like Satan, demons have been caricatured as these little figures that sit on your shoulder whispering sweet temptations into your life. Some people laugh at the idea of demons. Other people trivialize the idea of demons. They talk about a person’s “inner demons,” as if demons were nothing but our less-than-admirable impulses in life. But demons are formidable forces that are going to destroy your life if you are not aware of them. In Ephesians 6:11-12, Paul said, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Our primary opponent is not what we see; it is what we do not see. It is those invisible rulers, powers, and forces. Notice the plurality of those words–it is not just Satan, but also those who work with him. If Satan is the brains behind the operation to destroy us, then demons are the brawn. Together, Satan and his demons work to destroy your life. If we want to win the unseen battles we face every day, then we ought to learn as much about demons as we can.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The World Of Demons” 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.