He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.”
Can a Christian be demon-possessed or owned? Absolutely not. But there is a difference between being demon-possessed and demonically influenced. Can a Christian be influenced or controlled by demons? Absolutely. When Jesus laid out for His disciples the plan for Him to die and be raised on the third day, Peter said, in effect, “Lord, you do not need to go suffer on the cross! There is a better way.” How did Jesus respond? “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s’” (Matthew 16:23). Was Peter possessed by Satan? No, but he was allowing himself to be controlled by Satan.
You might say, “Pastor, that was before Pentecost, before the Holy Spirit came to dwell in every believer. But today it is impossible for Christians who have the Holy Spirit to be controlled by Satan.” Oh, really? Look at the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 4-5. One day Barnabas said before the church, “I am so moved by God, I am going to sell a piece of property and give everything to the church.” Ananias and Sapphira saw all the praise that Barnabas was getting, so in the spirit of the moment, they stood up and said, “We are also going to sell our piece of property and give everything to the church.” But they really had a different plan. They sold the property and gave some of the money to the church, but they withheld a portion for themselves. Their sin was not that they kept some of the money, but that they did not fulfill the commitment they had made. What was Peter’s response? Look at Acts 5:3: “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?’” Ananias had been baptized with the Holy Spirit of God, but he was being controlled with Satan. How do you explain that?
There is a difference between being baptized with the Holy Spirit and being filled by the Holy Spirit. Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a one-time act of God by which, at the moment of our salvation, the Holy Spirit joins us to Jesus Christ and to all the other members of the body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul said, “By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” Every true Christian has been baptized with the Holy Spirit, but not every Christian has been filled by the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 5:18 Paul wrote, “Be filled with the Spirit.” That word “filled” means “controlled.” The moment you become a Christian, you receive all of the Holy Spirit. The question is, does the Holy Spirit have all of you? Any part of your life that is not being controlled by the Holy Spirit of God is open to being controlled by demons. That is why it is important that we submit every part of our life–our work, our family, our finances, and our leisure time–to God’s control.
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.