‘Let us alone,’ say the demons
Satan’s destructive intentions for us and his deadly struggle against Jesus were never made clear to me in 40 years of studying Christian Science, though they are evident throughout the Bible.
The Enemy under his many names and disguises, from the serpent in Genesis to the dragon in Revelation, is mentioned often in Mrs. Eddy’s writings, but only to be explained away. She posits “the nothingness of evil” (SH 363) and the “unreality of sin” (SH 461), then goes on to equate Satan, the devil, and demons with evil or sin. End of subject.
After quoting Jesus’ specific warning for us to “fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt. 10:28), she says this means to beware of sin, not Satan (SH 196). Satan is dismissed a few pages earlier as an “illusive personification” (SH 187). His works too are “illusion,” she writes (Mis. 168). “The existence of one personal devil” is but baseless “supposition,” she concludes, “evil beliefs” and nothing more (Mis. 191).
But I have concluded from studying Scripture on its own terms, after setting Mrs. Eddy’s books aside, that such explaining-away can only abet the Enemy’s prime objective of lulling us to think he does not exist.
“Let us alone” was the unclean spirit’s plea to Jesus in the first miracle ascribed to him in the first gospel written about him (Mk. 1:24). The Lord did not oblige and neither should we. His example of personally addressing the demons (“devils” in the King James translation) and their chief, Satan, from a position not of weakness but of God-given strength, must be followed if Christian Scientists or any of us really want to heal as he did.
I was recently asked by Ed, a Christian I correspond with in prison, to look into God’s Word for precepts that could help him in battling what he calls the demons of bipolar mental illness. He said that after a difficult period, the medications were finally stabilizing him, but he wanted to go deeper and win the spiritual battle behind his physical and mental torment.
â€œIâ€™ve been studying about demons, but not understanding much of it,” Ed wrote. Please give me your understanding with references, from which I might get more insight.â€ After a lot of research and prayer, I came up with ten points, each clearly supported (it seems to me) by one or more texts.
POWER AGAINST DEMONS
1. Satan is strong, but God is stronger. (Gen. 3:15, Job 1:6-12, Mt. 4:1-11, Lk. 11:14-20)
2. We must be always watchful and active, because Satanâ€™s agents, the demons or devils, are constantly attacking us. (Mt.10:24-28, Lk. 11:21-26, Lk. 22:24-34, I Pet. 5:6-11)
3. In believing on Godâ€™s Son, Jesus, we receive power to cast out demons. (Mt. 10:8, Mk. 16:17, Lk. 10:17-20)
4. To use that power, we must stay close to Jesus through unwavering faith, prayer, and fasting. The power is never ours personally, nor can we dare use it selfishly or carelessly. (Mk. 9:17-29, Lk. 10:17-20, Acts 8:9-24, Acts 19:13-16)
5. Demon possession is never Godâ€™s will. It is not anyoneâ€™s natural or normal or permanent condition. Satanâ€™s final defeat in the end times (Isa. 14:12-15, Mt. 25:41, Rev. 12:7-11) is preceded by our victories here and now over him and his demons. (Lk. 8:26-39, Lk.13:10-17)
6. As we were originally made in Godâ€™s image, and as we are now redeemed in Christ, our normal and natural condition is to companion with angels, not demons. (Mt. 4:1-11, Mt. 26:47-54)
7. Satan and his demons use lies, deceptions, and disguises, even false applications of Scripture, in the attempt to trap us and kill us. (Mt. 4:1-11, Jn. 8:31-50, 2 Cor. 11:14) But God in Christ provides us full armor for defense and offense against every demon weapon or trick. (Eph. 6:10-18)
8. Satan and his demons know they will be defeated if identified and confronted. So they seek to be concealed, ignored, or bargained with. (2 Cor. 11:14, Mk. 1:23, 24, Lk. 8:26-28) We can prevail by addressing them directly and with authority, as Jesus did. (Mk. 1:25-27, Lk. 8:29-33, Mt. 16:23)
9. Our troubles including sin, sickness, suffering, or sorrow are sometimes the indirect result of a fallen world and other times the direct result of demon attack. But since Satan originally caused the Fall and since he still constantly seeks our destruction, we can always be helped by coming against him in Jesusâ€™ name, and we must not cease doing so. There is no neutrality: if we are not firmly on Christâ€™s side, we will be pulled to the Enemyâ€™s side. (Mt. 16:23, Lk. 22:3-6, 24-34)
10. With each victory over Satan and his demons, there comes a great increase in our joy of life and our usefulness to others, in service to Godâ€™s purposes. (Mk.16:9, Lk. 8:35-39, Lk. 22:32, Acts 8:9-24)
The above outline is what I sent to my friend in the penitentiary. I invite you to join me in praying for Ed’s victory over the demons of mental illness, in order that his self-mastery and usefulness for the Kingdom — already greatly advanced since his conversion behind bars four years ago — may advance further still.
The author can be reached at email@example.com