What is a Demon?

What is a Demon?

A demon may not be what you think. Consider that the Bible makes many references to demons and none at all to “emotions.” It refers instead to spirits—a spirit of fear, a spirit of jealousy, spirit of anger, etc.. This replacement of “spirits” with the modern term “emotions” opens up the possibility that all negative, destructive or tormenting emotions are actually “demons.” (And who knows how many other states of consciousness may then also be demonic.) Jesus’ first instructions to his disciples was that of giving them power to cast out demons and heal disease. Carefully note something that is typically ignored by writers and church leaders: whenever someone was healed in the Bible, demons came out–“many at sunset.” Obviously then demons are something much more than that which causes an occasional crazy person to jump into the fire.

The disciples of Jesus spent their days, going out in pairs, healing and casting out demons–the significance of which the church seems (obviously with Satan’s help) to have missed when it prays for healings. It is more likely and logical that demons are nothing more than destructive emotions; and that the world as we know it is one big ongoing battle between Satan and God—with the battle field being our minds. This means further that it is highly likely that any emotional state which can be clearly identified as destructive (or “evil”) is likely to be a demon; a perspective that fits tidily  with Scripture and the belief that reality is in fact fundamentally spiritual–not material or naturalistic as modern science proclaims.

We should, this means, not be afraid to cast anything out that has the hallmarks of a demon—especially if we are unable to find relief after struggling with it in other ways. When to cast out as opposed to other forms of prayer? That cannot be easily or quickly determined, but it is in my experience far better to take authority over what we think could be a demon, sooner rather than later—as opposed to going nuts trying to figure out whether or not not something is or is not a demon. Yes, this is in sharp contrast to those who mock that if you fish often enough for a demon, you will occasionally come up with a live fish. But it is easy to see that such an attitude creates great confusion and doubt—not exactly the attitude that Jesus instilled in His disciples. I look at it this way. If something is a demon and we experience relief, God is pleased. If something is not a demon but we attempt to cast it out, then God is equally pleased that we are taking a stand against evil, and as Paul preached in II Corinthians—“demolishing strongholds which go contrary to the knowledge of God.” If we worry about whether something is actually a demon, we have lost the battle before it begins. Common sense, together with assuming evil is demonic, is in my opinion the way to go.

The bottom line, if my understanding of Scripture is correct, is that we have authority over all negative emotions. And wow! does this perspective ever open the door wide for dealing with problems in a more powerful and effective way, including mental and physical–with both known to be linked tightly with conflicting or destructive emotions. Especially if we anchor our thinking in Scripture—most notably the fact that we are by faith washed in the blood of Jesus and healed by His stripes. The Book of Mark and Ephesians 6:10-17 are good starter teachings. The  bottom line is that the indignation needed for spiritual healing is the direct result of knowing who we are in Christ—a truth, quickly note, far exceeding the confusion and hate engendered by the Golden Rule.

This is the first of a series of mini-lessons to help people deal with their emotional or physical problems. The end teaching will include the understanding that transgender issues have deep destructive, typically repressed, emotions at their root—states of mind which can be healed most effectively by the fourth ministry of Jesus: the ministry of deliverance combined with words of knowledge, the discernment of spirits, and so on.

One final thought. A very obvious benefit will become evident as we more deeply understand what I like to call  “spiritual surgery” by which (carefully explained in my latest book) even cancers can be excised. To sum, deliverance from evil (above and beyond salvation) is a very creative process where emotions and their many subtle interconnections need to be identified and broken down–and then, as needed, “cast out.”

It’s really that simple. But victory requires single-mindedness and persistence. If you want this victory, never say, “Oh, this doesn’t seem to work.” Scripture is true: “Those who are double-minded will receive nothing from God.” And that’s the way our brains function as well.

About Glenn Dudley

GLENN DUDLEY became interested in the mind-body problem as a Pre-Med student at the University of Colorado where he emphasized studies in physics, philosophy, and Judeo-Christian theology. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Colorado in 1969. After a mixed Psychiatry/Medicine internship, he worked for two years at MIT's Neurosciences Research Program -- a think tank whose objective was that of understanding how the hard-wiring of the nervous system mediates thought and emotion. Then, he spent a year in the Department of Psychiatry at Tufts Medical School in Boston reviewing the world's literature on psychological and emotional predispositions to cancer. From 1975 to his retirement in 1998 he practiced primary care medicine.
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