April 15 “And when he (Jesus) had come out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit…” Mark 5:2 It’s amazing that people in our “modern” day do not believe that demons exist. Anyone who doesn’t believe it is not going to be able to make sense out of the things that will take place “in the last days,” because the end of this age is going to be Satan’s hour, and the demonic spirits who serve him are going to be everywhere. In fact, it’s easy for the trained eye to discern them even now. vs 4: “…no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.” A lot is revealed here. The term “demon possessed” is an incorrect translation of that word; it should have been translated “demonized.” The unfortunate result of this mis-translation rests in the fact that it leads to the incorrect conclusion that it cannot apply to a believer because the Holy Spirit “possesses” a believer, and of course that is true. But that does not mean that a believer is immune to being “demonized,” any more than it means the believer cannot be subject to a viral or bacterial infection. These are all afflictions arrayed against us to harm us. There are many passages showing demons as the source not only of mental illness, but of physical illness as well, so to say that a believer cannot be “demonized” is patently untrue. If a person has, for example, a spirit of infirmity and becomes a believer, must it follow that the person then will no longer have this affliction? Of course not. Should we expect that when a person is born again any affliction caused by a demonic spirit will suddenly be removed? Sometimes yes, more often no. The point is that demons do exist. In one passage Jesus is shown setting someone free from a deaf and dumb spirit (Mark 9:25, which implies that someone born deaf and dumb might be under the affliction of a spirit. Are all deaf and dumb victims demonized? No. But if one who is – and then becomes a believer, it does not follow that the person will regain hearing and speaking when the person is born again. Many people come to the Lord without having their affliction removed. Once one becomes used to the idea that afflictions can be caused by demonic spirits, many situations will suddenly make sense. A good study on the subject would be to find all the occurrences of the kinds of spirits named throughout the Bible, and dare to believe that the Bible is literally true. One characteristic of being demonized is that the person will have no control over that part of his makeup. The Bible speaks of a “lying spirit.” Do you know anyone who is a pathological liar? Perhaps you’ve judged that person harshly, but had you understood that this could be a demonic affliction, you might have prayed for that person’s deliverance instead. Does that mean all people who lie have a lying spirit? No. And that’s why you need to be careful in how you deal with people who have no control over a part of their personality. Sometimes people are willful liars. But someone else might have a lying spirit. I’ve seen both kinds. The only way to know is to ASK the Lord in prayer. Once the Lord verifies that this or that is demonic in nature, then you might totally change your way of dealing with it, asking even HOW to pray about it. Some people need a strong rebuke. Others need mercy. “And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” Jude 22-23 Friends, to understand that believers can be under the control of various kinds of demonic spirits is no different from understanding that they can be under the control of a virus or a bacterial infection. A person who is laid low by a virus is no more “evil” than a person laid low by a demonic spirit. These are afflictions. Prayer can relieve a person of any kind of affliction, whether viral, bacterial, or demonic. If it’s a spirit of infirmity, the infection won’t go away with medical treatment and could even lead to death, therefore it’s vitally important to find out what the cause is. All this means is that when you pray for someone, be discerning in your prayer time. Ask the Lord to lead you into the right prayer, the “effective, fervent prayer” that can “avail much.” (James 5:26) vs 15: “Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demonized and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind.” If Jesus had given this man an anti-depressant, he would not have been cured. The correct treatment was applied, and the man was set free.