Tag Archives: exorcism

No Vacancy

Many New Year’s resolutions fail because it is not enough to simply stop harmful and habitual behavior.  The vacancy formed must be filled with something good.  Anyone who has gone on a crash diet and failed knows the truth of this.

The same principle is true in the spiritual realm, although the stakes are much higher.  Jesus illustrated the principle like this:

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”   (Luke 11:24-26)

Attempting to keep one’s soul “swept clean and put in order” may seem possible temporarily, but ultimately fails.  What we need is a new “resident” living in the house of our soul.  We need to hang a “No Vacancy” sign out for returning evil spirits.  Which makes this promise of Jesus exceedingly good news:

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.  (John 14:23)

If Nobody is Home

Exorcism can be dangerous, Jesus said, because it can leave you worse off.

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” –  (Matthew 12:43–45)

The problem in this scenario is that the soul of the exorcised person is not filled with another and better spirit.  It is merely “swept clean.”  It may be “put in order,” temporarily following a set of rules for moral living.  But it is vulnerable to spiritual attack.  This is the condition of so many who attempt to become morally good by following rules and strict discipline.  In Jesus’ day, it was the Pharisees who followed that path.  In our day it is frequently those raised in a legalistic church who find themselves in this kind of peril.  His or her “house” is “swept clean” but it is “unoccupied.”  Take that person out of their childhood environment and plunk them down, unsupervised on, say, a college campus and some very strange and sad things tend to happen.

However, when a person trusts Jesus, He sends His Spirit to live in their soul to guide them and empower them in truth.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  –  (John 14:16–17)

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. –  (John 16:13a)

This is an essential difference.  Their “house,” their soul, is no longer “unoccupied.”  It is the reason why the message of Jesus is not merely another religion, doomed to failure, but is genuine, Good News!  He gives the Holy Spirit Who lives in our souls and overpowers the forces of evil.

Quotes: The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Mt 12:43–45). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Power, not Pea Soup

If you don’t believe Satan is real, turn on the news.  Satan is very real, his power is great and demons under his control torment people and cause them to do twisted, evil things,  Jesus knew demons were real.  When He rescued people from the demonic, He was not pretending.  He was not just going along with the people’s ignorance and superstition.  He released tormented people with great compassion and seriousness of purpose.  And yet, Jesus didn’t approach exorcism with  Hollywood sensationalism.  No pea soup.  He didn’t need it.  He had power.

I have witnessed more than one person being released from demons.  Each time it freaked me out.  I knew I was out of my element, and had no clue what to do.  What happened was very real and had wonderful, lasting effects.  But i was a bystander.  On my own, I don’t know much about banishing demons and have no power.

But God does.  Jesus proved it by casting out demons.  He was so effective, the Pharisees accused Him of being in league with Satan!  Jesus quickly demolished that accusation by pointing out that Satan would not work against his own interests (Matthew 12:25-26).

And what He said next, shows us Who has the power to overthrow demons:

“But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:28)

Jesus cast out a demons by the Holy Spirit; He used the power of the Spirit of God.  You fight spiritual battles by the Spirit.  And God’s Spirit always wins.  That being true, the question becomes, how does one get access to this Spirit of God?  Jesus said it is when “the kingdom of God has come upon you.” The only way to have the Spirit of God is by entering into the kingdom of God.  You do that by trusting Jesus, allowing Him to be your “King.”  Do that, and here is His promise:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you foreverthe Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)


“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

When it comes to spiritual warfare, you don’t need pea soup, you need power.  A mentor taught me to approach situations that seem to be demonic with this sort of prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, You are King over all and You have the authority to conquer all evil spirits by the power Your Spirit.  I don’t know whether _______________ is happening because of an evil spirit, but if it is, please Lord Jesus, rescue ______________ and send those demons away forever.  Please fill ____________ with Your Spirit completely, leaving no room for any other demonic spirits.  Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

There is no magic in those words.  But when we acknowledge Who is King and Who has the authority, there is great power.