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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not All Demons Leave Easily

There are some things that many new Christians conquer quickly. Often their use of language improves immediately. They stop using vulgar words. They stop being in places where these words are expected. Yet, some of their demons simply hide for a while. They will come out when the Christians' new found exuberance subsides. They have not gone away. They are merely dormant.

The worse thing the Christian can do is live with these demons. So many Christians merely hide the addictions rather than remove them. They live abused lives which destroy their joy and witness. They have decided that they can't live without their demons. They know that others would look down on them if they don't get rid of them but they don't believe it is possible. They have tried but they have not had victory.

Jesus said that some demons do not leave without prayer and fasting. He was talking about those who were possessed by demons. I, however, believe that there are demons that plague Christians without possessing them. They have influence rather than control. I know that they do not leave easily, either. I also believe that the answer is prayer and fasting.

This is where the church must play a big part. A church must be a safe place for Christians to confess their sins so that they can get help. It should not be a place to hide your sins. It must be a place to share failures and receive unconditional love.

I once sat in a group of pastors who shared their demons. One admitted that he was an alcoholic and had hidden it from his present congregation for five years. Another told of his destroyed self-esteem when his wife ran off with another woman. As each man shared I got more afraid to share my own demons. The fact that no one was condemned helped. However, we could do something for each other once the demons were revealed. We prayed for each other. 

I have attended Alcoholics Anonymous groups at our church. (I am not an alcoholic. I just went to support them.) Their honesty is brutal. They know they are in a group of people who are battling the same demon. They know they will not make it alone. They know that they need each other. Why aren't more churches like this? We would have many more victories if we were.

You need to pray and fast to remove some demons. You need friends who will also pray and fast for you. These actions depend upon the power of God to have victory. His power is unstoppable. He will never be defeated. 

The demons I see are named addiction, pornography, gluttony, greed, anger, selfishness, envy, pride, etc. They are subtle. They tell lies to their subjects. They say they are normal. They say everyone is struggling with the same demons. They say that they can't be lived without. They will not admit defeat until they are defeated.

Everyone reading this blog either has one of these demons or knows someone who does. Either way, condemnation is not the answer. Prayer and fasting is. Would you go to someone for help or to help? Will you commit to pray and fast? Would you send this blog to them so that you can start the discussion of help? Do you care enough to do something about it?

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