Behold, I give unto you power [authority] to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power [might] of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19

When I was in high school, one of my brothers came home one day demonized. He had committed his life to Christ, but had been struggling with some intensive spiritual warfare; I recall him speaking about some of the spiritual experiences he was having, as he was trying to talk openly about them as a cry for help in days leading up to this.

Unfortunately, no one in the immediate family, or church group(s) to whom he confided had much by way of practical help for him. He therefore, apparently, allowed a tormenting spirit to take control of his body.

A lot of Christians speculate that a Christian cannot have a demon, but our theology has to be true to reality, and I have both seen, and experienced the contrary.

My brother was not faking some episode to get attention; as it occurred and afterward, he struggled to accept the experience at all, and was quite reticent to discuss it. For me it was a driving home of those certain spiritual realities, which began to reinforce the commitment I had made to the Lord only just recently.

My brother was a University student at the time, and had arrived home that day speaking about himself in the third person – not in an ignorant sounding way, but in an arrogantly amused sort of way – making jibes about himself as though speaking in the form of gossip. He wasn’t violently out of control… well, not exactly. He was in the sense that it became apparent that violent eruptions would spontaneously come out of him though the semblance of composure remained.

I recall standing outside his bedroom door, realizing what was happening in him, and silently began to pray in tongues. Upon which he immediately answered me: “Praying won’t do [expletive].” And slammed the bedroom door in my face.

Over the course of the evening the events progressed, until an elder from my parents church came and was able to break through to my brother, and begin to counsel him. I still recall the wailing scream of terror which came out of him when he realized that a demon really had been in control of his body. Though the culmination of events that night, I do not believe saw him free in terms of a full expulsion, yet never was there a repeat episode of the same degree… at least not for the rest of my experience living in our parent’s house.

I recall being in a bit of a haze the next couple of days, realizing that none of my classmates would have the mental framework to even believe the experience if I attempted to tell it to them. I recall beginning to feel completely detached from my peers, even more so than had been.

I had turned my life over to Christ when I was fifteen, and subsequently lost every friend that I had had in my former life – that’s not to speak ill of any of them, I certainly was a completely different person after I became a Christian than I had been before.

In fact, I had accumulated a great deal of spiritual bondage prior to receiving salvation, which I assumed would all drop off immediately on my conversion. But the spiritual warfare didn’t even start until I got saved, the demonic darkness I experienced prior to that was insignificant compared to the assailments that came my way after I had committed my life to Christ.

My paradigm had quickly become completely opposed to that of my atheist, or agnostic friends and acquaintances. I knew that even new Christian friends would be hard pressed to believe it – and wouldn’t likely want to.

Behold, I give unto you AUTHORITY…

While King James uses the word ‘power’ twice in the verse above, the Greek has two different words, Jesus declares that He gives us AUTHORITY – that is a better translation of the first word. The second usage: over all the POWER of the enemy is more correctly translated.

Jesus Christ gives us AUTHORITY over the POWER of Satan. This distinction plays an important role in spiritual warfare particularly when it comes to dealing with the demonized. Authority is delegated, power or strength is not. How STRONG is the devil? It doesn’t matter, I have AUTHORITY over his strength – as delegated by Christ.

A person has autonomy as granted to them by God, and can, therefore, grant personal authority to anyone over their own life because – as I said – authority is delegated.

We grant authority to certain governances through submission. For example your employer, or the school you go to; in entering an employment agreement, or in enrolling in a school, you agree to a certain set of rules or expectations. You grant those entities to have some degree of authority over you to the degree that you agree to submit to the organization’s rules and expectations.

Sometimes we grant authority unintentionally, through submission say in the case of an abusive relationship. The abused often submits to the abuser without even thinking about it, its just part of the tragic cycle. Unfortunately, it very difficult to help an abused person out of such a relationship because they have granted [delegated] their abuser authority over themselves.

Can a Christian have a demon? How much authority do you give the world, the flesh, and the devil in your life? Do you submit to Christ in all respects?

Repentance is a despised word, but what it means in the context of the living reality of faith in the Living God is that we stop agreeing with the world, the flesh and the devil, and agree completely with Jesus. Agree to the plan of salvation, agree to biblical morality, agree to the working of the Holy Spirit in your life… why, if I didn’t know any better I’d say that repentance is delegating full authority of our own lives over to Jesus Christ. (In fact, that’s exactly what it is.)

Repentance is not a requirement because of a judgmental God; it’s a requirement for our own joy, blessing, and salvation. The more we agree with Jesus, the more right we are. The more we agree with the world, the more we are God’s enemies (James 4:4), and the more the devil has a foothold on us.

Can a Christian have a demon? Jesus gives us AUTHORITY over all serpents, scorpions and over all the power of the enemy. But if we, ourselves, give authority to – if we submit to – the world we are giving the devil a foothold in our lives. As the scriptures declare, Satan is the prince of the power of this world (Eph. 2:2), and as John unveils, the whole world lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19).

At another point (again while in High School) I was at a friend’s house. My friend was playing one of the popular ‘Magic the Gathering’ type card games of the time, and a friend of his sister asked me if I’d like to see HER cards. Trying to be sociable, I said sure. She then took out a deck of Tarot cards, and thrust the deck at me. I realized what they were when I saw them, and – again trying to be polite – I took them from her and shuffled through the deck, looking at the rather grotesque demons portrayed on them before handing them back.

Later that day as I was getting ready for bed, I became acutely aware of a demonic presence, accompanied by a headache (I don’t think I believed the headache to be related to the demonic presence at the time, but as you’ll see I discovered it was). I prayed about it, and realized that I had allowed the spirit entry [i.e. delegated authority through unintentional submission] by socially accommodating the wiccan girl, and handling her Tarot cards. I needed to repent: agree with Jesus on the matter, and allow His blood to cleanse me.

My mom was home and I asked her to pray for me. When she did a peculiar thing happened. She laid her hand on my head, and as soon as she did I felt the headache move AWAY from her hand. It didn’t leave my body, but as though fleeing from the place where the hand was laid, I felt it move to the other side of my head. One of my other brothers was also present (not the one who had been demonized), and I asked him to lay his hand on the other side of my head – where the pain had moved. Interesting occurrence: I felt the pain then move away from his hand, and down into my shoulder. It was as though the pain in my body – though not a physical creature – was a parasite moving around in my body.

This was, of course, after my salvation, and I was experiencing a demonic entity in my body. Oddly, the spirit moved around inside of me while they prayed, but did not leave my body. Yet now I understand why.

Behold, I give unto you AUTHORITY to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power [might] of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

I had authority over it. And I wasn’t using it, I was expecting other Christians to intercede it out of me. That’s not how it works. They don’t have authority over my body, I do.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a deliverance ministry by which people can expel demons from others, but I’m not sure that my Christian family really understood how to do that at the time. Also, as a Christian, that authority was delegated to me to treat upon serpents and scorpions [that come against me] not for someone else to.

Even with non-believers the same applies. Sometimes Christians begin to learn about spiritual warfare, and think they should go around casting demons out of people everywhere. What if the person WANTS their demon? They may, or may not realize they want their demon, but if they have not repented, they are far more likely to agree with a deceiving spirit than they are to agree with Jesus.

You would think that with experiences like those that my brother had, he would want to get and stay free. You’d think that, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, after getting cleaned up somewhat spiritually to the degree that he wasn’t in such deep throes of spiritual warfare, and seemed to be getting stronger in the Lord he suddenly became fixated on occult spirituality, and eventually decided he was an atheist denying everything he knew about the Lord, and even his own spiritual experiences. Astoundingly, though claiming to be an atheist, I have found him to have immense spiritual power.

Matt 12:43-45
43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.

44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.

45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Repentance is the key; when we change our outlook to be the outlook of Jesus Christ, we are giving HIM authority in our lives. When He is the authority of our life, He gives us COMPLETE authority over Satan.

For those who have yielded your life to Christ, the devil cannot harm you unless you let him.

…and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

This last statement, of course, means nothing of what He has just spoken, no serpent or scorpion (those are epithets for demons), nor any power of the enemy. He’s not saying that we cannot be harmed by anything in this world, but that taking the authority Christ gives us, no demonic power or attack can harm us.

Behold, I give unto you power [authority] to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power [might] of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19

Rather than making this post much longer, here are a few other posts on spiritual warfare, and the demonic if you’re interested in learning more. See also my book ‘Discerning the Antichrist’ linked at the bottom:

Will there be Nephilim in the Last Days?

Who is the Devil?

Crushing the Dragon