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  • Daniel Botkin

Can a Believer be Possessed by a Demon?

Can a true, born-again believer be possessed by a demon? It depends on what you mean by “possessed.” If you mean possession in terms of legal ownership, then no, a Christian cannot be legally possessed (owned) by a demon, because the Lord is the legal owner of His children. However, I believe a Christian can have a demon. When the KJV says people were “possessed by devils,” the Greek text uses a single word, daimonizomai, “demonized,” which means to be under the influence or power of a demon.

Since the English term “possession” very often implies ownership, it is better to think in terms of demonic influence rather than demonic possession. Demonization can affect anyone, even believers. Believers can be vexed, harassed, afflicted, tormented, and opposed by demons. Even Paul was buffeted by a “messenger [angelos, angel] of Satan” (2 Cor. 12:7). If we are not alert and aware of Satan’s devices, our thinking, our emotions, our speech, and our actions can be influenced by demons.

Demonization means being under the influence of a demon. If a man is arrested for driving in a drunken state, he is charged with DUI, Driving Under the Influence of alcohol. In a similar way, a believer might find himself TUI (Thinking Under the Influence of a demon), FUI (Feeling Under the Influence of a demon), SUI (Speaking Under the Influence of a demon), or AUI (Acting Under the Influence of a demon).

If we diligently seek the Lord and continually pray, our spiritual senses will be sharp. We will not be so easily taken off guard and blindsided by demonic attacks. If demonic powers try to influence our thinking, our feelings, our speech, or our actions, we will recognize them for what they are and raise up our shield of faith like a pool of water to quench the fiery darts of the enemy. If you sense demonic powers trying to influence you, drive them out of your life by the authority of Yeshua.

When Joshua, the Old Testament “Yeshua,” took Israel into the Promised Land, the Israelites were told not only to drive out the inhabitants, but also to destroy all the remnants and reminders of their idolatry. The Israelites were commanded to destroy all the heathens’ idols, altars, pillars, shrines, etc. Every trace of heathen idolatry was to be destroyed. In a similar way, we should rid ourselves of any demonic influence that might remain even after the demons are driven away. This is important, because the demonic influence can linger even after the demon is gone.

“But Daniel, how can a demon continue to influence a person if the demon has been driven away?” That question can be answered in one single word: memories.

Memories are powerful. Satan will use your memories to remind you of your past sins to try to make you feel guilty about sins that you long ago repented of. He will remind you of your past hurts to try to get you to wallow in self-pity and depression over things that happened long ago.

People could avoid a whole lot of misery if they would follow the example of Paul, who said, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Messiah Yeshua” (Ph’p 3:13f).

Satan wants you to dwell on your past sins and past hurts to distract you from pursuing the high calling of God. The Lord wants you to forget the past.

Don’t misunderstand. We cannot “forget” in an absolute sense. We cannot make ourselves incapable of recalling the past, as if our memories were wiped away. But we “forget” by not letting negative memories of past sins and hurts haunt us and cripple us.

Furthermore, there is a right way and a wrong way of remembering. For tragic events like the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, and 9-11, we say, “Never forget!” There is a right way to remember your past times of suffering, as a reminder of how God was with you. In Deuteronomy chapter 8, God told the Israelites to remember the difficult years in the wilderness as a reminder of their need to always depend on God. In Lamentations, Jeremiah spoke of “Remembering mine affliction, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me” (Lam. 3:19f).

So remembering sins and hurts from your past can keep you humble and dependent on God. But do not let demonic powers use your memories to draw you into condemnation, or self-pity, or unforgiveness toward those who hurt you in the past. Unforgiveness will cause a root of bitterness to spring up. It will open the door for demons to demonize you.

Forgiving people who hurt you does not require you to say that they did nothing wrong, nor does it require you to stop feeling the pain they caused you. Sometimes that is impossible. Forgiving people who sinned against you is a decision you make, an act of your will. By faith you forgive them, then leave it in God’s hands and move on.

Therefore let go of any grudges. Forgive and forget the past, and press on toward the high calling of God. Then demons will no longer be a threat to you. Instead, you will be a threat to them.

“And the evil spirit answered and said, Yeshua I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” -Acts 19:15

| DB


Image: Psalm 31 by Daniel Botkin from his Psurrealistic Psalms Pseries. See this and all the Psalms he has painted so far on his art website,

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