I’ve always thought it interesting that in Mosiah he states that Jesus will come and “shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.” This teaching seems to suggest that most of us have evil spirits which possess us. Notice it does not say “evil spirits which may dwell, or who dwell in some or in many….” It simply and plainly suggests that evil spirits dwell in our hearts.
Perhaps the Temple depiction is most correct where Satan promises that the spirits which follow after him shall possess the bodies that God creates for Adam and Eve.
I think many of us will agree that it seems odd that there is such an emphasis on “evil spirits” during Christ’s ministry, but nearly no emphasis on the subject today save but for the few Catholics who are seen as less than emotionally stable for their exorcisms.
And yet even Mary Magdalene was possessed with devils. Seven of them to be exact.
What if all of us have demons which possess us? And what if this is why and how we sin?
I love the story found in Mark chapter 5:2-20:
And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
This story seems to suggest that some people have more than one evil spirit. Can you imagine, that perhaps this man had 2,000 devils or evil spirits that dwelt with him? One for each of the swine? I wonder what influence each evil spirit had in this man’s life.
There are so many great stories in the New Testament that can instruct us on how to deal with evil spirits. For example, Jesus scolds his disciples when they failed to cast out an evil spirit from a small child:
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29)
I’ve wondered lately if evil spirits aren’t not only more common than we think, but that rather they are the reason we feel tendencies towards certain sins.
What if when I am quick to anger, it is a rogue unredeemed spirit that may even be a deceased ancestor of mine, who seeks to “help” me or influence me? Would my deceased ancestor not qualify potentially for a spirit who has chosen to follow after the devil and who is in his power in his current state?
What if I am feeling especially carnal? Worldly? Judgmental? Dishonest? Depressed? Arrogant? Sexual? Could these not be evil spirits trying to influence me?
It’s funny how we assume so much. We’d rather assume that such vices are due to our own fallen nature than to contemplate that such influences may be coming from the devils sworn to inhabit and control our bodies.
It is my current opinion that we, as mortals, are subject to being possessed. And that the only remedy is that we fast and pray that Christ casts out the evil spirits that dwell in each of us. I do not recommend paying for some person or for some conference that “teaches you” how to cast them out. I invite you to turn to the Master in fasting and in prayer. He and only He can assist you in overcoming these evil spirits.
I am humbled by the idea that even when our house is clean, then and especially then, are evil spirits most desirous to possess our house.
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him 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. (Luke 11:24–26)
Christ is our healer. He can cast out the evil spirits that dwell in us and prevent us from redemption. That is master mayhem’s goal after all, to keep us from Christ’s redemptive powers. If he can do so through deceiving even the very elect, by inspiring the teachings of the precepts of men, as inspired by his false priests whom he has raised up on the other side of the veil, then he will find happiness in his victory for a season and we shall lose our souls.
Perhaps many of our ills are inspired by his evil forces who find the chinks in our armor. Perhaps the goal is to overcome every demon until they are all cast out. And we become new creatures? To go no more out? Maybe that’s what it means to receive the Holy Ghost? Maybe our spirits become awakened and unencumbered in that state? With no more disposition to do evil?
God help us as we strive to have Satan overcome in our lives and as we seek to receive the Holy Ghost.