Through Arid Places: Seek and Destroy

If evil spirits are like viruses, then how do we get rid of them?

Right away we hit up against an obstacle: viruses are among the most difficult organisms to kill. Any parent who has ever taken their child to the doctor, hoping to get a prescription for an antibiotic, knows this frustration.

“Just a virus,” the pediatrician might say. “Fluids, rest, and TLC until the immune system can wipe it out.”

Immunity. Human life couldn’t exist without it.

Scientists agree that “a virus’s worst enemy is the human immune system. When an unknown pathogen invades, the body naturally develops antibodies that can seek out and destroy the interloper.” The immune system uses a combination of innate and adaptive immune cells that work together to “differentiate self from non-self” in a virus-specific manner. This is important because there are hundreds of known human viruses, and more than two new species added every year.

Evil spirits are the same way. There are many, many different kinds of evil spirits. They are experts in human nature, and highly specialized in their field of study. They target specific human reservoirs, intentionally looking for the weak and vulnerable, or for those whose vices allow entry. Like viruses, evil spirits can shape-shift (mutate) and adapt to a situation, often emerging in different forms as people mature and develop new coping mechanisms.

A healthy spiritual immune system will seek and destroy the specific evil spirit, casting it out, before it gains more ground. Then it will remember that species, and keep the soul from becoming infected by that strain again.

Granted, there are ways to remove evil spirits without a healthy spiritual immune system. You can go to counseling, avoid sin, keep the physical body healthy, and practice positive thinking. It might work for a while.

We read in Matthew 12:43-45 that when an evil spirit leaves one person, it wanders through waterless places, restlessly looking for someone else to infect. In the meantime, that first person might get their life in order. You know, figure out their issues and resolve to move forward. This is a good thing. But it’s not nearly enough, because if that evil spirit doesn’t find anyone else, it will return to that same person — worse than before, with more demons by its side. Like when Influenza comes back with West Nile, SARS, HIV, Ebola, Marburg, Smallpox, and Polio.

Trick or treat.

As mere humans, we are no match for the deceptive forces of evil. Only one is strong enough to defend our souls from the legions of dark spirits swarming around us, passing from person to person like the common cold. Only one is strong enough to save us.

“And when evening had come, they brought to Jesus many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “He Himself took away our infirmities, and carried away our diseases.” Matthew 8:16-17.

(This is the last post in this series.)

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  1. #1 by warrriorforchrist on October 30, 2012 - 7:57 pm

    I remember reading somewhere “when the devil knocks, let Jesus answer the door.” Some days are not too bad. Other days, I feel like I should wake up, fully armored, sword in hand! It’s because of this, I must develop the discipline of landing on my knees when I roll out of bed. I can always go back and do Bible study after I’ve had a cup of coffee, but first contact is essential. It is important, as we are in the last days, to make sure our armor is on and we start the day with God, or else the devil will be having a free-for-all with us. I learned this from experience. And…you can continually be in contact with God throughout the day. He’s only a breath away from us. Praying continually, as the Bible admonishes us, is merely having a running dialog with Him, which you can do in your head if talking to Him out loud might have others staring at you strangely.
    Keep in mind, we are citizens of Heaven, working our way through here. (I borrowed that saying from Ann Voskamp.)

    • #2 by annaldavis on October 31, 2012 - 7:23 pm

      Yes, first contact makes a huge difference for me, too. I do best when I make time for early-morning prayer. When I don’t, it only takes several days for me to slide down spiritually. Now I try to pray when the first alarm goes off, before the snooze alarm (yes, I’m one of those people!). Thank you for the comment, and the reminder to be in constant communication with God.

  2. #3 by Larry Who on October 30, 2012 - 11:14 pm

    Can Christians have demons? I don’t believe they can in their spirits, but they sure can have infestations in their souls and bodies, like your analogy between a virus and evil spirits. Great series.

    • #4 by annaldavis on October 31, 2012 - 7:26 pm

      Thanks Larry. I don’t think Christians can be possessed in the total sense of the word, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us. But we can have many areas of sin/hurt/anger/bitterness/ that leave a window cracked open for the possibility of oppression. It’s been my experience that the enemy will take any ground we give him.

      • #5 by Larry Who on October 31, 2012 - 8:53 pm

        I absolutely agree. When a Christian is oppressed by a demon, I visualize the demon as being outside the person but having a string attached to that area of the believer’s life. Then, the demon can manipulate the believer like a puppet in that area until the string is cut through repentance or prayer or whatever. Are a lot of Christians oppressed? Oh boy!

        Great topic.

        • #6 by annaldavis on November 6, 2012 - 10:21 pm

          This is a perfect illustration “a string attached to that area of the believer’s life” — I’ve thought about it several times since reading this, and it fits perfectly. Sometimes all it takes is an awareness of the string to decrease its power, other times it takes more.

  3. #7 by popsdumonde on October 31, 2012 - 12:38 am

    Great post. Two months ago a friend and brother in Christ committed suicide. I really believe that he had gotten free of the demons that harassed him and feed his addictions and other life problems. The devil is a liar and the father of lies and though I agree with Larry that demons can’t cohabitate our spirit if the Holy Spirit resides there, the enemy certainly assails us in any matter he can. We believe his lies and let our guard down as “warriorforchrist” alluded to. Spiritual warfare is real to me and nothing short of the covering of the Blood of Christ is effective against the attacks and putting on the whole armor daily.

    • #8 by annaldavis on October 31, 2012 - 7:49 pm

      Stan, I’m sorry about your friend. The enemy doesn’t play fair, doesn’t let up, and will take us down however possible. I think that God’s grace and compassion on us far outweigh the enemy’s grasp, though. Praise God that He keeps our souls safe, resting in Him for eternity for those of us who know Him, even though on this earth we may become battered and bruised. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, but it is far easier to live victorious if we stay on guard and take up the full armor.

      • #9 by popsdumonde on October 31, 2012 - 10:26 pm

        Very true Anna, thank you for your kind words.

  4. #10 by linneann on October 31, 2012 - 1:44 pm

    It is the perfect ending.

  5. #12 by Don Hartness on November 4, 2012 - 5:03 pm

    As I step into a leadership role in a church group, I am encountering new “viruses” that my spiritual immune system has never known before. And here I thought I had seen all there is! This series reminds me not too become too complacent, and to ask for my daily inoculation before going out into the world to face the viruses that threaten me. A brilliant series!

    • #13 by annaldavis on November 6, 2012 - 10:25 pm

      Hi Don, it has been my experience that the enemy works even harder within the church, to hinder the work of God. I remember feeling almost shocked at the onslaught against me, when I began leadership roles at church. I like how you said “ask for my daily inoculation.” It reminds me of the manna in the desert, how they had to collect it every day. Thanks for the great comment.

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