Dr. Tan Kok Beng
Can a missionary be demonized?
After all, a missionary listened to the call of our Master to follow Him and to go to the nations to preach the Gospel of Good News. How could such a person be demonized? How could a pious Christian be demonized? How could a faithful Christian be demonized?
To be demonized means to be tormented or oppressed and troubled by evil spirits. This is due to the invasion and inhabiting of demons inside the body of the believer. But a true born aain Christian cannot be possessed by a demon or demons. However, in many cases, demonization may even like possession.
How Does a Christian Get Demonized?
There are several ways that a Christian may fall into the trap of demonization. I’d like to touch on a very few items that could be the reasons for demonization among the Christians in this article.
1. Pre-Christian Hang-ups
Before coming to Christ, we may have opened the door to demons through the worship of false gods and other religious rituals. Secularized individuals who came to Christ are no exception to this process. They may not have worshipped gods and performed rituals. But, in their day to day living, there come across and get involved innocent-looking demonic activities.
Many believers did not repent and renounce these things. It is possible that the teaching they received when they turned to Christ focused enthusiastically on their current situation of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. The teaching and discipleship may have overlooked their past involvements with dark forces, and thus may not have taken appropriate steps to repent and renounce these things.
2. Ancestral Curses
The moment we mention ancestral curses many individuals think only of ancestral worship and consequent involvements. There is more to ancestral curses than mere ancestral worship that we read about and notice in some Asian and African nations. Ancestral practices that do not fall in line with the Word of God are most widely prevalent in families and societies. Individuals often think that since they have never been believers in such ancestral practices followed in their families and communities, they have nothing to do with these.
Many believers carry into their lives familial spirits from their forefathers. This may be in the form of genetic sickness and disease, witchcraft and demonic cultural practices passed down through the generations. While this is true of most tribal and clan practices called customs, people from the materially advanced communities are not exempt to these practices. These practices may take different forms, but the substance remains the same.
Every one of us is interested in tradition and given to building traditions. Traditions per se are not evil, but the motives and practices of traditions must be viewed critically to separate and eliminate things that are not approved by the Word of God.
3. Accepting Compromises
There are Christians, including missionaries, who compromise with the world. They do not take their Christian position seriously when things go wrong, when difficulties arise in the implementation of their projects, etc. In this process they open the door to demons by doing unholy things so as to please their friends or loved ones. For example, if you eat food offered to idols to please your non-Christian parents, you will be contaminated. This gives the devil a foothold to come in and destroy their spiritual life. Can they not show love to all and honor their friends, relatives and parents, in other ways without themselves indulging in unholy acts?
This world is full of compromises, and every time for this reason or another we are constantly enticed to making compromises.
4. Living With Sin
This is one dark area that Christians should immediately eliminate from their lives. Often, sinners believe that their sinful acts are done in privacy and secrecy and as such none would know of these. But our God has declared so many times that He knows our heart and everything that we do in privacy and secrecy! Can we cheat our God and be friends with Him? Why have so many leaders, initially anointed by the Holy Spirit for specific gifts and roles in the Church, fallen in disgrace? They have assured and reassured themselves again and again that their private acts would not be known or that their co-participants in the sinful acts would not make their private sinful acts known to the world!
If there is no immediate repentance and total turning around, sinful acts certainly open the door to the devil and to the terrible and destructive process of demonization.
Christians should not tolerate sin in their lives. When you do not get rid of your sinful ways and habits, you give the devil a chance to trouble you.
Unforgiveness is another way the devil invades your life. That’s why Paul tells us not to “let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26-27). That will allow the devil to take advantage of us. Missionaries, especially, should be prompt in putting this advice in practice. They face a lot of trouble on the trouble, and they begin to get angry. Anger grows in them, and along with this their heart could be hardened to the level of not forgiving the troublemakers.
5. Avoid the Use of Human Devices to Know the Heart of God!
Remember that to be free from demonic activity we need to confess all our sins and renounce any involvement in occult and witchcraft such as fortune-telling, palmistry, charms and amulets, etc. Examine your day to day activities and do your best to recognize which of these may have been based on assumptions that are not in harmony with the Word of God, and which of these go directly against the Word of God. Our Father has given us free will and intellect to pursue him with all over heart and soul.
We must maintain living a holy life and give no opportunity to demons.
Dr. Tan Kok Beng
Bethany International University