On the one hand, we recognize that the typical Western Christian image of demons is comical, and tragically misguided. The popular mythology of “spiritual warfare” is a big joke to Satan. It’s another distraction that keeps folks from paying attention to what he’s really up to in our world.
On the other hand, we dare not allow the Western myth of objectivity to drain life from our world. Creation is alive, and most of our environment is full of living beings our society refuses to recognize. It’s more than making friends with trees and birds; there are living influences to deceive the soul. We call those influences “demons.” They are as real as the tangible reality, and far more dangerous, despite having no concrete form.
We must reinforce the message that we cannot trust what we can perceive with mere senses and reason. That’s the substance of our battle. We are not reduced to body and mind, but we can develop a faculty for awareness that is separate from the intellect. When we learn about the heart-mind, we learn to anchor that awareness in a place superior to the intellect. The mind then becomes a servant to this higher awareness.
This is the definition of “mysticism” and it is one thing most troubling for Satan. It’s not the bogus mysticism we see attempting to extend the intellect, so that the net result is chaining the heart to the mind again. The intellect must surrender its primacy. We have to keep telling ourselves that everything that makes sense to our reason is suspect. We have to teach ourselves to “reason” in the heart-mind.
The heart is armed with ultimate truth, the one and only threat to Satan’s dominion in our lives. This is why we study the parables in the Bible, and the symbolism of Hebrew literature. God built that intellectual tradition as the best way to reveal Himself to the world. But the particular human expression of His manifest truth need not form a prison for our souls. It’s the approach, not the specific results. We are called to see through that particular contextual expression and find the ineffable reality of the Spirit Realm. Then we are able to correctly assess in our own context how to give shape and flavor to the same truth.
In our world today, it’s pretty dicey to chatter about demons, because the English translation of the Bible has been hijacked. We have to restate the biblical expressions in a new context so as to redeem Scripture from the darkness. We have to find ways to deconstruct the lies, to dismantle the vast structures of falsehood:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV)
The image here is pulling down enemy forts on the territory of our souls. Paul wrote these words in the context of fighting Talmudic perversions of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Pharisees had hijacked the text and chained it to an entirely false intellectual context (Hellenism). Paul specifically refers to the Judaizers and nascent Gnostics as an influence invading and staking false claims on the gospel.
So quote Scripture when you can, but try to show how it belongs in a different context than might be popular with mainstream Christian religion. This in itself is the very essence of spiritual warfare. We must first turn that Flaming Sword of Revelation on ourselves and begin to claim the divine heritage, manifest it in the richness of His promised blessings. That Sword is not a mere matter of quoting the words of the Bible, but of a radical shift into the moral sphere of existence.
The words mean nothing unless they are first burned into your own soul. There are no magic ritual declarations to make the Devil behave himself; that sort of thinking is another lie from Hell. I’m sure he finds it very amusing when someone tries to wield “words of power” against him. The law in your mouth means nothing unless it proceeds from your heart.