As I’ve said in many other places, I’m a huge believer that Christians should approach the subject of depression and mental health holistically. That is, we must consider the medical, spiritual, physical, psychological, and emotional angles. We should see counselors, talk to our doctors, pray, stay in community, etc.
I’ve made the argument quite strongly that depression is not just a spiritual battle. It can stem from trauma, from chemical imbalances, from hereditary conditions, and it can be the result of our reaction to our circumstances.
And… it can also be demonic.
When it comes to spiritual warfare, in which I’m a devout believer, there are two extremes among believers.
Skeptics don’t see anything as spiritual and believe that everything must have a visible, physical, and logical explanation. But when we rule out the possibility of afflictions being spiritual in nature, we essentially become practical atheists.
Superstitious people, on the other hand, see a demon behind every single problem. This can be dangerous when we tell someone with a legitimate struggle with mental illness that their real problem isn’t medical or physical, but they simply need to have the demons exorcised.
As we treat depression holistically, we absolutely must consider the possibility of demonic influence. It’s biblical. Jesus and the early apostles encountered many people who were thought to be insane, but who were merely afflicted or possessed with a demon.
Thankfully, the Bible gives us a simple battle plan. James wrote it this way…
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
~ James 4:7-10 NIV
If you’re struggling with depression or mental health issues and suspect the problem may be demonic in nature, do this…
- Surrender your life entirely to God’s authority. Hold nothing back.
- Take a stand against the enemy, resisting temptation.
- Stay close to God, pray, read your Bible.
- Confess every sin and every potential source of demonic influence in your life.
- Renounce any agreement you’ve ever made with any lie or demonic power.
- Stay humble, acknowledging your total dependence on God.
If, after all of that, you still feel the same, it’s likely that the source of your depression is not demonic in nature. And now, having done those things, you’ll be far more spiritually mature and wiser as you continue seeking the source.
People are often afraid to consider demonic influence because we’ve seen crazy things on Youtube where a preacher screams and sweats and spits while people convulse on the ground and shriek and faint. Or we have a Hollywood image in our heads with jump scares and spinning heads.
Yes, it’s possible that the rebuking and removal of a demon from someone’s life may seem dramatic, but in nearly every case, it’s simply a matter of submissive prayer and confession, asking for deliverance, and trusting that God has worked powerfully.
And by the way, can a Christian be possessed with a demon? I don’t believe so, at least not in the sense that we often think of possession as some kind of mystical control. It’s more a matter of us leaving the door of our “home” (our soul, our mind) cracked open enough for Satan to influence us and invade our thinking.
You can never go wrong praying, staying close to Jesus, reading his word, and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
God is powerful to deliver you, even from forces you may not understand. So trust him completely.
By the way, I preached a message series on spiritual warfare called For the Win. If you’d like to study further, check it out!