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Ghosts or Evil Spirits? …and How Do We Deal with Them?

Have you ever encountered an evil spirit in a place? American television is littered with “ghost hunter” programs in which curious people with no authority jump into situations that are way over their heads. Without the authority of Christ, all these people can do is propagate fear to the masses. They’re not dealing with ghosts as they suppose. They’re interacting with demons who love planting seeds of fear in the hearts of mankind.

Today I received a question from “Maggie” who asked:

I am sort of embarrassed to ask a question about this, but I know I need a Christian answer. I have been a born again, non-denominational, Bible-believing Christian for 10 years. My husband is also, but He is currently deployed in the military. We recently purchased a home, and my daughter and myself moved without my husband due to his deployment. Immediately upon moving in, I felt a strange presence (evil spirit?); mostly in my room (the master bedroom), and I sort of tried to disregard the feeling even though I discerned something was not right. After a few months, I began experiencing some uncomfortable, inexplicable sounds and smells, which were completely frightening. Just recently, my daughter saw a “shadow” from the hallway on her door. I saw a similar shadow last night, followed by the most horrendous and most frightening nightmare that I have ever experienced in my life. I woke up completely wet in sweat and shaking. I wanted to pack up my daughter and leave, but instead I turned on every light in the house, opened my Bible to Luke, and started to pray. I just need some advise as to how I should proceed. I know I have the authority in Jesus Christ to stand firm and to overcome. But I also understand that Godly counsel and reinforcement from fellow Christians is important. My human side wants to flee, but I also know that in Christ, He alone is in control, and He will protect us. Please understand that both my husband and I are professionals, and we live in a beautiful home in an affluent neighborhood. I have never experienced such terror, and I need some suggestions, and mostly and immediately, prayer. Thanks.

Here is my reply to Maggie:

Hi Maggie, Thank you for contacting me! Your story is nothing to be embarrassed of. In fact, it’s a very common one that I’ve helped walk people through in the past. You’re right that it is an evil spirit, and I think I can give you some insight. When I was first growing in my relationship with Christ, I went on a trip with my pastor. As soon as we walked into our hotel room, he started praying and asked that the Lord would cleanse the room of any sin/evil that had taken place there in the past. Then he told me something that has stuck with me ever since. He said, “I’ve never been in a hotel room that didn’t come with baggage.” Years later, my wife and I were on our honeymoon. I didn’t think about what my pastor said, though, until it was the middle of the night and I was waking up with the same symptoms you described—nightmare, shaking, and sheets soaked with sweat. When I woke up, I “saw” a “man” standing at the foot of the bed, and I was gripped with fear. I commanded him to leave in the name of Jesus, and he ran out. The whole atmosphere of the hotel room changed to one of peace. The same can be true of houses. When that same pastor was between homes, he and his family were staying in a rented house for a few weeks. I helped him move into the rented house and immediately felt like something was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it–something just felt spiritually dark in the atmosphere. Standing in the kitchen, I explained to him and his wife what I was feeling, and that’s when I physically heard a growl. No one else heard it, but I heard it as clear as if a dog had been next to me. It came from the cupboard under the sink. When I opened the cupboard, there was a one-gallon jug of gin. “Alcoholism,” I said. The feeling I had was now making sense. Just then, my pastor’s kids ran in and said, “Dad, you have to see the basement!” We walked downstairs to find that the finished basement had a full bar set up. Clearly, through the previous owners’ sin of drunkenness, an evil spirit had been given legal access to that house. If we hadn’t dealt with it, it would have had an opportunity to mess with the new occupants. Instead, however, God placed us in that house to bring a new spiritual atmosphere for future occupants. I can’t describe how it all works, but I have had enough experiences to know that it’s real (and not outside the realm of what is biblical). My first suggestion is that you ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any foothold in your own heart that might compromise your authority over that demon. It sounds like you’ve been walking in close relationship with the Lord for some time now, so you’re already in the right condition to exercise the authority of Christ. But if the Holy Spirit brings some sinful action or mindset to your attention, it’s best to deal with that first. Second, ask the Lord to empower you with His Holy Spirit. In John 20:22, Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This was before He ascended into heaven. So the question naturally arises as to what happened on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1–4. If they had already received the Holy Spirit, what was so special about their experience with the mighty wind and the tongues of fire? It must have been important because in Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4, Jesus admonished His disciples not to go anywhere or do anything until they were clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit. My point is that every Christian has the Holy Spirit within them. Ephesians 1:13 says that from the moment we believed, God gave us His Holy Spirit as a seal—a stamp of approval, if you will. But Jesus was clear that this wasn’t enough if these same disciples were to spread this Gospel throughout the world. To the very same disciples who had already received the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “Wait here until you receive what My Father promised,” and then explained, “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” (Acts 1:4 and 8). As Christians, we need more than the seal of the Holy Spirit on our lives. We need also need His power. If you have more questions about this, please let me know. Finally, take authority in the name of Jesus. Command the spirits to leave, and ask the Lord to bring peace into your home. In Luke 10:19, Jesus promised, “I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Trust that His authority is enough. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

God bless, –Art

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