Can a Christian have a demon? By Rob Cresswell

Can a Christian have a Demon?

By Rob Cresswell

“Can a Christian have a Demon?” is a question that comes up from time to time in our workshops. It’s a good question. The reasoning goes like this: “If I am a Christian it means that I have invited Jesus into my heart, and if Jesus is in my heart by His Holy Spirit abiding in me, then how can I have a demon? The Holy Spirit does not share with demons!!”

But to answer this question properly we must address it in three parts:
1. What is a demon and what power do they have?
2. What does it mean to ‘have’ a demon?
3. What is a Christian and what power do we have against demons?

1. What is a demon and what power do they have?

When we look at the life of Jesus in the gospels it’s clear that he not only believed in the existence of evil spirits, he actually spoke to them and taught us about how to deal with them too.

When Jesus came near to people, demons would often manifest themselves. They spoke to Jesus, recognised who he was and often asked for mercy.

Mark 3:11 says: “Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”

And in Matthew 8:29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

Now that’s interesting isn’t it: “torture us before the appointed time…?” What were they talking about? The Bible tells us that the fires of hell were created, not for people, but for Satan and his demonic angels (see Matthew 25:41). The demons knew that Jesus, as The Anointed One of God (The Christ), was the person who would ultimately judge and send them there. So, here’s a good thing to remember about demons: God has already arranged for their destruction! What they are doing here on earth is simply trying to do as much damage as possible before they go there.

Reading the stories about demons in the Bible it’s clear that these evil spirits ultimately want to destroy the people they are tormenting. They are disembodied spirits who are seeking to ‘kill, steal and destroy’ (John 10:10) through influencing people’s thoughts and behaviour.

In Mark 5 we read the story of a demonised man who lived in a graveyard bound in chains. The evil spirits would cause him to cry out and cut himself with stones. However as soon as Jesus arrived on the scene, the evil spirits had to do what Jesus said. They had to submit to the power and authority of Jesus and leave the tormented man until he was sitting there, “dressed and in his right mind” Mark 5:15.

2. What does it mean to ‘have’ a demon?

The Greek word ‘daimonizomai’ used in the Bible is best translated as ‘demonised’. It means ‘to be under the influence of demons’. The question we need to ask is: can a Christian be influenced by demons or are we protected from them no matter what we choose to do?

In his book ‘The Three Battlegrounds’ Francis Frangipane points out that scripture tells us the devils legitimate abode is darkness:

“And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).

The devil can traffic in any area of darkness, even the darkness that still exists in a Christian’s heart.

The reality is that though we may have the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives God still gives us free will. Since we can grieve or quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19, Ephesians 4:30) then our behaviour can certainly affect our spiritual protection; to think otherwise would be foolish.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe a follower of Jesus should or need have this kind of troubling spirit, but there are certain ways in which we can invite them to have power in our lives.


Here’s a useful analogy for this spiritual principle. The physical world is full of microscopic germs that can harm our physical bodies. They are everywhere and given an opportunity, they will find a nice warm body and infect it or influence it. Though we can’t see these germs we don’t need to be afraid of them if we are living sensibly and looking after ourselves. That’s why we should take the trouble to maintain a healthy lifestyle because it will protect us from the most common germs and they can do us no harm. In the same way, though demons are real and just a fact of life, they need not bother us at all if we take care of our spiritual health.

Can a Christian have a demon? by Rob Cresswell

If you were to go out in England for a hike in the hills wearing nothing but a T shirt and shorts on a rainy day in February, very few would have sympathy for you if you caught a bad cold. They would say you’d been foolish. In the same way, the New Testament describes certain activities as detrimental to our spiritual health; they are foolish activities because they are going to harm our relationship with God and in this way make us susceptible to demonic influence.

If we repent of our sins and keep short accounts the Lord is quick to forgive. But if we wilfully indulge in sinful behaviour, knowing it is wrong we begin to make friends with the enemy – we extend permission for him to have influence in our lives. Things like perpetually harbouring unforgiveness and bitterness, or addictions to sexual immorality – those activities that the Bible says people of the Spirit should have nothing to do with (Ephesians 5:11). Demons are attracted to these activities and will encourage us to take part in them, they are self-destructive and often in agreement with the enemy’s plan for our lives. They separate us from God.

You may be interested in The Normal Supernatural Christian Life (Book) by Aliss Cresswell which has a chapter on Demons

3 What is a Christian and what power do we have

Christians are potentially way more powerful than many believe themselves to be. We do not have to be tormented by evil spirits because we have been set free from the Kingdom of Darkness and brought into the Kingdom of Jesus (Col 1:13-14). Therefore we are promised that we can walk in strength and victory:

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

The enemy can only have influence in our lives where there is continued and intentional agreement with these selfish activities. We shouldn’t give the devil any more credit than he deserves. As much as we’d like to blame him for our selfishness and pride, we can’t cast out the flesh!: We can only ‘put it to death’ by ‘clothing ourselves’ with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col 3:12). But if we are aware that we have allowed unforgiveness or habitual sin to run unchecked in our lives then we are almost certainly making ourselves vulnerable to demonic influence. However, there is always a simple remedy through repentance and deliverance and we can be healed, restored and delivered if we want to be.

There is one catch. Derek Prince, a Bible scholar who did much work in this area, wisely said that the Lord will deliver us from our enemies, but not our friends! So we need to be sure that we want to be totally free of anything that is making our lives a misery. I know that sounds odd, but it’s true. That’s why scripture tells us to put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6: 10-17). Removing any opportunity for the enemy to get a foothold in our lives is all part of the Spirit Lifestyle and it will fortify us against the influence of demonic spirits. Then we can get on with enjoying the fulness of life that Jesus came to bring us.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

About the Author: Rob Cresswell

Rob Cresswell avatar
Rob Cresswell along with his wife Aliss pioneer ministries which seek to engage all who are hungry for the things of the Spirit and demonstrate the love and power of God. After graduating from ministry school in 2006 they established a local church in their home town of Chester and several exciting outreach initiatives (known for salvations, healings and miracles) including a café, shop and B&B. Rob is the author of 'The Threefold Miracle Mandate', 'The Believer's Guide to Survival' and 'The Believer's Guide to Thriving'. Together they founded Spirit Lifestyle and continue to write, present, train and travel, spreading the gospel and pioneering Kingdom initiatives internationally.

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