Is it possible that demons are smarter and wiser than us, our spouses, and our kids? It’s embarrassing to imagine and almost offensive to consider. And yet, too often it’s true. Join AMBrewster as he helps Christian parents understand the foolishness in their homes and learn to help their families obey better than Satan and his demons.
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“Spiritual Warfare in Your Home” series (starts in episode 354)
“Teach Your Children to Obey” series (starts in episode 138)
“Teach Your Children to Learn” series (starts in episode 207)
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Even though the 15th and final episode of the Spiritual Warfare series was published last week, there are a couple more themes from the spirit realm I want to explore.
If you’re just joining us, I welcome you and invite you to check out the “Spiritual Warfare in Your Home” series. Nearly every moment of every day you and your family are fighting a spiritual battle. Satan, the World, and the Flesh are attacking you on the battlefield of the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life.
But — if you’re a born again follower of Christ — God has granted you an extremely powerful spiritual weapon guaranteed to provide you victory. And yet the spiritual realm is so incredibly easy to forget or ignore because we can’t experience it with our five senses. Therefore, I believe it would behoove every Christian to work back through that series at least once a year. The biblical content is absolutely necessary for living a conquering life and preparing your kids to do the same.
And if you’re looking for new parenting content, I’m happy to say that our Pilot Season is finally available at TruthLoveParent.com. Now that I’m working full-time for TLP, TeamTLP and I have been able to manage our work load in such a way that long overdue projects are finally being addressed.
Of course, there’s still a ton to be done, so if you’d be interested in joining TeamTLP and helping make TruthLoveParent.com the premier destination for all things biblical parenting, you can head over to TruthLoveParent.com and fill out an application.
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Okay, so today’s show is called “Are Demons Wiser Than Our Families?” It’s guaranteed to be an eye-opening and convicting study. At least it was for me.
Like most of our TLP episodes, I encourage you to share this show with your age-appropriate kids, or at least repackage this content for your little ones. It’s extremely vital that our whole family be on the same page and able to honestly compare our lives with the half-lives of demons.
But perhaps you’re having a hard time understanding why comparing our lives to demons is important. Let’s answer those questions.
And don’t forget that you can go to our blog, TakingBackTheFamily.com for our free episode notes and transcripts.
1. What are demons?
In episode 356 we defined a demon as a solely spiritual being who was once an angel of God but who — about six to ten thousand years ago — followed Satan and rebelled against the one true King of the Universe.
When Christ finally scours sin and temptation from existence, all demons will be condemned to an eternity in the Lake of Fire.
And since angelic beings cannot repent, the demon’s sole purpose on this planet is to keep people from glorifying God. They possess people, attempting to keep them from faith in Christ. They manage the World System’s panoply of Failure Philosophies, and they use all of that to tempt believers in order to make them less profitable for the Kingdom of God.
Demons are wickedness through and through — completely incapable of performing any kind of righteousness — and yet quite often demons show a level of wisdom that exceeds that of professing Christians.
How can that be?
2. What is wisdom?
Knowledge is the accumulation of facts. Understanding if the comprehension of those facts. And wisdom is the usage of those facts.
Wisdom is not an accumulation of knowledge; wisdom is putting the knowledge we already have into practical use.
James 4:17 says that “to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” You can now something and not do it, and that would be foolish.
In Matthew 7:26-27 Jesus reveals the destruction of the foolish man. He said, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
From these examples we can see that foolishness is not doing what you know to be true. On the contrary, wisdom is hearing God’s Word and obeying.
We could put it this way — wisdom is obedience.
So, if demons are wicked, how on earth can they be wiser than a Christian?
It’s true that demons cannot wholly obey. They can’t do the right things in the right way for the right reasons in the right power. However, they — like an unbeliever — can do the right things in the right way, but they will never be able to do it for the right motivation in the power of the Holy Spirit. You can learn more about what God means when He talks about obedience by listening to our “Teach Your Children to Obey” series.
But even though demons cannot truly obey, their obedience is often far better than the obedience in our families.
And this is where things get convicting.
What I’ve tried to do for this study is comb through the New Testament looking specifically for passages that show Jesus and demons interacting. I’ve also collected a few Old Testament passages to see how demons respond to God.
I’m not going to share all the relevant passages, but I encourage you to continue this study on your own. You should find it as surprising and convicting as I.
1. Demons know Who God is.
In nearly every single instance where demons speak through the individual they’re possessing, the demons acknowledge the divinity, authority, and power of God.
For example, in Mark 1:34 we’re told that Jesus “healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.”
What did they know about Him? Let me give you some examples.
I’m going to read a synchronized account of the Demoniac of Gadara from Matthew 17, Mark 5, and Luke 8.
“Seeing Jesus from a distance, [the demoniac] ran up, cried out, and fell before him; and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, ‘What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Have You come here to torment us before the time? I beg You, do not torment me.’”
That Legion of demons immediately and without provocation acknowledged Jesus as the Son of the Most High God with the power to torment them as He would.
In Luke 4:33-36 we read, “In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 ‘Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!’”
Luke 4:41 tells us “Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.”
And in Acts 19:15 we learn that an evil spirit said to some would be exorcists, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
Again in Acts 16:16-17 we read, “It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, 'These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.’”
I think it’s important to see that not only do the demons know who God is, they admit Who He is to His face, but they also go so far as to publish Who He is when He’s present. How many times did we just read that Jesus had to silence the demons from telling everyone in earshot that He was God.
The demon-possessed girl followed Paul around for who knows how long crying out that he was a servant of the Most High God who was there to proclaim the way of salvation. You can’t get much more accurate than that if you’re explaining Paul’s job description.
Now, we can’t go into all the reasons Jesus didn’t want the demons telling everyone Who He was, but perhaps you can agree with me that it would be expected to conclude that demons wouldn’t want people to know Who He was . . . and yet they were compelled to pronounce it until Jesus commanded them to be silent.
How many of the people in our family don’t truly understand Who God is? How many of them don’t understand His power, His authority, His majesty, His holiness?
How many professing Christian Parents have a hard time parenting by using the Bible and talking about God to their children? How many spouses don’t encourage each other in Christ? How many children struggle even wanting to think about talking about God with their friends?
We have to assume that all of these demons — before they were kicked out of heaven for rebelling against God — had seen Him. They knew Who He was. And yet, we Christians should know Him so much better. If we’re truly born again, we’ve seen Him in the Scriptures, He’s given us new life, and the Holy Spirit indwells us — helping us know, understand, and follow God better.
It’s a difficult reality to consider that demons understand our Savior better than we do.
And it’s because they understand Who He is that . . .
2. Demons obey when God directly commands them.
I know it’s hard to imagine a purely wicked being obeying God, but remember, God and Satan are not two equal sides of a cosmic yin-yang. There is nothing in the universe that can ultimately say no to God if He doesn’t allow it.
God allows demons to perpetrate their wickedness in this world, but when He directly commands them, there is no chance they’re going to refuse Him.
Let’s go back to the Demonic from the Gadarenes. To mere humans he looked like a madman with superhuman strength. He had been bound with chains on any number of occasions, but he had broken his bonds. Now he’s running around naked in the tombs cutting himself and howling like an animal. No one could subdue him or make any sense of him, and yet when commanded by this humble son of a carpenter, the legion of demons possessing the man could not help but obey.
“Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. 12 The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13 Jesus gave them permission. And said to them, ‘Go!’ And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine;
We encounter the same thing in Luke 4:33-36 where the demon pronounced Christ to be “the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebukes him, and we’re told “he came out of him without doing him any harm.”
Mark 1:34, “And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.”
Luke 4:41, “Demons also were coming out of many.”
Whether it was leaving their victim or silencing their demonic lips, there wasn’t a single demon who refused to obey the Lord. In fact, the one demon from Mark 9 (that we discussed in a previous episode) who refused to come out when commanded by the disciples — do you remember the one that could only be cast out by prayer? — that same demon submitted to the command of Jesus.
Now, before moving past this point, I need to discuss a couple instances from the Old Testament that also illustrate the fact that demons obey God when clearly directed to.
I have to admit that these passages may bring up more questions concerning God’s will than we have time to answer, but I’ll do my best to answer them in brief. Still, I won’t be surprised if these anecdotes still seem perplexing to some of you.
To be honest, I almost hate mentioning these accounts since I can’t do them full justice, but I believe we need to really grapple with the fact that demons obey God better than we and our kids do.
First, we have Satan in Job 1. Presumably, Job is the oldest Old Testament book, and it opens with a glimpse into the thrown room of God where we see God questioning Satan who is compelled to answer Him, and we see God giving Satan permission to torment Job, but commanding Him not to kill him. Satan, the king of this world and leader of the demonic forces cannot do anything God does not permit, and he must obey his Creator when commanded.
Later in Judges 9:23 we read, “Now Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech.”
This same idea of God sending an evil spirit to accomplish His work is seen in I Samuel with King Saul.
I Samuel 16:14, “Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him.”
I Samuel 18:10, “Now it came about on the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, and he raved in the midst of the house, while David was playing the harp with his hand, as usual; and a spear was in Saul’s hand.”
I Samuel 19:9, “Now there was an evil spirit from the Lord on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand.”
Now, let’s try to quickly answer the question, “Why on earth would God use an evil spirit to do His will?”
The short answer is that sin hurts. It always hurts, and God gets to decide the consequences of sin. In the same way that God would send a pagan country to destroy and carry away the nation of Israel when they rebelled against Him, God’s Word shows us that He sometimes used demons in the same way.
Let’s be honest, He likely still does this, and He will do it in the future. In Revelation 9 God will keep the demonic beasts from killing people. And later in the passage we read that God commands one of His angels to release four demons who are currently bound under or near the Euphrates river. These plague-demons are commanded by God to kill a third of all mankind. And they will obey.
Remember, God is holy, loving, and just. He is patient and gracious and kind, and only those who high-handedly refuse His love and grace will have to experience the righteous judgment for their rebellion.
God has and will use plagues, spirits, wars, death, hell, and eventually the Lake of Fire to mete out that righteous consequence.
If you struggle with how God can be 100% loving and 100% just, I encourage you to speak to your pastor, a biblical counselor, or contact us at counselor@TruthLoveParent.com.
The other question that some of you may be pondering is “If demons obey God when directly commanded, why doesn’t He just command all of them to leave us alone?”
First, I believe He does. It’s impossible for us to know, but when we go to God in prayer, and many times when we don’t, I believe God protects us from temptation. And we know He always provides us a way to escape the temptation.
We can’t blame God for our giving in to temptation.
Second, God does not want a kingdom of drones. He gave us free will so that we could choose to follow or reject Him. The demons were the first to reject His authority, and — just like us — He allows them to do as they please.
Now, for you scholars out there, please don’t think that I’m downplaying the sovereignty of God by talking about free will. Again, these are concepts that are much too big for this discussion.
The point is, God is not unkind or unfair to allow demonic forces to function in this world. On the contrary, He is gracious and wonderful when He restrains them and uses them for His own purposes and glory.
But, the main reason I shared those passages is for us to see that these demonic creatures (and even Satan himself) must obey God when He directly commands them.
How about our families?
We have God’s commands all throughout the Scripture. They are clear and understandable. Not only that, but God doesn’t expect us to obey in our own power; He provides all the grace and power we need to do as He asks.
And yet, we who call ourselves Christians so often do not obey.
How can that possibly be?
The answer is found in our final demonic consideration of the day . . .
3. Demons are afraid of God.
Christians are commanded to fear the Lord. We talked about this in our “Teach Your Children to Learn” series, and I’m looking forward to doing a series all about The Circle of Learning we introduced in that study.
The fear of the Lord is a double-edged sword of deep admiration for His majesty coupled with a sincere fear that we would ever displease someone so wonderful. Christians aren’t so much afraid of the consequences as we are hurting our Savior. This is a fear only Christians can experience.
However, unbelievers cannot stand in awe of Him. If they experienced the appropriate awe, they would follow Him and no longer be unbelievers. Those who are unsaved can only fear Him because — to unbelievers — God is nothing more than an enemy Who will eventually punish them if they do not follow Him and accept His free and loving gift of salvation.
And demons know this.
In the Demoniac of Gadara incident we see that the demons entreated and implored Christ to send them into the pigs because they knew He had the power to cast them into the abyss, and they were petrified of that.
But I think the most telling passage is from James 2:19 where we read, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”
Demons believe in God.
Let that sink in.
Every atheist both purposeful and practical reject a clear and self-evident Truth that even demons believe.
Satan and his hordes know Who God is, they understand Who He is, and they wisely are absolutely petrified of Him.
But what about our homes? Do we have children and spouses who say they believe in God and yet don’t regard His commands? Do our children dismiss the claim God has on their lives? Are we cavalier in our rejection of His authority? Do we not respect the Word of God and all it contains?
Demons shutter before God, they do exactly what He commands them to do, and they have absolutely no problem admitting Who He is.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could say of our families that we have a healthy fear of the Lord that motivates our obedience and compels us to acknowledge Him and tell others about Him?
Would that kind of family make you proud? Wouldn’t that family be the kind of family whose light would shine before men in such a way that they would see their good works and glorify their Father who is in heaven? (Matthew 5:16)
Wouldn’t that be a wise family?
And yet, far too often, multiple times a day we do not acknowledge God’s rule of our lives, we don’t fear Him, we don’t obey Him, and we’re neither salt nor light in this dark world. Too often we give in to temptation and act just as wickedly as the demons do when they’re working to attack God. And too often the demons are far more obedient than we are.
So, how do we help our families be wiser than the demons?
1. We must stand in God’s presence.
It’s important to note that demons don’t directly glorify God unless He’s in their face commanding them to obey.
I think one reason our families can nonchalantly disobey God’s clear teaching is that we’re not hearing it. We’re not attending church as we should they way we should. We’re not spending time with God in His Word. We’re not seeking biblical counsel.
We’re living like practical atheists, ignorant of God’s expectations of us and meandering through life leaning on our own understanding and following our own deceptive hearts.
But we can combat that by walking into God’s throne room through family prayer. We can address that by allowing God to speak to us through his Word both in individual times of devotion as well as family worship. We can defend ourselves from our damning forgetfulness by inviting biblical counsel, advice, mentoring, discipleship, and friendship into our lives.
And whenever we come face to face with God and His clear commands . . .
2. We must fear God.
If we’re born again, we must respond to God with the appropriate awe. If we’ve truly been saved from our sin, we should hate the idea of displeasing Him.
The fear of the Lord should motivate everything we do.
Then and only then can we actually obey Him in a way that will please Him.
3. We must obey when God’s commands us.
We must do the right thing in the right way for the right reason and in the right power.
You and your family should take the time to work through our “Teach Your Children to Obey” series because we will forever be more foolish than the demons if we don’t understand how God expects us to obey.
And when we’ve stood before God, given Him the fear He deserves, and obeyed Him . . .
4. We must shine God’s Truth to everyone around us.
This will not be difficult.
Parenting our kids through the Scriptures will be second nature. Speaking God’s Word to our kids will be the most reasonable and intelligent choice we could make. We’ve seen God. We’ve heard His expectations for our life and parenting. We’re filled with Holy Ghost. We fear the Lord. How could we not teach and interpret and counsel and train our children in the Word of God?
Husbands and wives discussing the things of God and sharing how He’s at work in their lives and discipling each other will come easily when we’ve sat at God’s feet in reverence and obedience.
Even our born again children will not wince to speak of God when they know Him as the demons know Him.
It’s a sad reality that demons obey better than we do. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Every resource we produce is designed to help you become the parent God called and created you to be so you can help your children become the men and women God called and created them to be.
And God expects all of us to obey far better than the demons.
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets, and leave us a review on iTunes. We’re only a few reviews away from 100. It would be cool if you could help us reach that goal.
And if anything about which we’ve talked today has you confused or if your family is facing deep struggles you don’t know how to handle, please email us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com or give us a call at (828) 423-0894.
Remember, if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent in truth and love.
To that end, join us next time as we continue our discussion of the spirit realm by working through a very necessary and yet very convicting episode about parenting like Satan. None of us should want to do that, but hopefully our eyes will be open to all the times we do. Lord willing, we can begin to change those areas and start parenting more like Christ.
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