Q: Dear Pastor,

Can Satan make me do things I don’t want to do?

A: What a question! My first thought was: Are you a Christian? If so, then the devil cannot make you do anything which violates the Holy Spirit living inside you. But my second thought was: Of course! Satan is an ancient, powerful being who’s had millions of years to perfect his scheming ways. He’s good at deception, chief of all. He is so good at it, in fact, that we are not even aware of the many occasions when he’s bent our will and caused us to sin. Take heart, we are all in good company: “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15, NASB.) The Apostle Paul shared our pain.

We need to remember two distinct facts regarding Satan. Fact one: Demon possession is impossible for Christians. Satan cannot take control of a person whose spirit has been born again in Christ. This is because when we have our salvation moment... when we sincerely say, “Jesus come into my heart and be my lord and savior”... we are redeemed in an instant. So redeemed, in fact, that our spiritual insides are washed clean and turned into the best, possible environment for the Holy Spirit to come and live. He moves in and we are changed. Saved. The devil and God cannot share that sacred space inside us because they are oil and water; opposing powers. And God always wins every fight with Satan.

That said, we must also remember fact two: We partner with the Devil when we commit sin in thought or deed. Radically different than demon-possession, Satan waltzes into our lives to influence our belief system, thought-life and behaviors in order to align our will with his. He gets us to sin in some area and he sees it as compliance; we’re suddenly a willing participant, in his eyes. In other words, if he can’t possess the Christian, he will deceive us into agreed-upon involvement in his sinful agenda. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Here’s an example of fact two: I don’t want to have anything to do with witchcraft. But if I watch a lot of TV, read books or enjoy films about witches, demonic beings, Harry Potter’s adventures, etc. - my repeated exposure to darkness opens the door to the influence of evil in my life. I’m suddenly less focused on God and more intrigued by evil, even though I don’t agree with that perspective at all. Soon my choices, habits and even lifestyle become slightly less God-oriented and slightly more supernaturally permissive. We unknowingly partner with the devil when we spend time in his territory and give attention to his topics. He then goes to work undermining our relationship with Jesus and diminishing our Christian witness.

By the way, fact two is where the most effective, pastoral, counseling occurs these days, since all of us are regularly pummeled by Satan’s agenda. “Deliverance-counseling” is what it’s called. The devil afflicts Christians through their sin, which opens the door to repeated offenses. A skilled Christ-follower can close that open door if the person is humble enough to admit their sin and willing to stop repeating it. At the end of a deliverance session, the person is “delivered” of demonic oppression. Deliverance is not frequently taught in the Church due to misunderstandings of fact one. Namely, fear. Many Christians are afraid of the devil since that is how he remains at his work - keeping believers in fear prevents the truth about him from being taught. Ignorance is an open door too. Rest assured: Satan is never more powerful than God or the Holy-Spirit-infused Christian. He and his wily ways are easily defeated when biblical tactics are strategically applied. “Sozo” ministry is an excellent example of this strategy (www.bethelsozo.com).

Adrienne Greene pastors two Christian churches in southeastern Indiana. Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Please send your inquiries to: heavenchasepub@gmail.com or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, Ohio 45030.