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How, practically, can Believers have Unclean spirits? Created 28 July 2014

The difference between spirit and soul || Grateful and depressed: Can you be both? || Can a believer have an Unclean spirit?

1) Introduction

2) Disputed territory

3) Deducting Biblical truth

4) Stated Biblical truth

5) How can reborn Christians have Unclean spirits?

6) Conclusion


Why do "reborn Christians" sometimes behave as if they have hardly ever seen the inside of a Bible? Why do seasoned believers struggle with sin? Why does 'deliverance not work' for some? In this article I take a look at the answers. We'll explore how it is that, contrary to popular teaching, even born again believers can and often do have Unclean spirits. This, I believe, is partly the reason why there is so much political wrangling and poor behaviour in some "churches". But in order to explain this I must first set the scene:

The Bible records a number of cases where believers (and at least one unbeliever[28]) are delivered from a demon or an Unclean spirit. The realm of the spirit is nothing strange to Scripture. Man is made up of a spirit and a body. The union between spirit and body produces a soul[1]. Body plus Spirit equals Soul. Consequently,it stands to reason that Soul minus Spirit (human) equals Body, and, Soul minus Body equals Spirit (human).

Image of strong man

The Bible says we are made up of three parts; spirit, soul and body. Christians will know that the outer person - the physical body - is not the real person.

Paul reminded believers to discern not with the natural eyes but with spiritual eyes: 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.  17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5)

How about you? Do you see with natural eyes or do you see with spiritual eyes? Do you primarily see a person's outer appearance, or can you see who they are on the inside?

As is the case with curses, Unclean spirits were at times sent by God [2] . He has control over all things and He will do what is necessary to fulfill His purposes on earth. The Bible tells us that while idols do not breathe (they do not have a spirit) they are proxy for demons or Unclean spirits[3]. So, people who serve idols really are worshiping demons. Refer Jesus' warning that you cannot serve God and Mammon [4] .

Simply put, an Unclean spirit is a spiritual force that is not aligned with God. It is impure, corrupted. By definition it is error and it cannot be made right. It's nature is contrary to the way of God. An Unclean spirit may be used by God for His purposes, but it is not from God.

Unclean spirits stem from the fall of Satan from heaven[5]. Unbelievers by definition are controlled by the prince of the power of the air - a term that refers to Satan [6] . Those who do not serve God (through Jesus) as their Lord by implication serve Satan. There is no 'neutral' category. It genuinely is a black and white issue [7] .

But, can believers have Unclean spirits? Yes. Insisting that they cannot seems to me to be rather naïve. To understand this we must understand that all humans are made up of three parts; spirit (mentioned first), soul and body[8] . Jesus teaches that the spirit of a person must be born again if he/she wants to enter the Kingdom of God; the Holy Spirit does not give birth to a new soul, but to a new spirit within a person[9] . That is what it means to be 'regenerated' - to be made a "new creation"[10] .

The writer of Hebrews probably makes the clearest distinction between spirit and soul.

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


Practically, the born again believer has received an altogether new human spirit. Whilst the spirit is renewed instantaneously, the soul is not. Instead, because the soul is the fusion or union between the body (corrupt) and the human spirit (regenerated), it (the soul) has to be brought into subjection to the promptings of the regenerated spirit in order to make godly decisions. This can only happen at the expense of the desires of the flesh.

This is a life-long journey. Jesus calls it "sanctification", which is done by receiving in faith and obedience the Word of God[11]. Paul - a reborn believer - laments this inner struggle between the regenerated spirit and the unregenerated flesh[12] . So, where decision-making is left to the soul to choose between the promptings of the spirit or the promptings of the flesh, we (believers) should choose to occupy our souls with godly things and not with ungodly things. That is why Paul urges Christians to renew their minds - to think upon things that aid the spirit so that godly, life-changing decisions[13] may be made. We know that decisions lead to actions[15]. These decisions, somehow, have a bearing on our salvation (refer where Paul says "work out your salvation"[14]). Before you object to this statement please read the Bible; we must work out our salvation. This entails godly decision-making. So, the importance of not accommodating ungodly thinking is vitally important.

You may find a Protestant view on the "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" passage here, which, perhaps not surprisingly, understates the "work out" bit. But it may offer good value nevertheless.

Disputed territory

I am making the point that reborn a Christian's spirit is 'out of bounds' to Satan. He cannot touch it (unless the believer decides to rebel, much like Adam did). As such, a reborn Christian cannot be demon-possessed. "Possession" entails involuntary actions through the direct control of a person's spirit. I am also making the point that a reborn believer's soul - that decision-making, memory-stricken, emotional and mental processing part of Man - is very much in play for Satan to influence or attack. As noted, what we think about and what we expose ourselves to in terms of sensory perception very much has a bearing on what we end up doing and the attitudes we harbour. This is where ungodly "strongholds" are formed. Where Jesus' truth sets free, Satan's strongholds serve to bring people into captivity. Both the principle for truth as well as strongholds apply to Christians and non-Christians alike.

So, the soul is that 'place' where Satan can still have a foothold on a person's life despite them having been born again. So, where in the Bible is that explicitly recorded? Where does it say in the Bible: "A reborn believer can have an Unclean spirit - period."? Answer: No-where.

Even so, the Bible also does not record the word "Trinity". Yet, we believe in "the Trinity" - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is a term that was arrived at by deducing certain truths from the Bible. Similarly, in this article we shall deduce from the Bible that Unclean spirits can and often are "in" born again believers. I once again make the point that they are resident in the soul of a believer (not the spirit, as with demon-possessed persons). And I explore how it is that they get to be welcome there (in the soul of a born again believer). That is the purpose of this article.

Deducing Biblical Truth

The Bible is often interpreted by deducing one truth from another. It sounds something like this: Scenario A: 'if A plus B equals C, then C minus A must equal B'.

But sometimes deducing is more of an obstacle than a help. Scenario B: What if the wrong 'facts' (assumptions) are used to deduce unstated 'truth'? The result may look something like this: 'if A plus B equals C, then S minus B must equal A'. Such 'truths' may appear right, but they remain an appearance only. An undiscerning heart will not know the difference.

Scenario C: Worse than using the wrong truths (assumptions) in combination, perhaps, is not using all the stated truths in combination. The result may look something like this: 'if A is used in an equation, then A plus X or Y or Z equals C'. Again, the 'truth' may appear correct, but it remains an appearance only. Jesus' reminder to Satan during His temptation in the desert is the most memorable example of this.

Applying the above to the question of believers having Unclean spirits, the reader is thus challenged to know which scenario the 'truths' stated here belong to. Make up your own mind. In this article I will combine stated facts found in the Bible to arrive at a deduced fact.

Image of deduction

Whilst I believe I have correctly deduced the question about Unclean spirits, the reader is cautioned to discern truth from error. I will state four facts concerning the kingdom of darkness and the make-up of human beings. Some of what is stated below is a repeat of what is stated above. Scripture is presented as reference.

Stated Biblical Truth

Truth 1 (stated): Unlike animals, which only have a soul, humans have a spirit and a soul. In both the Greek and the Hebrew languages the words for each are different. Genesis 2:7 explains that the human soul is the fusion or union between the human body and a God-given spirit. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul makes a clear distinction between spirit, soul and body (in that order). On all accounts it seems as if the regenerated (read reborn) human spirit is the highest part of the total human being or person. It is not bound to time but lives in the spiritual dimension. It can know or understand. It can communicate with God directly. And it can pursue God's promptings.

Truth 2 (stated): The soul of a human being, unlike the spirit of a human being, which is regenerated instantaneously, because of it's union with flesh which cannot be 'uncorrupted', has to be regenerated or conditioned over time. Sanctification is a life-long process. Proof thereof is by virtue of the fruit delivered (deeds done) by the individual. Jesus calls this process "sanctification" while Paul urges believers to have their "minds transformed" by thinking on the right things. Where spiritual regeneration takes place instantaneously after sincere repentance and genuine faith, sanctification takes place over time by obeying God's word in an increasing way. The human body competes with the regenerated spirit for the soul's attention in order to make day-to-day decisions that are either spiritual or carnal.

Truth 3 (stated): When a human spirit is regenerated it belongs to God. He speaks directly to it and believers' spirits hear directly from Him. Nothing can steal or snatch a regenerated human spirit out of God's hand. A believer, notwithstanding, may choose to 'jump from His hand' in willful rebellion and rejection of God's Lordship just the same as Adam did when he turned from God to sin[22]. Inasmuch as Adam's spirit died through his rebellion the regenerated spirit of a born again believer also dies in willfull rebellion from which there is no redemption whatsoever.

Truth 4 (stated): Regenerated believers enter the Kingdom of God in overt and direct opposition to the kingdom of Satan who uses two main 'tools' to further his cause. These are: a) "powers and principalities that are active in the spiritual realm"[18], and b) "strongholds of false arguments resident in the minds of people"[19]. Notice, the latter relates to believers having accepted false arguments (lies, error, prejudices, falsehoods) called "strongholds" whilst the former speaks about actual demonic forces with which believers wrestle. Again, in both cases, Paul is addressing born again believers who have vested their faith in the resurrected Christ.

So, what are we to make of the idea that Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10 that our battle is against "strongholds and false arguments" only to then state emphatically in Ephesians 6 that we (actually) wrestle against "spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places"? First of all, it confirms without a doubt that Satan poses a real threat to ignorant Christians. Secondly, I believe we need to take these two passages together; Satan 'prepares' the ground for Unclean spirits to enter by creating strongholds through hurts, life circumstances, wrong influences and false teachings [20]. Thus, he gets us to think on fleshly things that entertain addictions or immorality or impurity or strife or personal ambition based mainly on our experiences with things in this world. Or, he gets us to meditate on ungodly spiritual things such as resentment, rejection, unforgiveness, envy, selfishness, self centeredness, etc. based on our personal experiences with other people in this world.

So, how do Unclean spirits enter reborn Christians?

Truth 5 (deducted): Therein lies the answer as to how believers can have Unclean spirits: Unclean spirits, generally speaking[21], do not go it alone. They need a 'dwelling place' which is found in a stronghold that was created in the mind of a believer (his/her soul): Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. These false arguments, falsehoods, half-truths, Scriptural error and deception are all things which the spirit knows are false and not of God[16] but which we entertain in any event perhaps because we have not given ourselves over completely to the Word of God. Where the Holy Spirit uses Scripture to lead and steer us, Unclean spirits use strongholds to steer believers' actions as well. The same principle applies.

An example: a believer fails to forgive another person because he/she believes that he/she only need to forgive the offending party if the he/she says they're sorry and then asks for forgiveness. This is not Scripturally correct and therefore error. We need to forgive irrespective of another person's aplogy[17]. One untruth such as this one leads to many incidents of unforgiveness over time, which becomes a "stronghold" (a mindset or an attitude) of bitterness or resentment, which is where the Unclean spirit of bitterness finds a 'welcome home' only to steer the victim into all kinds of ungodliness, often without them even knowing that they are the offending party.

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

(Hebrews 12:15)

Image of a tree with roots

So, what you have is a believer who has a regenerated human spirit, an unregenerated human body and a struggling human soul because the soul's thinking is in conflict with that of the regenerated human spirit. You may find many examples such as this both in Christian and non-Christian circles[30].

The examples given at the bottom of this page are examples of possible situations. I strongly advise against gross generalizations. And, I strongly advise against 'jumping to conclusions'. In Pentacostal and Charismatic circles almost everything that goes wrong, it seems at times, is blamed on Satan. I do not believe this is an accurate reflection of the goings on. Much of what is called an Unclean spirit in another, I suspect, really is prejudice held by the observer. Nevertheless, as the "stronghold" - the ungodly residence - gets bigger and bigger over time, so the spiritual influence of the Unclean spirit over the life of a believer takes greater and greater effect as well.

Where the stronghold is large enough, more Unclean spirits are attracted and what you may find is a 'cesspool' of ungodly attitudes and ungodly thinking all within the mind and heart of a spiritually regenerated believer. This person will find it hard to deliver much godly fruit. They will find it hard to "work out their salvation".

In humans attitudes are formed as a result of a certain understanding about things. Such understandings may be established by a culture or education or philosophy or personal experiences. Or it may be established by a decision of the will. The most lethal attitude that can be had is an attitude of pride: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble"[25].

An Unclean spirit (or 'corrupt breath') is an agent of Satan that reinforces or exploits attitudes towards greater ungodliness. One may say that Unclean spirits reinforce and exploit attitudes that are in direct opposition to the fruit of the Spirit[23][24]. They do not directly "control" the believer as is the case with a demon-possessed person. But they control them in the sense that they steer behavior by amplifying or hiding awareness and perceptions. This involves learning or habbit-forming. Wrong thinking lead to wrong attitudes, which lead to wrong behaviour, which in turn leads to wrong habbits. Where such habbits have a naturally addictive element such as alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, etc., addictions are created which inevitably have an Unclean spiritual component. Sometimes 'wrong attitudes' may appear innocent and even virtuous such as over-bearing control (the spirit of Jezebel, a spirit of fear [26]). See possible examples at the bottom of this page.

Do you see the pattern? Right thinking (thinking that is in line with Scripture) leads to godly attitudes (having a godly spirit which is led by the Holy Spirit). Hence Paul's encouragement to be thinking on the right things[27]. It denies the building of ungodly strongholds. Ungodly thinking on the other hand - whether through ungodly movies, conversations, books, sermons, teachings, etc.- lead to ungodly attitudes. These attitudes take on or accommodate demonic influence inasmuch as right attitudes take on or accommodate the Holy Spirit's influence.

The pattern remains the same: Ungodly thinking lead to prejudices, which lead to strongholds which lead to the influence of Unclean spirits over a person's life - whether regenerated or not. The 'remedy' is both to dispel the Unclean spirit by the victory of Jesus on the cross as well as to get out of error and/or ungodly thinking. It brings us back to the wisdom which the Bible presents over and over: Read the Word of God. Understand it. Find revelation about it. Live it. Read it again.


Reborn believers can have Unclean spirits. These spirits make their homes in what Paul calls "strongholds" which are prejudices, 'understandings' or mindsets that are contrary to the will and the Word of God. Unclean spirits do not affect the spirit of a reborn believer as it is regenerated at the point of their rebirth and not subject to involuntary explointation. Instead, they attach themselves to the soul or more specifically the mind of the reborn believer. The "mind" of a human being is vested in the soul. So, the battleground is for the mind of the believer. Satan wants the mind to make decisions in favour of the earthly, fleshly nature of the person. God in turn wants the mind to make decisions in favour of the regenarated, spiritual nature of the person. So, where the Holy Spirit communicates directly with the regenarated human spirit, Satan endeavours to frustrate His means by 'planting' prejudices or mindsets or "strongholds" in the mind of the believer so as to 'numb out' the promptings of the Holy Spirit. These prompting get believers to do God's will. Satan hates that. So, he does whatever he can to get believers distracted or side-tracked or slowed down.

Where strongholds get people thinking (or meditating) on the wrong things, Unclean spirits 'use' these strongholds to 'move' believers (or motivate them) to act upon these ungodly thoughts or feelings. The result being "works of flesh" (as opposed to works of the spirit) which is another term for unrighteous behaviour: 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,  20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,  21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5:18-21).

You'd think that Christians already know not to do these things, but in reality many are deeply committed to them. Think about the prevalence of some of these works of the flesh in the "church": adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry (money, possessions, social acclaim), hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,  envy.

One explanation is that such people are not really born again. But that does not account for all cases. Even in the Bible there were some who were so obviously 'in the flesh' that it neccessitated the Church's special treatment. I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such a person. 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? (1 Cor. 5:11-12). Clearly, born again believers have been guilty of terrible sins since the earliest days of Christianity.

Examples of Unclean spirits attaching themselves to reborn believers are found at the bottom of this page. Where a believer has a demonic stronghold and an Unclean spirit attached to him/her one is likely to find a predisposition or an attitude or behaviour that is consistently in contradiction to the Word of God. The mirror of God's Word (the Bible) measured against attitudes and behaviours is that 'tool' which shows whether potentially a believer has a problem in this area. This applies to believers and unbelievers alike.

Believers are mostly blind to the idea of being 'steered' by demonic forces. But, that is the reality. In dealing with the issue at least two things need to happen: 1) the stronghold (or biblically erroneous thinking/feeling) needs to be washed away by the cleansing of God's Word, and 2) the Unclean spirit needs to be dispelled in faith and in the name of Jesus.

It is no exaggeration, I believe, to suggest that the vast majority of people 'have' Unclean spirits on account of prejudices, falsehoods and half-truths that do the rounds in and outside of what we call "church". Some will tell you that's all nonsense. That it cannot possibly happen because Christ has already overcome Satan. But that is hardly the issue. I find such arguments a bit silly if not naïve. Of course Christ has overcome Satan in addition to every other thing he has to offer to frustrate the purposes of God. But if we fall into his trap to relinquish God's Word in return for Satan's lies, then he - Satan - has complete legal rights to exploit such disobedience. And, God lets him do it.

This underlines the Bible's urgency for getting us to do the Word of God and not merely know it academically. Knowing it intimately is the key to refuse strongholds and their accompanying Unclean spirits to make a home in our minds. This is why Jesus said: you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free[29].

To know His word in your heart is to expel darkness bit by bit. It is vital to bearing godly fruit. Walking in the light means that we no longer heed the impulses of our earthly, lowly nature. It means that we increasingly adopt those attitudes which altogether make up the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control.

Therefore, to entertain a stronghold of ungodliness in your heart or in your mind is like saying, "GODLY HOUSE UNOCCUPIED - ALL UNCLEAN SPIRITS WELCOME!". It is not at all a smart thing to do.



[1] 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being [Hebrew: "living soul"]. (Genesis 2:7) [back]

[2] 14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him. (1 Samuel 16:14) [back]

[3] Leviticus 17:7, Deuteronomy 32:17, Psalm 106:37, 1 Corinthians 10:20 [back]

[4] 9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? 13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:9-13) [back]

[5] 18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (Luke 10:18) [back]

[6] And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,  2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Ephesians 2:1-3) [back]

[7] 15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. (Deuteronomy 30:15-16) [back]

[8] 23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) [back]

[9] 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3-8) [back]

[10] 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) [back]

[11] 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17) [back]

[12] 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:22-23) [back]

[13] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2) [back]

[14] 12 Therefore, my dear ones, as you have always obeyed [my suggestions], so now, not only [with the enthusiasm you would show] in my presence but much more because I am absent, work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Philippians 2:12-13, Amplified) [back]

[15] Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. (Philippians 2:12). This passage seems to correspond with James' claim that the type of faith that does not produce good works in service to God is not faith at all: 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:14-18) [back]

[16] 6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:6-16) [back]

[17] 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25) [back]

[18] 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:12-13) [back]

[19] 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,  5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,  6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6) [back]

[20] 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) [back]

[21] Entertaining occultic ritual and fixating on demonic activities such as magic (think Harry Potter), pornography and other fleshly lusts (think eating competitions, the relentless pursuit of sports or philosophy or outer beauty) are sure to invite the demonic strongholds Paul speaks about in 2 Corinthians 10. [back]

[22] With the advent of 'God-is-only-about-love-christianity' it is not popular to suggest that a reborn believer may loose his/her salvation. Such sentiment is based on a blind insistence that salvation has absolutely nothing to do with the believer (he/she has no decision to make) and everything to do with God (He makes all the decisions) as if God created robots. But the writer of Hebrews clearly warns reborn Christians that a believer who turns from God in total rebellion by denying His Lordship - which is what Adam did when before his spirit died - that person will not ever be regenerated again: Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:1-6) [back]

[23] 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  23 gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) [back]

[24] 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,  20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,  21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21) [back]

[25] James 4:6 [back]

[26]7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) [back]

[27] 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9) [back]

[28] 16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. (Acts 16:16-18) [back]

[29] 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32) [back]

[30] The examples given here should be read as examples of possible situations. I strongly advise against generalizations. And, I strongly advise against 'jumping to conclusions' where others do not behave the way you would like them to behave. Much of what is called an Unclean spirit in another, I suspect, really is prejudice by the observer.

Example 1:

Underlying conditions: Sexual abuse, trying life circumstances over time, break-up of families (particularly as a child) and/or substance abuse. Stronghold: ''Life is just not worth it - I have no hope for the present and I have no hope for the future'. Unclean spirit: spirit of depression or worthlessness or hopelessness. The victim feels 'down' despite good things happening in their life. They may suffer spiritual oppression which over time translates to physiological deficiencies neccessitating medical intervention or treatment (or vice versa). Depression, in my own estimation, is seldom either purely a spiritual matter or a physiological matter.

Example 2:

Underlying conditions: Prolonged lack of personal security or safety, particularly as a child. Stronghold: 'the world is an unsafe, scary place where no-one should be trusted for anything'. Unclean spirit: spirit of fear. This spirit influences the believer to live in undue fear for their personal wellbeing. The victim will rationalize their fears.

Example 3:

Underlying conditions: Sexual or emotional abuse, particularly as a child. Stronghold: 'I should be ashamed of myself. I am the guilty one'. Unclean spirit: spirit of guilt. This spirit influences the believer to understate their value and their worthiness. To either shrink away from social attention or to crave it in an unnatural (perhaps even illicit sexual) way. The victim will largely not be aware of their lack of self-worth and perhaps even promote the idea.

Example 4:

Underlying conditions: Prolonged conditions of personal lack or provision. Stronghold: 'It is my lot in life to struggle financially. I will never have enough'. Unclean spirit: spirit of poverty or even a spirit of lust. This spirit influences the believer to deny God's provision through the cross and/or to over-state the need for provision through generating income. The victim will either display an over-emphasized drive towards financial provisioning or adopt a 'poverty mentality' where being poor is being natural or even godly.

Example 5:

Underlying conditions: Prolonged unfairness or discrimination or bullying, particularly as a child. Stronghold: 'Unless you control things, things are uncontrollable'. Unclean spirit: spirit of control or 'Jezebel spirit' colloquially named after Jezebel (a biblical figure) who manipulated her way through life, particularly with respect to her husband. This spirit amplifies the need for control over people and situations. The victim will rationalize their drive for greater control.

None of the examples above apply in all cases of bullying, discrimination, lack of security or safety, provisioning or abuse. Nevertheless, they set the scene for ungodly spiritual activity and harassment. [back]


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Please consult the Bible and test what is written here. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in this area. Keep that which is good and reject that which is not Scriptural. Should you come to a different understanding than I please let me know - perhaps I can learn from you.


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