I guess I’ve never really said it our loud before, but I’ve dealt with demonic possessions on and off since I was in middle school. The thing about a demonic possession is that you usually don’t realize it’s evil until it’s already in control of you. It’s scary for other people to watch. But I generally just thought, “What’s the big deal? They’re my possessions. Mind your own business.”
My first demonic possession was a gift: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for the Sony Playstation. If I remember correctly, my parents gave it to me and my brother as a reward for getting good grades. We started off innocently enough, playing video games like two adolescent brothers do. But eventually my brother’s interests took him elsewhere. But not me. I literally played that game until I had the outline of Playstation controls imprinted on my thumbs. At what point the possession became demonic is hard to discern. But I know that before long I was rushing through meals and homework just to get back to my game. If I had to guess, I’d say the point where it became demonic was when I began to chose my video game over time with my friends and family, and time with God. Eventually I got past the video game. I suppose the demons grew tired. But before long, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 was out, and the while cycle started again.
A simple possession taking on demonic properties. Robbing me of time with my family, my friends, and my savior. I haven’t played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater in years, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have the same effect on me that it once did. I’ve moved on to new possessions; fancier ones. Ones that have far more potential to become demonic because of their capacity to appear useful. I’m talking, of course, about my precious mobile devices.
Anyone who has spent time reading CS Lewis’ classic The Screwtape Letters knows that demons are crafty. They will seldom show up in a red suit with horns and a tail and say, “Boo! I’m a demon!” We wouldn’t likely be duped by such a thin disguise.
Instead, they show up in genuinely good and useful things. My smart phone is a good thing. It has proven time and time again to be helpful and worthwhile, not only for myself but for others. But equally as many times it has shown itself to be downright demonic; providing me an instant and ever-present escape from the more immediate and infinitely more valuable task of interacting with human beings and listening for the still small voice of the Spirit.
This became painfully evident to me this weekend as I was visiting my family. My little nephew just turned one, and has learned to crawl and stand since last I saw him. So as I’m visiting, I purposelessly yet instinctively reached for my tablet computer. I honestly don’t know why. Perhaps the demonic voices pointed out just how empty my hands feel without a piece of electronics in them. Regardless, while my nephew was showing me his newly learned feats of humanity, I spent 20 minutes trying to connect to a wi-fi network.
20 minutes I could have spent enjoying the God-given gift of family, and relishing in the wonder of my amazing nephew’s newfound mobility. Certainly my possessions had become demonic.
So how do I cast out the demons? What exorcist do I call upon? Do I dash my electronics against the rocks?
I’ll need to counter the demonic possessions from two angles. First, I will need to submit my possessions to God, allowing them to be possessions of the Holy Spirit an none other. This means being consciously aware of my time, place, and setting, and then asking God, “Is this an appropriate time to utilize my possessions? Will it help people and bring You glory? Will it speak of my love (and Yours) for other people? Or will it build walls? Will it be an escape from the beautiful, if sometimes difficult, task of interacting with other human beings? Guide me, Lord.”
Secondly, I will rely on the wisdom and watchfulness of my brothers and sisters in Christ (that means you). If you catch me hiding behind a screen, a text, a call, a status update, or any of an infinite number of other potentially evil uses for my possessions, I am calling on you (and giving you the authority) to treat it for what it is: a demonic possession. Grab my phone, tablet, game controller, or whatever it is out of my hands and refuse to give it back to me until I realize just how much I don’t need it. With such brash acts, you will be ministering to my spirit.
So, probably these aren’t the type of demonic possessions you expected to be reading about. But they probably come far closer to the reality you know and live every day. I encourage you to take an inventory of your life and identify the possessions that have become demonic. When you discover what they are, submit them to the King and to the authority of your brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. And may we find that relationship with those we have submitted to is far greater than anything the evil spirits have convinced us our possessions could possibly bring.