Pastors love to use an illustration to make their point about demons. They will talk about darkness (a spiritual allegory for demons), turn the lights off, and then light a match to illustrate that when the light comes, darkness disappears.
Effective. But is it accurate to extend that to God’s presence (light) driving away demons (darkness) as they try to contend?
The go-to scripture they will use is 2. Cor 6:14:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
The implication is clear. When righteousness is present, wickedness cannot stay.
They will also reference John 1:4-5, referring to Jesus.
Light and Darkness
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Again, the light overcomes the darkness. The implication is that when Jesus shows up or is present, then demonic spirits must go.
Our deliverance ministers at Above & Beyond wish it were that simple. Oh, that it was true! Sadly, many Christians have bought into this view and become upset or angry when they cannot get themselves free from demonic torment by merely inviting Jesus’ presence.
Scripture must be interpreted and applied in context, and neither one above declares that demons must flee. Demons bring spiritual darkness, but there is (usually) more involved than light to get them to scatter.
Deliverance ministry is the driving out of demons. Jesus gave his body authority and the directive to do that (Mark 16:17). If they simply skulked away when He showed up, why would it be necessary to drive them out?
God has no issues with demons in His presence. In Job 1:6, Satan himself appears before His throne in heaven, along with angels.
Jesus came face to face with many who were demonized (the one in Gadarene was significant enough to be covered specifically in Scripture) and the devils did not leave on their own volition.
Man is a triune being. Believers have a born-again spirit and Holy Spirit indwelling them. Demons reside in the soul and are behind many sicknesses in the body. In the same “temple” (our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). God and demons in the same person. The devils can co-exist quite happily with God as their next-door neighbor.
Misapplication of these scriptures, and others, cause damage to God’s children who need counseling and deliverance ministry. Make no mistake: deliverance is for believers. It’s of little value to cast demons out of unsaved souls because they have little chance of staying free.
God can and does sovereignly deliver people and His manifest presence in gatherings (large and small) can lead to a cleansing of the atmosphere for a season. Those encounters cannot be discounted but should not be confused with an automatic cause and result.
Have No Fear
We should not be afraid of demons. Jesus has won the victory on the cross, and the demonic realm is (positionally) under our feet. We need to appropriate, or take hold of Christ’s work, and deliverance is one such area that requires action and enforcement. Healing represents another battlefront.
Christian should not be afraid of demons; in fact, they are genuinely petrified of spiritual warriors who know their authority, power, then walk in it. While demons have no authority, they do have the ability (power) to destroy, and failure to deal with that leads to heartache. I believe that pastors who teach that there is no war, that believers simply need to understand and receive, do a severe disservice to their flock.
Another common teaching puts forth the notion that demons have no power other than what we give them or allow. False. That error places the blame on the person and implies their torment is due to lack of faith, strength or knowledge.
If you need deliverance, get it. Learn how to wage spiritual warfare effectively. There are many excellent resources to train you to discern, resist, bind, drive out, and intercede against the demonic realm. You need to learn; ignorance is not bliss, and now is the time to start.