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The Source Matters

A one-eyed man is much more incomplete than a blind man, for he knows what it is that’s lacking. —Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

I think I met a demon in the Philippines while I was on a mission trip with a basketball team. I was walking into a small town when a frail woman—less than 5 feet tall—approached me. She gazed up at me with glazed eyes, and she said in a male voice—in English—“You’re not welcome here. Get out.”

Shivers went up my spine. I was terrified. At this point in my life, everything I knew about demons came from Frank Peretti and C. S. Lewis.

While reading Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, I imagined a cosmic battle. The angels looked like Thor—all big and strong and good-looking. And the demons were just like the Orcs in The Lord of the Rings series—equally as strong but ugly. I had no idea who was going to win—Thor or the Orcs.

Later, I got my hands on a copy of C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. The demons in Lewis’ work of fiction are clever and strategic in their scheming. How did one man stand a chance?

So here I was in the Philippines, and I wasn’t sure what to do. Peretti said demons are stronger than I am, and Lewis said demons are smarter than I am. And now an itty-bitty Philippine woman was trying to intimidate me. That day I realized that demons are bullies.

Strong and smart bullies who are invisible? C’mon, that’s terrifying stuff!

Now, I’ve learned something since that trip to the Philippines. If we read books about demons without also consulting the Bible, we’ll be left with an incomplete picture of the demonic world. Apart from Scripture, we’ll find more questions than we will answers.

Are demons real? Are they still around today? What can they do to people? Can they possess people? Can they possess Christians?

Fortunately for us, Jesus often interacted with demons. As we read these interactions, we’ll find there is only one question that needs to be answered.

Jesus, if I’ve been looking for answers to spiritual questions outside the context of You—the Word of God—bring me back to base camp. Honor our time together as I examine my own thoughts on evil and as I study Your interactions with demons. I ask that You free me from any fear. Amen.

Learn more from Pete’s teaching on Luke, What Will Jesus Do?

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