“And when the devil had finished tempting him, he left him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13).
Sometime around May or June of 1993, when my son Daniel Jr. was not yet born and at about 5 or 6 months in the womb, I went through an absolutely “chilling” experience with a demon or perhaps even the devil himself. In grace, and in love, I would like to tell you about it — not because it is sensationalistic, but, because it the truth, and Jesus said that it was the truth that would set us free. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31b-32). As the lies are exposed, we will indeed come into more freedom. I am trusting that what I have to share will help you in this way.
Now mind you, as I am sharing with you, I’ll use the term “the devil” to mean either the devil himself or one of his demons. So whether it was the devil that day, or one of his demons, I do not know. What I do know is that the devil is a demon and all demons are represented, in terms of their allegiance, by the devil. So the word the “devil” simply means either the devil or one of his demons in this context.
One evening, around 9:00 p.m., as my wife and I were taking the bus together, the devil really met me, “head on”. I was a very committed Christian and yet I had some very deep and unresolved “bitter roots” that were “dormant” in my heart. Bitter roots can cause you plenty of problems. Perhaps you were abused as a child. Perhaps you have been through some extra-ordinary type of trauma. Perhaps there is unforgiveness over an offense that was done to you. All of these can lead to bitter roots which give a place for the devil to come and literally inhabit. In my own case, there was unresolved conflict in my heart which went right back to my past, and God obviously permitted the devil to afflict me in order to bring about a refining and to test me.
In the Bible, we read that Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). Please understand that when Satan afflicts you, he can only do so with God’s permission. God’s purpose in allowing the trial is not to hurt you, but to bring about refinement. It’s up to you how you choose to deal with it. When Satan comes upon you, you can either turn away from your sin and turn to God for help, or you can do what Satan wants and pay the price for it. You need to be very careful!
The good part about the verse I just read is that the second part is where Jesus says, “but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32) First, Jesus says, “I have prayed for you”. If you’re going through a trial right now, where you feel the devil is upon you, know that Jesus is praying for you. Second, Jesus says, “when once you have turned again” meaning there is going to need to be a change or repentance of some sort in Simon Peter’s life. As you know, Simon Peter denied Jesus three times. He had to repent of that. If the devil is tormenting you, there is something that needs changing. Be prepared to change in order to get free! Lastly, Jesus says, “strengthen your brothers”. Just as I am able to do today, you too will be able to strengthen those around you once you gain your freedom. So this should be encouraging to you, because God has a plan in all of it, and wants to use you to touch others around you.
Unresolved Heart Issues
I had some unresolved “heart issues”. With an overwhelming sense of internal anguish and bitterness of soul as we sat in that bus together, the “power” in the air was electric: there was an overwhelming sense of the demonic in my midst. Daniel, of course, was in the womb, and I believe he was one of the devil’s main targets of destruction. Three times the devil tried to destroy my son while he was in the womb. This occasion was only one of them.
Because of the strength of this attack, how the devil seemed to just move in with such an authority, I sat there virtually powerless to do anything. That is why at the start I quote Luke 4:13, “And when the devil had finished tempting him, he left him until an opportune time.” You see, there are opportune times when the devil may visit us. These are permitted by God again for our refinement. Sometimes the power of darkness may feel very strong, but be assured that according to 1 Corinthians 10:13, God always provides a way of escape no matter what the trial is.
That verse says, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” So never think that you cannot escape. You can. Only, you must be very careful to open your spiritual ears and do what God wants you to do. In any case, the big word is repent. You need to be willing to change. That is so paramount in this testimony. Don’t think you are above being attacked. If there is any seed of bitterness at all in your heart, you are “fair game” for the devil. That is one good reason why it is good to pray a prayer like David prayed in Psalm 139:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
David himself was not immune to being attacked by the devil. If you read the Scriptures, you will see that on numerous occasions, David’s own sin provided an opening for the devil to seriously afflict. On just one of those occasions, the Bible says in 2 Samuel 24:15 that 70,000 men were killed as a result of a pestilence which was sent as a direct result of David’s sin. So if you think that my testimony is “too much” or “overwhelming”, just think about David! And this man was a man of God! So if it can happen to David, it can happen to any of us! So David knew what it was like to have an opening for the devil. When David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way,” he really meant it!
“Bitterness” was the big word, and, for some reason that day, it occupied a tremendous opening in my heart. As I sat there in that bus, I felt the tangible, discernible presence of a real, living being come right into me. This experience was, without any question, the most “chilling” and “frightening” experience I have ever experienced. The demonic being filled me so completely that I felt it physically occupy literally every square inch of my body. I sat there feeling so powerless and yet I knew that God had not left me and that this was a tremendous trial that God was allowing to come upon me. I knew that my only hope was to repent of the bitterness in my heart and decide not to be bitter.
Some things may grab your attention. This really grabbed mine! I knew I had a problem. I sat there stunned, and I knew I only had “once chance” to make it out of there without getting myself and my family into some serious, perhaps irreversible, problems. In the spiritual sense, this was a highly organized, attempted “coup d’etat” on my body.
With sheer terror filling me, and not a soul in the world except Jesus Himself to give me a hand, I immediately SHUT my heart off to that bitterness. Basically, I just froze. I knew that I either froze and did nothing, or one false move would mean sudden, perhaps horrifying disaster for our son who was in the womb.
I had to “shut up” immediately and “close off” that root of bitterness that was giving the devil permission to operate. Thankfully, the Bible says that God always does provide a way of escape, and again, that comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13 that I quoted earlier. You need to remember that verse, and look for the way of escape at all times. You don’t have to sin! You can choose to serve God!
No Choice but to Act Fast
If I was to have any chance at all of getting “free” of this “thing,” I had to act fast — and act fast I did. Knowing just a little about these things, I knew that I had to literally “seal off” ANY form of expression that this “thing” was now trying to gain through me. In other words, this thing was trying to use MY body to do ITS ungodly will.
If anyone could have helped me, I would have wanted him or her to have done so. Unfortunately, the power of darkness had been given permission to afflict me. A mix of bitterness and extreme fear was now upon me. My heart was in the grip of another power, completely foreign to me. Unlike Judas Iscariot, however, who completely “sold himself out” to the devil (who stepped inside of him), I was not completely “given over” to this power, nor had I made any pacts or agreements with any powers to do this. It was a root of bitterness inside of me that gave a foothold for the devil to afflict me. The trial would be for testing and refining purposes.
The bus continued on for about another mile. Soon, we disembarked at our mid-point destination which was a place where we would catch another bus. But the power of this thing was so strong in me. It had not left me and I was very much in it’s grip. I desperately tried to restrain myself. I knew that one wrong move could mean disaster.
My mouth was the vehicle for carrying out this “death” sentence that the devil was trying to execute against my son (literally, trying to execute him, in the truest sense). The temptation to open my mouth and to begin cursing was very strong. And, in fact, I began to open my mouth and speak.
James says, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, it corrupts the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6) It was literally the power of hell that was trying to set my tongue on fire!
Opening my mouth caused the power of the devil to operate. I did not physically touch my wife, but the demonic being was right inside of me, and the words that I spoke were not my words, but its words, and they carried supernatural destructive power. Soon, my wife cried out, “I feel pain! I feel so much pain! Oh God! Oh God! I need a doctor! I need to go to the hospital!” She clutched her stomach, and groaned in agony, buckling over to the ground.
Now this should tell you how important our words can be. The Bible says, in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” So if you love death, you’ll partake of it. If you love life, you’ll partake of that. In some cases, I’m convinced that sickness itself can be a result of the words that we speak. Another verse that supports this is Psalm 109:17, “He also loved cursing, so it came to him; And he did not delight in blessing, so it was far from him.” So we need to be very careful. Are the words we are speaking influenced by God or Satan? Satan will actually try to get us to speak words of destruction instead of life. This affects us and it affects others around us.
Several minutes passed by. It was late, and there was not a car in sight as we waited for that bus to arrive. With a sense of desperation, I did all I could just to “keep the peace.” I was in the throngs of bitterness. But death was at our doorstep, and the power of death was coming very much closer to exacting its punishment. It was then that a sudden sense of grief, despair, and inward heart repentance came over me. I feared GREATLY for the life of our, as of yet, unborn child. My soul was in torment.
Finally, this “being” left my presence. Thankfully, God did not allow our son’s life to be taken. Grace had indeed prevailed, but it could have gone much differently. Later, after our son was born, I had a dream, and an angelic messenger or perhaps it was Jesus himself, brought a baby wrapped in a baby blanket to our door, and handed the baby to me. The baby’s name, of course, was Daniel, which is our son’s name.
I guess you could say, the devil tried to do what he did because he knows that God has a plan for our son. In fact, we know that God has a plan for all of us, if we will but consecrate ourselves to God. Did you know that God wants to use you to do His will on the earth? The Bible says that very clearly. You become a “threat” to the devil when you begin praying and doing God’s will. Does that mean you should forget about doing God’s will and just lay back and do nothing because the devil might attack us? Not at all. You see, at any moment in time, you are either serving God or not. If you do not serve God, then who are your serving? The Bible says it’s either the devil, the flesh, or the world. But none of that will bring about an eternal reward or blessing.
So really, if you want the blessing and you want the reward and if you care about people in seeing their lives changed for the better, then you have no choice but to serve God. God is, after all, good. He cares about you, and He wants you to “step up to the plate” as it were and be ready to do His will. And there is great reward in that, both in this life and in the life to come. Are you ready? Yet, it will mean conflict with the devil, that’s for sure! But’s what’s the alternative? To sit back and actually do nothing? That’s actually doing exactly what the devil wants you to do! There’s no reward in that! In fact, in the end, you’ll be very sorry that you chose that route.
What’s the moral of this story? First, the demonic is very real. In John 14:30, Jesus said, concerning the devil, “He has nothing in me”. Is that true concerning us? Does the devil have NOTHING in us? We had better be sure. By all means, don’t hold onto bitterness and do your best to live a holy lifestyle! As it says in Ephesians 4:27, “do not give the devil a foothold”. A foothold is a place which the devil can invade. A root of bitterness or unresolved hurt in your heart is a foothold. If you are rock climbing, all you need is a tiny piece of rock to get your foot onto in order to climb that entire mountain. That tiny piece of rock is small, but it is a foothold that enables you to do have access the mountain. In the same way, the devil only needs a small place in your heart to be able to gain access to it. Thus, the moral of this story is, don’t give the devil a place in your heart. At all costs, seal him out. You can do that by saying “no” to sin and yes to God in every area of your life. Do you want to do that? I hope you do!
I trust that this message has encouraged you today. May God bless you as you consider it.
Part 1/2 consolidated, revised, March 22, 2007