Today’s Church has largely forgotten or ignores the supernatural world which the Bible describes. We may pay lip service to the existence of Satan and demons in general, or we may use him as a convenient target for the cause of our sin so we don’t have to accept the responsibility for it (at least, in our own eyes), but it’s not unusual to find that a particular Christian doesn’t even consider the spiritual and supernatural side of things when it comes to daily life. This miracle hits that head on. Jesus was talking about the spiritual war that is going on between Satan’s minions and believers. Concepts such as a divided force and overall strength are military principles and they were referenced by Jesus to show how misguided those who were challenging Him were on His casting out demons.
And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven.
But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. “
“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.
– Luke 11:14-23, NASB
First and foremost, Jesus talks about the fact that it didn’t make sense for Satan, Beelzebul, the Father of Lies, whatever you want to call him, to give power to his followers to cast out demons. Demons are his minions. His followers are his minions, too. To grant folks that follow him the ability to cast out demons means that his forces would be fighting. That doesn’t make any sense. It’s one thing if a commander allows a unit to be withdrawn as a ruse. We call that a feint. But that’s a planned and organized movement that is done in coordination with other units nearby. If you have a follower casting out a demon, that’s not coordinated. And then you have your forces struggling with each other, meaning they aren’t battling the shared enemy, which would be God, his angels, and the rest of mankind. That’s Jesus’ point. That’s how illogical their comments were. And to drive the point home, he then makes his second point by turning the question on them. If Satan does give men the ability to cast out demons, if any of them are successfully casting out demons, how do they know that they are receiving power from God? How can they be so sure?
And that’s how Jesus drives the final point home. It is not by the power of Satan He was casting our demons. He was casting out demons by the power of God (Himself). That meant they needed to recognize that and stop their plotting and their accusations. Of course, we know they didn’t listen. But we need not make a similar mistake. And because it was God doing the casting out, it’s a battle of strength. On our own, we cannot stand against a demon, a fallen angel. So if it’s us trying to do it on our own, we will lose. However, if we’re with Christ, this isn’t a problem. He’s the strong man, fully armed, who cannot be overpowered. We are protected in His house. When Satan tries to come against us, he doesn’t fight us, but he fights God. And he loses every time.
But it goes beyond that. Notice what Jesus says with the example of the strong man. If we are not with Him, we are against Him. If we are not with God, we are against God. There is no middle ground. There is no neutrality. We cannot be Switzerland. Be with God, and we are safe. Choosing not to choose sides is the same as choosing against God. And if that’s the case, we will be scattered. But we are Christians. We are on God’s side. But are we fully? Think through all aspects of your life. Are they completely and totally aligned with God? Have you consciously said, “God has direction in His Word on this, and I will follow it.” and done so or are there significant areas of your life left unexamined? Have you allowed God to penetrate to every portion of you? If you haven’t, if He isn’t in control, then you stand alone in that area of life. You are open to the attack of the Enemy. But you also face the forthcoming discipline of God in that area of your life. Jesus was totally exposed to the Father, with every aspect of His life in line with the will of the Father. This is what we are being remade to be like. So we can either be proactive or reactive in our walk with Christ, in our transformation to be like Him in this regard. In my experience, being proactive is usually less painful and more beneficial. Something to consider.