By: Scott Shifferd, Jr.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate,” Paul reflected (Rom 7:15). Does a person’s lack of self-control mean that the Devil is controlling you? Can the Devil control or read your mind?
The Bible never states or depicts an account where the Devil, Satan, can read your mind or plant thoughts in one’s mind. However, demons are evil spirits who could possess people in Jesus’s time (Luke 8:2; Rev 16:13–14). Demons spoke from those whom they possessed (Mark 1:21–28). The possession of demons implies the ability to cast out these demons and casting out was an act and power of Christ given to His apostles (Mark 6:7–13). Casting out demons was also a sign confirming the message from believers (Mark 16:17–20; Acts 19:13–17).
Satan’s power is limited against Christians. Christ bound Satan to cast out demons by the Spirit (Matt 12:28–29). The unclean spirits obey Christ’s commands (Mark 1:23–28). By partaking of flesh and blood, Jesus destroys the one who has the power of death — the Devil (Heb 2:14). After Christ ascended to God, Satan and His angels were cast from heaven to the earth where Satan made war against Jews and Christians (Rev 12:7–17; cf. 1 Pet 5:8–9). However, Christians conquer Satan by the testimony of Jesus and the Word of God (Rev 12:9–11; 20:4). Revelation 19–20 revealed that Satan would be bound for a thousand years no longer to deceive the nations (cf. Rev 16:13–14).
The Devil is controlling minds today when people accept the doctrines of demons (1 Tim 4:1–2). The Bible reveals that those who worship false gods are following demons (Deut 32:17; 1 Cor 10:20–21). However, people’s desires tempt them (Jas 1:13–15; cf. 1 John 2:15–17). Out of the heart of man comes evil thoughts (Matt 15:18–20; Mark 7:20–23). However, God is faithful not to let Christians be tempted beyond their ability (1 Cor 10:13).
When baptized in Jesus’s name, the Holy Spirit dwells within the repentant believer (Acts 2:38; 1 Cor 6:11–20). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is contrary to any unclean spirit (cf. Matt 12:43–45). The indwelling of the Spirit is opposed to the indwelling of an evil spirit, a demon. To have control over oneself, the Scriptures teach that those who walk by the Spirit will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Gal 5:16–17; cf. Rom 13:13–14; 1 Cor 9:27).