We hear so much about "possession," but give little heed to "obsession" -- something that afflicts all of us, from time to time.
In these "ss" words also you can hear the hiss of the snake.
Do you have obsessions, hang-ups, inclinations or thoughts you can't shake? Have you ever tallied them -- dug deeply during prayer and sought to discern trends of thinking that may have been planted by the enemy? What do you think of too much? Have you tried to temper it -- take custody over your mind?
It may be about another person (love is an antidote here), it may be about a material item (or, to use the word in a different way, a material "possession"), it may be a concern -- one that causes anxiety.
Along with confusion, anxiety can be a first marker of diabolic harassment. Let an obsessive thought be replaced by repeating, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." Cast out the "spirit of obsession."
Strange obsessions there are -- with things, with celebrities, with music, with looks, with fashion, with TV shows, with sports (for sure!), with hurts, with health, with politics. What do you think too much about -- think and rethink and think about again, burning a hole in your cerebrum?
Most major criminals (note, for instance, the Las Vegas shooter) are endlessly fixated on something that drives them to distraction and then a full-scale eruption. Lava builds under a dome.
With the rest of us, obsession is at best a waste of time. Prayer often dispels it.
"Many people become obsessed with pornography, sex, or sexual perversion," writes Roberts Liardon in Haunted Houses, Ghosts, and Demons. "Some become obsessed with the occult or New Age teachings. Young people may become obsessed with certain types of music. It's possible to be obsessed with money. Whatever you can think of, it's possible for someone to be obsessed with it."
Very frequently, it's an obsession to do with other people -- relationships, slights. And while on the surface obsession seems simply a niggling psychological glitch, it can draw darkness and this is where spirits like to reside: in the dark. Fear can energize the negative. What we obsess about we sometimes get.
Demonic spirits can enter this way and take up residence in a home, a neighborhood, over a community, and even over a nation. They also can hold sway over religious groups and organizations. All it takes is: obsession.
"You have to know where demons live and the ways in which they will try to attack you," writes Liardon. "A battle is going on out there, and you're in it whether you realize it or not. Never think you're exempt from demonic attacks! Always keep a watch on yourself. Stay in constant prayer. Check your thoughts and actions against the Word of God. Don't be fooled into thinking something is okay just because everyone else does it."
When a close relative or friend dies, the devil can lead grief into obsession -- and also into another hiss word: "depression." "It is natural to grieve over the death of a loved one, even if you know that loved one has gone on to be with God," says the deliverance expert.
"But it's possible to take it much too far. For example, some people have traditions that say they must wear black for a year or that if they smile they or have fun they're being unfaithful to the deceased. Traditions like that aren't good for anyone." (Hiss words? Also stress and distress.)
"The devil would love it if every Christian in the world was depressed," says the book. "He knows people who are depressed are not energetic or enthusiastic about anything. They are generally lethargic, apathetic, and easily defeated. Depressed people become listless, inactive, and disinterested in what goes on around them, and that means big trouble in the life of a Christian."
Anything that is too much is too much. This can even go for the wrong way of deploying religion. When there is an obsession with surface aspects of religion (instead of the spirituality), our eyes and thoughts and hearts are not directly placed upon the Lord (but rather upon rules and regulations).
Strange as it sounds, there can be a "spirit of religion" and that is not a good spirit -- for it takes us to an unhealthy extreme born of: obsession.
"Those involved in legalistic religion have a form of godliness but deny its power (see 2 Timothy 3:5)," warns the author, for our consideration. "Legalistic religion says, 'You have to do exactly what we tell you to do.' In essence, that's saying, 'We want you to look to us for guidance in spiritual matters, not God."
It comes down to the word, balance.
When there is balance, obsession can find no place.