Depending on whom you ask you could receive a variety of answers. This short teaching is intended to shed light on this subject. There are four basic ways in which the devil can gain access into our lives. We will look at each of the four ways.

Ephesians 4:27 says do not give the devil a foothold. So what is a foothold into our life? A foothold is anything that will give the devil access to affect our life. There are innumerable ways the devil affects our life and all of these things can be classified into four different categories: Generational Curses, sins we commit ourselves, Sins committed against us, and trauma and accidents.

Generational Curses.
Generational curses are first seen in the Old Testament. A general definition of a generational curse would be any problem that can be seen affecting several members of a family. This could be anything from a certain health problem, depression, alcoholism, or premature death just to name a few. The repetition of similar disorders and diseases from one generation to another is a commonly accepted phenomenon. There is a clear reason for this if we consider the spiritual effects of sin in the generational line. In order to better understand how generational curses work we need to understand how God intended to bless those who follow and obey Him. Part of God’s plan was to bless individuals through the family line. We see this in the following scriptures.

Genesis 18:18-19 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him”.

Proverbs 6:20-22 my son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.

Numbers 14:24 but because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to and his descendants will inherit it.
Psalm 103:17 but from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children’s children-

Through these scriptures we see God wants to bless us through the obedience of our forefathers. Many of us are receiving blessings from God simply because we were born into a family that served God and obeyed his commands. The other side of the coin is God will curse those who do not serve Him. The following verses will reveal this.

Exodus 20:11 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them ; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generations, of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Deuteronomy 23:2-3 No one born of a forbidden marriage nor any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, even down to the tenth generation. 3 No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, even down to the tenth generation.

Lamentations 5:7-17 our fathers sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment. Slaves rule over us, and there is none to free us from their hands. We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert. Our skin is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger. Women have been ravished in Zion, and virgins in the towns of Judah. Princes have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect. Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood. The elders are gone from the city gate; the young men have stopped their music. Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning. The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us For we have sinned! Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim.

By now it should be clear that God blesses those who obey Him and He brings calamity on those who do not obey Him. A good example you can see in the scriptures of a generational curse affecting a family would be lying. For example, in the family of the patriarchs of the Old Testament you first have Abraham lying about Sarah not being his wife but being his sister. Jacob lied to his father Isaac and stole Esau’s birthright. Jacobs’s sons lied to him about the well- being of Joseph. This is just one example of how a generational curse works. A few more examples of commonly seen generational curses would be infirmities such as cancer, allergies and epilepsy, disorders such as alcoholism, addictions, sexual issues, and broken marriages, and patterns of control, anger, rebellion, and lack of leadership.

To better illustrate generational curses, in your mind imagine the most beautiful waterfall you have ever seen. That waterfall represents all of the blessings being poured into your life as a result of your ancestors obeying God. Now imagine upstream from the waterfall is a water treatment plant and it is spilling all of its toxic waste into the water, and further upstream there is a nuclear power plant dumping its waste into the water as well. This is how generational curses work. All of us get the blessings from our ancestors for obeying God but we also get the curses from our ancestors for not obeying God. Generational curses are real and they do affect people today. If you find yourself reading this and wondering if a particular issue in your life could be related to a generational curse at work in your life, I want you to know there is help available to effectively deal with the issue and clear you from the bondage and control of that curse.

Personal Sin
The second way the devil can gain a foothold in our life is by the sins we commit ourselves. By doing things that are contrary to the Word of God you bring curses on yourself as well as add to the generational sin of your own family line. The sins you commit today will be the ones you add to your generational line that will be passed down to future generations of your family. There are many examples of personal sin that can affect your life; here is a list of the most common things we see at The Jonathan House: sex outside of marriage, Ouija Board, stealing, abortions, anger, cursing , violence/murder, unforgiveness, owning occult objects, and idolatry.

The following story will better illustrate how personal sin can affect a family and then be passed on to the next generation in the form of a generational curse. (All names have been changed to protect the privacy of all individuals). A member of The Jonathan House tells the following story Mike grew up in a “normal” home, dad worked and mom stayed home and took care of the house. One day Mike’s dad left his wife and children, completely abandoning his family. Since Mike’s mom was a stay-at-home mom she had no income to take care of her children or to pay for daily expenses. It was not too long that the state stepped in and placed all of the children in foster care because Mike’s mom was unable to properly provide for her children. She was eventually able to get a job and get all of her children back and provide for them once again. Skipping ahead many years Mike meets his future wife. Not being raised in a Christian home, Mike did not have the Christian values to guide him in his premarital activities. He had premarital sex with his girlfriend Wendy and she became pregnant. Not long after that they were married. The Happy couple ended up having 5 children in all: 4 girls and one boy. Skipping ahead to when the first child Gina was in high school she became pregnant. The sin of her parents of having premarital sex had been passed down to the children and began manifesting itself all over again. Gina had her child and named him Randy. Mike and Wendy basically raised Randy because Gina abandoned her child. Where did the abandonment come from? Remember when Mike’s father left him so many years before? Mike’s fathers’ sin of abandonment was passed down to Mike and then Mike passed it down to his children. Mike’s father’s sin of abandonment was a personal choice. He chose. It not only affected him it was also passed to his grandchildren and now on to his great-grandchildren. The second child born to Mike and Randy has done the same thing. She had premarital sex, has three children by two different men, and she too has abandoned all three of her children. The third child, a son has a child and has no relationship with him as well. The fourth child was pregnant twice in high school; married the father; had a third child, and then she abandoned her family. The last sibling in the family is married to the member of The Jonathan House and has gone through deliverance. She is currently married and has two children and has not followed the same road as her siblings! Why was she was able to deal with the generational sin of her family line and avoid the painful consequences of sin? Due to the ministry she received that addressed the areas of generational curses she has not had to go down the same path as her siblings. The sin of premarital sex and abandonment has now been passed down to the third generation. Randy has three children with three different women and he has a relationship with just one of his children. The choices we make have a direct affect on our lives and the rest of our family.

Sins committed against you.
The devil wants nothing more than to keep you bound in captivity. One of his favorite ways of doing this is having other people wound you very deeply. Sad to say many of those wounds come from people you trust and are close to you, further damaging your trust in people. When talking about sins that others commit against you some examples would be abuse: verbal, physical, sexual; abandonment, and rejection. Let me give you a few examples of people who have had sins committed against them by others and how they were kept in bondage after those sins were committed.

A woman came for ministry and she had an unusual fear of feathers. When asked about the fear of feathers she was unable to tell us why she was so afraid of feathers. This fear was quite crippling. Her husband was a pastor and when her husband and she would go visit people in their home the first question out of her mouth would be, “Does your couch have feathers in it? Do these pillows have feathers in it?” She could not be at ease until she knew there were no feathers around her anywhere. What would cause a grown woman to act in such an unusual way? During her ministry session it was discovered that while attending school she was attacked by a young man. The young man sexually abused her. During the course of the attack he used a pillow to cover her mouth to muffle her screams. The pillow was filled with feathers! During the attack the girl bit into the pillow and got a mouth full of feathers. The sexual attack from this boy was the foothold the devil used to control this lady’s life, using the crippling mechanism of fear. The woman was not terrified of feathers; she was wounded in her spirit from the attack that happened so many years ago. Once the issues were uncovered and properly addressed she no longer had a fear of feathers.

A man came for ministry and he suffered from severe asthma. The doctors had done all they could to control his asthma but there was little relief. When asked when he first started developing symptoms of asthma he replied, “When I was a young boy.” With a little more questioning into his childhood it became apparent from where the roots of the asthma stemmed. As a young boy he helped his father work in the fields. One day the young boy was sitting on top of a tall pile of hay that was loaded on the wagon. His father said, “Jump! I will catch you.” When the young boy jumped his father moved and the boy landed on the concrete below crushing his chest and inflicting internal injuries. His father looked at him and said, “That was your first lesson in life on not being able to trust anyone!” Through one cruel act on the part of his father, this man now in his 50’s had suffered from asthma. Once this man properly dealt with the unforgiveness he had towards his father, and dealt with the improper ideas he had towards people in authority over him, he was able to be healed from his asthma. Today he is asthma free!

There are many stories that could be shared of how one person’s sin towards another has been used to hold that person in bondage and captivity. Once the root cause has been identified and the person is willing to take the necessary steps to deal with the issue, freedom from that entanglement will follow.

Trauma and Accidents

Trauma and Accidents is an interesting area. Examples of trauma and accidents would be Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (commonly seen in war vets), car accidents, people who witness gross crimes (such as a parent being murdered), and near death experiences. To better illustrate how the devil uses such events as trauma and accidents as footholds in our lives let me tell you the following story.

A girl was on a hiking trip with her church group. The hike took place later in the day and at one point the group was hiking in the dark with flashlights. The group leader had taken the group close to a very high cliff and it was unknown to the group that danger was just feet away. This particular woman fell off the cliff. She laid at the bottom of this cliff for ten hours with many injuries, among the injuries a back that was broken in several places. One minute this woman was “normal” having her whole life ahead of her; now she lies at the foot of this cliff in extreme pain. After many surgeries and hours of physical therapy the doctors told her she was as good as she would ever been. But, looking at her, she was not in good shape at all. Due to the fall she was no longer able to work and was put on disability for life. She was in extreme pain all the time and her outlook on life was bleak. What happened to her was an accident but it still had consequences. At a prayer service she attended she went forward for prayer. After sharing her story with the prayer team they asked her if she had ever forgiven the person leading the hike. She said she never had but admitted that she held him responsible for the accident. Once this woman was able to forgive this person, healing was then able to be ministered to her body. Her unforgiveness was hindering her physical recovery. Today she is married with children and working, totally off disability.

One of the main things that takes place in accidents and trauma is unforgiveness. People either refuse to forgive the person who was at fault or they refuse to forgive themselves, holding themselves responsible. Many people when asked to forgive a certain person associated with a particular trauma or accident in their life simply refuse. Many people think that you are excusing them for what they did. When we forgive someone we are not excusing what they did, we are being obedient to God and letting God deal with it. The Lord’s Prayer says if we don’t forgive our brother then God will not forgive us. We have seen many times that forgiving someone is the key that unlocks the prison door for the person held in bondage. Disobedience to the ways of God always leaves you in bondage, and a prisoner to sin. Always. You can’t violate one of God’s laws without paying a price!

I am sure there are some reading who have a few questions. I would like to take a few minutes to answer the most common questions I get in regards to this subject.

  1. Can a Christian have a demon?
  2. Once I got saved are all of these things taken care of?
  3. Can good and evil reside in the same body? The Holy Spirit lives in me.

These are all valid questions that deserve an answer.

I will answer the first two questions together since they are closely related. I think telling stories to illustrate truth is one of the most effective ways to relate to people. Jesus did this all the time during his life and ministry on earth.
Imagine if you will that you are shopping for a house. After much time and viewing many houses you find the perfect house. It is everything you ever wanted. You and the seller agree on the price and on the appointed day you receive the key and you are the owner of this house that is just perfect. During the course of moving in and unpacking you are in the attic and notice something. Termites! You call an exterminator and he comes out to take a look. After his inspection he tells you the bad news. Your whole house is infected with termites. The house looks beautiful on the outside and it is very comfortable on the inside, but the truth is just under the surface your house is literally being eaten away. Now let me ask you a question. Were there termites in the house before you bought it? Yes. Just because the house changed owners did the termites move out? No. Let me explain the story. The two owners of the house are Jesus Christ and the devil. Jesus agreed to pay the asking price for the house. The asking price was his blood that was poured out on Calvary. The first owner was the devil. The second owner is obviously Jesus Christ, and the house is you. Just because you change owners or accept Jesus Christ as your Savior does not mean all of your termites move out! Just like in the story if you want to get rid of the termites in your home it will cost you and there is a lot of hard work that has to take place. You may even have to tear out some of the support structures of the home and replace them. When we come to Christ it is no different. If we want to get rid of our termites it will cost something. Thankfully the price has already been paid. Sometimes we need to replace faulty support structures in our own life as well. Sometimes there is a need for us to forgive people, to admit wrong doing on our part, or just turn certain issues over to the Lord and trust Him and let Him handle it.

In answering question 3 we find that many people have been taught that when they accept Jesus as their Savior that the blood of Calvary covers everything. The blood of Calvary does cover everything but you have to use the blood of Jesus to evict all of the demonic influences that you have allowed into your life. You could have given the devil legal access to your life willingly or unwillingly; it makes no difference to the devil whether you know what you are doing or not. If you open the door he will come in. Getting back to the question of whether good and evil can reside in the same body; let me give you one more example. When Christ came to the earth and was born of a virgin, did he have to stand on the moon and shout to the devil to leave planet earth so he could come? No, Christ came right down into the sin and wickedness and overcame the devil. Jesus went around healing the sick and demon-filled people of his day. He confronted sin and the devil head on. Let me ask you a question, if good and evil cannot reside in the same place how could Satan (in the form of a serpent) tempt Eve in the garden? Satan was obliviously evil and the garden was good. If good and evil cannot reside in the same place, how did the fall of man take place? The truth is good and evil can reside in the same place. Just because you have accepted Jesus as your Savior does not mean all of the footholds of the devil were taken care of. In the book of Matthew and in Luke Jesus says, “I give you power and authority to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead.” We have the power and authority to confront demons and order them to release people from the demonic influences in which they have been held.
In closing I hope this has given you something to think about concerning demonic footholds in your life. If you would like more in-depth teaching on this subject or a variety of others please contact The Jonathan House office.