In John 10:1 Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” The sheepfold is where the sheep are, the believers. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy (v. 10), and he can’t get in by the door. So he tries to get in some other way. He’ll do it by any means made available to him.

Let’s say one night you’re upstairs in your bedroom, and you hear your doorbell ring. You go downstairs and peek through the peephole and see a robber there. I mean, this robber is clearly a robber. He has a stocking cap over his face with eyeholes cut in it and everything.

He’s carrying a sawed-off shotgun, and it’s pointed straight at your door. He’s carrying an empty sack that he clearly wants to fill once he gets inside. He may even be holding a big sign that blatantly states, “Danger! I’m a robber. I’m going to harm you.”

What would you do?

Well, undoubtedly you’d barricade your door. You’d get help. You’d phone the police. You’d run upstairs and get the baseball bat you hide under your bed so you could be prepared for the worst.

What wouldn’t you do? That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?

You wouldn’t open the door just a crack so you could look at the robber more closely. You wouldn’t have a conversation with him so you could learn more of his evil ways. You wouldn’t shake his hand while he stood on your doorstep, and you certainly wouldn’t invite him inside your house so he could sit in your living room for a while and get comfortable.

Guess what? That’s exactly what far too many people do when it comes to the demonic thief outside their doors. Instead of resisting the devil (James 4:7), they crack the door open and inadvertently invite him inside.

Let’s say a Christian drinks too much alcohol and becomes drunk. Then, tragically, she climbs into her car, begins driving, and causes an accident, maybe even a death. Does the alcohol own that woman? No, she’s still a believer. She’s still owned by God. But she was clearly under the influence of that alcohol. The alcohol caused her to do something totally out of character. She harmed people. She harmed herself. When she consumed too much alcohol, she opened the door for evil to influence her.

Or let’s say a man looks at pornography. He’s just opened a door to the enemy, and the enemy will push through the crack to get in. The enemy will not own the man, but he will influence the man. Normally, the man is a good husband and father. But with the enemy influencing him, he may wind up doing something totally out of character that shocks him and everybody around him.

At this point you may be starting to worry, thinking you have a problem with spiritual oppression. If you do, I don’t want you to feel guilt or shame about it. I don’t want you even to feel fear. The good news is that you can be free from the oppression. Satan will try to make you think that only other people can get free but you can’t. He’ll suggest that you’ve sinned too greatly or that you’re a weak person. But all of that’s a lie. Satan does not have the power to stop you from coming to Jesus. You may have given evil a stronghold in a certain area, but Jesus always offers a way to be free.

Yes, demons are real. And yes, they really can influence, control, oppress, and possess people. But here’s the great news: Jesus really does set people free!

In Luke 10:17, Jesus sent seventy of His disciples out in the Galilean countryside to minister to people. The disciples came back excited with this report: “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

Jesus didn’t act surprised. Instead, He offered them this victorious reply: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (vv. 18–19).

Jesus was not encouraging His disciples to go out and flaunt a spiritual ability to step on snakes and other poisonous creatures. He was responding to their report about the demons. Through the ministry of Jesus, demons were made obedient, submissive slaves.

Jesus didn’t end it there. He said, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (v. 20). That’s always the main focus of any spiritual discussion: Jesus offers freedom and life. He is always the One we want to lift up in praise. He’s always the One who gets the glory.

Would you let me pray for you? I’m praying that if you’re feeling unsettled in this area, you would realize freedom is offered to you by Jesus. He always cares for you. He always loves you. His arms are always open wide for you to come home.

Pray this with me:

Lord, You are great. In You there is all power and authority. I need to get free. I’m being oppressed. I’m in bondage, and I want to quit making excuses for it. And I don’t want to be afraid of it. Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, please set me free. Amen.

I remember when I first realized I was in bondage, I was highly concerned. But the more I thought about it, and the more I went through God’s Word, the more hope I had because I realized I could get free.

Here’s a promise from God’s Word: “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36 NLT). That’s great news for us. But it’s a process. And we need to close the doors and windows of our house to evil.

This excerpt from Truly Free by Robert Morris was run with permission from W Publishing Group.