“9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” – Ephesians 5:9-11
The answer to the question is an unequivocal NO!
There is not one scripture in the Bible that reads that smudging cleanses (such as getting rid of negative “energy“) or gets rid of demons. When Jesus walked on the earth 2,000 years ago, He expelled demons by His word (Matt 8:16; Matt. 17:18; Mark 1:25). He didn’t go around with sage sticks and a bowl to rid people of evil spirits. To cleanse a home of evil spirits, Christians call on the name and authority of Jesus Christ (Luke 10:19).
There have been several people who contacted me with demonic issues in their homes and have thought about or resorted to the use of (smudging) burning sage as a remedy. Some of them are self-proclaim Christians. It’s shocking to me that anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the Bible would even think about using smudging. The fact that it is mostly New Agers and occultists who endorse smudging should alone raise red flags.
Smudging is associated with the pagan world
One pagan source reads:
Smudging is the common name given to the indigenous American tradition known as the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing. This is a powerful spiritual cleansing technique which calls upon the spirits of various sacred plants to drive away negative energy and to restore balance to an individual, a group, a space, or all three.……Smudging is a way of connecting the material plane to the realm of the spirits.
The New Age, which is pervasive in the West, is a medley of many belief systems and practices, and there are some aspects that take from Native American traditions such as the vision quest and smudging.
If you’re feeling stuck, negative, sluggish, or even downright depressed, it may be due to some stagnant energy in your field. Your field can include your emotional, energetic, mental, spiritual or physical body, and your environment—whether it’s your home, office, or other physical space……Smudging can help combat this negativity, clear the energy in your field, and help you start anew.
Note Chopra’s reference to “your field.” What he is referencing is a supposed energy field, a field supposedly surrounds the body. The “spiritual” and “energetic” bodies are also New Age beliefs. What is it? It is an alleged subtle body, an unseen body existing alongside and inside the physical body. It is all part of New Age views of health and the body. It is not based on medical science, which is one reason why people should stay far away from New Age doctors/healers and New Age healing. Moreover, getting involved with such people can possibly open a person to demonization.
The concept that there is negative energy affecting us that can be cleansed or cleared away is part of the pagan view on this mystical energy, a central New Age principle. Diagnosing health and emotional problems is usually done by tuning in to or feeling a person’s “energy,” and treating such problems is through affecting the “energy” or “energy field” of the subtle body with various New Age methods. Of course, there is no scientific basis for such beliefs.
But isn’t incense used in the Bible?
Well, yes. Incense is used in the Bible. Smoke is symbolic in many beliefs or faiths, not just in the Bible. When God gave instructions on the activities with the temple, incense was included:
“And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.” – Exodus 30:8
It may be possible incense was used to cover up odors of killed animals offered as a sacrifice, but its primary use was that it was symbolic of the sacrifice pleasing to the Lord. In Genesis 8:21, Noah is the first person mentioned in the Bible to offer up burnt offerings (clean animals and birds after leaving the Ark) to God. It was described as a “pleasing” aroma to God. The concept is that the sacrifice Noah made was a propitiation, or satisfaction, of God’s righteous requirement. It was a foreshadow of the most important and ultimate sacrifice. This idea is realized in the New Testament regarding Jesus who gave up His life on the cross:
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” – Ephesians 5:2
Just like Noah’s sacrifice to God, Jesus’ death on the cross was a fragrant aroma, which could be analogous to the aroma of incense. Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ symbolically become a fragrance, an aroma, of either life or death:
“14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”– 2 Corinthians 2:14-16a
The Good News of Jesus, that He died for the sins for many on the cross and was resurrected, is fragrant to those drawn to Him but is repellent to those rejecting Him. This is echoed in 1 Corinthians 1:18 where it states that the message of the cross is “foolishness” to those who are perishing (rejecting Christ); but to those who are believing, it is “the power of God.”
Also, incense symbolic of prayer in the Bible:
“And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” – Revelation 5:8
“3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” – Revelation 8:3,4 (read also Psalm 141:2)
So in the Bible, incense literally used with sacrifices in the Temple of God, but it also represents the sacrifice of Jesus and prayers of those who have believed in Jesus.
Who or what can really cleanse us?
Only the Lord Jesus Christ and His precious blood can cleanse us. He can cleanse us of something that absolutely needs to be cleansed and that is our sins.
“9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
“7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:7
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” – Hebrews 9:14
“5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,” – Revelation 1:5
In contrast to mystical energies or vibrations that allegedly get affected from the scent of sage (or its rituals surrounding it), there is a more truthful message about incense and aroma: the historical Person of the Lord and God Jesus who allowed Himself to be sacrificed on the cross to pay the penalty for sins the many. This was the most fragrant and pleasing aroma, a true aroma of love that offers a true cleansing to those who believe in Him.
So should any born-again Christian be involved with smudging when the true cleansing is the aroma of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross? Absolutely not. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
One shouldn’t use physical objects or means to fight what is fundamentally a spiritual battle. To put faith in such things and to rely on it can be tantamount to a form of idolatry. There is only one authority in or under heaven that can crush spiritual darkness, and that is Jesus Christ! And we must be a believer in Him, and we must follow Him.
The Bible is our only true source of information regarding spiritual warfare and all other things that pertain to this life.
The use of incense in the New Age is completely different from what it used in the Bible since it allegedly has properties that can clear or banish ghosts, “negative” energies (or evil spirits), and/or bring “balance.” There is no Biblical basis to attribute supernatural powers to incense and/or to the rituals involved using it. I believe these unseen “energies” are likely to be demons. I have distinctly felt the presence of demons many times and so I know its presence sometimes can be described as some form of “negative energy.” When researching this topic I noticed many people who practice smudging are involved in other New Age practices which probably opened the doors to the evil spirits in the first place. But sadly some will use pagan methods to try to get rid of the demons. I have read many testimonies that their attacks from the enemy got worse when they resorted to smudging as a remedy.
Now, there is no issue with burning sage simply to beautify the fragrance of one’s home, or to get rid of a funky odor, which is a physical and practical use. However, to burn it believing it has power to actually effect some kind of change beyond fragrance is to crossover into an occult worldview of New Age “energies.”
You may want to read this testimony on how smudging doesn’t work.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you can receive Him into your heart and He can deliver you from darkness and sin and have your name written in His Book of Life.
If you are sincere you can say this simple prayer to the Father (it doesn’t have to be word for word):
“God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. Please forgive me of all of my sins just as I forgive others. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross, I believe in my heart Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I repent of my sins and turn to you. I ask this in the Lord and GOD Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.”