How do demons affect our lives?

Question: “Are demons real?  If so, how do they affect our lives? Can we have deliverance from Demons?”

Bible Answers

As we will see, demons are very real and affect all of our lives to a greater or lesser degree.

A person can be oppressed or possessed by demon(s), but what is the difference?

Oppressed Person

A person under demonic oppression might exhibit abnormal changes in personality, attitudes, mannerisms, and actions but the person retains control over their physical body and mind.

Possessed Person

A person under demonic possession at times will lose full control of their body, will, and consciousness. The demon will communicate with others using a different voice, often shouting profanity and taunts.

What is deliverance  

Deliverance is the act of setting a person free by separating the person from the satanic oppression, by breaking the power of the devil and casting Satan’s demons out of the person.  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him (Acts 10:38).  The goal of deliverance is the expelling of the demons from the individual believer.  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach …  deliverance to the captives (Luke 4:18).  On our own, we have no power against demons, they will laugh at us. Deliverance occurs solely through the power and authority of Jesus Christ. …whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered (Joel 2:32).

Do demons really exist

Some maintain that demons do not exist, but if that is true, then why did God mention Satan, devil, and evil spirits 153 times in the NT.  The gospels of  Jesus clearly demonstrate that Jesus’ earthly ministry consisted of casting Satan’s demons out.  If demons do not exist, why did Jesus give us authority to cast them out?   

What are demons/evil spirits

Demons, also called evil spirits, are fallen angels, as Revelation 12:9 indicates: that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. According to Revelation 12:4, one third of the angels in heaven where hurled down with Satan.  Demons are angels who chose to follow Satan in rebellion against God.

Demons, as spirit beings, can oppress a physical body. During Jesus’ ministry, He encountered many that were demon oppressed.  Many who were demon oppressed were brought to him, and he cast out the spirits with a word (Matthew 8:16).

Do demonic attacks provide any advantages?  One possible advantage may be as a reminder of our need to walk closer in obedience with Jesus.

Can Christians be oppressed

Peter, speaking specifically to Christians said, be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Notice that Peter admonishes us to always be on guard, to be sober and vigilant.  Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons (1 Timothy 4:1).  Those who do not remain on guard may permit Satan to steal their salvation through his deceptions.  

Some Christians can be in bondage, to things such as pornography, lust, adultery, and lying.  They have both sin, the desire for sin, and they have the Holy Spirit living within them. Obviously, the Holy Spirit can remain in Christians who are committing sin.

Some claim that an evil spirit could not possibly be in each of us while the Holy Spirit was present, but if that was true, then Satan would not be able to be in God’s presence, but Satan visited God in heaven to accuse Job (Job 1:6-12).

The spirit of man belongs to God and is incorruptible (1 Peter 3:4), and is united with the Holy Spirit, but a person’s soul can still be affected by evil and needs to be renewed by the renewing of our mind (soul). Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).  It is the mind (soul) of a man and his body that demons attack and can oppress.

Derek Price, a well-known pastor and author in the deliverance ministry, as well as many other deliverance ministers, have delivered many thousands of  born-again Christians from demonic oppression. While a Christian belongs to Christ, there are areas of their life that have not yet come under the control of the Holy Spirit. These areas can come under demonic control. There are many good church attending Christian who do not know it, but have been invaded by a demon and have areas in their lives in which they do not have full control.

What does an oppressed person look like

Normally a demon does not control the entire person, but only an area of the person, such as a spirit of lust, a spirit of infirmity, a spirit of anger, a deaf spirit, a blind spirit, a spirit of epilepsy, but otherwise the person functions normally.    

The demon may go long periods of time without manifesting, but when it does manifest, anger for example, the person may become extremely angry for no apparent reason, even when they do not want to become angry.  Except during a manifestation of the demon, the person may appear perfectly normal.

Signs of oppression

While everyone is subject to external attacks by Satan’s darts, only a small percentage is actually internally oppressed by demons requiring deliverance.  Typically, the condition of the attack is more severe with those who are oppressed with multiple demons. The signs of internal oppression are not constant and may not always be noted. Some signs are, irrational fears, dominating mental health problems, some physical health problems, mental torment, extra human strength, cursing beyond typical anger, facial contortion, severe depression, compulsive talkativeness, feeling of suicide, unexplainable headaches, nightmares, distorted voices, obsessive/compulsive behavior, enslaving habits, (e.g. gluttony, alcohol, nicotine, drugs, sexual immorality, perversion of all kinds, being uncontrollable, unclean thoughts or looks, blasphemy, mockery, unclean language), seizure, abnormal behavior, cutting self, and sudden repulsion of being in church or reading the Bible.  

While one of the foregoing symptoms alone would not necessarily be conclusive indication of demon presence, when several symptoms are found, the likelihood of demon oppression is higher.

We have no reason to fear demonic spirits as they have no power beyond what we let them have.

What do demons do

While we are not able to see demons, we are able to see the results of their actions.  Demons entice us, harass us, cause us mental torture by encouraging us to refuse to forgive, to be bitter, or to be fearful.  Demons compel us to do things we do not want to do, they may enslave us with sex sins, and they may cause us to be addicted. Some addictions include pornography, television, the Internet, drugs, cigarettes, and for some, may include coffee or soda. Demons defile us with unwanted thoughts, imaginations, and speech.  Demons deceive us to believe that God and His Word are not true or dependable, and they attack our physical body.

Is oppression natural or demonic

God has given us tools to fight our own carnal nature and demonic oppression.  If we are not sure, we should first pray for healing by the prayer of faith.  If no improvement is noted or the problem becomes worse, consider deliverance, but first ask the Lord if the problem is demonic. There are other reasons listed below that can prevent healing. Another indication is feeling compelled to do destructive acts, and especially strong negative reaction to the idea of deliverance.  Normal prayer will not help when a person is afflicted by a demon and deliverance will not help when the problem is the person’s carnal nature or a physical problem.

Most people will not believe they have a demon until it is pointed out by someone experienced in deliverance or by the Holy Spirit.

When we receive healing from a prayer of faith, a lying spirit may come along to convince us that we still have the sickness, to steal our faith in God.  We need to put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:11) so that we may be able to stand against the enemy.

Is oppression internal or external

Virtually everyone is oppressed from time to time by a demon or demons.  Oppression can be either external to a person’s body or internal.  For most, the oppression is external with the devil shooting his fiery darts of thoughts and ideas at them. Darts designed to deceive and lead us into temptation.

Determining if the person is oppressed

As always, the most authorized answer comes from the Holy Spirit. Rely on God to help provide verification.

After praying for a person, ask them if they feel any better. If yes, then healing has started, if worse, it is likely a demonic problem.  In following Jesus’ example, if you pray for a person, you should also be prepared to cast out demons from them.

Our authority

Authority and power to cast out demons are in the name of Jesus. The greatest power in the universe is in the name of Jesus.  Commands given in the name of Jesus Christ must be obeyed.

Jesus has given us, His children, the same authority He had to operate in the Father’s power.

Behold, I give unto you authority to tread … over ALL the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19). Authority is delegated power.  

Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick (Luke 9:1, 2).

And he said unto them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; … they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mark 16:15, 17, 18).

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered (Joel 2:32).

Limitation to our authority

It appears that our authority over demons is limited to ourselves, our family, our possessions, and to whomsoever comes willingly under our authority, and to some degree, over areas we are present in.  It can be dangerous to challenge demons beyond the limits of our authority. While we do not have authority to cast demons out of others without their permission, we do have the authority to bind them. For example, you come upon two men fighting; you cannot cast the spirit of anger out of them, but you can bind the spirit of anger.  You can command the spirit to quit manifesting and to be quiet. Beyond our limits, we must come to the throne of God in intercessory prayer.  

And we have absolutely no authority to cast a demon out of a person who wants the demon.

Do we need to first bind demons

Is it necessary to bind evil spirits before commanding them to come out, so they will not enter anyone else? There is not one instance in scripture where Jesus, the disciples, or the early church first bound a demon.  Nor is there any mention of an evil spirit that was cast out of one person entering another.   However, some believe that binding the demon and commanding him not to manifest, will lessen the results on the recipient as the demon exits.

Do we need to first fast before deliverance

Is it necessary to fast before deliverance?  There is only one reference about fasting for deliverance, and that is Matthew 17:21, where Jesus told them that in very difficult cases, prayer and fasting is needed to help remove any doubt.

Deliverance is a commandment

Casting out demons was not an optional suggestion but a command.  In Matt 10:8, Jesus gives instruction to Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. After Jesus arose, he gave instruction that related to the entire world.  In My name, they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues (Mark 16:17).

Satan’s purpose

Satan has only one purpose in life; The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10), and demons are about their master’s business, doing the same.  Do not believe that if you leave demons alone, then demons will leave you alone.  Why, because as a Christian, you are their primary target and being a Christian in its self does not protect you.  However, walking with Jesus permits you to pray for protection and to send demons packing.     

Satan’s kingdom structure

Satan’s kingdom is structured like any army.  Satan is the supreme commander with generals, lieutenants, sergeants, and privates. There may be many more levels in the chain of command; how many, we do not know. Satan can only be at one place at a time and is normally at his headquarters.  It is very unlikely that you have ever been visited by Satan.  It is his kingdom of demons that are actually attacking us. There may be multiple demons in a person. One reason for multiple demons is that each demon has a specialty or at most a few specialties such as confusion, fear, or cancer. A “prince demon” in a person is the head demon over multiple demons and forms a kingdom. The number of demons does not matter as they must all obey in the name of Jesus.

Demons legal right to oppress

Legal consent comes through sin; either our sin or sin of our ancestors.  The sins of our ancestors are passed down for 3 or 4 generations (Exodus 20:5).  Generational sin is the commonest entrance or doorway for demon spirits. Extreme trauma can also be an open doorway.  If we react with fear (and often later unforgiveness) the sin of fear becomes an open doorway.  Refusing to repent of unconfessed sin can provides an open doorway and give demons legal right to enter both believers and unbelievers.

Once consent is granted through unconfessed sin, the demons have a legal right to take up residence in a believer and to build a kingdom to destroy them.  As often happens, demons do not find the open door and are then limited to external attacks.

Unfortunately, deliverance cannot take place against a person’s will.  For a person to be delivered, they have to want to be free. They have to first forgive all those who have hurt them and confess all their sins including the sin of unforgiveness, and generational sins.  If a person does not forgive all and repent of all sins, then the demons maintain their legal right to remain.

We are entered through a doorway

Christ enters through an open doorway.  I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in (Revelation 3:20).  Demons also enter through an open doorway.  Doorways are opened for demons primarily by either our sins or the sins of past generations that are passed down to us.  

Evil spirits may gain entrance through many doors, such as deliberate and repeated indulgence of a fleshly desire. Or an unexpected tragedy or grief may make one vulnerable. Any robust or continuous strain or shock which causes a break in a person’s normal defenses offers evil spirits an opportunity to enter.

A believer whose door is closed and is not internally oppressed can still be externally affected by demonic attacks against their lives and their thinking.  This requires believers to always be on guard against any attacks of the enemy.

How is a door opened

What opens a door: any unconfessed sin, unbelief, unforgiveness, hatred, anger, bitterness, resentment, pornography, criminal activity, lying, sexual impurity, dishonesty, dishonoring the body (alcohol, drugs, piercing, etc.), sometime curses by others, curses by ourselves, lust, anything dealing with occult such as astrology, Ouija boards and satanic movies, and Satanic pledging of ourselves to non-Christen organizations such as the Freemasonry and Masons, early childhood trauma, generational sin, ancestral sin, fear, doubt, unbelief, pride, and blasphemy.  In other words, any area of your life, which is not submitted to God, can be an open door for demons.  Disobedience is when we believe the devil’s lies rather than believing the truth of God’s Word.  Things of the world are things of Satan’s world. A demon does not enter every time a door is left open; they have to first find the open door. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

How is a door closed

An open door is closed by the confessing and repenting of the sin that opened it, be it our sin or sin of one of our ancestors.  While repentance and confession of sin cancel the penalty of sin and cancels the permission for the demon spirit to be there, they normally do not leave until commanded to leave.  The Holy Spirit does not keep demons spirits out or close doors.  We keep the door closed by following the leadership of the Holy Spirit and we resist the devil in the authority of Jesus.

Keeping the door closed

It is your obedience to the Lord’s Word and the Holy Spirit that increases your resistance to the satanic kingdom.  It is our love, humility, and faith in God that opens the door of our soul to the power of God and closes it to the enemy. Healing of Satan’s damage takes place by resting in the Lord.  The following offers a few ideas to retain our freedom from Satan’s kingdom.  

Generational Curse

Virtually anyone can have a generational curse or sin from a former generation passed onto them (Exodus 20:5). While seldom heard about, this is one of the most common entrance points encountered by those in deliverance ministry.  Effects of generational curses include mental and emotional problems, female barrenness, plans failing, perpetual poverty, spiritual hindrance, life crisis after crisis, breakdown of family relationships, divorce, sickness and diseases.

Deliverance for unbelievers

Two problems occur with attempting deliverance for unbelievers. First, if the unbeliever does not repent and turn to Jesus, then their sins continue to exist and as such the demon’s permission to stay continues.  Second, even if one did deliver the person from demons, the none-Christian’s door would remain open and demons could quickly return (Luke 11:24-26).

Demons are liars

Demons follow their master, Satan who is the father of lies. However, when demons are commanded to tell the truth before the throne of Jehovah God, they speak the truth in His presence. They hate the Word of God because it is truth.

Praying in the spirit

While demons can listen into our verbal prayers, they are not able to understand what we are saying when we are praying in the spirit (Eph. 6).

Regarding deliverance, Jesus said, And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons (Mark 16:17).

Continue onto the next section below to learn how demons are cast out in the name of Jesus.

Next Section - How is deliverance used to cast out      


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