|SPIRITUAL WARFARE: Characteristic Activities of Demons
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Sep 12 2008 0800 A
Evil spirits or demons are, according to my (Derek Prince's) understanding, the lower echelon of the "spiritual hosts of
wickedness" (Ephesians 6:12) that Satan directs against humanity. They have three main purposes assigned to them
by Satan: first, to torment and afflict us; second, to keep us from knowing Christ as Savior; and failing that, third, to keep
us from serving Christ effectively.
In accomplishing these purposes, demons are normally invisible. They cannot be perceived by human eyes. We can,
however, recognize their presence and activity in the same way that we recognize the presence of the wind. Actually,
this is an appropriate comparison because in both Hebrew and Greek, the word for spirit is also the word for wind. We
never actually see the wind, but we see the effects the wind produces: dust rising in the streets, clouds sailing across
the sky, trees all bending in one direction, rain being driven across our field of vision. All these "signposts" reveal the
presence and activity of the wind.
So it is with demons. We do not normally see them, but we recognize their presence by certain characteristic actions.
Listed below are some of the most typical of their activities:
1. Demons Entice
Demons persuade people to do evil. Every one of us has experienced this at some time. Enticement often comes
verbally. You pick up a wallet dropped on the street and you see cash inside. Then something whispers to you, Take
it! Nobody will ever know. Other people would do the same. If it were your money, they'd take it.
Anything that has a voice is a person, and that voice belongs to a demon that is enticing you. If you yield, Satan will
have begun to break down your defenses. You will no longer have a clear conscience. You will know you are guilty.
That prepares the way for Satan's next assault.
2. Demons Harass
Demons study you, follow your movements, observe your weak moments, detect your weak places. Then they engineer
situations that will open the way for them to slip in.
Take, for example, a businessman who has had a terrible day at the office. Everything has gone wrong. He tripped on
the staircase, his secretary spilled coffee on him, the air conditioning failed, an irate customer came in threatening to
sue. Then, on the way home, he spent an hour sitting in his car in a traffic jam. When he finally reaches home, supper
is not ready and the children are running around screaming. This is when he loses control and starts to shout at his
He is a kind, gentle man, and his wife and children are shocked. They forgive him quickly when he apologizes. His
outburst could simply have been a loss of self-control. But the demon of anger was watching, and now it waits for a
similar opportunity. When the man loses control again, the demon seizes that unguarded moment and slips in.
Soon his wife notices a change in him. His love for his family has not changed, but there are times when something else
takes over. His eyes reveal a strange glint. When the demon of anger gains control, he abuses his family, actually
hurting those he loves the most. Afterward he is ashamed and remorseful. He says, "I don't know what made me do it."
This is just one of many examples of how demons will harass a person until they can find a place or moment of
weakness through which they can gain entrance.
3. Demons Torture
Jesus related the parable of a servant whose master forgave him a debt of several million dollars, but who then refused
to forgive a fellow servant a debt of just a few dollars. The parable concludes with a judgment on that unforgiving
servant: "And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him"
(Matthew 18:34). In the next verse Jesus applied this parable to all Christians: "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do
also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
The torturers, I (Derek Prince) believe, are demons. I have encountered hundreds of Christians who are in the hands
of the torturers for one simple reason: unforgiveness. They have claimed forgiveness from God for the incalculable
debt of all their sins, yet they refuse to forgive another person for some offense, real or imagined.
After Jesus taught his followers the model prayer we have come to call the Lord's Prayer, He added only one comment:
"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
There are various forms of torture to which we may be subjected. There is, for instance, physical torture. One example
is arthritis: twisting, torturing, crippling, binding. I (Derek Prince) am not suggesting that all arthritis has a demonic
cause. Yet it is remarkable how often arthritis is actually associated with an inner attitude of resentment, unforgiveness,
Then there is mental torment. One common form is the fear of going insane. You would be surprised at the number of
Christians tortured by this fear. Frequently they are ashamed to confess it to anyone.
Like the enticement to do evil, this demonic attack may also take a verbal form: Your Aunt Lois just entered a mental
institution and your neighbor had a nervous breakdown. And you'll be next! Usually this fear is the work of accusing
demons that continually bombard the person's mind.
Another form of spiritual torture is an inner accusation that says, You've committed the unforgivable sin. When a person
tells me he is being assailed by this thought, I (Derek Prince) always answer, "That's nothing but an accusation of a
lying spirit. If you really had committed the unforgivable sin, you would be so hardened that you wouldn't care. The fact
that you are concerned about it proves that you have not committed it."
4. Demons Compel
No word is more characteristic of demon activity than the word compulsive. Behind most compulsions is a demon - for
example, compulsive smoking and compulsive consumption of alcohol or drugs. It is well established that these
activities produce a chemical reaction in the brain. This opens up a place of weakness in a very sensitive area through
which demons can easily enter.
Compulsive eating can also be demonic. But gluttony is "respectable." You may not find many alcoholics in the
contemporary Church, but you will find many gluttons! Compulsive eating usually starts with the loss of self-control.
Then one day gluttony slips in. Christians are often unwilling to acknowledge that they are compulsive eaters. But
acknowledging the sin is the essential first step to deliverance.
There are many other forms of compulsion. One is garrulousness - compulsive talking. There are many warnings
against this is Scripture. For instance: "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is
wise."(Proverbs 10:19). Excessive talking will always end in some form of sin. Again, the apostle James said that if
anyone "...bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." (James 1:26). If you have not
kept your tongue under control, you may have opened the way for a demon. Two demons that might seize such an
opportunity are gossip and criticism. Both are at home in religious circles!
We all need to stop and check on ourselves: Are there things I do simply out of compulsion? We may have become so
accustomed to our habits that we are hardly aware of them - yet they may be demonic.
5. Demons Enslave
Let us take an example from an area that few in church talk about: sex. Suppose you have committed sexual sin. You
repent and meet God's conditions for forgiveness. You know you are not only forgiven but justified - "just-as-if" you
have never sinned (see Romans 8:30). But you still have an intense desire to commit the same sin, even though you
hate it. You are sure you have been forgiven, but you are not free. You are enslaved.
One very common example is masturbation. Some psychologists say masturbation is normal and healthy. It is not
worthwhile to argue about that. I simply know there are thousands of people, both men and women, who masturbate
and then hate themselves for doing it. Each time they say, "Never again!" but it happens again. They are enslaved.
How grateful I am to the Lord that I (Derek Prince) have learned the answer! Now I tell people in my teaching, "You can
be set free from masturbation. Just be determined. Come against it in the name of Jesus. Shake it out of your fingers
until you can feel they're free." Over the years I (Derek Prince) have seen hundreds of people delivered in this way
from the tormenting demon of masturbation.
Marriage does not necessarily resolve the problem of masturbation. If either partner still has a demon of masturbation,
the demon will seek to obtain for itself the physical satisfaction that should be enjoyed by the other partner. This is one
reason the sexual relationship in some marriages does not provide the physical satisfaction that each partner should
When we combine compel and enslave, we arrive at a particular form of enslavement.
6. Demons Cause Addictions
I (Derek Prince) have discovered that an addition is often like a branch growing out of another, larger branch. To help
people, we may have to go beneath the addiction and discover the larger branch out of which it grows. Two common
examples are continuing personal frustration and a deep emotional need that is not being fulfilled.
Let us take, as an example, two married women, one an Episcopalian and the other from the Church of God. Each is
aware that her husband runs after other women, spends money on himself that she needs for housekeeping, and
shows little interest in his family. Each is reaching out desperately for some source of comfort.
The Episcopalian walks across her living room to the cocktail cabinet and becomes an alcoholic. The woman from the
Church of God, who would never go near an alcoholic beverage, goes to the refrigerator and eats everything in sight.
She becomes a foodaholic - a glutton.
In either case, deliverance from the addiction, whether alcohol or food, will probably not be complete unless the branch
that supports the addiction - each woman's frustration with her husband - is dealt with. The best solution would be for
the husband to repent and change. But even if he does not, the wife cannot expect to be set free unless she forgives
him and lays down all her bitterness or resentment against him.
In the U.S. today more than fifty percent of all households are singles. As a result, the deep emotional need for loving
companionship may be left unsatisfied. If a person feels betrayed and cut off by a parent, spouse, or friend he or she
may turn instead to a dog or cat or some other pet (Animals are often more loyal than humans - and also less
demanding!). This longing for companionship may result in a strange kind of addiction.
In other cases we may not become addicted ourselves, but we may be the cause of addiction in another. Busy parents
may discover to their dismay that a teenage child has become addicted to one of the many drugs that are so easily
available. Too late they discover that their son or daughter has turned to drugs as a substitute for the love and
companionship they were too busy to provide.
Almost anything that is both compulsive and enslaving is an addiction, and there is no limit to the forms that addictions
may take. In I Corinthians 6:12 Paul said, "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are
lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."
This provides us with a scriptural definition of addition: A person is addicted when he or she has been brought under
the power of anything that is not helpful. I (Derek Prince) believe that addictions, so defined, are almost always demonic.
In attempting to solve their problems, people sometimes trade one addiction for another. It often happens, for instance,
that a person gives up smoking and immediately puts on excessive weight. He or she has traded nicotine for gluttony.
Pornography is a tragic example of an addiction. The man enslaved by pornography finds himself compelled to tune in
to those TV channels that satisfy the demon within. He cannot walk past a magazine or video display in a store; it draws
him like a magnet.
Television is a largely unrecognized addiction. Some people cannot walk into a room without switching on the TV. It is
not a reasoned action. These people may have no idea what they want to watch. They reach for the television set
without thinking, just as an alcoholic reaches for a drink. In the long run, the social results of television addiction may
be even more disastrous than those of alcoholism.
More recently the World Wide Web is spawning addictions. People have been classified as "addicts" because of social
withdrawal and loss of control. Psychologist have discovered that addicts include such varied groups as housewives,
construction workers, and secretaries. Side effects range from plummeting job performance to broken marriages.
Some forms of addiction have no recognized name, for example someone I (Derek Prince) once dealt with who had a
compulsive desire to sniff nail polish.
Another, more familiar addiction is sniffing airplane glue or a similar product. This is amazingly common among young
people, and often not recognized by parents.
Some addictions are more powerful or dangerous than others, but none is beneficial. Two socially acceptable
beverages that can become addictive are coffee and soft drinks, especially caffeinated drinks like colas. According to
statistics, the average American consumes 50 gallons of soft drinks in a year. Sometimes a person who stops drinking
coffee or cola goes through withdrawal symptoms similar to those of a person going off hard drugs.
A decisive factor in the marketing of a commodity is the fact that it can become addictive. Once a person has become
addicted, the producer is guaranteed a customer for life. Some tobacco companies in the U.S. acknowledged recently
that they deliberately altered the nicotine content of their cigarettes in order to ensure addiction.
7. Demons Defile
That demons defile is not surprising since the Bible calls them "unclean spirits." One main area that demons defile is
our mental lives - our thoughts and imaginations. This can take the form of impure, lustful images or fantasies that
project themselves unbidden into our minds. This may happen especially when we are trying to focus on the things of
God, either in worship or in Bible reading. Any strong, lustful impulse that rises up in our minds at such moments is
almost certainly demonic. Demons oppose our communion with God.
Another area of personality regularly defiled by demons is that of speech. Many men (and women, and even some
children ) cannot speak three sentences without using obscene or blasphemous language. For five and a half years in
the British Army during World War II, I (Derek Prince) was surrounded by such men. In fact, until the Lord saved me, I
was one of them.
That was another element in the powerful, supernatural deliverance I received when I was saved. One day I could not
speak without blaspheming and cursing. The next day that language no longer came out of my mouth. This is not the
result of an effort of my will. It was just gone! Only later did I realize that God had released me supernaturally from
defiling demons. The demons of blasphemy and unclean speech had to go, in the same way that the demon of yoga
8. Demons Deceive
It is believed by many that demons are behind almost every form of spiritual deception. In I Timothy 4:1 Paul says, "Now
the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits,
and doctrines of devils;".
People cannot depart from the faith who have never been in it. These are Christians who have been enticed out of
sound, biblical faith into some form of doctrinal error. Spiritual deception, I believe, is the greatest single danger that
threatens Christians in these latter times. And behind each form of deception is a corresponding demon. Any doctrine
that detracts from the holiness of God, or that attacks the person, nature, and work of Christ, or that undermines the
authority of Scripture, is demonic.
Already in the first century Jude found it necessary to exhort the Christians of his day "...it was needful for me to write
unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
(Jude 1:3). The need for such earnest contention has increased exponentially since the time of Jude.
Demonic deception, however, goes beyond distortions or aberrations of the Christian faith. It includes all religions,
cults, or philosophies that set aside any of the great central truths of the Bible, especially anything that concerns Jesus
Christ. We need to remember that demons are always trying to conceal or distort who Jesus is.
Another way demonic deception manifests itself is by causing Christians to mimic the behavior of animals. I call such
demons "animal spirits." Manifestations of these animal spirits are more likely to occur in churches in underdeveloped
countries, but occur in churches in more "civilized" nations, too, and are attributed to the Holy Spirit.
9. Demons Attack the Physical Body
Demons may affect us physically, for instance, a demon of tiredness. Another physical effect that demons can produce
is unnatural sleepiness. Isaiah speaks about "the spirit of deep sleep" (Isaiah 29:10). Sometimes, when a Christian
wants to pray or read his Bible at ten P.M., he is fast asleep by 10:15. Yet the same person can stay up watching TV
until the early hours of the morning. Many Christians have testified to being affected by a supernatural force that
opposes them when they seek to read the Bible or pray. Unnatural sleep can also be a means of escaping unpleasant
If we go beyond specific symptoms of demonic activity, such as those listed, we can discern one general characteristic
of most people who are demonized: restlessness. A person who can maintain an attitude of serene composure in all the
troubled circumstances of life is probably demon-free. But there are not many such people.
They Shall Expel Demons, by Derek Prince, Copyright 1998, Chosen Books.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES