Symptoms of Demonic Operation

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Symptom 8: Addictive behavior
Addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex, food, gambling and other things opens the door to demonic influence and control. I am not saying demons cause all of these problems; certainly people are responsible for their own wrong choices. But anything that causes one to be out of control opens that person to infernal control.

Symptom 9: Abnormal sexual behavior
When Jezebel’s son inquired about peace, Jehu responded, “What peace, as long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft are so many?” (2 Kings 9:22). In Ezekiel 16:20-51, the spirit of harlotry is mentioned several times. This spirit infected the nation of Israel with the sins of Sodom (vv. 49-50). They even sacrificed their own children (vv. 20-21).

Homosexuality, adultery, fornication and even infanticide are all inspired by the spirit of harlotry. Hosea 4:12 says, “The spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God.” Look at Hosea 5:4: “They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the Lord.”

A nation and a people given over to sexual sins and abominations is governed by this spirit of harlotry. Look at Nahum 3:4: “Because of the multitude of harlotries of the seductive harlot, the mistress of sorceries, who sells nations through her harlotries, and families through her sorceries.”

Nations and families are sold into spiritual bondage by the witchcraft of the spirit of harlotry. When we play around with sexual sin, we open ourselves to this demonic spirit. We must battle this principality that dominates our nation.

Symptom 10: Defeat, failure, and depression in the Christian life 
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:14, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.” Notice this verse is preceded by an exhortation from Paul to forgive others “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (vv. 10-11). It is Satan’s purpose to take advantage of our situations and to rob us of the victorious life that is ours in Christ. The psalmist cried out, “By this I know that You are well pleased with me, because my enemy does not triumph over me” (Ps. 41:11).

This symptom is often manifested by an inability to praise and worship. Psalm 92:1-4 is a testimony to the power of praise. It culminates in verse 4, where David said, “For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands.” Again he said, “Save us, O Lord our God ... to give thanks ... [and] to triumph in Your praise” (Ps. 106:47).

Symptom 11: Occult involvement and behavior
Deuteronomy 18:9-12 catalogs the works of the occult and witchcraft, including child sacrifice; fortune-telling; soothsaying; interpreting omens; sorcery; and the work of those who conjure spells, mediums, spiritists and those who call up the dead. Then verse 15 instructs the people to hear the word of God from the prophet of God and order their lives accordingly. Occult involvement is clearly a symptom of demonic control.

Symptom 12: Speech difficulties
In Matthew 9:32-33, Jesus rebuked a demon, and the mute man was able to speak. Speech difficulties may be physical, emotional, mental and, in some cases, demonic. Extreme language and cursing may be prompted by the enemy.

Symptom 13: Doctrinal error
In 1 Timothy 4:1 we receive a warning that in the last days, deceiving spirits will teach the "doctrines of demons." Today, religious cults and charlatans abound. The reason these deceivers draw many people is the power of the demonic that teaches them.

Symptom 14: Religious legalism
Galatians 3:1 says to the believer who is in danger of going back under the Law, “Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth?” The church at Galatia had forsaken a faith ministry that resulted in the miraculous (v. 5) for a law ministry of rules and regulations. Paul classified this error as witchcraft.

Some deeply religious people are under the bondage of tradition, man-made rules and outward appearances. Demons thrive in this kind of environment, especially demons of control. It is a lot easier to keep a ritual or list of rules than it is to walk by faith. Wherever there is any substitute for faith in the finished work of Christ, it is a doctrine of demons.

Adapted from Demons & Spiritual Warfare by Ron Phillips, D.Min., copyright 2010, published by Charisma House. Since 1979, Phillips has been senior pastor of Central Baptist Church, now Abba’s House, near Chattanooga, Tenn. He hosts a daily online radio program, CenterPoint, and is the author of more than 20 books, including Our Invisible Allies (Charisma House).

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