Are Demons Real Today?
I walked onto the front porch of the house I was visiting, not knowing what I was walking into, but I was aware that it wasn’t good. The man who owned the home had called me and said his wife was there and threatening suicide. He was out of state. I went to open the screen door and a bird swooped in over my head and flew away as quickly as it had darted in. The hair on my neck stood up. I knew this wasn’t a normal visit.
When I entered the home, it was quiet. I called the name of the lady, making her aware of my presence. “C—, it’s me, Pastor Erik. Where are you? Are you okay?” I continued walking around the house, my pace cautious and calculated. There were no sounds of activity in the house. I made my way upstairs to the bonus room, continuing to call out the name of the lady. As I crested the top of the stairs, I saw her. She was sitting on a chair in the bonus room, bent over with her chest near her thighs, her breathing was labored as I watched her back rise and fall. In one of her hands, she held a butcher knife.
“C—, are you okay? What are you doing? I’m here to talk with you.” I spoke calmly with her despite my heart beating out of my chest. She looked up slowly at me. Her eyes were beady and dark. Her voice was accusatory and labored, “You don’t want to talk with me. You’re just coming to tell me what’s wrong with me. You just think I’m a…” She proceeded to yell profanities.
I worked hard to speak softly. For ten minutes or more she raged and accused me and her husband of hating her. This was the first time in my life that I knew I was dealing with a demonic presence. There had been other times when I sensed darkness or the reality of spiritual warfare, but in this moment, I knew I was dealing directly with a demon. I crept slowly toward her, little-by-little so as not to make it too obvious. As she ranted, with knife in hand, I waited for a moment where her eyes were diverted long enough for me to disarm her. My moment finally came. I surged toward her with my eyes focused on the hand wielding the knife. I grabbed her wrist with my hands and pinned it to the ground. She let go of the knife and I secured it. I immediately called the authorities to come as she screamed at me with indignation and hatred pouring from her mouth and with her face contorted. I prayed throughout the ordeal for Jesus’ protection and said aloud in her presence “Jesus is here.” “Turn to Jesus.” “Trust Jesus.”
I’ll never forget that day. But the part that will stick with me forever is the husband’s response to the entire ordeal. He was thankful for my intervention, but he dismissed any possibility of spiritual warfare, particularly demonic oppression. He settled for the various psycho-babble diagnoses commonly handed out today. They medicated her with heavy-duty drugs that never helped her. She spent time in a psych ward receiving intensive therapy and counseling, but never improved.
Why didn’t this woman improve with meds, therapy, and counseling? Because her problem was spiritual. The root problem was demonic. Paul warns us that we are not dealing with just flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:11-12). There are real spiritual beings, called demons, that work to destroy the lives of people. The four Gospels of the New Testament are replete with evidence of regular demonic activity in people’s lives. Jesus encountered them at every turn. Nowhere in Scripture are we led to believe that the activity we see in the Gospels is simply a by-product of Jesus’ presence. In fact, the assumption is that spiritual warfare happens everywhere around us each day. Satan and his demons are as real today as they were in first-century Israel.
Biblical Christians cannot deny the reality of spiritual warfare. We must remember that we are in a world charged with spiritual power. Wicked spirits operate all around us and are hell-bent (literally) on bringing destruction to people’s lives. Christians should not live in fear of them. Nor should we underestimate them. Many people live in bondage and slavery to demonic power and need the freedom only Christ can give. He alone can set captives free. Flee from sin and do not give your spiritual enemies an open door or ground to wreak havoc in your life. We must avoid the ditch of labeling everything as a demonic attack, while resisting the tendency to assign everything an earthly explanation. Satan and his demons want us to fall into one ditch or the other. But we will not let him outwit us; for we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11).
"Biblical Christians cannot deny the reality of spiritual warfare. We must remember that we are in a world charged with spiritual power."
Erik is the Pastor of The Journey Church in Lebanon. He also founded Knowing Jesus Ministries, an organization which exists to proclaim timeless truth for everyday life. He is married to Katrina, and has three children: Kaleb (who went to be with the Lord), Kaleigh Grace, and Kyra Piper.
- Abiding: Moving From Simple Belief To Walking In Communion With Christ, Learning: Moving From The Shallow End To The Deep Waters Of Theology