Are you struggling in your spiritual life? Do you find yourself feeling indifferent toward your religious convictions? If so, you might be experiencing demonic oppression.
Demonic oppression may sound like the stuff that horror movies are made of but it is a very real concern for us Catholics.
What is Demonic Oppression?
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.
To better understand demonic oppression, we need to first acknowledge that there is a spiritual war taking place between the forces of God and the forces of Satan. The forces of the Devil were formerly angels who resisted God and they will do all that they can to tempt people into turning away from the path of righteousness.
Demonic oppression happens when we fall into the temptation of evil spiritual forces. Demons cloud our judgement and cause us to stay in bondage to our sinful nature. It is different from possession because when someone is possessed, demons assume control of their body. This usually results in the person displaying unusual physical attributes like extraordinary strength.
In Mark 5, we can read an example of a man possessed by an unclean spirit and he could not be chained because of how strong he was:
They came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
On the other hand, when someone experiences demonic oppression he becomes beset with difficulties. He experiences many troubles and temptations and may feel weighed down emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. If he is unable to resist, he will eventually fall under the influence of the evil spirit that is wreaking havoc upon his life.
The story of Job in the Bible is one example of a man who experienced demonic oppression. Job went through tremendous hardship in his life. His family was killed, he lost his wealth and he got physically sick. Although Job was not possessed, he was oppressed spiritually.
My spirit is broken, my days finished,
my burial at hand.
Surely mockers surround me,
at their provocation, my eyes grow dim.
Signs that You Might Be Under Demonic Oppression
We become vulnerable to demonic oppression when we do things that open us to the influence of the Devil. Some examples of these activities include abusing substances and drugs that alter our state of mind, dabbling in occult activities like divination, astrology, Ouija boards and tarot cards and exposing ourselves to media like books and movies that are depressing, dark and demonic.
The bottom line is when we allow ourselves to be influenced by things that are contrary to the ways of God, we become oppressed spiritually.
Demonic oppression may seem subtle at first but if we do not pay attention to the red flags and do something, it becomes insidious and devastating. The following are some of the signs that we should look out for:
- Physical symptoms like sleeplessness, addictions, inexplicable ailments, sexual perversions, over-eating, abusing substances and self-mutilation
- Spiritual deadness which will manifest in an inability to pray, apathy or anger toward God, becoming interested in false religions and lack of guilt when doing something wrong.
- Emotional turmoil like uncontrollable anger, fluctuating moods and emotions, low self confidence, a feeling of hopelessness and lack of purpose.
- Financial troubles like constant and unusual financial problems.
How to Overcome Demonic Oppression
Demonic oppression is not like a physical illness that can be cured with medication or treatment and this makes it a complex problem to address. However, we must remember that our God is powerful and faithful and through Him we can overcome any hardship even demonic oppression.
Here are the things you can do if you are experiencing demonic oppression and want to break free from it:
1. Admit that you have sinned and evaluate your situation.
Spend time to evaluate your life and how you got to the present situation. What decisions and behavioral patterns caused you to be ensnared in the sinful act? Awareness of your thoughts and actions will help keep you from falling into the same problem in the future.
2. Confess your sins and ask God for forgiveness.
Go to your parish priest and confess your sins. Sincerely ask God for forgiveness and renounce your sin. You must resolve not to fall into the same sinful patterns again by identifying your triggers and vulnerabilities.
3. Claim God’s promises.
Renouncing your sin requires daily commitment and there will be days in which you will feel vulnerable and weak. This is where God’s Word will come in. The Bible has many words of wisdom and promises that we can claim during difficult times.
Whenever you feel like you are experiencing demonic oppression once again, cling to these passages from Scripture and use these to rebuke the evil spirit that is tempting you:
- You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. - 1 John 4:4
- He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. - Colossians 1:13-14
- Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil. - 1 John 3:8
- They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death. - Revelation 12:11
4. Pray constantly.
Make prayer a daily habit. Spend time first thing in the morning to pray to God. Pour out your heart to Him and let Him know your deepest struggles. Ask Him for guidance and wisdom that you can use for your day.
5. Find a spiritual accountability person.
Your spiritual accountability person is someone who will be praying for you and helping you in your journey out of demonic oppression. This person should be more spiritually mature than you and who is willing to help you in your struggles by giving you sound advice and guidance. You may ask your parish priest to be your accountability person.
What hardships are you experiencing in your life right now? Could this be demonic oppression? How are you dealing with your struggles?