3 Signs of Demonic Oppression and How to Overcome it

We know from Scripture that demonic activity is real and there should be no debate about that. As a Christian, I don’t believe you can be possessed by a demon. However, that does not mean you cannot experience demonic oppression. Many who are true believers in Jesus Christ have experienced demonic oppression, and surprisingly some may have not even been aware that is what they were experiencing. As we consider this topic, it is helpful to identify the signs of demonic oppression so we are able to fight back. To be clear, I am looking at this from the perspective of a Christian facing oppression because those who are true followers of Christ have a different way of dealing with this than those who are not.

What is demonic oppression?

Before we identify the signs of demonic oppression, it makes sense to define exactly what it is. Demonic oppression is a spiritual attack from a demonic spirit which seeks to influence a person’s thoughts, emotions, and even their actions. Since a demon cannot possess a Christian to control them, then oppression is the next best option. Because of the way we are created as humans, these attacks will often begin in our mind because this is the central hub that dictates what we think about, how we feel, and ultimately what we do. The goal of demonic oppression is to keep a person trapped and bound. The desire is to paralyze the Christian believer so they become ineffective.

What are signs of demonic oppression?

To understand the signs of demonic oppression you must understand the way Satan operates because he is their leader, and they follow his cues. One of the challenges in identifying this is many times the areas of attack may not often appear demonic at all. In some instances, they can even mimic other conditions that may cause you to not consider the possibility of a demonic attack. In my years I have heard people share with me stories of sensing an evil spirit in their room or recognizing their presence. While those are forms that can be a little more overt, I want to address three signs of demonic oppression that are possible to overlook as attacks from the enemy:  

1. Abnormal fear.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

Satan loves to operate in the realm of fear and intimidation. These are two of his greatest weapons and can be indicators of demonic oppression. This does not mean that if you are afraid, you are experiencing demonic oppression because we will all experience moments of fear at some point in our lives. You can begin to suspect demonic oppression is in play when this fear escalates beyond what is normal or usual. Remember, the attacks are often in our thoughts, which work their way into our emotions and actions. A person who is under attack in this way may shut themselves off from interactions with other people because of fear of the outcome, which often never materializes. To the outsider, this type of fear tends to look irrational, but to the person experiencing it, this feels very real. Again, I want to be clear: a person experiencing fear may not be facing demonic oppression, but if it escalates, that is something that must be considered.

2. Inability to rest and nightmares.

One of the things we must recognize in this spiritual battle that we face is Satan is often willing to play the long game. This means he has no problem extending an attack over a long period of time with the hopes of wearing you down. If you remember the story of Samson and Delilah, she was relentless in her pursuit of finding the source of his strength, and Samson eventually wore down. Another sign of demonic oppression is to attack a person’s ability to rest. This can be an attempt to attack your dreams or, again, cause you great fear and worry that prohibits rest. The reason this works is because without rest we become fatigued, and when we are tired, we are vulnerable. If you have ever watched a boxing match, sometimes the strategy of the opponent is to make the other fighter work hard in the early rounds so that by the time they get to the later rounds all their strength and energy are gone. When this happens, this can ultimately take away their opponent’s will to fight. If there is a prolonged inability to rest, I mean, a real extended period, then you must consider demonic oppression. This can be especially true if the inability to rest cannot be justified by any circumstances that are happening in a person’s life. Should these signs appear, it is time to consider that you may be under attack. 

3. Prolonged periods of unexplained depression.

As said earlier, demonic oppression is often an attack that begins in the mind. I am not a clinical psychologist so I want to choose my words carefully here, but there can be instances where depression can be a sign of demonic oppression. There are some people who have a clinical diagnosis of depression and have been treated successfully under a doctor’s care. However, in spiritual warfare, depression is one of the weapons of the enemy. Remember, the goal is to paralyze you and when depression sets in this can be a great paralyzer. However, this also calls for caution before you start diagnosing depression as a demonic attack. This may not be the first place you go, but if it persists over long periods of time, with no real understanding of why it is happening, then it is something that you cannot rule out either.

How do you overcome demonic oppression?

Regardless of the form it comes in, we must understand how to overcome this. I am a firm believer that spiritual battles require spiritual weapons, and thankfully, God has given them to us. As you search through the Scriptures, you will begin to see all God has provided so you can fight back against any type of demonic oppression (no matter which form it shows up in). I would turn your attention to Scriptures that talk about the armor of God, the power of God, the work of the Holy Spirit in you. As you begin to read these and internalize them, you will begin to see that God has equipped you and you do not have to be overcome by demonic oppression. Let me offer one scripture to encourage you:

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” – 1 John 4:4 (NLT)

One thing you must realize is that if you are in Christ then the Holy Spirit lives in you. By this fact alone you now have dwelling inside you the Spirit of God which is greater than any demonic spirit that would try to oppress you. However, to fight back, you must know these things to be true, which means you must take God’s Word, study it, and apply it to your life. As you begin to do this, you will begin to grow stronger and more confident in who you are in Christ, and this can give you what you need to fight back against demonic oppression.

I know that demonic oppression is real, and it is not something that should be taken lightly. I also know that God is real, and he is greater than all. Most importantly, when you are in him then his authority is in you. Your responsibility is to take what he has given you and use it so that you can be victorious in every spiritual battle. Even if a demonic spirit tries to attack you, God has equipped you so you can overcome.

Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com