There is so much that goes on that I do not understand. Folks experience deeply spiritual events that do not fit into any paradigm that I have constructed through my experience. I am sure my experience is the same to many others.
We truly live in a strangely spiritual world!
While all of us have different spiritual experiences, I often find that believers in Christ are some of the least likely to affirm the spiritual weirdness of life as we know it. I am not sure why. Perhaps we do not wish to over emphasize the work of demons? Perhaps we do not wish to admit that we do not understand everything? I don't know.
I do believe that ignoring the spiritual nature of our world is both dangerous and pure foolishness. We should know what scripture teaches about every dimension of our spiritually charged universe. This includes to work of demons in the lives of individuals and society.
Please understand, I do wish to over emphasize the topic. Many of us have seen the Hollywood sensationalism of demonic work in the movies like The Exorcist or The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Most of the time we pacify our fear by saying that it is just a movie that does not mirror real life. I agree that much of the sensationalism is overdrawn. I also know that when confronted with possession or severe demonic oppression, I hope I do not hear scary music in the background!
Another obvious error is like dualism but it is more specific. These movies do not proclaim nor understand that Jesus Christ has already won the spiritual battle. When we encounter the Evil one and his demonic servants we are powerless apart from Christ. If we know and live the gospel, we also see how powerful we are with Christ for He has already won the victory (Eph. 1: 20-22).
I went to the front door of the church, and I could see through the glass a man with two Elders from the church behind him. I opened the door, and I was immediately stuck by a feeling of evil I had not experienced since Thailand. I cannot explain it, but to say that my spirit immediately declared watch out and pray. I back up, and the man came charging through the church door and headed to the front of the church. There he looked upon the lighted cross, and he cursed Jesus' name. One of the two Elders said in a low voice,
"Greg we were afraid someone would open this door. We believe this man is under the influence of a demon. Get your worship team together and pray. Please stay out of his way, as he is really dangerous." I did not have to be told twice! The four or five members of our worship team gathered in the back of the church and prayed.
That evening, one of the Elders had felt led to drive by the church that evening "just to check it out." He heard us practicing through the open windows, and he noticed a car in the parking lot. As he looked closer, he saw it was this man. He approached him to ask if he was O.K., and the entire event began with him jumping out of his car and screaming his hatred of Jesus. The Elder had not experienced anything like it, but he knew this was demonic. Providentially, the other Elder was driving by, saw the man, pulled in, and began to pray for the first elder as he also could tell this was evil and different. With this information, we all prayed for him, and the rest of the worship team left for our dorms. The pastor and elders were going to handle it.
While in captivity in Vietnam, he grew increasingly angry and bitter toward his captures. He wanted them dead! One night, he heard a voice in his head telling him that he could help him get revenge and get out. He noticed the cage was unlocked. He crept out, killed his captors, and escaped. Unfortunately, the voice did not leave. He began to have horrible nightmares. He began to drink to self-medicate. He had married, but he could not escape his internal issues (as some say, his personal demons!).
Finally, his wife had come to faith. He had heard the voice saying, he would never come to faith because he belonged to him. He had helped him escape. He was beyond help. The man witnessed his wife change. He had gone to church, but he could not hear anything but condemnation on how God could not love a murderer like him. He did not remember the night at the church that I detailed above. He had no memory of it. Thankfully, he was finally set free when he called out to Jesus for help. "The voice" left him at that time.
Through anger, this man had opened himself up to demonic influence and control. Anger and bitterness is a great doorway into our soul, thus Paul's warning in Ephesians 4. He had struggled and suffered under this demonic influence for almost 20 years. The demon did not come out of the man on the evening at the church because he did not want the demon to leave at that time. He clung to the demon he knew, instead of asking the God he did not know for help. When he sincerely called out for Jesus' help, the demon left. As far as I know, it never returned.
All I know is that Jesus and the apostles cast out demons. Jesus treated this topic as important and real. As we move to see the Kingdom of God advance, we most likely will encounter demonic resistance. We need to know what to expect, and how to appropriate the power of Jesus in the midst of this conflict.