One of the primary keys to setting people free from demons is the ability to discern their presence. Evil spirits often work behind the scenes and influence people in subtle ways. They prefer to dwell in the darkness and remain undetected. Therefore, it is not always obvious when a person is in need of deliverance.
However, when a demon comes to the surface, it becomes clearer that deliverance is needed. This is referred to as a demonic manifestation. Recognizing demonic manifestations is one of the ways to detect the presence of evil spirits. Sometimes demonic manifestations are subtle and sometimes they are obvious.
When ministering to people, there are three primary things that I pay attention to that help me to recognize a demonic manifestation.
1. Involuntary Body Movements
In Mark chapter nine, Jesus delivered a boy from an evil spirit that had been tormenting him since early childhood. Verse 20 describes how the demon manifested when it saw Jesus: “And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth” (Mark 9:20).
When demons manifest, involuntary body movements can occur, such as shaking, convulsing, contorting, falling, and more. Some movements—such as trembling, shaking, or falling—can be a human response to the power of the Holy Spirit. But often they can indicate that a demon is coming to the surface that needs to be dealt with.
2. Changes in Speech
In the New Testament, it is not unusual to see examples of demons speaking through a person. (See Mark 1:23-24 and Mark 5:7.) I have heard evil spirits speak through people as they began to manifest. Sometimes they will speak with a different voice than the person’s, and other times it is the person’s voice but the words coming out are clearly not from the person.
In Acts chapter eight, Philip the evangelist went to Samaria to preach the gospel. It says this about demons being cast out: “For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed,” (Acts 8:7). Demons will sometime scream, shriek, hiss, or make other changes to a person’s voice.
3. Changes in Countenance
Another thing I pay close attention to is the person’s countenance. When an evil spirit is manifesting, there will sometimes be a noticeable change in the person’s facial expression. Their eyes may roll back or take on a different look, and their overall appearance may change. When the evil spirit is cast out, their countenance will return to normal.
Learning to discern demonic manifestations takes time and grows with experience. There is no formula, and the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit is critical. Always remember that the purpose is to minister freedom and wholeness to the person in need. Don’t get distracted with or fascinated by the manifestations. Focus on Jesus and setting the ones free who are in need of deliverance!
Even better than recognizing and casting out demons is to put on the full armor of God and resist the devil–he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
How do you put on the armor of God and resist the devil?
Have you experienced a deliverance? Please share your testimony with us at www.mystoryofgrace.com.