Recognizing the presence of demonic spirits would be easy if each demonized person had symptoms that were as dramatic as those we saw in movies like The Exorcist, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and The Rite. They've taught us what deliverance looks like: projectile vomiting, head spinning, levitating, a sudden drop in room temperature, a total distortion of the individual's appearance, a guttural voice, a sense of evil, and the ability to make objects fly about the room.
After being involved in deliverance ministry for more than 30 years and having seen more than 1000 people set free in the name of Jesus, I can attest that deliverance rarely looks like this, for which I am extremely grateful.
Brokenness can be covered with a smile, torment with service, and compulsive behavior with secrecy. Most of the time what others see on the outside doesn't reflect what is going on inside. We can give ourselves to the Lord, be baptized, and try to walk with him, but still be oppressed and victimized by spiritual forces beyond our control. And we can do it with a smile on our face.
Because everything we do and think and feel is the result of a mix of biological, cognitive, psychological, social, and spiritual factors, it is very difficult to say, "This is what a demonized person looks like." The Bible itself lists a broad assortment of symptoms that are attributed to demonic spirits.
In the physical realm, we see demonization resulting in muteness (Mt. 12:22), deafness (Mk. 9:25), blindness (Mt. 12:22), and bodily deformity (Lk. 13:10-17). In Matthew 4:23-25 we find the demonized among those who were ill from various diseases, those suffering severe pain, seizures, and paralysis. Mark 9:17 indicates that physical symptoms and demonization are ...