ANSWER: Satan and his army of demon angels can exert tremendous influence over us. The only person whom he could not influence to any extent was the perfect man, Jesus Christ. Shortly before Satan maneuvered to have Jesus executed Jesus stated that the ruler of the world was coming, adding: “and he has no hold on me.”
To indicate the subtlety of the Devil’s influence, on one occasion the well-intentioned apostle, Peter, tried to dissuade Jesus from his sacrificial course; advising the Lord to be kind to himself. Sternly rebuking Peter, Jesus turned his back on and said “get behind me Satan, because you think men’s thoughts and not God’s.” So, this indicates that Peter momentarily became an unwitting tool of Satan.
To what extent is Satan able to influence us? Well, the 12th chapter of Revelation states that Satan the Devil is misleading the entire world. And the 16th chapter of Revelation reveals that expressions inspired by demons influence the leaders of the world and lure them into fighting against God Almighty on the symbolic battlefield of Armageddon.
Demon possession, though, is when a person is completely dominated by evil spirits – surrendering their will to them. The demons promote things, such as drugs and alcohol, that make it easier for them to overreach us and take over our minds.
Apparently, bath salts do the trick. There was a recent case in Florida were a naked man attacked a homeless man and chewed off half of his face. When the police arrived he growled at them like a wild animal. They had to shoot him. The police said that he was probably on bath salts.
We may be sure that serial killers and mass killers are possessed by wicked spirits. Some of them have even reported that they heard voices from the invisible, and the voices commanded them to kill. Of course a psychiatrist would diagnose them as being schizophrenic or psychotic, and quite likely mental illness is a factor in many cases, but we should not dismiss the influence of the one whom Jesus said was a murderer when he began.
I had an experience in the field ministry about 35 years ago. I was doing street witnessing in front of a shopping mall in downtown San Diego. Standing in front of Horton Plaza I was speaking to a woman who was waiting for a bus, when we both had our attention drawn to a commotion down the street about 200 feet. There was a half naked man coming down the sidewalk screaming and growling at people. He was frighteningly ferocious. He would get up in people’s faces screaming at them. As he was approaching us I casually asked the lady I’d been talking to if she believed in demon possession. As she was still transfixed on this seemingly un-human creature, she calmly replied: “I didn’t used to, but I do now!”
Just at that moment a bus pulled up and people hurriedly got on to escape the man, but to our horror the demonized man got on the bus too and the door closed and off they went. You can add your own ending to that story.