ISAAC ON DEMONS
St. Paul said that he "was given a messenger of satan" to keep him humble. "To torment me" he says, realizing his pride could easily cost him all he had gained in Christ. Isaac includes this work of demons in his discussion of fallen angels....ref. the Cistercian Study Series on St. Isaac:
"Angel's are always astonished at the divine mysteries, 'because of revelations that come upon them in various ways.' Demons, on the other hand, are 'extremely polluted', and in their state of uncleanness they cannot see the angelic orders that are above them. Demons possess the same qualities as angels, but the divine light is not given to them, as they are bearers of darkness. The demons will to ruin and destroy a human being; yet they cannot do any harm to him unless they have permission from God and they act only in accordance with God's permission and order. In particular, when we are attached to God night and day, God allows neither demons nor wild animals and reptiles to hurt us in any way: 'rather, in our presence they behave in complete peacefulness, as ministers of God's will. But if we are attached to sin, God gives the order to one of the demons to 'flog us harshly', not out of revenge, but so so that 'by one means or another we will not become lost far away from God'.
I would add that neither deliverance ministry nor even a formal exorcism will trump what God has put in place here. Even, I would add, for St . Paul. His sin was pride. For you and me it is usually presumption.....giving ourselves permission to continue to commit a particular sin. Pride is the energy behind it, and when it threatens our salvation, well, expect a visit from a tormentor sent by God himself. This is a very Sobering thing to ponder......