. . .upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18


Deliverance: Do You Really Want It?

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I once had a medical condition that caused me considerable agony and which I was told would last for life. It lasted for years. And then, suddenly, for no apparent reason, it just disappeared. I had no explanations and nor did the doctors. It just happened. I, and others, had been praying for deliverance from this for a long time. It's disappearance was somehow in God's timetable. I know now the cause of it (demonic) but had no idea how it would be taken care of.

Yahweh has a timetable for you as an individual no matter what your background. He knows your problems, He knows your responsiveness and patience or lack of it, He knows where your faith is strong and where your faith is weak. He puts all things together and knows the future. From this He forms a timetable for deliverance. You may think you have a better one but you don't. Yours, I guarantee, won't work. His will. You may think you can discern His timetable but I have to say that to date I have never met anyone who could. Usually, because of our own self-imposed limitations (like a lack of faith), it is usually a question of a little here, and a little there, rather than the whole package all at once. There are, of course, exceptions. But wisdom ought to lead is to keep our expectations general. Big changes can, and do, occur but only when we find the key to change. The problem may be a lack of submission. It may be vain self-confidence or it may belief in the lie of a total lack of self-worth. Ministers who can discern are needed to work on these key areas with you. Once the major obstacles have been traversed, one can usually take over oneself.

Far too many clients, however, have prematurely done the latter, and especially SRA victims. I don't know how many times I have heard them say: "We've managed alone before and we'll manage alone ourselves now." Such betrays a lack of understanding of what the Christian life is all about - Christian live and continuing deliverance is all about Body or Community life in Christ. And the reason for that is that Yahweh has chosen to gift different people to do different jobs - He never gives all the gifts to just one person. No one is equipped to lead a solo Christian life. He has made us for cooperative endeavour.

As a pastor and deliverance minister I work in a team. I am accutely aware of the need for team work especially in an area as complex as deliverance ministry. So that right decisions are made, multiple independent witnesses are sometimes needed. A number of times in my life I have worked with clients who simply have shown no signs of progress and I have sought assistance from others. On at least a couple of occasions I have been explicity told by Yahweh to stop ministering to them because the clients refused to repent or change their lives, and were robbing others who wanted to walk in the paths of righteousness of the time I could have been giving to them. Predictably, I have been accused to being 'unloving' when I have done this. Nevertheless, I have had to obey the leading of the Ruach (Spirit) before the carnal (and often demon-inspired) complaints of men.

So if sometimes your pastor or deliverance minister withdraws help from you consider whether, in fact, you are following their advice or not. One man who came to me for pastoral counseling many years ago constantly asked for advice and consistently did the opposite of what I told him. After years of fruitless ministry I simply told him bluntly: "I cannot help you any more. Do one thing I have asked you to do and I will resume counseling." I was condemned for that. The man never did repent or change direction and has since stopped attending churches. I, in my turn, was freed to help those who really wanted help and were prepared to act affirmatively on counsel. I still talk to the man occasionally but don't counsel him anymore. (He has been to many ministers who have told him the same thing but he doesn't do what they say either).

How do I know when to stop ministering to someone? Quite simply, the anointing to do so vanishes. When that happens, I know Yahweh is telling me to end the counseling. I continue praying for them, of course, and living in hope that they will change. Usually they have to pass through some more trials in life before, finally, they decide to release self-control and become repentant. It pains me to see their trials but at the same time I know that it is Yahweh working His salvation in them. Most of us stubbornly resist reformation and most of the time Yahweh meets kind with kind.

For those who disobey personal counseling there remains group instruction. Immersing them in the Bible study and prayer, until the necessary truth-principles sink in that will at length persuade them to repent, is the only option ... assuming that they will even do that. Many won't and, in the folly of their own sin, strike out on their own again and end up making the same mistakes over and over again. There is not much you can do for such a person other than to leave them in Yahweh's hands and to pray that He will send people into their lives to whom they will respond. More often than not, they will try the same defective cycle again, and end up just as disappointed as before. They may, for example, swap deliverance ministers. One of my clients did that, told the new deliverance minister a sob story about how I had abandoned her, and predictably got nowhere. Instead, she wasted the new deliverance minister's time as she did mine. Looking for someone who will accept our carnal justifications may tickle the ego but it does not lead to deliverance. The victims are merely deluding themselves.

The greatest obstacle of deliverance ministry, therefore, is not the demons but the people seeking deliverance themselves, and specifically, their carnal nature. They don't usually realize that the carnal nature is every bit as dangerous as their demonic oppressors. Demons know that, of course, and exploit it to the full. That is why Christian discipleship is every bit as important as the actual casting out of demons themselves. And deliverance ministers who will not disciple their victims, or at least ensure they are being well discipled by someone else, are not doing their jobs properly.

This ministry is fully integrated with a discipling program. We counsel all our clients to complete our Foundational Studies of the Bible course so that they get a solid foundation in Christianity. Many coming for deliverance abandon their deliverance when they see what the Scriptures actually demand of them (which runs counter to their false expectations) so we find this a good sifting device. Unless you have a solid foundation in the essential truths of the Faith, deliverance will not, in any case, be much good. So our task is multi-faceted.

I hope this has been a dose not only of reality but of hope too. Seeing the wider picture does help because it gives you more handles in your life, especially if you have felt like a boat drifting at sea. Discipleship will give your life a solid, rocky foundation. Sound doctrine coupled with loving and supporting fellowship that bathes its people in prayer are essential for those not just coming out of oppression but who want, and need, to live a victorious life. The order is important also. No amount of love and support are going to help if sound doctrine is not in place: it is the truth that frees a soul (John 8:32Bible quoteAnd ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.John 8 verse 32), not love - love is what lifts the soul into the giddy and exalting heights of God's presence that has been set free by the Truth, and sustains the soul as it grasps for the Truth.

So, do you really want to be delivered? If you do, soberly consider these things.