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Help! I Need Deliverance.
It is not unusual for someone to write us expressing a need to be delivered from demons. Oftentimes they will recount symptoms that make it evident that demons have indeed found a home and are actively tormenting their victim. We should not be surprised. As 1 John 5:19 says, “…the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” That is the world we live in.
There are only two kingdoms, both spiritual. One is the kingdom of darkness ruled over by Lucifer and the other is God’s kingdom ruled over by the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no such thing as neutral ground. I once met a man who insisted that he didn’t serve either God or the devil. He was deceived, blinded by demons. As Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 4:4 – “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
In Eph. 2:1-3 Paul wrote to those who had become believers, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”
Apart from the power of the gospel and the saving work of God through Jesus Christ all men are helpless prisoners of Satan and sin leading to death. Heb. 9:27 tells us that “…man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”
The symptoms of Satan’s rule are as varied as his victims. Some may appear to be leading happy, successful lives while others suffer terrible torments in body and mind.
But Satan cannot simply walk in and take control. He requires our cooperation. James 1:13-15 says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
To gain control Satan must appeal in some way to our natural desires, desires that have been corrupted by sin, that center in some form of self-gratification. Just as a fish is caught by a shiny lure, little imagining the consequence, so do we humans little imagine that in following our natural desires outside of God’s loving will and purpose we are inviting all-too-real evil powers to make their home in us. How easily we are deceived and enslaved.
And with that slavery comes much trouble. The pursuit of self-gratification carries a very high price. Satan gives nothing away. In one way or another he seeks to use, abuse, and destroy his victims. And thus people find themselves in places of mental, emotional, and physical torment of one kind or another and they understandably want deliverance from their trouble.
Most people have no understanding of the real source of their trouble and thus run to any and everything that promises relief. Religion, psychiatry, positive-thinking-self-help – it makes little difference. Focused on “self” alone they just want to make the “bad stuff” go away leaving them free to enjoy life. Some even turn to the occult world, not realizing that their slavery to the kingdom of darkness will go from bad to worse.
Then they hear about Jesus and his power to deliver and so they inquire. Sadly, in many cases, they simply want Jesus as “deliverer” but not as “Lord.” They just want him to make the bad stuff go away without their having to give up their lives to serve him. There’s no such thing. Jesus is not in the business of helping people serve themselves and Satan with fewer symptoms!
We’ve had some really sad cases come across our path. A person will come to us and say something like, “I’m a spirit-filled Christian but I’m having terrible trouble being tormented by demons and I can’t seem to make them go.” Something’s wrong! You can’t be filled with God’s spirit and demons too! Demons can’t stay where God resides.
Cases that fall into this category can be among the most difficult. A religious demon – yes, there are demons that specialize in religious deception – has convinced the person that they are saved. They “walked the aisle,” had an experience, spoke in tongues, whatever the details may have been. But that religious demon is the key to the whole problem! He becomes untouchable, not to be questioned, and so the door is left wide open for all his wicked buddies to come in and torment the victim who just can’t understand why the demons won’t go. But don’t dare tell the person the real problem! They become highly offended. What a wicked diabolical scheme!
The simple fact is that if demons are in your life – you let them in. You probably didn’t realize it but they are there with your cooperation. You will find no help apart from a total surrender to the Lordship of Christ in every area of your life. Either Christ will possess your life or the devil will. It’s that simple.
If there is an area of your life you are not willing to surrender, a sin you are not willing to let go of, then you will remain under the devil’s power. You are compromised. You can beg God to deliver you till you are blue in the face but nothing will change. There is something in your life you love and desire above God and He will have no other gods before Him. Exodus 20:3.
The hour is late and the devil’s hold on the world’s people is growing steadily deeper. He knows his time is short and he is angry. Rev. 12:12. God has, through the gospel, set before men an uncompromising choice – it is either Christ or the devil – all the way.
I thank God that in spite of this dark picture there is glorious hope! He demonstrated His love by sending His Son into the world – while we were yet sinners – to fully deal with the sin that separates us from Him and to utterly defeat our enemy, the devil. Rev. 12:10. Hebrews 2:14-15. Romans 5:8. Colossians 2:15.
That one hope is that you believe the good news from your heart, surrendering your life, all of it, to Christ as Lord, trusting completely in his sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins. God will accept nothing less. Don’t make the mistake of spitting on what Jesus did by trying to “deserve” salvation through some effort on your part.
Demons will try anything they can think of to hold onto their victims. When a man has obvious problems his life will often revolve around trying to “fix” his problems through some form of self-effort. Nothing is more deadly to true deliverance. The key is not to “try harder” but to stop trying and give the problem completely to God. Salvation is not some form of “self-help” but a divine deliverance of one who is both helpless and undeserving.
Demons will prod a person to resist occupying such a place – for obvious reasons. They know the power that Christ has. They know it better than we do! But they also know well that when we are “trying” with human strength we are not “trusting.” Either Christ is a mere “cheerleader,” inspiring us to help ourselves or he is a deliverer of the helpless. You cannot mix the two.
Another thing demons will work hard to accomplish is to keep us from coming to God as lost, guilty, helpless sinners deserving judgment. Oh no! Not me. I’m not all that bad! Oh yes, you are. You just don’t know it. We all come the same way or we don’t come. The very best thing that can happen to us is the thing Satan fears most: that God will thoroughly convict us of our lost and undeserving state and empower us to heart repentance and faith in Christ. By nature we will do anything to avoid such a surrender yet it is the only path to deliverance and life.
Many people want to get demons out – but don’t really want Jesus in! Oh, they don’t mind being religious, so long as they remain in charge. Nothing short of surrender will do.
Jesus has all power in heaven and in earth. Demons are terrified that we will truly come to realize that. There is a battle to be fought in coming to Christ. But the real battle is not against Satan so much as it is against “self,” that nature we were born with that wants its own way. Satan will stir up “self” with a thousand arguments and fears to defend itself against the claims of the gospel. If you listen and resist you will remain a slave no matter how religious you are.
But if you are one that needs deliverance and salvation don’t let anything stop you from calling upon the Lord Jesus Christ from the depths of your heart. Base your calling upon his promises. Surrender any issues that rise up. When Christ truly comes in demons will have to go. In him you will have authority over them – and they know it. Stop listening to their lies and start standing upon God’s word.
Another thing: faith is something God gives; it is something He enables us to exercise. Where there is divinely-enabled faith there will come a point when we stop asking and begging and start thanking. Think about it. If you continually ask you are saying God hasn’t answered yet. Faith reckons on God’s promise and counts it as done. God honors faith. Don’t get stuck endlessly begging.
To the extent that anyone stands upon the ground of their own “righteousness” or self effort they will fail. But if we come to God on HIS terms and not ours He will hear our cry and answer. Our true need is not just for “deliverance” or some formula for successful living; it is a Person. That Person is the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son. If we have him we truly have all we need.
Rom. 10:8-13 says, “‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
Of course, it is not enough to merely call Jesus Lord; he must truly be Lord. Matt. 7:21-27.
If you are one who is concerned about someone else who needs deliverance God might just want to use you as an instrument to help them. The first thing to consider is where do you stand? Are you truly born again or merely religious? Have you truly bowed in surrender to Jesus as Lord or do you merely call him Lord? If you are truly a Christian are you compromised? Are there sins and weaknesses you are unwilling to bring into the light and be honest and repentant about? Start by letting God deliver you from any strongholds of the enemy in your life.
There is a perfect provision in Christ for us to stand before Satan himself clothed in the righteousness of God. Satan cannot stand the light of God but we have the privilege of walking in it! 1 John 1:5-7. We cannot fight demons in our own strength but they must obey the Christ who lives in us. You can pray in faith. Don’t think your prayers have no effect. The devil feels them. Don’t go by appearances.
Ultimately the person in question will have to either surrender to the claims of the gospel for themselves or else resist and reject it but we can pray in faith that God will penetrate their darkness with the light of that gospel. As you pray, consciously ask the Lord to anoint you to pray. It is not what we do; it is what Christ does in and through us that matters. In Christ we have authority over the devil and he knows it. Don’t be intimidated or discouraged. Persist, not in badgering the person to change, but in prayer. God answers prayer. Ask God to quicken His promises – and then stand upon them no matter what the devil tells you.
We are in a battle, the battle of the ages. Thank God, Jesus Christ is the captain of our salvation. He has never lost a battle and He will never turn one away who truly puts their trust in him. John 6:37. The call of the gospel is to cast our lot with Christ 100%, holding nothing back. Where Christ is Lord, demons will flee in terror and defeat.