The area of deliverance remains a controversial one. Many arguments surely arise. But a keen student of the Bible will undoubtedly agree that there are extremisms that more often than is realized, hurt their victims physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. People have died during deliverance. People have been wounded while undergoing deliverance. Others have succumbed to spiritual abuse in the search for deliverance. Embarrassing situations have been tolerated during deliverance that can make the average unbeliever wince at the thought that God’s people could think of such alternatives to biblical precedence.
also read Holy Ghost fire prayer is not biblical
Unless a strict adherence to Biblical precedence and the lead of the Holy Spirit that doesn’t contradict written Scriptures is encouraged, more harm will be incurred in this area. It is easier to copy formulas and methods than to search the Scriptures. It is easier to go with the physical than seek to be led of the Holy Spirit. It is easier to be moved by sight (manifestations) than by faith. But to please the Lord and bring honor to His name, His followers must endeavor to do things the way he intends for them to do.
It is my belief that the encouragement of right knowledge and practical right living will go a long way to deal with the rush in the quest for deliverance today. Many people seeking deliverance today do not in reality have demonic problems. It’s a mentality that has been programmed to associate every unfortunate happening or character flaw with demonic influence, but the Bible teaches us that there are works of the flesh (with consequences when indulged).
Galatians 6:7-8 KJV
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting
The believer must fight against the works of the flesh, must put off the old man by renewing the mind with God’s word, and putting on the new nature which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Right living is not automatic for the born-again believer. It’s a conscious pursuit, a conscious submission to the work of sanctification by the Holy Spirit.
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
There is no deliverance from works of the flesh apart from walking in the spirit and putting to death what is earthly in us. You can’t cast out the flesh; you deny it dominance over the spirit. The Bible is very clear on this.
Yet it is common place for people to associate works of the flesh to demonic activity and have the ‘demon’ allegedly cast out.
Mortify (put to death, deprive of power) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (brackets mine)
The list continues through verses 6-9 to include, malice, anger, obscene language, blasphemy and lies. These are all works of the flesh, characteristics of the sinful nature, which the new creature in Christ must seek to live above.
This practice of having works of the flesh allegedly cast out as ‘demons’ is not the only area of extremes and error in deliverance ‘ministries’ today. In some circles, anything goes. The Lord’s example and God’s word are basically kept aside in preference of new methods and formulas, some of which are all too popular but not only lack Scriptural backing, but in fact stand in stark contrast to God’s Word.
Did you know?
- Neither the Lord Jesus nor the disciples ever asked demons to manifest. The demons usually manifested in the presence of the Higher Authority, and not because of obedience to a command. The Lord, as well as the early disciples, commanded devils to come out, to leave their victims; they were not interested in (and they did not enjoy watching) the victims of demonic influence manifesting.
- Only once did the Lord ‘converse’ with demons. And that was a very short conversation. That instance cannot be used to commend the lengthy conversations with demon spirits in deliverance ministries today, sometimes accompanied with other activities such as dancing, testifying and prophesying (from demons!). That one time conversation did not include bargaining with the demon and asking it whether it would leave its victim or not.
- Neither the Lord nor the disciples ever asked anyone to fill out questionnaires and go get “prepared” for deliverance. I’m not suggesting help doesn’t come from doing so, but I don’t see it in Scripture. In some ways, it helps empower the devil – he’s so powerful that days and days of preparation are needed to cast him out. Formulas replace the leading and inspiration of God’s Spirit.
- The Lord and the disciples did not need to know the name, class and level of a demon before casting it out. Whether it’s the least among the demons or their master, Satan himself, it is the authority in the Name of Jesus that drives them out!
- It may be possible that the Lord did not enjoy having a crowd ‘watching’ deliverance (? Mark 9:25). If he were today, would he take pictures of people rolling on the floor, etc. and post them on social media in exchange for likes, comments and shares? Would he use cameras and microphones to record and broadcast to the world? I am not saying those broadcasts are totally wrong, but some of what is broadcast shows there’s no consideration or compassion for the people involved. The people doing the broadcasts seek to promote themselves and their ‘work’. That is why in some circles, people who refuse to come on camera are denied prayer.
- S/he is not a superhero minister who no longer argues with demons, who doesn’t release “fire and thunder”, who only gives a command in the name of Jesus and the devils obey. That is the Bible way, and should be seen as normal. Abnormal is any deliverance method that undermines faith in the powerful and effective Name of Jesus.
- Apostle Paul would not receive commendation from an evil spirit. When the soothsaying spirit in Acts 16:16-18 announced to the public who the men of God were, Paul was vexed and rebuked it, setting its captive free.
Hearing God’s voice and being led by the Holy Spirit is indispensable in every Christian ministry. However, since hearing God is something subjective, staying with the clear instructions and principles of God’s written Word is very important in order to avoid accommodating error and weirdness. It is NOT the Spirit of God that orders for the unclothing of someone before deliverance can take place. It is NOT the Holy Spirit that inspires a male minister to kiss a female congregant for whatever reason. The strange and dangerous calisthenics being done and broadcast in the name of the Lord are not done under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is the work of false prophets and misled believers who haven’t taken time to search Scriptures, who have gone with man’s formulas, instead God’s Word.
Whether it is realized or not, extremes and errors hurt. God hates errors, false teachings and wrong practices. That is why he has given of his Word and his Spirit to guide us into all truth. And if we love God, we must hate what he hates and love what he loves; we must love truth and hate error. We cannot continue to see his Word relegated while man’s opinions take center stage, and yet we behave as if nothing serious is happening. We cannot remain indifferent in the face of what God is not indifferent about.
We must get so concerned that we go back to his Word and back to doing things the way he did and the way he wants us to do them.
We must encourage holy living, instead of promoting the dodging of responsibility by putting the blame of people’s actions on unseen demons.
This is not to say demons do not influence people to commit sin. They do. But if the many people seeking deliverance today will learn to submit to the Holy Spirit and the instructions of God’s Word, they would experience true and lasting deliverance and victory over sin. In the Bible we see that demons cast out are mostly those causing conditions such as epilepsy, deafness, speech impairment, soothsaying, sickness etc. I haven’t found an instance where a demon for fornication, drunkenness, stealing etc. was cast out. The Bible identifies these as works of the flesh and also gives a solution to them.
Galatians 5:16, 19-21
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest (clearly seen), which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The devil may influence and inspire people to sin, but the ultimate responsibility to act or not lies on the individual. The devil doesn’t make you do anything. You choose to succumb to his influence. In the same way, you can choose to succumb to the Holy Spirit’s influence.
Holy living is what we need, not the tagging demons and having them cast out.