OPPOSITION TO DELIVERANCE

It seems that whenever deliverance is called for there is always opposition.  Often it comes from unexpected sources.  While the opposition may superficially appear to be caused by others I've learned to ask myself... how does this invite me to evidence more the character of Christ?  Is there un-confessed sin in my own life?  Is there a resolving encounter I've put off or needed and failed to recognize in regard to a brother or sister in the Lord?  I call these the Nathan / David encounters.  We all know the story from 2nd Samuel 12.  I find that removing the log from my own eye is a constant challenge.     

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  To Him be dominion forever and ever, Amen (1st Peter (5: 10, 11). 

Opposition may commonly manifest through events.
1.  A competing "emergency" that on closer examination turns out to be nothing more than satan manipulating the emotions of others to distract from the greater goal.

2.  Losing and misplacing what we need.  I list this separately since I've learned to pray against this for myself and others at the outset. 

3.  My key breaks off in the lock, a pipe will burst, a pet runs off.  Last night on my way to church I decided to prepare a treat for my dog, Delcan.  I cut up a hot dog and stuffed it and a few dog treats into his red toy which challenges him to work for the reward; his favorite.  When leaving for church I left the hot dog package out... which he ate wrapper and all.  Needless to say I'm watching him closely today and asking God to protect his digestive system which could keep me from where I shortly need to be.    

4.  Unexplained car trouble or other transportation issues.

5.  Illness that disappears with prayer.

6.  Accidents.

Another diversionary obstruction is when the person needing deliverance becomes afraid and will not keep the appointment.  Here we must pray divine protection for the victim...  caring, compassionate support for what they've determined they need.  If they do cancel we invite them to set another time.  Just as we experience obstruction they do as well. 


At other times a calling to be present for deliverance will be questioned.  Gossip or fear breeds doubt which impacts the faith of the person leading deliverance or those called to assist.  They question a legal authority in the Divine power of Jesus Christ to do the work of deliverance.  Societal issues of political correctness and a confusion about what it means to be truly humble may tempt us to delay or walk away from what we know Jesus has already confirmed and commissioned.  Here again the team is valuable.  God uses others to speak needed wisdom and correction. 

We must hold on to what we know... not what we feel.  If we know that we have been called to a deliverance ministry remain obedient to Christ and go on the offensive.  Consign that fear and those demonic spirits that have the assignment to bring that fear (or whatever the opposition is) to the throne of God for immediate judgement; sending them to the abyss; never to return; never to be heard from again! 


These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16: 17, 18). 


A covering of prayer is needed for all of this and is usually best coming from a closely knit group of brothers and sisters who understand deliverance and will pray for protection. Hopefully you have been to the deliverance location and prayed a canopy of the blood of Jesus Christ; a two way sight and sound barrier so that demon spirits are blocked.  You visualize and erect this canopy.   Protection is needed for the environment where the deliverance is taking place.  For pets that reside there.  For the team called to be present.  Protection for extended family and loved ones.  For the off-site team.  And lastly, but most important for the person seeking deliverance. And we have already prayed that nothing will attach to us that is not of Christ; protection as we return home,  favor and blessing that comes from being obedient to Christ.


Sometimes deliverance and healing is more a process.  A person may be in counseling, but also receiving prayer for deliverance.  When healing is resistant and seems intractable Christian counselors are wise to introduce a deliverance partnership into their work.   

A common mistake made in deliverance is that we are not fully involving the person who has asked for deliverance.  In every sense this is a partnership.  The person being prayed for should be invited to share what they are perceiving.  The team can believe deliverance has been fully accomplished but the person prayed for may express that this isn't the case.  As long as a demon is not manifesting (and this should be clear to the leader) the person being prayed for must be heard.  I will ask direct questions of them to confirm what I'm sensing.  Freedom Encounters (Sylvia and Ken Thornberg teach some of the best tools available).  The sufferer may have a high degree of insight and awareness of the demonic stronghold that has camped on sin, pain and trauma.  He/she can share valuable clues that will powerfully direct prayer as we test the spirits. 
It is a common misconception that we must shout loudly to dislodge a demonic infestation.  And this isn't to say I don't sometimes do so when cleansing a property.  But a property is not a person.  At a place I can openly express outrage and anger at what has polluted.  But a fragile, hurting heart doesn't need useless posturing from those trying to help.  In the same way we have the power to prevent demonic spirits from manifesting; controlling the situational dynamics of having demons reveal the role they have played etc.   

After a demonic stronghold is destroyed a spiritual vacuum exists.  This person has had lots of voices and impulses in their head and the interior life now feels different.  It is important to counsel the person that they may feel an emptiness.  They will often describe feeling "lighter." But do they also feel a void?  This is the time to confirm salvation.  So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, and that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breath and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3: 17-19). 

It is wise to pray that this space be filled by the glory and calling of God and we must do this very specifically.  We ask the person to visualize what gift of God, what attribute of His character, what failing appendage can now be strengthened into a whole and functioning arm of kingdom purpose. Paul told us that he prayed for people to receive spiritual gifts; conferring gifts.  This is the time to do the same.  A void that stays empty causes one to chase after sin and here insight and godly understanding is needed. 

The antidote for the empty feeling some describe is to be strengthened in the inner man by the Holy Spirit.  ...that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3: 20). 

There may afterwards be a time of special grace in which the person delivered is hungry for Jesus.  They are supernaturally upheld to stand in Christ and it seems that God keeps this person uniquely joyful.  This is the time for a delivered soul to be reading scripture, growing in faith, depending on Jesus Christ, surrounded by the loving and caring body of Christ.  Believers that are not called to deliverance come along with their special confluence of gifts now desperately needed.  Mercy, shepherding, and hospitality offer the love and hand of fellowship.  This is also when valuable teaching from God's word is needed.  There is no better time to acquire the full equipping armour of God for that day when once more they will be tested in some form or fashion.  It is Jesus Christ within us that frees the captive.

 
In John 17 Jesus lifted up his face to heaven and prayed for us.  ...  and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said,  Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You. (v1) ... I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word (v6).  The passage goes on to read... for they are Yours.  In deliverance we are restoring someone to the domain of light in Christ.  If someone is unsaved and does not profess Christ we must first lead them to the Savior...  For it is by no other name that freedom comes. 

While people use words differently and this can be confusing I think of Exorcism as being for the unsaved and Deliverance as being for Christian people who have a demon or are living under a generational curse; need physical healing introduced by sin or freedom from addictions.  Deliverance is also the definition of the salvation experience and in the words of Jesus Himself...  to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the domain of satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me (Acts 26: 18).  


It is a powerful concept to think of us as possessions of Christ... the bride of Christ, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and "kept" by Jesus.   Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: may mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you (Jude 1:1).  Deliverance brings together brothers and sisters to cooperate with Holy Spirit... restoring those that suffer; bringing them back into the safe arms of Jesus Christ.

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