Deliverance from Evil Spirits
by Chris Simpson
THE INVASION OF SPIRITUAL DECEPTIONS
Few ministries of the Lord Jesus Christ suffer from misunderstanding, prejudice and ridicule as much as the ministry of deliverance from evil spirits. This particular work of Christ, an almost daily occurrence in His earthly demonstration of the Kingdom of God, is peculiarly absent in most churches today. The powers of darkness that held so many in bondage in the first century have ceased to exist in the minds of many people.
However, such a lack of existence is simply not the case. The twentieth century has seen revelations of the workings of the demonic which are greater in size and scope than any previous time. Recent generations have witnessed two wars involving the entire world, hundreds of smaller wars raging continually between nations, and a godless, cruel totalitarianism which has affected half of the earth.
Also, never before have the occult-based religions of the East had the far-reaching effects evident today. Thousands of cults, sects, movements, and false religious philosophies have sprung up in the western nations since the Second World War. The spiritual invasion of the East has brought incredible devastation into the lives of the youth of this generation, not only through direct involvement in the different cults, but also through a subtle shifting of world view from Judaic-Christian to pantheistic Hindu.
Jesus warned us of these days when He prophesied that many false messiahs would arise at the time of great world wide cataclysms and wars. Kingdoms would rise against kingdoms. The kingdom of darkness is waging a “last days” onslaught to captivate as many as possible from the saving influences of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the midst of these things, however, the Lord is pouring out His Spirit in unprecedented ways and places. Never before has there been the widespread acceptance of the powers of God’s liberating Spirit as has been evident in the last twenty years. Christians of every nationality and denomination have been experiencing a fresh move of the power of Pentacost. God is restoring to His church the signs and wonders that were so prevalent in the times of the early apostles. The gifts of the Spirit can be found operating in churches of every kind, wherever there are hearts of humility and daring faith.
At the same time, Satan and his minions have been accelerating their activities in deceiving multitudes of believers from taking part in God’s end time revival. The enemy is truly frightened of a church reborn in the power of the Spirit, and particularly alarmed at the resurgence of the liberating ministry of deliverance from evil spirits.
DELIVERANCE – A VIABLE MINISTRY FOR TODAY
The ministry of deliverance from evil spirits is a scriptural, viable and much needed ministry for today. Even a cursory glance at the Gospels reveals the very prominent place deliverance held in the life of Jesus. As He went about healing the sick, maimed or leprous, we find Him ministering to the demonized as well. Almost as many accounts exist of His casting out evil spirits as of His healing the sick.
In fact, in each of the four gospels approximately 53 accounts of healings are mentioned in different places and contexts, comprising a total of about 256 verses. At the same time, approximately 38 separate accounts are written of Christ’s ministry in the area of deliverance, for a total of about 219 verses. When you compare these two figures, you’ll find that the writers of the Gospels place a scant 15 percent greater emphasis on Christ’s healing ministry than on His ministry of casting out demon spirits. Yet, where in the church today does one find even a 15 percent emphasis on this ministry at all? In fact, it’s difficult to find deliverance from evil spirits offered as any part of the ministry in most churches.
Jesus, however, took deliverance quite seriously. In fact, He said that casting out spirits was a significant sign of the kingdom of God:
“If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matt 12:28)
And when He was accused of casting out demons by the `prince of demons,’ He went on to say that to relegate the act of casting out spirits to anything other than the Holy Spirit was an unforgivable sin. (see Matt 12:31-32)
It is unscriptural to even preach the gospel without including the message of deliverance. In examining the Gospels, we find three things common each time Jesus gave His commission to believers. These three things are preaching, healing and casting out evil spirits. The early church was faithful to execute all three parts of the commission. How many churches today are even moving in two, much less all three?
THE REALITY AND NECESSITY OF ENTERING SPIRITUAL WARFARE
The spirit world is real. There are unseen intelligence’s behind most events in the world today. This can easily be seen by the ever increasing influences of the occult. In just the last ten years, entertainment and literature of the western nations have turned more and more to the morbid themes of the black arts, witchcraft and eastern mysticism. This is no accident. Satan knows that he has but a short time and desires to deceive as many as possible before the return of the Lord.
It is absolutely essential that the believer be equipped with the wisdom, insight and discernment necessary to wage war against these unseen foes. If Christians do not stand up against the powers of darkness, no one else will. That’s because there’s only one effective weapon in winning this war: the name and authority of Jesus.
However, for you to be successful in overcoming the powers of darkness, something must first happen in your own life. It is usually only after a person has been delivered from the strongholds of his own soul that he gains the spiritual insight necessary to wage war properly. It’s much harder to stand confidently upon the city walls defending against outside invaders when there are enemies within the camp. Only after cleansing your own house can you fearlessly maintain an offensive posture.
I know this from experience. It was only after the enemy’s curses, bondage’s and strongholds had been broken in my life that I became effective in the liberation of others. Having had veils of deception stripped from my eyes, I’ve dedicating myself to helping others find freedom and to experience the Lord’s victory in the spiritual conflict. All authority against every evil principality, power, enemy and foe is available to those who choose to walk in Jesus’ holy presence. (see Luke 10: 19)
BUT…CAN A CHRISTIAN HAVE A DEMON?
When you go into the ministry of casting out demons, inevitably you will be challenged with the question “Can a born-again believer have a demon?” In charismatic and Pentecostal circles the question is “Can a believer who is baptized in the Spirit have a demon?” “Absolutely not!” is the standard answer. “The Holy Spirit cannot dwell in the same body as a demon!” This is often spoken with the insistence of a slogan, to close the mind to further inquiry.
However, this answer cannot be supported by scripture. In fact, it is an extra-scriptural piece of logic that rests on an assumption. It is dangerous to assume that Satan and his demons have some kind of hands-off policy when it comes to believers. The truth is that believers are the very objects of their wrath and attack.
In the New Testament, the Greek word expressing the presence of demonic spirits within people is “daimonizomai.” What this word means is to be demonized; to be under the power or influence of a demon in certain areas; to have a demon. In the King James Version of the Bible this particular Greek word is translated 11 times as “to be possessed with devils.” The word “possessed,” however, is a misleading translation for this Greek word. To English speaking people the term “possessed” implies total ownership of something. This concept, when applied to the relationship between a demonic entity and a person, has no support in the scripture or in the original intent of the Greek word. There is no suggestion in the scripture that a demon has totally taken over a person as the word “possessed” implies. Even the Gaderene demoniac had enough humanity to cry out to Jesus for help. Rather, close scriptural study shows that the effect of demons upon people was usually in one or more areas of the personality – not the whole person. The best translation of this Greek word is “to be demonized” or to “have a demon.”
A useful analogy to think of would be the city of Chicago in the 1930′s. Chicago had a mayor over the town, but the Mafia definitely ran parts of the town. Even so, while a believer may profess Jesus Christ as Lord of their life, it’s quite possible that certain areas of the life may be under the domination and controlling influence of demonic spirits, i.e. jealousy, lust, or annoying and compulsive habits.
Because of a scriptural misunderstanding of what it means to be “born again,” many believe that they are somehow immune, or instantly free, from the bondage’s and curses accumulated during a lifetime of sin. Would that it were so!
However, a careful study of the New Testament reveals that your spiritual rebirth was just that, a “spiritual” rebirth. Jesus said in the third chapter of John, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” It was the human spirit that received life when you confessed your sins and were born again. God told Adam that in the day he ate of the forbidden fruit he would die. Yet he went on to live for many hundreds of years. What died in Adam when he fell into sin? Obviously, it was that same part of his nature that Christ came to bring back to life – his spirit.
THREEFOLD SALVATION FOR THREEFOLD MAN
The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that man is a tripartite being: spirit, soul and body. For this three-fold being (created in the image of his three-fold Creator) God has provided a three-fold salvation. When one is born again, the spirit is infused with the very life and presence of God. This burst of inner life, called justification, liberates the person from bondage’s in the soul and, sometimes, even sicknesses in the body. However, regeneration in the spirit does not mean complete salvation and perfection for the soul. This is evident in any believer’s experience.
The second-fold of God’s salvation involves the daily process of cleansing, changing, conforming and renewing of the soul into the likeness of the Lord. The soul (composed of a man’s mind, will and emotions) is far from perfect. It is in this realm where the habits, patterns and bondage’s of the past may still be found. By careful and consistent conformity to the will of God, directed by the presence of God in the human spirit, the soul slowly transforms to become a pleasing habitation of the Lord. This process is called sanctification (meaning “set apart” unto holiness) and is God’s daily salvation for man’s soul.
Finally, the third part of God’s salvation involves the body. When Christ comes again, the scriptures tell us that we shall be changed and will receive new bodies, just as the Lord did after His resurrection. This is called glorification. It is also evident from the teachings in the New Testament that the degree of glory expressed through your body then will be determined by how much you allow His glory to shine through your soul now!
- In justification (your past salvation) you were delivered from the penalty of sin (eternal separation from God).
- In sanctification (your present salvation) you are (hopefully) being delivered from the power of sin in your life each day.
- In glorification (your future salvation) you shall one day be delivered from the very presence of sin.
The Bible is full of pictures, analogies and parables illustrating God’s wonderful salvation for the whole man. When Jesus cleansed His Father’s temple, He was full of wrath toward those who had turned a house of prayer to a den of thieves. In so doing, He showed us God’s heart. We are the temple of the Lord as well. And we too need Jesus to come and cleanse us from the “thieves and robbers” within.
HOW DO DEMONS GAIN ACCESS TO THE LIFE?
Following are six ways that evil spirits can gain access into a person’s personality, mind, body or emotions:
1) Through the Family Line: The scriptures teach that the sins of the fathers pass down to the children of the third and the fourth generation. (see Exodus 20:5) In studying the lives of different Old Testament characters, it’s evident that the consequences of such sin passes down as well: things like personality quirks and traits, different attitudes and characteristics, and physical weaknesses and infirmities. This “passing down the line” occurs physiologically through the hereditary genes and the bloodline. It also occurs spiritually through curses and blights on the life because of involvement in the occult, secret and mystical societies, etc. (Later in this booklet more will be said concerning the effects of demonic influences through curses.)
2) Through Deception: Deception can be simply described as believing something that’s true to be a lie or something that’s false to be true. This is one of the main ways the enemy gains entrance into a person’s personality. In fact, there are four particular lies that he uses frequently: First, a lie about God – that He doesn’t love you, is mad at you, etc. Or lies about yourself – that you’re no good, you’ll never amount to anything, etc. Lies about others – everyone else is rejecting you, that they don’t have the problems that you have, etc. And lies about the Devil – he’s powerful, you can’t fight him, you need to be afraid of him and his demons, etc. The liberating truths from these lies are, of course, the opposite: Concerning God – He loves you and He’s forgiven you. Yourself – you are a child of God, you can do all things through Him. Others – you’re called to love others regardless; everybody else struggles as you do with rejection, etc. The Devil – he has no legitimate authority over you, you have authority over him, and he’s very much afraid of you when you know who you are in Christ.
3) Through Unyielded Areas: When a believer refuses to surrender an area of His life over to the Lordship of Jesus, then that area can become a breeding ground for demon infestation. Your only safety and hiding place from the enemy is under the anointing of Jesus’ Lordship and the covering of His shed blood.
4) Through Transference of Spirits or Transferred Control: One can come under the control of demonic forces through the influence of people, situations and events that surround him. For instance, a believer can be susceptible to a rebellious or judgmental attitude of his coworkers or a an unhealthy attitude that may pervade his church or ministry. There’s spiritual power when a majority of people are feeling a certain way concerning a certain issue (peer pressure, “mob” psychology, conformity, following the crowd, etc.)
5) Through Soul Ties: A soul tie is the joining or knitting together of the bonds of a relationship. Godly soul ties occur when like-minded believers are together in the Lord: friends, marriage partners and believers to pastors. Relationships that lack “God-centered-ness” can result in ungodly soul ties between friends, parents and children, siblings, marriage partners, former romantic or sexual partners and domineering authorities. Unhealthy attachments with another can adversely affect your life. For example: a mother who refuses to relinquish her hold on her children, a person who will not let go the memory of an old romantic flame, one who holds a resentments against another, or one who uses spiritual forces to control others (witchcraft).
6) Through Curses: A curse is simply wishing evil on another. Curses can provide openings for demonic influence in several ways. Self-inflicted curses bring about anguish and destruction upon one’s own life. When someone speaks evil or negative things about himself, he sets in motion spiritual forces that bring to pass the things spoken. For example: “I Just can’t do my job,” “I’m so afraid that I’ll get sick,” “I don’t believe that I’ll ever change in this area.” Also, present or past involvement with any activities of the occult will bring curses and spiritual bondage into the life.
Other-inflicted curses, or curses that are directed towards others, bring considerable damage to lives, homes, businesses, etc. Those who operate in the occult sciences of mind-control, witchcraft and sorcery can inflict demonic control and domination upon unsuspecting and unprotected people, places and situations. Only the intelligent appropriation of the blood of Jesus can successfully protect from such assaults.
Another area of other-inflicted curses lies in the area of gossip, judgments, and evil speaking. When people engage in these activities, it’s possible that evil spirits will be loosed upon the parties spoken against. The effect, though not necessarily intentional, can be the same as that of deliberate witchcraft.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF INDWELLING SPIRITS?
Areas of the life that are dominated by the following characteristics generally reveal the presence of the demonic: captivated feelings, driven-ness, torments, compulsions, or feelings of being pushed, pestered or controlled by a force other than yourself. So many relegate these symptoms in their life and in the lives of their children to natural causes. It’s essential, however, that the true source be revealed so that full deliverance can occur.
The following are seven symptoms that reveal the possible presence of evil spirits in a person’s personality, mind, body or emotions:
- Emotional Problems: Persistent, recurring disturbances in the area of the emotions: resentment, anger, fear, rejection, self-pity, depression, inferiority, insecurity, etc.
- Mental Problems: Disturbances in the mind and thought life: mental torment, procrastination, indecision, confusion, doubt, rationalizations, loss of memory.
- Speech Problems: Outbursts or uncontrolled use of the tongue: lying, cursing, criticism, gossip, mocking, etc.
- Sex Problems: Compulsive, recurring unclean thoughts and acts: fantasy sexual thoughts, lusts, perversions, masturbation, pornography, seduction, homosexual tendencies, etc.
- Addictions: Examples of bondage in this area: nicotine, alcohol, drugs, food, television, trashy novels, unhealthy and dependent relationships, etc.
- Physical Infirmities: Physical afflictions due to spirits of infirmity: arthritis, skin diseases, cancers, headaches, heart problems, etc. (see Luke 13:11)
- Religious Error: Any degree of involvement in the following can bring about severe demonization: the occult or related practices; Eastern religions; secret societies and mystery cults; psychological practices in the areas of hypnosis, guided imagery, or biofeedback, unscriptural doctrines and teachings, etc.
ENTERING THE WAR OF DELIVERANCE
It is essential that you become aware of the devices of the evil one in his attempts to immobilize and constrict you in your life. The enemy is constantly seeking to bind you in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realms. Whether you want to believe it or not, you are in a real war. The battleground is your soul, and victory or defeat is determined by the actions of your will in resisting the enemy through taking the name of Jesus in the authority and power of His Spirit.
In order to obtain and maintain freedom in the Spirit, it’s necessary to resist and overcome the enemy in every sphere of his operation. Before you can ever become effective in defeating the enemy’s activities in the lives of others, you must first break free from the strongholds that may be in your own life. Satan is a tenacious foe who will stubbornly hold onto any ground given to him. You must diligently undo his hold in your life in every area if you expect to live in the freedom and peace of the Lord Jesus.
Deliverance is simply the act of expelling demons and their entangled strongholds from a human soul. The Greek word for `cast out’ (see Mark 16:17) means to throw out violently or to vomit out. Demons are spirits, literally winds or breaths, and though they are not things as we normally think of things in our three dimensional world, they can inhabit places. But, praise God, they can also be forced out through the authority of the Victor Jesus.
THREE STEP PROCEDURE FOR DELIVERANCE
The following has been found to be an effective three step procedure in expelling evil spirits from one’s life:
- CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). The first thing to do is to recognize, admit, and confess the area of bondage within. Sometimes, particularly if you have never received deliverance before or if you’re bound in a tight grip of shame, it’s best to confess the sin to mature brothers or sisters who can adequately deal with the problem. Also, as you feel led to do so, break curses, forgive others, resolve to obey the Lord if you’ve been disobedient in an area. In other words, clean up your act before you enter warfare.
- INVITATION: Invite the Holy Spirit to come empower you. Spend some time waiting on Him. Ask Him to focus pressure on any indwelling spirits.
- COMMAND: Begin to demand firmly, in the name of Jesus, that all indwelling and attached spirits leave you. You need not yell or shout; demons can hear quite well. The power is in Jesus’ name, not in the volume of your voice. Be persistent! Evil spirits generally exit through the breathing passages and come out by simple breathing, yawning, coughing or gagging. The manifestations, or the lack of them, depend on many factors involving the individual and the demons and are therefore difficult to predict. Spirits not deeply rooted will usually yield fairly easily, whereas stronger, more heavily entrenched spirits will require time and effort to dislodge. The more stubborn and tenacious ones may require the help of other believers to release their hold on your soul.
In spite of the fact that you are dealing with a defeated foe whose legal grounds have been destroyed, strong demons are no pushovers. Even in retreat the enemy can and will put up a fierce and determined rear guard action. Because of the cleverness of the spirits, many people are fooled into thinking a strategic retreat of the enemy is a wholesale surrender. Real persistence and discernment are needed here. It is exceedingly rare to see a demonic structure of many years destroyed in a single session. However, the enemy can be mortally wounded in such an encounter of self deliverance. The order of the day is “Attack! Attack! Attack!” Give the enemy no time to regroup his forces; rather keep him off balance by demanding his departure from the occupied territory in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realms.
When demons leave, a noticeable difference occurs within you, a noticeable cessation or slackening of pressures and/or torments in the areas of activity. For instance, physical pains, headaches and nagging throbs may disappear; tormenting thoughts may stop; voices of accusation may cease; pressures around the mind may release. For every inch of ground regained from the enemy there will be definite improvement.
MAINTAINING FREEDOM AFTER YOUR DELIVERANCE EXPERIENCE
It is vital to remember that you are in a war. Although you may have succeeded in thrusting out the tormenting enemy, he will seek to regain entrance at a later time when he finds your guard down. You must remain diligent, obedient, and filled with the Spirit of God in order to maintain the freedom you’ve gained and to receive more deliverance in the days to come. Even as a time of careful recuperation is necessary for someone recovering from the removal of a tumor, so it is important for the believer to maintain careful obedience in the delivered area of the soul, particularly until that area can grow strong in the Lord.
Staying faithful in the following three areas will protect you from further demonic infestation and will keep you in the place to receive more deliverance.
- Maintain a close, personal, intimate walk with Jesus. A daily quiet time, reading the Word and intercession for others will help you to keep your heart and mind on the Lord during the day.
- Stay in open and accountable relationships with mature brothers and sisters. It’s through day to day fellowship with others that the Spirit of God reveals and manifests the hidden strongholds within. As you continue in vulnerable relationships, staying in a posture of humility to hear what the Lord may be saying to you through others, God will continue an ongoing ministry of deliverance in your life.
- Ask the Lord to send you opportunities to minister to others. This is one of the best ways to maintain the freedom you’ve received from the ministry of deliverance. When an area of the life has been liberated from the bondage’s of darkness, then God will grant an extra measure of faith and authority to minister to the same area in others. For instance, if you are struggling in the area of fear, then the best person to go to for ministry would be someone who has experienced freedom from this same bondage. He will be able to pray with authority and minister in compassion.
There are few things in life as exciting as learning to fight and become victorious in spiritual warfare. If you are diligent and faithful in the battle, you will see God’s mighty hand bringing much freedom to your life and the lives of those around you.
Copyright © 1992, 1994 by New Wine Christian Fellowship.