Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found,
Was blind but now I see…
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures…
You’re probably familiar with the lyrics above. They echo the gratefulness of the precious gift of salvation and a life anchored by faith in Christ. Surely, Jesus is the key to victory no matter what we face or what we endure. What may appear like a defeat in your life is only a defeat if you define it as such. I am empowered and emboldened by the redemptive work of the cross, for I know that the blood shed on Calvary not only saves us from eternal damnation, but also gives us access to triumph over anything that does not line up with the will of God. We know that one of those things is sin. Jesus bore our sin in His body and by grace through faith in Him, we are free indeed. How then, do some of us find ourselves ensnared in sin’s venomous grip? Who’s to blame? Was Christ’s death not enough?
For starters, we must understand that it is NOT the will of God for anyone to be in any type of bondage. Before I expound on ‘bondage,’ let’s define sin. What exactly does it mean? Sin means to miss the mark of God’s holy standard of righteousness and moral purity. 1 John 3:4 specifically defines sin as the breaking, or transgression of God’s law. In Deuteronomy 9:7, it’s also described as disobedience or rebellion against God. When I speak of bondage, I’m describing compulsive serving/indulgence of a certain fleshly desire or perpetual functioning under the influence of a demonic spirit or stronghold. Any believer who is bound needs deliverance. Deliverance can be gained through:
Evil spirits or demons (Greek daimonion), typically hold the key to bondage. They can’t dwell in our spirit because the Holy Spirit has possession there, but demons can afflict or attack the body and soul. We see it in the gospels. Fortunately, Jesus is our escape. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17). If we study the gospels, we notice that Jesus is the first one to cast out demons. Christ does not intend for us to deviate from the works of His ministry, as He plainly states “he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also and greater…” (John 14:12). Demons are basically evil spirits, but I love the more in-depth definition apostle Dr. Matthew Stevenson provides: a disembodied spirit with a vision, aim, and relentless goal to facilitate the destruction of the human race and whole creative order. So if these evil spirits have the aforementioned agenda, we can certainly see the desperate need for deliverance for anyone bound by them. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18). If believers could not be under the influence or oppression of a demon, as some believe—why then would Jesus give us the command to cast them out? (Matthew 10:8). Why would deliverance only be for the non-believer, who doesn’t even want the gift of salvation? Jesus specifically tells the Syrophenician woman who was seeking deliverance for her daughter, that she cannot have what only belongs to believers:
“Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to little dogs.” -Mark 7:27
Casting out demonic spirits simply involves you or someone else under the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, commanding them to LEAVE in the name of Jesus. Sometimes this kind of deliverance can even be done over the phone or through live streams such as Periscope. In fact, Prophet Ugo Ezeji has extended his deliverance ministry using Periscope, where many people have testified to him of the goodness of now being freed.
How is this even so? Demons are subject to the name of Jesus! (Luke 10:17). Spiritual warfare cannot successfully be engaged without opening our mouth. How are these spirits able to enter one’s life in the first place? Succumbing to temptation/weaknesses, watching/listening to sinful material, open doors from childhood abuse/trauma, generational curses/sin, word curses from others, unhealed soul wounds, erroneous teachings/beliefs and vain imaginations. What are some of the spirits or strongholds that people are usually in bondage to? Lust, addiction, witchcraft, legalism/spirit of religion, un-forgiveness, poverty, fear, doubt, depression, and several others. Quite often when people have evil spirits casted out of them, the manifestation produces reactions such as coughing, screaming, involuntary body movements, or even vomiting during the deliverance. This is NOT a bad thing and nothing to be afraid of. I’d rather puke than stay bound!
Next, what role does fasting play in helping one get free? Fasting renders the purging of unclean spirits. As you starve the flesh, these spirits will be forced to leave. Is not this fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6-8). Are you yoked to anything ungodly? Ties to the wrong relationships, philosophies, addictions and so forth can be broken through proper fasting. God will give you the strength to break free. Living a fasted life also gives you the strength to resist the devil, guarding you from traps that can lead to open doors for demonic spirits to enter. Remember when Jesus casted out the demon in the epileptic boy after the disciples couldn’t do it? “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). This shows us that fasting edifies and empowers our spirit man, giving us the advantage over Satan and his agents of darkness. If you’ve never gone on a fast, biblical fasting entails abstaining from foods for a set period of time. At the beginning of this year I made it a goal to start fasting at least once a week. Always be led by the Spirit when commencing a fast. How long you fast on certain days is between you and the Lord. So if you are finding it difficult to rid anything in your life that’s not of God, go on a fast! Fasting should evolve into a lifestyle, not just a onetime thing.
Additionally, many people are also in need of deliverance from distorted beliefs or strongholds (a fortress built up in the mind based on incorrect thinking patterns). There was a woman who shared that she has a wonderful husband. She was programmed to believe that sex with her own husband was wrong. Why? The church and household she grew up in taught about sex in a way that made it seem dirty and bad. The problem was, no one obviously made the distinction that sex within godly marriage was NOT dirty, but designed to be beautiful and glorious. She was inhibited during sex and worse, conditioned to feel guilt and shame for partaking of something that God created, purposed and approved of!
Another woman was in an abusive marriage and thought a divorce would send her to Hell. These beliefs are not from God! This is why it is vital to not lean only on the teachings of people around us or just our leaders. We MUST build a strong relationship with the Lord for ourselves. I repeat: YOU must build a strong relationship with the Lord for yourself. He will clarify, reveal, and confirm everything you should know. So it’s not only sin that people often need deliverance from, but from any type of thinking, ideology, or mindset that does not align with the truth. Strongholds must be confronted and pulled down with God’s truth!
Aside from obvious sin present in one’s life, how can you recognize if you are possibly bound by anything while in Christ? A struggle is a key indicator, but being in bondage can specifically introduce or manifest the following:
-Prolonged feelings of depression, torment, uneasiness, anxiety, inadequacy, insecurity
-Spirit of heaviness; feeling weighed down/overburdened
-Lack of inner peace or joy; constant fretting/worrying
-Walking in any spirit that does NOT glorify God (i.e. jealousy, perversion, idolatry, pride, fear)
-Being more controlled by people than God
-Very critical/selfish/unloving towards others
-Living in denial/deception/delusion
-Ungodly soul ties
If you are experiencing any of the above, but cannot identify or trace the root, spend time in prayer and seek the Lord for understanding of what might have you bound. God will bring it to your attention or have the right person bring it to your attention. Prayer is essential and enables God to deliver us and release any shackles we are in. I myself could not adequately address bondage if I didn’t have a personal testimony to share. For years, I took pleasure in masturbation. But last year, I finally overcame it. How was I made free? In the midst of developing my relationship with the Lord and praying prayers of deliverance and warfare over my life, God cleansed me of such sin and renewed my mind in Christ. As Pastor DoQuoi Green would say, getting delivered without renewing your mind is like living in a half built house. How do we renew our mind? With the word of God! In order to walk in purity, we must hate sin the way God hates it. How bad do YOU want to be holy? I’ll be anything God wants me to be to honor Him.
You want me to wait until marriage Lord before sex? Yup, okay You got it.
You want me to stop using profanity in my speech? Yup, okay You got it.
You want me to forgive the person who killed a loved one?? Yup, okay You got it.
I LOVE THE LORD! I didn’t say I am perfect and will never sin, nor am I saying pleasing God is always easy. What I am saying is that I will not be a slave to sin, but rather a slave to Christ. No one can serve two masters.
As you may know, many people have been victimized by bad life experiences. As a result, they have been exposed to the enemy and consequently, have hardened hearts with sins such as unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, and anger. The person who is bitter because of rejection is just as guilty as the person who is unmarried and sexually active with their mate. Sins of the heart are serious and can manifest in ways that detrimentally affect your health, relationships, and perception of both life and God. In such scenarios, one is certainly in need of deliverance, healing and restoration. The same goes for emotions such as shame and condemnation from traumatic events (abortion or molestation for example), which can open the door for sin if you try to heal and cope using improper/unhealthy remedies.
Here’s a reality I want to inject: if you’re in church week after week, but still in bondage to sin or demonic spirits, you are either in the wrong church or you are choosing to stay in agreement with the spirits that have you bound. Deliverance is a choice and Jesus cannot cast out devils that a person wants to hold on to. When it comes to the church, your church, and EVERY church—should be operating in deliverance, healings, miracles and spiritual warfare. A church without the anointing for such ministry is a church without power! Even if you are not aware that you are in some kind of bondage, in the right church where the power, glory and kingdom of God are heavily manifested, you’ll sooner than later find yourself FREE. What about the believer who is not currently a part of a church? Is there hope for them? Absolutely. If you’ve place faith in Christ as Savior, there is always hope for you. The moment you feel hopeless, is the moment you undermine and underestimate the power and love of God. Any yoke or bondage a believer is in, whether it’s porn addiction, homosexuality, drugs, resentment, paranoia, etc.—can be broken, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). What are the weapons of our warfare? Prayer, praise, the blood of Jesus, the name of Jesus, the fire of God and the word of God. Worship music can also be effective, as evidenced in 1 Samuel 16:23 when David plays the harp for Saul and causes the evil spirit to depart that was upon him. Always remember that spiritual battles cannot be fought nor won in the flesh!
So, what are the steps one is to take who is saved, yet finding it difficult to let go of sin, unclean/demonic spirits, or strongholds? As I mentioned earlier, if you are actively a part of a church, it should be transformative and life changing. A church of power will demonstrate Jesus, drive out darkness, and set captives free. You have probably heard church labeled as a hospital, and rightfully so. I know if I check into a medical hospital, I sure wouldn’t want to check out still sick. If you are not actively a part of a church or feel you’re not at the right church, the first step to getting set free is repentance or acknowledging you are bound.
When it’s repenting that you have to do, understand what that means. Repentance is making up in your mind that you want to renounce and turn away from ungodly living. There’s power in a changed mind! You must also bind up any pride or fear that would keep you from repenting. 1 John 1:9 tells us if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This means you have to be willing to be open with God. If you can’t be vulnerable with the Father, you hinder true healing and deliverance.
His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. You can begin by saying this simple prayer in faith: Heavenly Father, I repent unto You. I renounce any evil spirit that has gained any control over me, and I claim Your promise of deliverance. In your name Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen. Pray also for the grace and strength to begin a fast. During the fast, speak warfare prayers against the enemy. Call out the demonic spirits that have gained access to you (lust, fear, rage, etc.) and command them to GO in Jesus’ name. Call on Holy Ghost fire to destroy any foundation erected in your life by the enemy. Play or sing worship music, and anoint your home with oil if you feel necessary. Sometimes deliverance is a process. Keep warring in the spirit, reach out to people, and don’t give up. Demonic spirits will not be able to return if a door isn’t open. Prayer and obedience are the keys to keeping the door locked!
Now, let’s say you have been battling depression, operating in fear, or harboring unforgiveness due to someone betraying you. These are the sorts of things that you must be willing to acknowledge and admit you are in bondage to. There is no deliverance without transparency. If someone kept the secret that they were molested as a child, that shame and pain they are likely carrying around will imprison them for as long as they live if they do not confess the truth. Don’t let the enemy keep your mouth shut! The Bible declares that life and death is in the power of the tongue. Please reach out to someone and have them pray over you. This will usher in the healing process and break the powers of darkness that have held you bound. Even if mental illness has you afflicted, you must acknowledge this truth. God CAN HEAL MENTAL ILLNESS (Jeremiah 32:27—Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?) Even if you do seek medical help, you decide on whether to trust God for ultimate healing.
Secondly, if you’re not confident in your spiritual maturity or ability to discern the strongman (Mark 3:27) and identify specific demonic spirits, seek the help of Holy Ghost filled leaders and believers who are anointed to administer deliverance and walk you through healing and discipleship. They must exhibit the love of Jesus, and should also be able to dig out the layers of your issues to help uncover the true hidden treasures lying within you. You are victorious in Christ and therefore, must trust in Him completely to be made whole. Again, for those who are not church members yet, pray for divine connections and for God to plug you into the right house of worship. You can also search online for churches or ministries that are equipped to handle your needs, as led by the Spirit.
Thirdly, if you feel you will benefit from an additional accountability partner outside of those in your church or circle, link up with individuals who can help hold you accountable in walking uprightly and pursuing a life of holiness that glorifies God. An accountability partner should not be someone living in sin or someone who is spiritually abusive. Generally, these persons should be stronger than you in the areas where you are weak. Always pray for direction and discernment regarding relationships.
Last but not least, cultivate and build your relationship with Christ. No child of God can truly remain free if they are not developing intimacy and relationship with Him. Why is that? Because the closer you are to God, the further away you are from sin and the further away you are from the lies of Satan. Make Jesus first in your life, and anything not of God will have no room to dominate. This entails a lifestyle of prayer, fasting, bible studying, worship, and full submission. The right relationships are also important, as your circle should be people inspiring your faith and drawing you closer to Christ. Any negative seeds the enemy has sown in your mind or heart uproot in prayer and speak the Word over your life. Guard your eye and ear gates! Cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
You have a divine destiny and purpose to fulfill on earth. God did not just send His son for us to make it to Heaven. We have an assignment now, and anything outside of His will that we find ourselves entangled in will make it that much harder to serve with authenticity, holiness, and power. Deliverance is the children’s bread and covenant right of every believer. You will know you are delivered when you feel emancipated and experience a significant change! Truly, whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Be encouraged that you’re loved by the Father and that you’re preciously valuable in His sight. By this love we have strength, protection, healing, peace and liberty. By this love we have the abundant life.
I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust; His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
**I’d love to share a worship song with you that truly ministers and blesses my soul. It supplements this piece perfectly, ‘Victory Belongs to Jesus’ by Todd Dulaney - https://youtu.be/wa78qxQCKgo. I pray it blesses you as well! Also if you desire prayer or need to reach out you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect with Crystal on Twitter: @Christ_forYou