We have to make countless decisions every day. Sadly, many of us fail to seek God's wisdom. Instead, people in desperate situations often make desperate choices.
But when we make decisions that violate the Word of God, the consequences can be grave. Unwise choices can lead to the destruction of marriages, relationships, families, careers and even life itself.
Some people constantly make wrong decisions based on their faulty belief systems rather than on God's guidance. They think their decision-making processes are under their own private control. But in truth, their choices become casualty covenants with the enemy, resulting in the negative outcomes they have come to expect.
A casualty covenant is a conscious or unconscious agreement made with forces of darkness that may lead to bondage, distress, disease or death. This type of agreement is binding and strong enough to change the course of a person's life.
These subconscious agreements that exist in the mind and emotions can affect our thoughts and behavior without our awareness. Satan's carefully engineered suggestions and strategies are designed to bring death not only to our dreams but also to our bodies.
Psychiatrists recognize that we can make unconscious decisions and judgments that bring about either delight or disaster in our lives. They call these "self-fulfilling prophecies" and death wishes, which can open the door in people's lives to a spirit of death.
CASUALTY COVENANTS AFFECT OUR HEALTH One area in our lives that these covenants can affect is our health. You have heard people say such things as, "All the men in my family died of heart attacks, so I probably will too."
Christians are not immune to accepting this lie of the enemy. If our relatives suffer or even die from a particular disease, we may become vulnerable to the suggestion that we will contract the same illness.
Believing in our hearts and saying with our mouths that we might develop certain diseases fulfills a biblical principle in a negative way. From our hearts, we are speaking what we believe will come to pass; and, therefore, we will have what we say (see Mark 11:24).
Satan wants to rob us of life so he uses the leverage of an inherited curse or a genetic disease to persuade us to agree with his lies by speaking and believing them. If we allow that kind of satanic input to dominate our thought life, it becomes easy to make an agreement with our deadly foe, accepting distress or disease as inevitable.
When we lack knowledge of God's Word or are disobedient to its truth, we are like open targets in a pitching booth at the county fair: We can be hit by one of the devil's balls of fire and never know what happened!
Only by understanding and obeying the Scriptures will we avoid being defeated by the devil. Jesus said that knowing God's truth sets people free. This is God's will for all men (see John 8:32; 1 Tim. 2:3-4).
That's why we must not be ignorant of Satan's devices. We must follow Jesus' example when He was tempted and counter each temptation with God's Word (see Matt. 4:5-11).
We cannot let ignorance of the Bible, religious tradition or false teaching cause us to believe that we can't be deceived into making a covenant that results in casualties to ourselves and our loved ones. If Satan sought to convince the Son of God to agree with him in the wilderness, we can expect him to try to trick us into agreeing with him as well.
A NEAR-CASUALTY I was ignorant of these truths when I entered the hospital for routine surgery years ago. Waking up from the anesthesia, I was surprised to see my physician standing beside my bed.
She said: "Mrs. Winborn, you have ovarian cancer. Laboratory tests show that it is in the last stages and has metastasized.
"However," she continued, "there is one hope. It's called the gold treatment and involves inserting a live radioisotope into your body, which will make you temporarily radioactive.
"Since this is a rather harsh treatment, it will be necessary to give you time between surgeries to recuperate...Otherwise, Mrs. Winborn, you probably have less than six months to live."
As this grim prognosis sunk in, I began hearing in my spirit: "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13, NKJV).
I was in physical pain and struggling mentally to sort out all I was hearing. I concluded that my Father God would sustain me through this crisis, and I agreed to the treatment.
Meanwhile, my family and friends comforted me and prayed for my full recovery. Entire congregations were united in prayer on my behalf.
About this time, I attended a meeting in the home of my friends, where the Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin was ministering. Brother Hagin prophesied concerning my condition and said, "She will be all right."
This was an extraordinary word from the Lord considering the medical prognosis. I clung to his prophetic words like a person in a pit grasping a rope for deliverance.
When the time came for my surgery, a skilled physician administered the gold treatment. The hospital care was excellent and all went well.
Suddenly, new tests revealed tumors in both of my breasts; the prognosis wasn't good. My Christian gynecologist had done all she could to help. I realized my days were limited; obviously, the cancer had continued to spread.
But I really believed God would heal me. I had two young sons to raise.
Unexpectedly, I began to hear words spoken into my left ear. The voice was that of a demonic messenger, who said, "Make a covenant with Satan, and you can live."
I had never realized before that a Christian could make a covenant with Satan. If I had obeyed that voice, I would have made a conscious covenant with the enemy, whereas most people are deceived into making unconscious covenants with him.
This proposition came at a time when it seemed that a dark and final curtain was falling upon my life. I desperately desired to live. Yet despite so many prayers and all the good care I had received, the ordeal had intensified!
I was not confused about my response to the satanic proposition. I reasoned: Satan is a liar. Jesus Christ is the truth. I refuse Satan's offer of life. I will trust Jesus Christ, who is life. The confrontation was over, and I slept soundly for the first time in months.
"MIND HEALING" VS. DIVINE HEALING After that, I was led to attend a Kathryn Kuhlman miracle service. She had everyone attending the huge meeting pray for me and even personally prayed for my healing. At that time, I knew that a spirit of fear left me.
After the meeting, I still had tumors in my breast. However, I no longer feared dying.
The Holy Spirit kept reminding me of two Scriptures: "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me" (Prov. 8:17, KJV); and "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness (Lam. 3:22-23).
Obeying the Holy Spirit's prompting, I arose early one morning in my home and went into the living room.
The house was quiet. The morning was beautiful. The husband and sons I loved so much were still asleep.
I slipped to my knees, bowed my head and said: "Lord, Your Word says that Your compassions fail not, and Your mercies are new every morning. Lord, I ask You to be merciful to me and let me live to raise the two sons You have given me."
Almost immediately, God began to open my understanding to certain mistakes I'd made. He showed me that, without realizing it, I had counted on my good works to merit special attention from Him.
Right away, I repented of this sin, and as I waited quietly before the Lord, He showed me there is a fine line between divine healing and mind healing. The source of divine healing is Jesus Christ, but mind healing is using the force of your own will to make something come to pass through your own stubbornness.
The change from having faith in the finished work of Christ to having faith in my own ability had been so subtle that I was unaware of it when it happened. The Spirit of truth had to reveal it to me.
HEALED IN AN INSTANT I now knew how I had drifted from the simple gospel, and I asked God to forgive me. Slowly, an assurance began to fill my heart that I was healed of cancer!
Soon after that experience, I had biopsies of the two tumors in my breasts. No cancer was found!
Fifteen months later, after much prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit, I submitted to an exploratory operation by the doctor who had performed the gold treatment. There still wasn't any cancer! I was healed!
I am thoroughly convinced that the main reason many people have a recurrence of cancer is their fear that it will come back. The evil spirit works on the patient's thought life until he or she finally yields to the fear of cancer and becomes a casualty again.
Through my experiences I have learned to resist thoughts of fear of a recurrence. I have stayed free of cancer for more than 30 years.
CUTTING TIES You can break all agreements you have ever made with the enemy--consciously or unconsciously. In the name of Jesus, you can be completely free so that casualty covenants have no power over you from this moment on.
Satan wants to keep you in the dark concerning any areas in your soul where you have yielded to the temptation to agree with him. Pray to the Father God in the name of Jesus Christ and ask Him to reveal to you any covenants you may have made with Satan in your life.
Receive God's answer and act on it immediately, asking His forgiveness (see 1 John 1:9). God's will is for us to enjoy abundant life. Jesus said, "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of" (John 10:10, The Message).
Most of us suffer occasionally from attacks of negative emotions such as self-pity, fear, rejection and bitterness. Satan's plan is always to deceive through these emotions to make something wrong seem right.
We can't keep these transient attacks from coming to our thoughts. But just as we don't have to let birds that fly over our heads make a nest in our hair, we also don't have to dwell on those negative emotions.
Jesus came to set you free, and you can be "free indeed" (John 8:36). As you come to understand the devices of the devil to deceive you into making covenants with him, you can cut his evil influence out of your thoughts and decisions forever. *
Mickie Winborn is an ordained minister and author of Breaking Casualty Covenants (Harrison House). She is president of Mickie Winborn Ministries, Inc., and lives in Houston with her husband, Kenneth.