One issue that we must confront in our quest to live free is "soul wounds." Many people are doing their best to discover and accept the will of God for their lives, but there seems to be a barrier that blocks their success. They struggle with particular behaviors, attitudes, and actions that contaminate their obedience and undermine their relationships. Despite a real commitment to the plan of God, they keep stumbling. This can be the fruit of a wounded soul.
A soul wound is an emotional hurt that has not been addressed. It is a part of the mind that is infected and desperately needs healing. In the hands of the enemy, a soul wound, even one inflicted long ago, can easily be used as a current tool to perpetuate an ongoing spiritual attack.
All of us have been designed by God as three-part beings—spirit, soul, and body. Our mind, or our intellect, is a part of our soul. We do not consist of just one part. We are a spirit, we live in a body, and we have a soul, as Hebrews 4:12 (MEV) illustrates:
"For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart."
The Greek word for "heart" in this passage is kardia. It means "heart, the emotional center of our being, and the capacity of moral preference." It is the part of us that produces desire and makes us tick. It is the inner part of our minds where decisions are made. The heart is the part of each of us that defines who we are.
In light of these definitions it is easy to understand why the adversary would like to attack our hearts, the inner mind we each have, and pollute it with wounds. Many times the enemy will use an old, unrecognized, and unresolved emotional wound as a gateway for a present attack. It is possible to experience hurt and bitterness about something that is going on in your life right now that stings because of an old and unresolved soul wound.
The devil loves to put his hand on a soul wound and dig in a traumatized area of the human mind. He uses those old wounds to perpetuate a false belief system and fuel his lies.
How does a soul wound develop? Typically there is a point of trauma that creates systems of thought and cycles of behavior. For example, a small child is abandoned by a parent. The trauma of rejection is released into the emotional or mental heart of that child. The incident creates a negative emotional wound that is often reinforced by other events. Over time the wounded soul creates a stronghold of fear and rejection that further creates polluted imaginations, false expectations, and unrealistic demands. As the wounded soul lashes out against people, relational misfires occur that create even more rejection and wounds. Walls begin to develop, and there is a pattern of unhealthy relationships established.
The soul wound drags the person down a path of continued defeat. His life moves in the opposite direction of his prophetic destiny. He has inner emotional turmoil that ultimately manifests in dramatic outer behavior.
Have you ever seen someone who thrives on constant drama? He may even say things such as, "I hate drama!" Yet all of his friends are emotionally unhealthy, he dates people who are unhealthy, and he creates dramatic situations on a regular basis. This is a prime example of an extreme soul wound. The person lives out what he knows, and what he knows is turmoil and drama. His inner self is not at rest. Until the wound is recognized and the healing flow initiated, he will remain under siege.
Finding Healing From Soul Wounds
One key reason people are not healed of soul wounds is that though we are quick to identify the behavior, we don't deal with the root of the behavior. For example, a person may recognize that he continually has relationship issues, but what he's seeing is the fruit, not the root. He may see that he lashes out quickly in anger and may even identify an anger problem in himself, but again, the focus is on behavior. The deeper question he needs to ask is, "Why do I feel angry so often?" Revealing the soul wound opens the door for healing.
To be healed and set free you have to go on the journey of asking yourself: "What is the wound? How did it come into being? What doors need to be closed?" This is where it gets messy; the answers may point to something that doesn't always lend itself to a quick fix. You cannot always just run forward for a quick prayer and get everything resolved.
Many times an intentional step toward healing must be taken, and a whole new way of thinking must be discovered. You have to start processing information and experiences differently. That is work! But you will find that it is worth it when you are able to enjoy a life that is planted in peace and your soul is dwelling in Jesus.
When you begin the journey of healing, asking the difficult questions and giving honest answers, then you invite the healing power of God on the scene. Jesus loves to heal our minds. In fact, He has already paid the full price for us to live in complete and total peace:
"Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed" (Is. 53:4–5, MEV).
The word sorrows in this verse translates to "grief, pain, or sorrow [affliction]." The good news here is that when Jesus shed His blood, He carried our inner pain and wounds so that we don't have to. He paid the absolute price for our emotional redemption. The enemy sees a gigantic "Off Limits!" sign on our minds. That sign is for him. He is not legally granted access to our souls. We can kick him out and initiate the life-giving flow of healing! We are boldly invited by Jesus to cast all our cares on Him (1 Pet. 5:7).
The divine peace Jesus paid for us to have is one of the wonderful gifts He ministers to us as the Good Shepherd. The Bible says He leads us to a place of peace and inner healing:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake" (Ps. 23:1–3).
Our lives were never meant to be tossed to and fro with inner pain and confusion. As we discover wounds in our emotions, we can put a demand on the healing ministry of Jesus. Just as the woman with the issue of blood jumped up from her bed of affliction and touched Jesus (Mark 5:25–34), so can we. We can rise up and worship the Healer, inviting Him into our emotions and pulling on the anointing of healing that rests mightily on Him.
How? You put a demand on His healing power! You begin to declare healing over your mind and speak the Word of God. With the Holy Spirit's help you identify unhealthy routines and patterns. I recognized a soul wound in my life a number of years ago and embarked on this process. God's healing power began to flow right away. When I would spot that behavior, I would say to myself, inwardly, "OK, you are healed, and you are not going to act that way!" Then I would make my flesh line up with my promise. You have to learn to live and think like a healed person. This absolutely slams the door shut on the enemy.
A renewed mind—a healed and restored soul—is one that can soar far above the fleeting strategies of hell. Recognizing the pathway to peace and choosing to confront old soul wounds have the potential of unlocking another dimension of victorious living. These actions are of utmost importance in breaking spiritual attacks. You must confront the enemy's lies in your mind and release the healing power of God.
The preceding is excerpted from Overcoming Spiritual Attack by Ryan LeStrange, published by Charisma House, 2016. Copyright © 2016 by Ryan LeStrange.
Ryan LeStrange started in ministry after training and serving under his spiritual father, Dr. Norvel Hayes. Ryan and his wife, Joy, lead Impact International Ministries based in Bristol, Virginia, which consists of several local churches and revival ministries. Through Ryan LeStrange Ministries, he travels the globe preaching, igniting revival and moving in the power of God. Ryan can be seen weekly on his television program, Power 4 Today, airing around the world on GodTV. He is the founder and apostle of Impact International Apostolic Fellowship, networking and fathering ministers around the world. Ryan has written several books releasing an apostolic and prophetic perspective to the body of Christ.