Join us on our new podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
GOD HAS GIVEN US POWER OVER THE ENEMY. IF YOU BELIEVE CHRIST CAME TO SET THE CAPTIVES FREE, THEN DELIVERANCE IS FOR YOU.
If you are a believer, then Jesus has given you the authority to represent Him. Mark 16:17-18 tells us: "'These signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues: they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover'" (NKJV).
Every believer has the ability to cast out devils. A believer who does not cast out devils is like a person who carries around a gift card but never uses it.
We come to Jesus in need of salvation and release from the grips of the evil one and his lifestyle. Once we are released, a sure sign of spiritual growth in Christ is the manifestation of the signs of the believers mentioned above.
You cannot get around the ministry of casting out devils if you want to walk in the full gospel. Unless you believe in deliverance, you are not fulfilling the entire purpose of Christ for your life as outlined in His Word.
Jesus came to set the captives free. He could have sat in heaven and loosed fire on the devil's head, but He came down as a man, as an example to us that we can resist and attack demonic forces in victory.
God gets no pleasure out of watching the devil attack and destroy His children. Jesus hijacked the devil and gave us the keys. Now He sits at the right hand of the Father and watches to see what we will do with them.
THE STRATEGY OF THE KINGDOM
The traditional way of living out our Christianity is to somehow just "make it" until Jesus comes back "in the sweet by and by." But God is raising up an apostolic generation with a different spirit.
This generation has the spiritual balance to dig up the wells of their forefathers and draw from their inheritance. But they will not follow the traditions of men that were designed to keep people out of the promised land.
Know who you are in Christ Jesus and who He is in you! Who you are in Him qualifies you for heaven; who He is in you authorizes you to do greater works than He did in the earth. The strategy of God's kingdom is this: God's will coming to Earth.
Jesus told Peter: "'I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven'"(Matt. 16:18-19).
You are the devil's worst nightmare! Once you grasp the revelation that you were born to terrorize darkness, you will stop running from situations that are designed to take you out of the will of God.
Pray that God will give you a burden for setting people free. Once your heart becomes heavy from seeing the devil hold captive the people with whom you have daily contact, you will have a hunger to see souls not only delivered from sin but also set free from the demonic control of Satan and his evil spirits.
God has given us a revelation of the believer's authority over hell. Binding and loosing is a high level of spiritual warfare.
In binding, we confront the enemy and forbid him to operate. When we loose, we cause a breakthrough in the spirit realm. We pave the way through warfare prayer, and the will of God is released (see Matt. 6:10).
You make a spiritual connection when you engage the enemy in prayer. You actually come into agreement with heaven (see Matt. 18:19). Then the keys are given to us to shut up demonic activity, and breakthrough happens!
How you pray has a lot to do with how effective you are on Earth. James told his church that they did not have what they were praying for because they were not praying the right prayers. "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3).
If we are not praying prayers that are the will of God, then we are praying prayers out of our own flesh. Fleshly prayers do not move the heart of God. They are futile.
But a kingdom-minded person has an apostolic attitude and is not drawn to carnality. He or she is drawn instead to that which causes the kingdom of God to come.
MAINTAIN YOUR DELIVERANCE
In order to be effective deliverance workers, intercessors or ministers, we need to "practice what we preach." Paul made this point in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27: "I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me!
"I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself" (The Message). It is easy for most believers to recognize Satan as evil, but it seems to be difficult for some to see their flesh as evil.
However, it is the season for the saints of God to get their houses in order. Accept the fact that your flesh has a mind of its own (see Rom. 8:5-8). It must be sternly dealt with, or it will run the house.
Getting deliverance is one thing; sustaining it is another. There are several spiritual keys to maintaining your deliverance.
Key No. 1: Remain connected. First Peter 5:8 warns us that our adversary is seeking whom he may devour. One of his primary targets is a believer who does not have the proper spiritual connection or covering in two areas:
**Leadership. God gave gifts (the fivefold ministry) to the church for the maturity of the saints (see Eph. 2:20). Individual believers need to be touched by each of the fivefold ministries of the church--including the apostolic and prophetic ministries.
**Fellowship. God warns us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (see Heb. 10:24-25). Those who allow themselves to be separated from the flock will be devoured by the lion.
Key No. 2: Separate yourself from the accursed thing. In the days of Joshua, the Israelites were known as people of victory. They were famous for deliverance. But their challenge was dealing with the spoils of their victory.
In Joshua's case, God commanded that they not take any of the enemy's goods (see Josh. 6:18). The four lepers who sat at the gate of Samaria were to take of the goods, but hoarding them would cause them to lose their deliverance (see 2 Kin. 7).
When God has delivered you and you obtain victory in an area of your life, you must have an ear to hear the further instructions of the Lord. God takes you from one level to the next, but there are new devils on every level.
When you get saved and delivered, you do not join a club membership; you enroll in the greatest army ever! God is taking His people from a "membership mentality" to a "warfare mentality" (see Judg. 3:1).
Key No. 3: Study the Word of God. Second Timothy 2:15 says that if you study the Word of God, you will not be ashamed. It also says that studying the Word will give you the ability to rightfully divide the word of truth.
The urgency of studying the Word is made clear in the story of Hymenaeus and Philetus (see 2 Tim. 2:16-18). They made an error concerning the truth that caused them to lose their deliverance and to be turned over to Satan.
Their sin was said to be blasphemy. According to 2 Timothy 2:16, vain babblings will increase and lead to more ungodliness. When you do not rightfully divide the truth, it will devour your deliverance.
Key No. 4: Break old ties and soul ties. Second Corinthians 5:17 describes true deliverance. Old things are passed away, and, when people see us, all things in our lives appear new.
Romans 12:2 says to be "transformed" into the image of Christ and not "conformed" to the image of the world. The image of the world represents what you've come out of. The image of Christ is what you are moving toward.
The "new man" will not fit over the old man. Just like a floor that must be stripped and buffed before it is waxed, you must be stripped of every troubling sin or weight. Stay away from the thing from which you have been delivered (see Heb. 12:1).
Key No. 5: Guard your thought life. You are only as delivered as you think you are (see Prov. 23:7).
My strongest bondages were cigarettes and cocaine. After I was set free by the power of Jesus Christ, the devil would place images before me to make me think I was still bound by these addictions.
He told me I was still a junkie. But I knew I was free.
When Satan spoke, I heard him from afar because God's voice was so much louder. God said that we would know His voice and this would help us not to follow the enemy (see John 10:5).
People think that when the devil speaks to them, something is wrong. But if he is speaking to you, you are doing something right.
Take responsibility for your deliverance. Once you have submitted yourself to God, learn to resist the devil. If you do, he must flee! (See James 4:7.)
The devil is not trying to talk you out of what you do not have. He is targeting you because you have something he wants.
Guard your thought life from the enemy. He wants to confuse you and cause you to doubt your purpose in God. Any voice that does not speak the truth (the Word) is of the devil.
When the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, their greatest challenge was coming out of a bondage mentality. When God sets us free, the enemy attempts to get us to remember the good things about our former bondage because he wants to make serving God seem harder.
We must move forward! People who are stagnated spiritually have no prophetic insight. Go forth based on the word of the Lord that has been given to you.
The greatest aspect of deliverance is hope. It gives us a foundation for our faith.
Your faith must stand trial. The Lord spoke to Moses and told him to tell the people to move forward (see Ex. 14:15). They could not be concerned about the Red Sea in front of them. It always takes faith to move forward.
Lot was delivered out of Sodom and commanded never to look back. When his wife looked back, she lost her deliverance (see Gen. 19:27).
Obstacles will attempt to make you doubt. Soul ties will make you want to look back. Always remember that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of your faith. He brought you out, and surely, He will take you in!
The enemy tempted Jesus, and no matter how anointed you are, he will continue to tempt you, also. But when temptation comes to steal your deliverance, you can make a statement that has helped me during the years: "Jesus, I love You more!"
Truly loving God instills reverential fear. The fear of the Lord is a sure foundation.
Deliverance is for everyone! And as God's agents on Earth, we have authority to defeat and destroy the enemy and his spirits whenever we encounter them. Weapons will form against us, but they will not prosper because we possess an arsenal on the inside of us that will annihilate darkness.
Kimberly Daniels is the author of Clean House, Strong House, published by Charisma House, from which this article is adapted.
For a limited time, we are extending our celebration of the 40th anniversary of Charisma. As a special offer, you can get 40 issues of Charisma magazine for only $40!