How to Prepare for Deliverance


When a believer has reached the point at which his conscience has been seared and he is no longer able to hear the convicting voice of the Spirit that would bring him to repentance, he is in need of deliverance. Much of deliverance centers around uprooting strongholds and breaking their power over our lives.

We begin the deliverance process by making use of the Word and the blood of Christ. This is an essential step in preparing the believer to be set free.

The Bible tells us that "the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12, NKJV). Its power is inexpressible in human terms.

The Scriptures are the very breath of God and as such are accurate, defining and perfectly sufficient (see 2 Tim. 3:16). Scripture reading and study is essential to break down the hardness of the heart that has come about through a gradual searing of the conscience.

In the Old Testament sacrificial system, the blood of the offering was sprinkled on the tabernacle and its vessels to sanctify them, making them fit for service (see Heb. 9:21). In like manner, as we avail ourselves of the blood of Jesus Christ--the perfect and final sacrifice--our conscience is cleansed, and we become sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

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As the living Word of God begins to awaken our heart and cleanse our conscience, we are drawn by the love of God to again serve Him faithfully. The Word of God awakens and illuminates--the blood of Jesus thoroughly cleanses.

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:22).

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14).

If we fail to prepare someone for deliverance, we may be wasting our time. People can be dragged to the altar, but they can't be made to repent. True repentance comes through the illumination and conviction of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.

Without conviction, there can be no godly sorrow; without godly sorrow there will be no repentance. When there is no repentance, there will be no true deliverance.

Deliverance is not something that can be formulated. Simply following a routine of saying this and doing that will not bring true deliverance.

Jesus is the deliverer. If we do not come to Jesus on His terms, we are only playacting. We might put on a good show, but it will be without substance, and we will be only mocking the Word.

Having said that, let us assume that the person coming for deliverance is convicted of sin and truly wants to be delivered out of his bondage. Our first goal is to help him understand that he doesn't need to go through a prayer line to receive deliverance.

Jesus is true to His Word, and anyone who seeks Him in a right spirit with the right "tools" will experience His freeing power. One tool we teach is actually a series of action steps for getting free: repent, renounce and break.

Repent. "Repent" literally means being "re-penitent" or "again humble." One who is penitent expresses humble or regretful pain or sorrow for sins or offenses. To repent means to come back to that place of humility and sorrow over sin.

We are coming back to the one who grants forgiveness. We are not trying something new or different--we are reaffirming our need for the Savior, deliverer and redeemer, Jesus.

If there is no repentance, then we continue to walk in darkness, deceived by the enemy. And if we continue to be deceived, we remain in bondage.

Renounce. To "renounce" means to "give up, refuse, or resign by formal declaration." Whereas repenting is directed toward God, renouncing is directed toward the enemy.

We are countermanding any words that contradict God's Word. We are making a formal declaration that we will no longer align ourselves with things that oppose God. We are canceling any and all agreements with the enemy.

God has given us authority in Jesus' name to cancel any spiritually binding contract we may have made with the devil through our words. Many believers repent of their sins before God, only to find themselves in a losing tug-of-war with the enemy, repeating their failures.

We must shut the door on the devil, refusing by formal declaration to walk in the ways of the past. Renouncing is the means by which we cut off any legal right for Satan to bind or torment us. This is the way we resist him.

If our words have been contrary to God's, then we have aligned ourselves with the works of darkness. To be free from them, we must counter those words with God's Word, thus renouncing the hidden works of shame. "But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Cor. 4:2).

Break. After we repent, we have the right to cancel or renounce any legal hold the enemy had over us. The yoke of bondage can be broken off our lives. God loves to see us come to the place where yokes are broken--and it thoroughly frustrates the enemy!

It is quite common to use anointing oil when praying for someone's deliverance. There is nothing supernatural about the oil. It is, however, representative of someone who is very supernatural. That one is Jesus, the Messiah, the anointed one (see Is. 61:1).

The oil serves as a point of reference to build faith. We are declaring that repentance has taken place, the enemy has been renounced, and now, with the authority of Jesus' name and because of the power of His death and resurrection, the yoke of bondage is broken. "The yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil" (Is. 10:27).

At this point of breaking, a struggle begins and ends. It is the primary place of confrontation with the enemy, and now the light of Jesus is shining where darkness once ruled. The enemy has been found out and cast out.

It is a great time of freedom and joy. I have seen multiplied thousands of people set free by this simple application of God's Word.

Chris Maxwell was the pastor of Evangel Assembly of God in Orlando, Florida, when this article was published. He likes to hang out with sinners at bookstores, ball games and on the Internet.

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