Jesus came to give us abundant life but we can’t live it if there are obstacles that are hindering us. He came to destroy the works of the devil so that we can live victoriously! As we look at the following list of obstacles to living the abundant life, take note of whether you see any of these symptoms in your life or any lures or snares that could lead to captivity.
We will use the following working definition of captivity – as anything a Christian is held captive by that hinders the abundant, Spirit filled life that God has for him or her. (Moore, “Breaking Free” 2). Often, bondage can begin from a childhood trauma or victimization.
Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind those things that you need to receive deliverance or freedom from and memories that He wants to heal. Write them down on a piece of paper and set it aside for now. Remember, we all need to guard against these lures and snares that could lead to captivity!
I have compiled this list from the following references: Moore, “Breaking Free” 19; Morris, “Truly Free” 204:
Pride (trusting in our own righteousness, wisdom or strength), idolatry (putting other things before God), unbelief, greed (i.e. materialism, selfishness, covetousness, selfish ambition), all forms of sexual impurity (i.e. sexual immorality, fornication, adultery, lust, pornography), legalism (attempting to earn our relationship with God), religious pride, rebellion, unforgiveness, taking offense, resentment, hate, violence, envy, jealousy, lying, deception, control, manipulation, stealing, laziness, insecurity, inferiority, fear, worry, anxiety, rejection, guilt, shame, condemnation, bitterness, a critical and judgmental heart towards others, arrogance, prejudice, perfectionism, self-hatred, self-pity, self-destruction, thoughts of suicide or murder, anger, rage, a recurring sin or addiction (i.e. drugs, alcohol, overeating/gluttony, gambling, codependency, etc.) and prayerlessness, etc. to name a few as this list isn’t exhaustive!
We are told in 1 Corinthians 6:18 to flee sexual immorality because every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. When we belong to the Lord, our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).
1 Corinthians 10:14 tells us to flee from idolatry. Idolatry is worshipping or giving priority to something or someone other than God. What areas in your life are you not worshipping God with? Worshipping God is bowing your knee to Him (submitting to His will, His Word and His way of doing things because He is God and has only good things for you; James 1:17). Idolatry leads to bondage that robs us of joy and leaves us defeated.
Previously, we saw that the Greek root word sozo means salvation and healing. Well, sozo also means deliverance.
They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed (sozo). Luke 8:36 (NKJV)
The Bible clearly shows that the devil and his demons are very real. We are told in Ephesian 6:11, 12 to put on the whole armor of God; that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
In Mark 5 we read about a man that was demon-possessed by an unclean spirit that Jesus cast out. Now a born-again Christian can’t be demon-possessed because the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in their heart when Jesus becomes their Lord and Savior and their spirit is reborn with God’s Spirit.
However, even as Christians, we can be oppressed or influenced by the enemy in our soul or body and under spiritual attack. This can be seen by a specific difficulty, weakness or sin in our lives that we can’t get control over and we keep falling into. We feel powerless. Maybe it’s something that has been kept hidden but affects us negatively.
If any of the following is present in your life, then spiritual oppression is a possibility:
- Continued sin or iniquity (willful, habitual sin)
- Continued illness without an apparent reason (i.e. sick a lot or constantly injuring yourself) can be a sign that a door has been opened to spiritual activity or evil in your life and the enemy has brought infirmity or an afflicting spirit with him (See Luke 13:10-17 about the woman that Jesus said had a spirit of infirmity)
- Continued influence by occult practices. Alternate spirituality or attempts to access or control the supernatural opens a door to evil influences through either your own, your parents, grandparents or ancestors participation in occult activities (See Morris, “Truly Free” 25-37).
Don’t have anything to do with any occult practices i.e. astrology, horoscopes, tarot cards, fortune-telling, Ouija boards, spells, witchcraft, palm reading, etc. These things put you in a place to connect with a real evil supernatural realm and it opens the door for the enemy to attack and influence your life or your family for evil even if you think it is just harmless fun. If you feel uneasiness about an activity, listen to the Holy Spirit and avoid it.
Also, direct your children and grandchildren away from these activities as well. Check out the video games they are playing, music they are listening to and TV shows they are watching. The main way to tell if a problem is from demonic influence or oppression is the inability to overcome it on your own (See Morris, “Truly Free” 34, 35).
Regardless of our situation, Jesus can set us free if we can first admit that we have a problem and second decide that we want to be set free! When we belong to Jesus, He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Did you recognize any symptoms of possible captivity in your life? You might not even know how they got there. The devil takes advantage of us i.e. what we eat, betrayal by a friend, someone you love has died, trouble at work, sickness, our attitudes, self-reliance, etc. But there is hope to get out of the pit we may have found ourselves in (Zechariah 9:11, 12)!
Because we have a blood covenant with God through Jesus Christ, He will set us free from whatever pit we find ourselves in, whether it’s been from our own making or from things that are outside of our control. It doesn’t matter! But we can’t get out of the pit on our own. We need the Holy Spirit’s help.
Communion with God is what keeps hope alive. If you have lost hope, return to God who is your stronghold (Griffing, “Prisoner of Hope Sermon”). The Holy Spirit will restore hope to those who need it and ask Him. When we run to the Lord as our refuge and strength, He will tell us what to do (Psalm 18:1-3).
The key steps to deliverance are 1) repentance, 2) renouncing the lies of Satan/ the enemy, 3) prayers for deliverance, 4) filling with the Holy Spirit, and 5) Biblical meditation to renew your mind. (See: Morris, “Truly Free” 192-202; 213).
Once we recognize that we need help because the Holy Spirit has shown us problem areas, the next step towards freedom is to repent to God and others. Repentance means to change our mind; about our sin to turn from it; about God who is loving and forgiving and ourselves that we are righteous in Christ. Daily repentance is helpful to receive the cleansing and forgiveness that He has already provided.
The Holy Spirit helps us see our need to repent and once we choose to do it, He does the work in our hearts when we ask Him. If you need to involve others in your repentance i.e. those you have harmed (need to ask their forgiveness) or you choose to confess your sin to a close friend, this can bring healing to both you and to them. James 5:16 says to confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
You may also need to offer forgiveness to someone who has harmed or wronged you. Be thorough and take time with this step. If you have bad feelings when you think about a person, this is an area where repentance and forgiveness is needed. If you have been prayed for first before you have done this, when you repent and offer forgiveness, the demons will leave because they have to!
Next, we need to renounce the lies of Satan, since all bondage begins with a lie. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to expose the lies to see them for what they are, renounce them in Jesus Name and to clear them from our minds by allowing our minds to be transformed and renewed by the Word of God; in other words, replacing the lies of the enemy with the truth of God’s Word.
The devil wants us to believe his lies about ourselves or our situation or to deceive us into thinking these things are OK or that we will never be free. We can be set free by Jesus and allow Him by the Holy Spirit to take us through the process of closing the doors and windows of evil in our lives, walking with Jesus daily and by asking God to continually fill us with the Holy Spirit’s presence and power. Don’t let anything be in control of you except the Holy Spirit!
Part of closing doors and windows of evil in our lives may be removing things or stop doing something the Holy Spirit says to remove or stop doing because there are demonic spirits behind them or attached to them that can influence you i.e. certain types of music, pictures, magazines, TV shows you watch, collectables, garage sale and estate sale articles, etc. Ask the Holy Spirit and He will show you then obey what He tells you to do.
Next, we need to ask in prayer our Heavenly Father for our deliverance and receive His righteousness in Christ Jesus. We have been given all power and authority over evil spirits through the Name of Jesus Christ (Luke 10:19).
A ministry counseling session for discovery may be helpful first before a deliverance session. It is important to discern if a deliverance session is needed or what is being experienced is from the works of the flesh.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like, of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV).
We are not to be devil conscious but God conscious. If we deal with the flesh the devil won’t have anything to work with. If we follow what the Bible says to do in the following two verses, then the devil won’t have any place in us!
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1 (NKJV)
And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Romans 6:13 (NKJV)
It is often beneficial and recommended to be prayed for deliverance in a community of believers with spiritual leadership present (Mark 16:17,) or by a Pastor or Deliverance Ministry Team. If you desire, you can repent and pray for yourself (Morris, “Truly Free” 213).
If you choose to do this on your own, you can pray the following prayer below out loud, then go ahead and do so naming the areas of bondage that the Holy Spirit has shown you (refer to the items you wrote down earlier). If you need to call someone or write someone a letter to confess and ask forgiveness to that person or persons you can do that first (Mark 11:25, 26). Do not meet with an unsafe or abusive person. You may wish to consult with a Pastor or a counselor from the Deliverance Ministry team.
I repent of and renounce all the lies of Satan in my life and every misuse of my body. I ask You to forgive me of my sin and I ask you to set me free from every bondage in my life. I renounce (name them) by the blood of Jesus and I cancel every claim I have given the enemy against my body and every form of access to dominion over me that my actions have given him. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit now and fill me with Your Holy Spirit in every place that evil spirits have left. I want only You to be in control of me and only You in my life.
In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
What should you do if you have prayed for deliverance or freedom from bondage or have been prayed for but the problem continues?
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what is standing in the way i.e. any unconfessed sin? Is there still something in your life that gives demons a legal right to influence you? Do you need to forgive someone? Etc. He will show you. Act on what He shows you. You may need to fast and pray as some demons will only leave by this manner (Matthew 17:21). (There are many Christian books about fasting available if you are not sure how to do this.) Follow up with a Pastor or Deliverance Ministry Team is recommended.
“Is this not the fast I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6 (NKJV)
After you have received deliverance from a demon, that spirit will try to regain access to your life through thoughts, feelings or symptoms that may cause you to think that deliverance didn’t happen. But don’t agree with it by speaking about it i.e. I guess it didn’t work, etc. Set your heart and mind against it. The demon will give you some time and then try to come back because he doesn’t like being displaced.
As Jesus discussed in Matthew 12: 43-45, the spirit will try to come back to influence and oppress you and if you let him by agreeing with it then you can end up worse off than before because the spirit has brought seven other spirits that are more evil with it. Cast those thoughts down and don’t give place to your feelings and emotions. Speak and agree with the Word of God over yourself and situation! When you get into the Word on a daily basis you are reinforcing the truth of God in that area that allowed the enemy to enter.
Lastly, present your body as a living sacrifice to the Lord since it belongs to Him and walk in the Spirit (Romans 12:1, 2; 1Corinthians 6:19, 20; Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:24, 25.
If you would like to present your body to the Lord as a living sacrifice, pray this prayer out loud:
I present my body to You now as a living sacrifice and rededicate my body as the temple of God. I consecrate my spirit, soul, and body to You now totally and completely. Thank You for loving me and setting me free. Thank You that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
In Jesus Name, Amen
Next week, we will look at how to continue to walk in freedom!
Griffing, Olen. (2016). Prisoner of Hope Sermon at Gateway Church. Fort Worth, Texas
Moore, Beth. (2000). Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender. Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group.
Morris, Robert. (2015) Truly Free: Breaking the Snares that so Easily Entangle us. Nashville, Tennessee: W. Publishing Group.
Rothschild, Jennifer. (2015). Hosea: Unfailing Love Changes Everything. Nashville, Tennessee: Lifeway Press.
Shirer, Priscilla. (2015). The Armor of God. Nashville, Tennessee: Lifeway Press. u