One description of the ministry of Jesus is: “ He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38). Jesus delivered those who were oppressed by Satan and his evil spirits. He set captives free from demonic oppression and healed broken hearts.
The word oppressed means to be weighed down, burdened, or subject to harsh authority. Picture walking through life carrying a 50 pound weight on your shoulders. Imagine a dark cloud that always seems to be over you wherever you go. These are descriptions of spiritual oppression.
Isaiah 61:1 was quoted by Jesus when He began His public ministry:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
It goes on to describe the work of the Messiah to comfort those who are mourning and lift up those who are in the ashes. One of the lines in verse three says that God will give “The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” The spirit of heaviness is a demonic spirit that brings oppression. Some translations call it a “spirit of despair” and others a “spirit of fainting.”
The spirit of heaviness causes depression, despair, weariness, and an overall feeling of hopelessness. In his book They Shall Expel Demons, the late Derek Prince describes how God delivered him from this demon. He had been soundly converted and baptized with the Holy Spirit, and was pastoring a church. Yet, he would face terrible bouts of depression that he could not seem to overcome no matter what he did.
One day, he was reading the passage quoted above, and the Holy Spirit highlighted to him the phrase spirit of heaviness. He immediately knew that what he was dealing with was not merely physiological, mental, or emotional, but that it had a spiritual root. As he called on the name of Jesus for deliverance, he felt the spirit leave his body and was set free. This experience opened Derek’s eyes to the reality of deliverance ministry and launched him into an international ministry of teaching and deliverance.
Are you battling with despair or depression? Have you considered that there might be a spiritual side to this battle? I am not suggesting that all cases of depression involve demons. But certainly we must not neglect to explore the spiritual side of things, and if there is a demonic element, to break free. Check out this prayer for deliverance to help break free from the spirit of heaviness or other demonic oppression!