One of the things that Jesus consistently did in His earthly ministry was set people free from evil spirits. This ministry—often referred to as deliverance—was as common for Jesus as preaching: “And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons” (Mark 1:39).
Though deliverance was normal for Jesus and the early church, there are barriers that often keep today’s church from practicing it. Whether it is fear, misunderstanding, or ignorance this ministry has been often ignored or neglected. As a result, many believers are not walking in the freedom that they should be.
I often use the the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead to symbolize the need for deliverance ministry:
Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’ John 11:43-44
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He gave two commands. The first was, “Lazarus, come forth!” Lazarus emerged from the tomb perfectly alive, but he was still wrapped with grave clothes. The next command was, “Loose him, and let him go.”
Many Christians today find themselves bound with spiritual “grave clothes.” They have received God’s salvation and have been raised from the dead spiritually, but they are not free in certain areas of their lives. Many have become so accustomed to the “grave clothes” of bondage, torment or oppression that they actually think it is normal.
Too often we have offered the message of salvation, (“Lazarus, come forth!”), but not the message of deliverance, (“Loose him, and let him go”). But God never intended salvation without deliverance! The two go hand-in-hand.
Not every issue, sin, or struggle is caused by a demon. But there are many people—even sincere believers—who are oppressed by evil spirits and need the ministry of deliverance. Have you ever wondered if some of the struggles and problems you face contain a demonic element?
If you find yourself in need of deliverance, check out this list of demonic access points and ask the Holy Spirit to show you if there are any doors that need to be closed. Then, pray through this prayer of deliverance. Remember this powerful promise from James 4:7: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Are there any areas of your life that are still wrapped in “grave clothes” and in need of deliverance? What are they?