I clearly remember the battle for freedom in my own life. I remember at the pinnacle of the fight the mental, emotional, and physical toll that it took on my body (those are actually the three places that demons reside in people). I remember how exhausted I felt. I remember the mental battle and the nonstop chatter in my head. My emotions were all over the place. My digestive system was messed up, and I had dropped down to a size 0 from a 5/7.
I knew Jesus at this time, but out of ignorance, I chose to dwell on the whispers of the enemy which gave him access and influence over my life. Out of ignorance, I chose to lift up the voice of the enemy and give him power over my life instead of putting my hope in the voice of God. I did not know that I could even do this at the time. As Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” My lack of understanding that our life is built on choices nearly destroyed me. Thankfully, I had some people in my life covering me in prayer so when the Lord was trying to reach me at the bottom of this pit, I chose to respond.
Because I could see the hand of God continuously working in my life, I sought to understand the dynamics of what I had experienced and why I was living a healthy, productive, and happy life because so many around me that had experienced the same thing and had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior were still broken and hurting. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know what the difference was and why the things were different so I could be a carrier of hope and deliver the full redemption of Christ to the people around me.
Jesus gave up His throne in heaven and came to earth to redeem His people and save them from their sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Check out this definition of redemption:
“Finding its context in the social, legal, and religious customs of the ancient world, the metaphor of redemption includes the ideas of loosing from a bond, setting free from captivity or slavery, buying back something lost or sold, exchanging something in one's possession for something possessed by another, and ransoming. The Old Testament. In the Old Testament, redemption involves deliverance from bondage based on the payment of a price by a redeemer.” (https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/redeem-redemption)
If Jesus paid a price on the cross so that I could live a redeemed life that brings glory and honor to Him then I am not going to just choose to passively say that He did it, but I am going to make active attempts to identify areas in my life where bondage exists and give that bondage over to Jesus so that I can see His redemptive work in that area of my life. I never want Jesus’s death to be in vain when it comes to my life. I want to live out my life in a way that honors His sacrifice and death.
When we declare Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are transferring allegiance to Jesus. Our spirit then becomes a citizen of God’s kingdom. We are called to submit and surrender ALL areas of our life to Lordship of Jesus, but so often, many believers hold back areas of their life from complete surrender.
Freedom is our Choice
Galatians 5:1 (ESV): For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Joshua 24:15 (ESV): And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
John 8:32 (ESV): And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Galatians 5:13 (ESV): For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
1 Peter 2:16 (ESV): Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
As you can see by the scripture above, we have a choice as to whether we walk in freedom or bondage. In my situation, I believed the enemy over God in my situation. Lies lead to bondage. God’s truth sets us free. We decide what we believe. We decide if we will turn against God in disobedience and sin or walk in obedience to His Truth. We decide if we are going to resist the devil, or if we are going to give in to his temptations. Everything is a choice.
Why People Remain in Bondage
Freedom seems like the obvious choice so let’s take a look at why some Christians remain in bondage:
- Lack of Knowledge. The number one reason that I have seen is simply a lack of knowledge in the area of bondage and freedom. Again, Hosea 4:6 says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”. If I were Satan and trying to destroy God’s people, my #1 goal would be to keep the knowledge of deliverance away from believers. I would try to minimize things, make them feel silly, afraid of, or not even want to acknowledge that they could be battling demons. I would try to create doubt in them that demonic oppression was even possible with believers. I would convince them to deny it. This would be my spiritual warfare strategy. Sadly, I see this play out all too often. I have been in the church my entire life and only discovered deliverance in my mid-thirties.
I lead a lady through deliverance that had a pretty severe demonic attack. It left her terrified. She went to her local church. The pastor was not there so she shared with the church secretary. The church secretary told her to never repeat that story to anyone else again because people would think that she was crazy. On my pre-deliverance call with her, the Holy Spirit prompted me to ask if this specific thing had happened to her. I do not have the words to express the amount of relief I heard in that woman’s voice when I not only acknowledged that I understood and believed her but that I could help her. We have to do better for the sake of others!
- Untrained Ministers of Deliverance. I have also seen people who have said that they have gone through deliverance but have not experienced freedom. Anyone can say that they do deliverance. When I was learning how to do deliverance and began talking about it, I had no clue what I was doing. I had a few people come to me for prayer. I didn’t even know if we were getting any results, but I called it deliverance. It wasn’t until I was trained by a well-respected deliverance minister that I understood how to effectively lead someone to complete freedom in Jesus. In the early days, people could have left and said that deliverance didn’t work, and in that instance, they would have been right. God’s grace did cover the work as He was teaching me and the people saw some relief, but I had not learned how to walk them into full freedom yet.
- Choosing Evil Over the Goodness of God. 8 years ago, this would not have made the list. I would have never been able to wrap my head around how a person, when given a choice, would purposely choose the way of the enemy.
In the early years of trying to understand deliverance, we had a ministry center through I Will Stand International and did outreach work with the homeless in the area. A man was making huge progress and beginning to find purpose in his life. He asked for a bus ticket home for Thanksgiving so I got him a bus ticket so he would spend the holiday with his family. While away, he began using meth again. He was a completely different person. He acknowledged Jesus as His Lord and Savior but the enemy still had a hold on his life. We tried walking through deliverance. I tried everything I knew to do at the time. Finally, he looked at me and said that the Lord had 90% of his life and the enemy had 10%. He said that he wasn’t ready to give the 10% to the Lord. He enjoyed his fellowship with the enemy too much despite the destruction it was doing in his life. I could not believe what I was hearing. I had never heard someone verbalize that they were choosing the way of the enemy especially when they recognized it as that, but the reality is that people do it all the time usually without realizing it.
Recently during a deliverance session, a woman had a loneliness kingdom established in her (kingdoms are grouping of evil or demonic spirits that all have the same function/assignment in a person’s life). This loneliness kingdom came in due to the death of a loved one. When we are breaking legal permissions that the demons have to reside in and torment believers, I ask the person if they are ready to get rid of the kingdom which in her case was loneliness. Of course, my expectation is always that the person will say yes; however, this women actually said that she wasn’t sure because loneliness had been there for so long and comforted her. I was caught off guard by this response because the whole purpose of her coming was to be free from the grip of the enemy. I responded very directly and said, “So you are telling me that you would rather keep these demons that cause you deep feelings of loneliness instead of trading if for what Jesus has to offer you?” She said, “Well, when you put it that way, no, I don’t want to keep them.
The work of the enemy in this world and against God’s people is very real. He literally comes to steal, kill, and destroy in people’s lives and is looking for ways to do it every day. Demons are not our friends. They like to get us to think that we find comfort with them. We don’t tend to think that when we sit in anxiety, fear, loneliness, addictions, perversions, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, chaos, controlling tendencies, perfectionism, depression, insecurities, etc that we are fellowshipping with demons but that is exactly what we are doing. When we choose to stay in our “funk” we are choosing to sit with the enemy instead of fellowshipping with the hope and promises of God.
Had I known that I was giving the enemy free reign in my life and fellowship with him when I was at my worst, I would not have hesitated to repent and begin turning completely to the Lord and fellowship with Him. Actually, that is exactly what I did do over time as the Lord began to reveal things in my life that I need to give over to Him.
The Lord used my husband to speak hard truths to me and tell me to get over my pity party, my feelings, my thoughts that I deserved better, my days of just laying in bed sometimes crying sometimes just numb, my anger, my bitterness…because as I fellowshipped with these demons and listened to the words that they spoke to my heart and mind, their influence kept growing in my life until I was at the point of wanting to commit suicide because I was hurting so much. Others may need a more gentle approach, but I needed the line in the sand and to be told that choice was mine…because it really was my choice.
Why Does Freedom Matter?
When we are in full fellowship with the Lord and walking in freedom, we are at our best. His ways are good and full of life. We begin to produce His good fruit in our life (Galatians 5:22-23) instead of the fruits of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) and walk in His blessings instead of in the curses found in this world (Deuteronomy 28). Not because we are good but because we have yielded to the full redemptive work of Christ.
We are also free to begin helping others. I have worked with many people who want to help others as we are called to do as believers, but they are so bogged down and oppressed that they can hardly muster anything extra to pour into the lives of others. As they begin to experience freedom and healing in their lives, they are also freed to begin pouring into the lives of others. When we are in bondage our focus is ourselves either by choice or because we are just trying to figure out what is wrong with us and how to fix it. When we are walking in freedom, we become others focused because we have embraced surrendering all of us to Jesus and letting Him work all throughout our lives both internally and externally.
One of my personal favorites is that when we are walking in complete freedom, the enemy is completely losing his battle for influence in our life. We have taken away his foothold. We have shut every door that could have given him access. The enemy has done a lot of destruction in my life (early on) and through my generational line. To know how to shut him down by utilizing the authority that Jesus gave me is empowering. I decided that the destruction stops with me. No longer will curses run through our generational line. Future generations will see and know the blessings and presence of the Lord.
Friend, I pray that if you are in a place of bondage, struggling with oppression, overcome with life, drowning in “issues” or any other phrase that can be used to describe the attacks of the enemy that the Lord speaks truth to your heart and that you would experience full peace and freedom that is available to you on this side of heaven. This does not mean that we do not go through trials. We just walk through the trials differently. We really can be at peace as the world rages around us.
If you are walking in freedom, I pray that the Lord gives you the words to speak to minister truth, freedom, and healing to the ones around you. That you would be an instrument that connects the hearts of people to the heart of the Father. That you would bold speak Truth in love and that your life would be a walking testimony to the Lord’s goodness here on this earth.
Friends, we don’t have to wait until we get to heaven to walk in peace and wholeness! Let's walk this out now!