Our initial counseling session with clients involves an interview. One bit of information I always gather is an understanding of how much the person knows about the demonic realm. How much teaching have they had about spiritual warfare?
Many view the term “deliverance” in a very skeptical, guarded way or happily attach a generic non-threatening meaning to it. For them, concept of “deliverance” involves God setting them free from something. It may be from a relationship, a financial stronghold, a tortuous job or even an emotional affliction such as an addiction, anger, depression and the like.
None of these connotations are wrong; we see in Scripture where God would deliver his people from slavery and political oppression at different times. However, I would make the claim that the instances described above are an incomplete picture of deliverance by the Lord.
In our ministry we use a very finite description for the term “deliverance”. Simply, it means the driving out of demons so that people can be free from demonic strongholds. Jesus said in Mark 16:17 that one of the signs to follow believers is that they would drive out demons. It is a call on the church to minister in that realm but we also know that God can and does sovereignly deliver people in this way without any one ministering to them.
We hear testimonies frequently where at a service, at the altar or at home alone that the power of God comes to set captives free sovereignly and supernaturally. We rejoice at those testimonies however it is not the only way God “delivers” because the church is to do this important work also.
Deliverance Ministy Is One Aspect of Spiritual Warfare
There are many scriptures that depict the spiritual war that we are part of (Ephesians 6, 2 Cor. 10) and there are different aspects of that warfare. We are to “know” our enemy’s ways (Matt 10:16), we are to discern the demonic realm (1 Cor. 12:10), we are to demolish strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4), resist him (James 4:7) and, yes we are to call them out of people (Mark 16:17), or “deliver them”.
My point is simply that the terms “spiritual warfare” and “deliverance” are not synonymous or competitive rather that driving out demons is simply one aspect, or a subset, of warfare.
Sadly, the term and even the ministry has been abused in some church circles and totally ignored in others so that this very important ministry does not have the visibility and effectiveness that we believe the Lord would have for it. There are not demons behind every “issue” in a person’s life but when they are there they need to be cast out; all the counseling in the world will not bring about the freedom that is available until those spirits are gone! It does no good to try to “resist” the devil if it is inside of you!