In my experience as a Christian Counselor offering deliverance ministry services, I have observed patterns and common themes among those who struggle to walk in freedom following our sessions. I want to cover four of the major ones:
Unforgiveness. One common roadblock to a successful deliverance is an unwillingness to forgive. This is a significant precursor since God’s word is clear on this. The most notable scripture dealing with God’s view on forgiveness is found in Matthew 6:15, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Believers know the importance of this principle, but there are lesser-known issues that rise up also.
Apathy. This condition runs rampant in the modern American church. There are many reasons for this, but we contend that our clients need to come to the table hungry. They must really want to dig in and work as if their life was at stake. The enemy of our soul attacks on several fronts: he messes with our mind and emotions.
Many are familiar with the battlefield of the mind concept but do not realize the enemy will try to go after the part of our soul that fuels action and intention – the will. What’s the remedy for this? I often try to assess my client’s desperation level to determine if they are going to engage. I ask, “How badly do you want it? Are you willing to dig in and face your pain, surrender your will and seek God”?
Deliverance is not passive; it is not someone going to bat for you where one just sits back and receive. No, you need to be hopeful, humble and focused. God will not override your will, and we are choosing our pit sometimes more than we know.
Distraction. There’s a saying if the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy. Misplaced priorities, a culture that is increasingly chaotic and materialistic can serve up preferences to stand in the way of what’s essential. Technology literally rewires our brain and steals our focus. Sometimes we fall into bad habits of striving, approval, and performance trying to earn the support of others instead of building the margin of rest and time with the Lord in our day.
I have clients that come and start the process of getting free. They seem energized, focused, and convicted that deliverance is on God’s agenda for them. Then life happens; distraction devices of the enemy interfere, and they drop off. I usually hear back from them when things become direr. I will often have clients that come for help, and they are troubled enough to want to begin the deliverance process. Then sometimes something derails them-their schedule gets busy or something else competes for their attention.
However, so many times they come back later even more desperate and determined to overcome. I call them “ripe for deliverance” when this is their mindset. I think the enemy studies us enough to read into our actions. He knows just how much he can get away with, so he plays on our determination at every opportunity.
Disobedience. Another blockage to a successful deliverance happens when we fail to be “doers of the word,” and we deceive ourselves (James 1:22). A lack of obedience will not only block God’s blessings, but our enemy uses legalism as the basis to attack us. If we agree with the lies of the enemy or fail to apply biblical principles for the life application God intended, the door for failure is open.We need to be doers of the word both in our faith for the promises of God and claiming our inheritance as His children.
We shouldn’t look to God as our happiness vending machine, but He is a loving Father who loves to give good gifts to His children and like any parent that is especially true when they are good (obedient). If we are honest, we might read His word having some measure of faith.However, there is a level of expectancy we can have when we know we are holding to His word as much as possible. It is found in believers that know and expect the promises of God for their lives, utterly surrendered to Him as Lord of their lives and solidly grounded in their identity in Christ.
These people do not just pray weak prayers they expectantly declare God’s truth over their circumstances. Helping our clients become doers of the word is often our starting point with them. Once they understand their place in the spiritual realm, they know how to move in accord with the Father of all Spirits: they experience His love for them, His true nature and His desire to see them free in Jesus name.
I have had several clients with severe wounds of rejection from childhood because their father wanted a girl, was abusive or emotionally unavailable.
Some had a clear sense of God’s calling on their life. One believed she was to engage in outreach and street ministry. The other was thinking of becoming a leader in her church’s small group ministry but felt unqualified due to wounds of rejection by her husband and the inadequacy she felt.
They both became derailed during their deliverance processes. One became busy and distracted and the other had some unforgiveness toward a family member that she needed extra time to work through. They both dealt with the things holding them back went through They both moved forward in their God-given destiny.
A competent counselor can help identify all the roadblocks to a client’s’ freedom. Sometimes we help clients see their blind spots in their own lives. Spiritual warfare is equal parts exposing and dismantling the strategies of the enemy and also living out our identity and inheritance as God’s children.