Some in the Body of Christ would respond to that question with “Always!” but followers of this ministry know better! Deliverance ministry can be effective, at the proper time, to help people progress in their walk with the Lord! When is it not the best option?
As I reflect on the earlier part of my ministry, I realized that there were times when I took people through deliverance who were not ready for it. I have seen deliverance ministry be very effective in helping people but have seen that it may have been more beneficial to prepare them in other ways first.
Let’s be clear: deliverance is not a magic bullet or quick fix for people’s problems. It is not the church’s latest and greatest designer drug! Sadly, I’ve seen it positioned that way at times as people are pushed and cajoled into it by friends and loved ones who want deliverance for them more than the person wants it themselves.
- Do they see deliverance as a quick fix for them?
- Have friends/family pushed them to come and their motivation is primarily to appease them?
- Do they really want to be free of their “issues”? Are they desperate?
- Do they have any faith or expectancy for Jesus to do a work in them?
- Are they heavily medicated?
- What environment are they going to return to? We have seen people get set free from strongholds yet return to the life situation they were part of before?
- Are they committed to follow Jesus and make some commitments to walk in His ways? (Will they forsake sexual relations with their boy/girl friend? Will they set proper boundaries in their life? Will they seek out a “good” church?)
As Christian counselors and ministers of deliverance, we recognize that our job is to try to do the works of Jesus as best as we are able, in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and that the final result, and path taken by our clients, is ultimately up to them. However, we are careful to make sure, as best as we can, that we are proposing the best ministry path for each person.
There are many instances where we have decided to pursue a ministry path other than deliverance initially because we have had concerns about the person’s ability to get, and stay free afterwards. We work very hard to prepare people for the path after deliverance and show them how to keep and walk in victory. If we do not believe they are prepared to walk that path then we would do them a disservice to jumping into deliverance quickly, even though they might need it badly! We do not want them in worse shape than before because the Word says (Matt 12:45, Luke 11:26) that spirits will return to the house and bring along seven more wicked!
Can you think of other instances when deliverance ministry may not be the best option for a person?