Is Deliverance Enough?
Biblical Counselor Jim Lewis discusses the common teachings espoused by many deliverance ministries, and why an experience of deliverance is seldom all that is needed for a man to gain freedom from sexual sin. Our experience has taught us that God is after much more than this one issue. (From #356 - What Role Does Deliverance Play in Freedom from Porn?)
In today’s episode we are asking the question, “What role does deliverance play in a man gaining freedom from pornography and sexual sin?” And even the mention of the word ‘deliverance’ conjures up all sorts of images in people’s minds. Obviously, if we are talking about deliverance, we are assuming that there is something from which a man must be rescued, and that something is demonic influence.
When you listen to the other segments in this podcast, you should be convinced that here at Pure Life, we take very literally and seriously what the Scripture teaches about the nature and work of our enemy the devil, and his demonic hordes. We have an adversary who aims to steal, kill and destroy, and we are called on in Scripture to resist him, and to engage in spiritual warfare. The activity of his hosts of darkness is no less real today than when Jesus walked the earth, and the Gospels abound with accounts of Him delivering men and women from their clutches.
And so people who share this biblical view want to know, do we believe that men in sexual sin need deliverance from demonic possession? Our answer to that question is an unequivocal “yes!” Of course we do. Men in sexual sin have opened wide the door to demonic activity in their lives and desperately need deliverance. Let me share our perspective on this, and how it might be different than some other voices on the subject.
<pull-quote>Men in sexual sin have opened wide the door to demonic activity in their lives and desperately need deliverance.<pull-quote><tweet-link>Tweet This<tweet-link>
Many people believe that there are demons of lust, that that is their particular assignment and weapon, and that viewing pornography or engaging in sinful sexual behaviors “opens the door” to their activity. Some even use the term that the demons now have “a legal right” to harass and oppress. In effect, we have granted them permission to attack us. And many, it seems, teach that there is a specific ministry of deliverance that one should take advantage of. This ministry often includes prayers designed to gain freedom by binding and loosing demons, casting them out, canceling generational curses, renouncing soul ties, and that these prayers will set the prisoner free.
Many a soul has been told that the reason they are tempted in the area of sexual sin, the reason they struggle, or are even addicted, is because they have this demon. The demon is the problem, and if they are delivered from the demon, then they won’t struggle anymore. A common side-effect of this teaching is that the sinner now has someone else to blame for his own choices, and his sinful behavior.
The internet is littered with sites offering deliverance prayers that promise you that if you pray these words, there is power in the words themselves to set you free. Now every Christian should believe in the power of prayer, in the need for faith in God, and in the promises of Scripture that God desires that we ask, seek and knock. Jesus told us to pray in faith. But prayer should never be reduced to seeking a “magic formula,” or a “Christian incantation” designed to render the desired effect.
There is a whole segment of Christian teaching that deals with the area of deliverance, and it seems to be built on a few isolated texts, pulled out of context to create a theology and a methodology of deliverance. If you say these words, or if you can find an anointed person who is a trained practitioner in deliverance, and if you do these specific things, then you will be delivered. That’s what’s out there. Let me just say, that this has never been our experience. A great many of the men who have passed through Pure Life in the last thirty years went the deliverance route first, with great faith and desire, only to come to us for help in the end.
Now, I hear a listener saying, “So, is the work of the enemy in sexual sin really that small a deal? Because, I really feel completely bound. I know what it’s like to have an overwhelming temptation come upon me, and I feel as if I have no power to resist it. If only I could be delivered from those temptations, I would be fine. Are you saying there’s no need for deliverance?” NO, that’s not what we’re saying.
We absolutely believe that the Enemy has real power over people’s lives. As I said before, his influence is just as real today as it has ever been. What we’re saying is that someone does not need an ‘experience’ of being delivered from a demon. It’s just not that simple.
I know that for the man who is bound by sexual sin, this problem seems insurmountable. It is bigger than you, and if you could get free on your own, you would have done it by now. You need a great deal of help. But we want you to see that God is after so much more in you than just getting rid of your sexual sin. The problem is actually bigger than you thought. That’s why we have been doing this series of podcasts, because it takes more than just a deliverance prayer.
God wants to build your faith. God wants to show you your sin, and make you take responsibility for it, and stop blaming everyone else for your own choices. In other words, He wants to lead you into real repentance. He wants to teach you how to turn from your sin. And He’s after far more than your sexual sin. He wants to root out your anger, fear, anxiety, unbelief, hatred, bitterness, and apathy, He wants to teach you to humble yourself and come way down in your pride. He wants to teach you how to fight and to resist temptation when it comes. He wants to teach you real and complete surrender to His will and submission to His reign over your life. He wants to lead you into biblical consecration, the offering of your life as a living sacrifice. And He wants to lead you into the pursuit of holiness, what the Bible calls our sanctification. This is what God is after in the life of every believer, and not just freedom from one or several life-dominating sinful habits. He doesn’t just want your sexual sin, He wants the transformation of your entire life.
The Apostle Peter wrote, ‘Be sober, be vigilant! Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.” This world is not a playground, but a battleground, and every Christian should remain in the fight. But we are also reminded by John that “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
<pull-quote>Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.<pull-quote><tweet-link>Tweet This<tweet-link>