When a person receives genuine deliverance ministry and is set free from the influence of evil spirits, there is a new sense of joy and freedom. But as important as it is to get free, it is just as important to stay free. The Bible indicates that evil spirits will try to reenter once they have been driven out (see Matthew 12:43-45). We must be on guard and be prepared to stand against the attack of the enemy.
A passage that I often give people after deliverance is James 4:7-8: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Within this short passage there are three short commands that apply to the Christian life. As we walk in the reality of these commands, we will maintain our freedom as a byproduct.
Submission to God is not an optional suggestion for believers to take into consideration. It is the command of God to us, and we should take it seriously. This means that we must submit every area of our lives to the lordship of Jesus. We can no longer be our own masters, for we have been bought at a price. Many want Jesus to be there Savior, but how many want Him to be their Lord? Submission to Jesus as Lord is exemplified in our obedience to Him; obedience to the written Word and obedience to the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Submitting to God means being quick to acknowledge and repent of sin we may stumble into. It means that we agree with His Word and following His ways. Living a lifestyle of submission to God will be a safeguard against the assault of the enemy and will help us to continue to walk in the freedom we have received.
The next part of the James 4 passage quoted above gives a conditional promise: if we resist the devil, then he will flee from us. It is important to see that even though Satan is defeated, we must actively resist him in order to have victory over him. Consider also the charge given to us in 1 Peter 5:8-9: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” The enemy of our souls is seeking to devour us, and we must be steadfast to stand against him.
When a person is delivered from evil spirits, it should not come as a surprise that the enemy will try to counterattack. In fact, as we have already seen, the Bible indicates that evil spirits seek to reenter the very people that they have been evicted from. With that being the case, it is important for the person who has been delivered to be prepared to resist the attack of the devil.
The word resist in both James 4:7 and 1 Peter 5:9 is the same Greek word. It means to set yourself against, withstand, or oppose. We are to set ourselves against the devil. We are not to be passive, just allowing the enemy to trample us. We are to actively resist him. We must not make any agreement with him or his ways and we must absolutely make him and his demons our enemies.
James goes on to say, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). This is truly an exciting promise; God Himself will draw near to us as we draw near to Him. God is personal and He desires a relationship with His children. As we draw near to Him in worship, prayer, Bible study, fellowship with other believers, and other spiritual practices, He will reveal Himself to us and become more real in our lives. Drawing near may take discipline and will certainly take time; but the reward is God Himself. There is no greater reward that knowing Him.
While deliverance from demons is wonderful, it should not be seen as an end in itself. It is a means to growing in intimacy with the Lord and walking in the fullness of our destiny. Intimacy with God is the highest goal of the Christian life. Everything else should flow out of a lifestyle of relationship with God. And as we draw near to the Lord and grow in our relationship with Him, a natural byproduct will be that it will help us continue in the freedom we have received. As we are filled with His Word, as we hear His voice, as we allow His presence to permeate our lives, His light will repel the darkness.
When a person is delivered from demons, if they will focus on these areas—submitting to God, resisting the devil, and drawing near to the Lord—they will not have to worry so much about maintaining their freedom. It will happen in the process of these things. So, while we need to be aware of the enemy’s counterattack, we don’t need to waste energy being afraid that we will fall back into bondage. It is also worth noting that two of the three commands are focused on God while only one of them is focused on the devil. While we should be equipped with the armor of God and ready to stand against the devil, our focus should be on knowing and obeying God.
Submit yourself to the lordship of Jesus. Actively stand against the devil. And draw near to God. As you do these things you will walk in the freedom that Christ has given you!