Recently, I have been reminded again about the importance of repentance; and its clear connection to deliverance. Repentance is a precursor to freedom from bondage and demonic oppression.
Before Jesus came on the scene preaching the good news of the kingdom, healing the sick, and casting out demons, John the Baptist prepared the way. He called the people to true repentance, to turn from sin and submit to God. He called them to change their mind about sin, break their agreement with it, and bear fruit that demonstrated genuine repentance.
By the time Jesus launched into His ministry, a wave of repentance and revival had come through Israel through the ministry of John. Jesus continued in this vein, preaching “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Jesus came to bring deliverance; but before deliverance came repentance.
The same is true when Jesus sent out the twelve: “So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons…” (Mark 6:12-13). First repentance, then deliverance.
James 4:7 says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” The prerequisite to successfully resisting the devil is submitting to God. You can try to cast out demons, get delivered, and resist the devil all you want; but if you are not surrendered to God it is all for not. If you cannot submit to God then you cannot resist the devil.
Some people are waiting for God to deliver them, while God is waiting for them to repent. If we want to be delivered from the power of sin, from oppression, or from evil spirits, then we must come into complete agreement with God. We cannot justify or minimize sin in any way. We cannot compare ourselves to others or shift the responsibility. We must own up to sin and repent.
From the place of true repentance and submission to God, we can resist the devil and he will flee.
I have seen again and again people set free from demons when they come under the lordship of Jesus and submit fully to Him. I often use a prayer for deliverance to help guide the process. But the prayer is not a magic formula; it only gives words to the reality of submitting to God and resisting the devil. The key is not the exact words, but the heart behind them.
If you are seeking God for deliverance, make sure that you are willing to come into complete agreement with Him and walk in repentance. He will set you free as you call on the name of Jesus and resist the devil!
For more information about deliverance ministry, check out my book Can a Christian Have a Demon?