I have already written about what deliverance ministry is. I plan to do more teaching in this area throughout the year, and I hope that you will discover keys for finding freedom from evil spirits and setting others free.
But in this article, I want to emphasize some important truths about what deliverance ministry is not. This is not to diminish the importance of deliverance in any way, but to help keep things in the proper perspective. Though the church has often made too little of the ministry deliverance, it is also possible to make too much of it.
Below are three things that deliverance is not:
The ministry of deliverance should not be seen as an end in and of itself. Rather, it is a means to an end. Obadiah vs. 17 says, “But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” This passage gives a progression of how God establishes His people, just like when He first established Israel. First He delivered them from the bondage of Egypt, then He set up the law and called them to holiness, and then He led them into the Promised Land to “possess their possessions.”
Before Israel could walk in holiness to the Lord or enter into their inheritance, they had to be set free from slavery. Deliverance was a necessary step in the process of their destiny. In the same way, believers will not be able to grow in the Lord and walk in the fullness of His plan for them if areas of their lives are still in bondage to demons.
But the purpose of deliverance is not just to get delivered; it is to propel you into deeper intimacy with the Lord, grow in holiness, and fulfill the destiny that God has for you. It is a beginning, not an end. If we turn deliverance into an end in itself we will open ourselves up to extremes and get off course.
When you first learn about deliverance it is easy to think that you now have the answer to every problem a person may face. The truth is, deliverance is not a cure-all. As powerful and necessary as this ministry is, it is not the solution to every problem; and it will not make all of your problems go away.
Jesus said that we would have trouble in this world (see John 16:33) and Paul said that we enter the kingdom through “many tribulations” (see Acts 14:22). Don’t think that being delivered from demons will make all of your problems go away.
It is also important to remember that we have three enemies: the world system, the flesh, and the devil. Not every negative issue is caused by a demon; many times we are dealing with the flesh and need to act accordingly.
When a person receives freedom from demonic influence it can cause them to begin to grow rapidly in the Lord. Deliverance however is not a substitute for spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, time in the Word, and fellowship with other believers in a local church. In other words, deliverance is not a shortcut. You will still need to exercise discipline, learn to resist the enemy, and walk in the Spirit on a daily basis.
When evil spirits are present in a person’s life, there is no substitute for the ministry of deliverance. You can’t counsel away a demon. Nor can you exercise enough discipline for demons to go away. Evil spirits must be cast out.
At the same time, let’s be careful not to make deliverance a substitute for other important practices. There is no substitute for time spent in the presence of God and for meditating on God’s Word regularly. There is no substitute for discipleship and good teaching. There is no substitute for connection to fellow believers in the local church. None of these take the place of the others; they all have an important place in our walk with God.
My hope is that the church will fully embrace the ministry of deliverance. It is much needed today; so many people need to be set free. But let’s remember to keep the ministry of deliverance in its proper place.