The Journey Of Deliverance
- Deliverance – The removal of evil spirits.
- Inner healing – healing our souls and emotions from trauma and past hurt.
- Breaking strongholds – which happens in our mind.
Many ministries believe in one or two of these parts of the journey of deliverance. The journey of deliverance is not a binary but a complex journey, that sometimes requires revisiting of certain areas in our lives for complete restoration and redemption.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Apostle Paul actually gave Timothy the guideline for how to minister to broken and lost people. Paul says do not be scared when ministering but minister in love, power, and a sound mind. This actually addresses the whole journey of deliverance. Power addresses deliverance. Love addresses inner healing. A sound mind addresses the renewing of the mind and breaking down of strongholds.
Wrong Types Of Deliverance Ministries:
If we only operate in power and love but don’t have a sound mind, our ministry can become a circus where things become strange or weird. When we minister in power and have a sound mind but lack love, our ministry becomes like a revolving door where people come and receive but can get hurt and leave as quickly as they came. Ministries that operate in love and in a sound mind but don’t have the power of God become like a demon-daycare because there is no power to drive them out of the people.
Jesus called us as Paul instructed Timothy to operate in power, love, and a sound mind in order to take people from a state of being broken, lost, confused, and in darkness and to restore them to the identity in which Jesus meant for them to walk in.
A ministry that operates in both power, love, and a sound mind becomes complete and able to handle and deal with all kinds of ministerial issues and to effectively be the hands of God in restoring and redeeming His people.
The Breaking Of Strongholds
Oxford Dictionary Definition Of A Stronghold:
1. A place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack.
2. A place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld.
Are all strongholds bad things? A stronghold based and built on the foundation of lies is a bad thing. That is an ungodly stronghold and needs to be broken down. If you build a stronghold in your mind based on the truth of the Word of God, you will develop mental resilience for when you are going through weakness and temptation.
The Two Types Of Strongholds
Some strongholds are positive, godly, and based on truth – reinforcing our relationship with Jesus.
Some strongholds are negative, ungodly, and based on lies – weakening our relationship with Jesus.
The question is, what type of stronghold do you have? Do you have ungodly strongholds or godly strongholds? Ungodly strongholds are easy to identify.
An Example Of Ungodly Strongholds
One of the most common ones I hear about is this: the demons are too strong and I cannot be delivered. I have been to many places for deliverance but the ministers were not anointed enough to cast them out.
The truth is that demons know the name of Jesus Christ and they tremble at the mention of His name. Jesus doesn’t struggle to drive out demons. Do you know who does not tremble at the name of Jesus? People. People don’t tremble when they hear the name of God because they have not seen the full power of God. We don’t grasp His omnipotence.
When someone says their demons are too strong, they have strongholds in their mind. Once you break down the strongholds, then you can see if there actually are any demons still there or if the person has just been entertaining an abandoned villa in their mind.
I am going to share secrets of how to practically break down ungodly strongholds and develop godly strongholds. This process is called the renewing of the mind, (Romans 12:2).
Biological Evidence Of Strongholds
Doctors have found how habits are developed in our brains. The brain contains millions of pathways called neurons. Neurons send electrical impulses to each other with messages. These are called thoughts.
When a thought you have is being thought for the very first time, there is a gap between the neurons and it takes the electric signals to jump from one to the other for the message to be relayed. This is why it is hard to learn new things, especially the first time you do them. The more you think that thought and do the things you think, the easier the jump for the electric impulses become.
After you have done it a certain number of times, it becomes a smooth neural highway. This is the biological evidence of how strongholds are built in our minds. The more you think it, the easier it is going to be to think it. The less you think it, the harder it is to think it.
Some of us have been indoctrinated with things that are based on lies. By thinking about these things more and more, we are putting ourselves in invisible chains. When you need deliverance, your hands have been chained. When you have a stronghold, even after your deliverance, the enemy tells you that you are still in chains.
Medical science has shown us that strongholds or neural pathways are developed over time. This means breaking down strongholds also happens over time. It does not happen on a prayer line.
Strongholds in our minds are mental thought patterns that have become a neural highway. By default, our minds go back into the same process over and over again. These thought patterns were oftentimes initiated by demons and built entirely on lies.
Tools To Break Down Strongholds
The process of breaking down old strongholds and establishing new strongholds in our minds is called renewing our minds.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk according to the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds on things above. Let your mind rise above your current circumstances and begin to focus on things of a heavenly nature.
Joshua 1:8, Do not let this Word depart from your lips, meditate on it day and night.
Philippians 4:8, “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.”
Jeremiah 23:29, “Is not My Word like a fire” says the Lord, “and a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”
Ephesians 6:17 talks of the sword of the Spirit. Every part of the armor of God has its defensive uses and offensive uses.
I am going to talk about how to use the Word of God to renew your mind, break down strongholds and build up new godly strongholds. Let me show you how Jesus did it in Matthew 4. When Jesus was being tempted by the devil, He heard his voice. Have you ever been tempted by a voice? Even after receiving deliverance, you might hear the voice of the tempter, tempting you to fall back into sin and step outside of the grace God has for you. Jesus heard the voice of the enemy.
Jesus was tempted with three main temptations:
- The physical temptation – to do what feels good. This was the temptation to turn stones into bread.
- The emotional temptation – to question God’s love. This was the temptation to jump from a great height to test God.
- The control temptation – to take over the throne. This was the temptation of pride.
For each temptation, Jesus responded with a Bible verse. Jesus overcame the voice of the enemy by using the Word of God He had memorized. He had to have memorized those scriptures in order to be able to reply in the moment of temptation. You can pray for the Holy Spirit to remind you of the Word of Jesus but He cannot remind you of what was never in your mind in the first place. You have to put the Word of God in your mind so the Holy Spirit can remind you. I am not limiting God and saying that He cannot bring a scripture to your mind that you have never read but it is easier for you to receive a scripture from the Lord that you have already known.
Overcome The Enemy With The Scripture
Some of the most powerful secrets are hidden in plain sight. Some of the most powerful principles of the spiritual world are right in front of us; we know them, we just don’t practice them.
Jesus Christ defeated the voice of the enemy by speaking the scriptures. This is so simple. If every scripture you have memorized gave you another breath, how long would you live? You have to read the Bible as if your life depends on it. Your life actually depends on the Word of God. Without the Word of God, we cannot navigate and manage our spiritual lives. It is impossible.
Memorize the scripture so that when temptation comes and the voice of the enemy begins to whisper, you can respond to it with the Word of God instead of worrying that you have demons and listening to what they say. Don’t be such a victim. If you heard them tell you to do something, so what?! Don’t do it. Tell them out loud ‘that is not my portion, get behind me satan’. Those voices spoke to Jesus but He didn’t do what they said. Jesus didn’t jump off the building. He told the devil to shut up and spoke the Word of God.
Four Steps To Renew Your Mind
- Search for and find a Bible verse that addresses your issue.
- Memorize the Bible verse in your mind.
- Let the memorization in your mind become a meditation in your heart.
- Turn the Bible verse into a prayer point.
Search and You Will Find
Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard O Lord over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips.”
This was a scripture the Lord lead me to when I was looking for Bible verses to use to overcome the temptation of talking and arguing too much. When I found it, I went to step two and memorized it.
As Bible-believing Christians, we believe that all scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). It is complete and whole in itself. We don’t believe that some of the secrets or key elements were lost in translation but that all the secrets and truths have been maintained if you read it with the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is living and active. There is a Bible verse for every situation under the sun. If you haven’t found it yet, you just haven’t searched long enough. Go deeper and God will reveal it to you. How would a loving God who loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us leave us with an incomplete manual? Everything you need is right in the Holy Bible.
Memorize The Scripture Word For Word
There are those who claim they don’t need to study the Bible because that is too religious and they just live by the Spirit. This is wrong. The Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of scripture. He does nothing without God’s Word. The Word and Spirit go hand in hand. When you live only on the Spirit, you are going to blow up. If you live only on the Word, you will dry up but if you live on the Word and Spirit, you are going to grow up.
What does it mean to memorize the Bible? It means you go over it in your mind over and over as if you are speaking without opening your mouth. The Word of God is living and active. It is powerful. As you start to do that, you will begin to see God answer your prayers. The Book of James 4:2-3 says God sometimes does not answer our prayers because we pray wrongly. We don’t pray according to His will; we pray according to our will. I challenge you to pray scripture. Scriptural prayer is the fastest prayer that God answers.
Let It Move To Your Heart
This is the third step. It might take you some hours. It might even take weeks at a time. In your mind, while you are memorizing it, you can forget it and run into idle thoughts. But when you keep memorizing and keep memorizing, what happens is it no longer just runs in your mind but you become aware and conscious of that Scripture and you begin to enjoy communion with the Holy Spirit in your spirit. You can tell when someone who has developed communion with the Holy Spirit walks into the room. The atmosphere shifts because they are having active communion with the Holy Spirit.
Turn The Bible Verse Into A Prayer
Use the words of that Bible verse as a personal prayer, as if they were your words or insert your name in the scripture instead of the Biblical character that is there. As you implement these four steps, God will break strongholds in your life. Godly habits and reactions will begin to form.
It worked in my life. I started memorizing Psalm 141:3. I let it become my meditation and my prayer and God started to do what it said. God put a guard over my mouth and helped me break that stronghold by memorizing, and quoting the Word of God just as Jesus did.
Maybe you are tempted with immorality, anxiety, depression, church hurt, or one thing or another. Use the Word of God against that voice. Stop feeling like a victim just because the devil is tempting you. Stand up and hit him with the right hand of God. The right hand of God is power.
Four Strongholds Crippling The Church Today
1. Believing the devil is stronger than he is.
This is so common. The devil is a worm. He belongs under your feet. Stop thinking that every time a thought crosses your mind, you have become a victim of another demon. This is a stronghold that has formed because you believed the lie that they are stronger than they are. People often ask me how do you deal with stubborn demons. There is only one way – be more stubborn in the name of Jesus. I know that the God I serve is all-powerful. How could I give up? This might feel tough to hear but it is tough love because I want you to get out of the victim’s mindset and get into the victor’s mindset. The victor’s mindset is based on the Word of God, not your emotions.
2. Offense and church hurt.
Many people have developed a stronghold of church hurt. It doesn’t matter how good their pastor is, they will find a way to be offended. Remember, not everyone who goes to the gym is buff. Not everyone that goes to a gym is a bodybuilder. Do you know who the gym is for? The unfit. You go to the gym to get fit. You don’t criticize someone who is overweight and goes to the gym as being a hypocrite; they are trying to change. The church is like a spiritual gym where we have different kinds of people trying to change. Nobody is perfect; only Jesus is. Sometimes, you need to lower your expectations of your pastors and leaders and put your expectation on Jesus. Jesus will never disappoint you.
3. Lust and immorality.
If you have been delivered from the spirit of lust and are still struggling, it is because there is a stronghold. The demon is gone and now, you need to bring down that abandoned villa in your mind. When fighting against lust, immorality, and the memories of the past, we cannot hinder a bird from flying over our tree but we hinder it from building a nest in it. Ungodly thoughts can come. Perverse thoughts may cross your mind and persist in staying but if you refuse to give them space and time, they die unborn. It is a process and takes time but keep using the hammer of the Word of God and that stone will break in your life.
4. Shame and condemnation.
Guilt is a good thing. It is healthy and a sign of a healthy conscience. Guilt is when you feel bad for doing something bad. Shame on the other hand is not good. Shame is when you feel bad for who you are. There is no shame in Jesus. We are not human doings, we are human beings. Stop being defined by the mistakes of your past. We are not where we are coming from. We are who we are right now and God does not consult your past to determine your future. He looks at you today and sees His child. Stop living based on your past and the mistakes you have committed. That is only what you have done but it is not who you are in Christ.
Sermon By Rikhard Hartikainen; Blog By Edward Gardiner