Let me categorically state, I am not a demon chaser…but sometimes, they show up. Like what happens when light is shown in a cave, the light of God’s word can expose the darkness in hearts, where often demonic influence can manifest.
Scriptures do not speak about possession in the same way that the word is used in modern day language. The actual words in the Greek translated to present day English as “demon possession” referred to someone who is “demonized.” Demon activity or possession does not occur in the spirit of man but rather in the soul or the body. That is to say a person can become “demonized” even though they are born again and Spirit filled. Christians can still be influenced by demonic attack. Demons are, in fact, enemies of God, spirit beings with personality and motivation. Their personality is one of total dementia, that is, they are completely demented without the possibility of regeneration. Their motivation is to destroy the saints of God. John 10:10 says, “the thief cometh not but to kill, steal and to destroy.”
Through the sins and weaknesses of parents or through a person’s own sinful acts demonic influence can require the ministry of deliverance as a means of setting someone free from demonic influence. The Lord intended the soul, the mind, will, and emotions, as well as the body, to be under the complete control of the spirit and man’s spirit to be completely under the control of the Holy Spirit.
When an individual is born again his spirit comes to life, but the soul is still under the influence of the old nature and needs to be restored and regenerated. The process of restoration and regeneration takes time. In dealing with this kind of problem it is of great importance that the Christian have the gift of discernment as well as considerable wisdom and knowledge about the whole topic of demonology.
The Word of God indicates, without reservation, that the warfare that occurs in human lives is a spiritual warfare, not a physical or psychological warfare. The warfare for our lives occurs within the mind. 2 Corinthians 10:5 talks about this warfare very clearly. The scripture teaches that Christians must be willing to “cast down imaginations and every high and lofty thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and to bring every thought captive into the obedience of Christ.”
The renewal, or the regeneration, of the mind comes through the washing of the water by the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26). Because so much conflict occurs in the body and the mind, it is easy to see how a person can be under demonic influences.
The following summary of the process of deliverance from the occult, or from demonic activity is followed by a look at the ministry of the healing of the memories from a balanced Christian view point, in an effort to “debunk” some of the myths of this process.
The Word of God discusses various occult practices, including:
1. Enchantments or the practice of magical arts. See Exodus 7:11-22, Leviticus 19:26, Deuteronomy 18:10, Daniel 1:20.
2. Witchcraft, which is the sin of rebellion, the practice of dealing with evil spirits. See: Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:9-10, 1 Samuel 15:23, 2 Kings 9:22, Nahum 3:4 and Galatians 5:19-21. All of these activities are forbidden by God.
3. Sorcery, which is similar to witchcraft except drugs are used. See: Exodus 7:11, Isaiah 47:9, Jeremiah 27:9, Malachi 3:5, Acts 8:9-11, Revelation 9:21.
4. Soothsaying or telling the future by demonic power. See: Isaiah 2:6, Daniel 2:27, 4:7, Micah 5:12.
5. Divination is the art of mystic insight or fortune telling, sometimes with demon power. See: Numbers 22:7, 23:23, Deuteronomy 18:10-14.
In ministering to someone that has been actively involved in the occult, it is important to recognize the problems being dealt with are substantial. The caregiver must be willing to stand up to the enemy and not to be manipulated by him. The caregiver should never lose sight of the fact that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit and is a strong weapon in dealing with demonic activities.
When a person comes in for caregiving it is important to first discover whether they have been involved in any sort of demonic activity. Through careful and discerning questioning the caregiver can discover whether there are areas such as witchcraft, drug abuse, sexual abuse, etc., which have been a part of the counselee’s lifestyle
Ministering deliverance to individuals is nothing more or less than commanding that the demonic force that is working against the individual be broken in the Name of Jesus. However, the minister must be careful and protective toward people in the caregiving situation and never to be exploitive.
In dealing with the healing of memories there are many things to be aware of. First of all, caregivers need to realize healing of the memories is a valid form of ministry. 1 Corinthians 12:28 it talks about the gift of healing. There is also a gift of “healings.” There are many forms of healings including physical healing, healing through the Lord’s Supper, and healing through the laying on of hands. There is also the natural healing found in nature. The human body has a built in system whereby over a period of time many ailments are healed without any particular interference or help from any outside source. Healing was provided in the death of Christ. The Scripture says that “by His stripes we all were healed” (Isa. 53:5; I Peter 2:24).
What about Inner Healing?
There are times when healing will come through the caregiving process. As mentioned in another section of this book, many physical ailments are psychosomatic: a physical sickness that has been caused by a psychological condition such as stress, anxiety, etc. With the proper loving counsel of a Christian caregiver the psychological source of the problems can be eliminated resulting in the healing of the physical problem. Many people receive healing of the memories, mind, will and emotions through the relational process of growing in the things of God, through studying the Word of God, through being in relationship with other Christians, and through prayer and confession of sins. A look at the process of inner healing should prove helpful.
The process of inner healing cannot really occur unless an individual is willing to open the door to their unconscious mind. Many people suffer from problems in their lives, yet are unaware of the source of the problems. Not every memory needs to be remembered. Only those that are truly problematic need to be dealt with. The Apostle Paul talked about forgetting, or putting off, the past, but many times a person needs to first remember that which needs to be put off before it can truly be “put off.” It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to help individuals remember those things too painful to remember without His help. Therefore, the client must learn to trust the Holy Spirit in the process of inner healing. The Holy Spirit will lead into all truth if He is allowed to. See: (2 Corinthians 1:21-22.).
It is necessary to recognize that because of wounds or injuries in the mind, will and emotions of man, denial and repression may occur. When a child is injured by a traumatic event beyond his ability to understand, the memory of the event will be repressed out of consciousness, but it is never completely forgotten. It is the responsibility of the caregiver to assist the counselee through the help of the Holy Spirit to get in touch with the memories so they can be healed.
Robert McDonald, in his book on memory healing, describes a process for inner healing that has proven to be very powerful and effective. He first describes the setting. The setting for inner healing should be private, safe, and confidential. A condition of relaxation, trust, openness, and caring must be set, and the Holy Spirit invited to begin to reveal areas of people’s lives. The second stage begins when such a condition is set and there is a lessening of resistance so that God begins to move powerfully on behalf of the client.
The process of inner healing takes time. This second stage does not usually fit into the standard caregiving hour. The minimum recommended time is 1 1/2 to 2 hours for this purpose.
Teaching is a third stage which actually is the beginning part of the inner healing process. The individual needs to be taught what he/she is about to experience. Simply stated, the caregiver will inform the counselee “we are going to pray first, ask the Holy Spirit to begin to reveal to us areas of your life that need to be revealed and healed.” It is important that all sin be confessed so no further damage can occur.
The fourth stage of inner healing involves every memory being prayed over as it is brought up. The memory may come in terms of a trace memory. It may come in forms of a sensation or a symptom of some sort. The caregiver prays, first of all, leading the client in a confession if there is sin or a renunciation of vows that were taken in that are forbidden in God’s Word. Next, the Holy Spirit is asked to begin to minister in that area, and then Jesus is asked to forgive and to cleanse by His blood of any sin or wrong. Now the prayer for healing can begin. At times the laying on of hands will be helpful, but at all times the fervent effective prayer of the righteous man will avail much. (James 5:16).
Finally, it is important for the clients to have a support system of people who will pray with them, believe God for them, and give them great support during the time of healing.
Christian caregivers must be strong in the Lord and the power of His might and recognize the need to operate in His authority, especially in recognition of the fact that Satan is turning loose his demonic forces to wreak havoc among individuals and families.
Christian care giving is an important area of ministry in support of local church life. It is not for the faint in heart, and much skill is needed. My prayer is that you will do what is required to become the most effective care giver for the sake of others in the body of Christ. I hope these brief articles have whet your appetite for more study, which is available in multiple forms through Vision International University, at www.vision.edu, and for more extensive reading on these matters, see Help and Healing, or the very expanded version, On Belay, both available from Vision Publishing at www.booksbyvision.com