Healing Ministry 3.0: Why I Care About Casting out Demons
Why do I care about casting out demons?
I've lived with a neurological condition called Cerebral Palsy from the day of my birth; raised in a Christian home, I came to know Jesus as "Lord and Saviour" when I was five years old.
As a young boy, I had to undergo surgery to lengthen my Achilles' tendons so that I could walk with my feet flat on the ground, rather than on my tip-toes. The process of learning to walk was quite painful, and apparently I was put on strong painkillers. Starting at that time and for (I would guess) three or four years, a creature that I called "Black Devil" would torment me.
Though I realise that hallucination thanks to the drugs was probably part of things, the torment was so consistent that I believe that "Black Devil" was not a figment of my imagination, but a demon (in the Christian tradition, an "unclean" or evil spirit). I remember going to my mother and explaining the situation.
She told me, "Well Bobby, you belong to Jesus. So when that thing comes back, you say to it, 'Satan, in the name of Jesus, go away!' And it will."
I began to do that, and wouldn't you know it, it would go! But it would return. I remember being about eight years old, maybe a little younger, and finally something snapped inside of me. "In the name of Jesus," I told that evil spirit, "I command you to go away and never return!"
The only time it tried to return was in a dream I had when I was twelve years old. I recognized the spirit, but all of a sudden I knew that I was clothed in the armour of God (Eph. 6), and I began to laugh. Something about that laughter scared it, and Black Devil, who had the form of a great ape, began to shrink before my very eyes, until it was this ugly and even flimsy-looking thing no bigger than a small child. It fled, and never returned.
For extended periods when I was sixteen years old, the Lord began to teach me by fits and starts about what my spiritual gifts were, and I could sense almost immediately if there was an evil force that was influencing a situation. Especially if I was with other Christians, a fairly simple prayer of command in the name of Jesus would displace the evil and the atmosphere would clear--people felt free. I learned that this ability was often called the gift of "discerning spirits" in broadly pentecostal circles.
When I was seventeen through nineteen years old, I gained some little experience in deliverance--both being delivered myself and casting out demons from others. The problem with gaining this experience is that I became hyper-aware of spiritual darkness--in the language of my upbringing, I started to believe that a demon was 'behind every bush,' so to speak, even though in my limited teaching ministry at the time, I encouraged people to keep their eyes on Jesus! I was also getting a very swelled head because--wouldn't you know it--I became the "go to" guy, the big man on campus, for matters of Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Warfare! I had very little peace and too much adrenaline. (Dear reader: If this state happens to you, please pay attention. You are in need of wise counsel.)
The Lord dealt with my pride and my dogmatism/intellectual and spiritual abusiveness by removing me from Bible College and sending me on a healing journey that took many years. The journey goes on, of course, but I know that God has seriously shifted my character and allowed me to repent of some very unhealthy attitudes. He has continually asked me to replace fear with love and despair with joy. He has allowed me to hear truth in perspectives that I would have thought were completely naive, flaky, or (even) rebellious.
I still believe in the ministry of casting out demons or unclean/evil spirits. Though some people don't like it, expelling demons (or deliverance) seems closely tied to healing ministry, or might be considered a subset of it. So, if this ministry is as important as I claim, why don't more Christians know how to expel demons? Why don't more churches teach their people so to do? Having been part of many movements in the Body of Christ, I may be able to offer some helpful perspectives.
In two further Hubs on this subject, I will provide eight reasons (four in one, four in the other).
In giving these reasons, I want to highlight any truths I see in them, without denying:
a) Casting out demons is a necessary ministry of the Body of Christ today; and
b) Church bodies can and should equip their members to expel demons.
I am convinced that the Gospel of Christ and the love of God makes people free. If evil is assaulting someone's life, it is by definition opposing God's best plans for that person. God has died and risen again, in Jesus Christ, to completely disarm evil's power--and it is the Church's responsibility to allow God to enforce God's victory through our actions in the world!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.