Healing Oppression

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38)

Most Evangelical Christians do not realize that they live in the same world as Jesus did.  I’m not talking about culture, institutions, or ethnicity here.  I’m talking about the cosmic order of things.

There is only one world.  The world of Jesus is the world we live in.  People are still oppressed by evil spirits, even to the point of sickness.  And the demons do not recognize geographical or philosophical or political borders!  In other words, just because your world view does not include evil spirits does not mean they are suddenly make-believe or somehow hedged out of your universe.

I read a statement of a pioneer Pentecostal preacher regarding the verse above.  He said that this verse shows us that “all sickness is oppression from the devil.”  I don’t agree with his assessment.  The verse doesn’t actually even mention sickness (though it is implied).  The problem in view is demonic oppression.  Jesus very specifically came to overthrow the hard and oppressive control the devil seeks to gain over the lives of men and women.

All sickness is not caused by demonic oppression.  Most sickness is purely natural in causes.  But all demonic oppression makes people sick in some way or another: spiritually, emotionally, relationally, socially, or even physically sick.  And Jesus is still healing those who are oppressed by the devil!

How can a Christian know whether he/she is oppressed by the devil?  Though there are several biblical clues, the main fingerprints of demonic oppression are chronic harassing and condemning thoughts.  Satan wants to hide the glorious work of the Cross from your conscious thoughts.  He wants you to live as if your sins are still held against you.  In the Bible He is called “the accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10).  People who are chronically harassed by fears that they have “lost their salvation” are very likely experiencing demonic oppression.  People harassed by deep and chronic thoughts and feelings of hopelessness and suicide are likely oppressed by the devil.  The devil does not play fair and he despises all of God’s creation.

Oppression from the enemy almost always begins with a lie.  The Bible says that we can overcome these “fiery darts of the devil” by taking up the “shield of faith” (Eph 6:16).  No believer is immune from satan’s fiery darts.  These are thoughts and accusations launched into your mind from from demonic sources without.  And if we allow these darts to lodge in our thoughts, they can result in oppression.  You don’t have to believe every thought that comes into your mind!  And you certainly should never believe any thought that comes from the devil!  Satan’s power to oppress you is almost solely based upon the foothold he can gain in your thoughts.

This is why “taking up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” is so important to maintaining your spiritual victory (see Eph 6:17).  Even Jesus used the word of God to combat Satan’s lies (see Matthew 4:4).  It’s ignorance or pride to think that you can win the spiritual battle for your thought life without filling your mind and mouth with God’s word. Too many Christians are passive about this.  Somehow they think they can win in this battle without actually suiting up for conflict!

Lot’s of things have changed in our world over the last 2,000 years.  But some things haven’t.  There is still an unseen spiritual realm and an enemy of our souls.  And there is still a Savior on the Throne in heaven who knows us each by name.  He is interceding for us.  He is still healing all those who are oppressed by the devil.  And He is present now to help you – if you will call upon Him and lean upon the truths in His written word.

If you are under spiritual attack and are not being successful dealing with it alone, then get some support from the body of Christ.  Call a mature Christian friend or pastor and openly share your struggles.  Satan’s lies cannot long exist in the light!  You may also be interested in reading a very helpful and practical book on the subject, The Bondage Breaker, by Dr. Neil T. Anderson. 

6 thoughts on “Healing Oppression

  1. Daniel Lunsford says:

    Would you think it would be fair to say that in most (if not all) cases God actually ALLOWS the Devil to cause the sickness? This would certainly be the case for believers (John 10:29), but even unsaved people would logically be protected by the definition of God’s omniscience and omnipotence. If the Devil was tormenting someone without God’s permission, this would indicate weakness or lack of awareness on His part. That being said, one of God’s characteristics is that every action brings glory to Himself. We must therefore conclude that God allows certain people to be demonically oppressed so that His will is accomplished, either through divine intervention, healing, prayer, or other means. What is your take on this?

  2. Dane Gressett says:

    Good points, Daniel. John Wesley wrote in his diary about a demon who was being driven out of a person telling him that “he had permission” to enter a certain person after leaving his current host.  Though most (not all!) Methodists today would laugh at the mention of evil spirits, their founder didn’t.  We can’t trust a word that comes out of the mouth of demons, nonetheless Wesley’s experience does seem to reveal that God not only “allows” the devil to operate but that He exercises sovereignty over it.
    But there is this clear tension in the Scripture, where we see that God sometimes allows what He hates…for a limited time.  We must not malign the character of God over what He sometimes allows.  This is what so many unbelievers do when wrestling with the problem of evil in our world.  Since God could stop it now and hasn’t, they conclude that He must not be good.  The other part of the tension is the clear enmity between Jesus and Satan.  Though God is sovereign over Satan, the devil is certainly not on God’s team!  The Seed of the Woman has enmity for the serpent.  Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  Paul employed warfare terms to describe our relationship with the spirits of darkness.  Peter referred to Satan as “your enemy the devil”.  Though I am “mostly” Reformed in my theological persuasion, when hyper-Calvinists downplay deliverance ministry because “the devil is a pawn in God’s hands”, I wonder what Bible they read?  Jesus needs to be our model for dealing with demons.  He healed all who were oppressed by the devil.  He “greatly rejoiced in the Spirit” when his disciples came back from their first ministry assignment and were amazed and joyful over the fact that the demons were subject to them in Christ’s name.  He also chided the disciples for not having sufficient faith to drive the demon out of the boy who was mute.

  3. simon says:

    Dear all, my wife Jacqueline are of the firm belief that we are being oppressed.Nothing goes right for us. It surely must be that something, no matter how insignificant, would work out the way an ordinary human being would expect. We love each other completely.We pray for help,even to simply understand why? We are decent people who cause no harm to anyone.We are lost and do not know what to do next!

  4. Dane Gressett says:

    Dear friend,I am so sorry to hear of your trials.  No matter how terrible or oppressive your circumstances, Jesus is bigger, and He cares.  The path to experiencing a spiritual breakthrough in Christ has been clearly marked out in the holy scriptures.  Unfortunately, most of us try to come to him on our own terms.  But He is God and He establishes the protocol for approaching Him and for experiencing His favor.The Queen of England cannot be approached in just any old manner that a common person chooses!  How much more the King of the universe!Here’s a link to another short article that might be helpful to you: http://dane.brcconline.org/2008/08/25/the-lost-art-of-repentance.aspxPlease read it and ask God to speak to you.  If you have more questions afterwards, feel free to email.  I’d like to pray for you now.”Dear Father in heaven, this couple recognizes that their lives are out of control.  They feel lost.  Jesus, you said you came to seek and to save that which was lost!  Help them Lord!  Grant repentance to them.  Increase their faith.  Free them from everything that is blinding them to your truth and to your Presence.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.”Prayerfully yours,Pastor Dane

  5. Gary says:

    I would like to tell of a demonic experience this week. I have been under bad depression since the death of my father about 2 months ago and my brother 8 months ago. Last week my life took a change for the worst I spent the week with behaviors out of character. I got very little sleep and when I was in bed I tossed and turned. Saturday I walked through the house looking for demonic spirits. I went to church on Sunday and during the praise and worship and the services I had uncontrollable shaking and could not move. After the service I wanted to go for prayer and could not move until my wife helped me up and to walk to the front. While standing there I felt weak and could not stand I was being held up by my wife and her uncle until my pastor and the rest of the deacons got to me. During the prayer I became so hot that my shirt became socked with sweat to the point that my wife arm and shirt sleeve was the same. As my pastor got to the end of the prayer my head was shaking in a no motion uncontrollable. We left the church and about a block away I begin to shake uncontrollable like in church. My wife touched me on the arm and said things would be okay in Jesus name we just need to trust God. My arms swung wildly and I begin to growl and scratch at the door to get out of the car. My wife turned the car around and went back to church. I continued this when my pastor and several deacons came out and begin to pray over me. I had a demonic voice screaming and growling and saying it was not going to leave. After about 15 minutes later I got a peace over me that I have never felt before. This is something that if it would not have happened to me I would not believe it. I still leave me confused if someone has any advice in coping with this please help me. ______________________________________________ Hello Gary, Glad you emailed.  I don’t have any advice for coping with the devil –  only truth that sets people free if they embrace it and resist the lies of the enemy.  I’m never impressed by the manifestations of the devil.  He can shake and roar and spit and curse.  It doesn’t matter or mean anything.  All demons are deceivers.  Stop paying attention to manifestations and get grounded in the great Gospel truths.  Surrender to the Jesus of the Cross, confess the power of His blood, renounce every lie of the devil and every sinful stronghold in your life that may have given place to the enemy. A great book that will be a good resource for you is The Bondage Breaker, by Neil Anderson.  Get a copy and read it, Bible in hand.  Pray the prayers out-loud.  Passivity in this battle is your biggest enemy.  I pray that the Holy Spirit reveals the glory and power of the risen Christ to you in your hour of need.  He is able to deliver you but you must agree with God’s word and break every alliance with the lies of the enemy.  You don’t need another power encounter or some “anointed” person to pray over you.  You need to arm yourself with the word of God and trust only in Christ.  He is able to deliver you.  Repentance and faith are always the bedrock. Gary, I pray that the Father leads you into the fullness of victory that is Christ Jesus alone.

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