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Luke 13:10-17: Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

jesus-healing-the-woman-with-a-disabling-spirit

Luke tells us this story of a woman who had a spirit that disabled her and made her infirm.  Jesus, with a word and the laying on of his hands, delivers the woman from the evil spirit.  She responds by standing up straight and praising God.  Jesus describes her as having been bound and crippled by Satan for 18 years, until he set her free and restored her to health.

For 18 years, this daughter of Abraham lived among God’s people and was oppressed by an evil spirit from Satan.  Until the kingdom of God showed up through the person of the king, Jesus Christ, in power and wisdom, she was helpless in the darkness of evil.  This, John says, is the reason Jesus came: “to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)  The light of the kingdom of God overcomes the darkness of the evil one.

In neglecting the state of this woman for 18 years and then in objecting to Jesus’ sabbath ministry of healing and deliverance, the synagogue ruler shows that he and his ilk are content with “having the appearance of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Tim 3:5) The form of religion that lacks the power of God to heal and deliver from evil, sin and death exists in futility and delusion.

In his love and by his power, Jesus has come to set the captives free and to give sight to the blind.  He brings joy and gladness in the gift of eternal life here and now. He subverts the ways of the world that is under the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19). His kingdom has come, is present and is coming in fullness.

How and why are people in bondage to evil spirits?  We know that Jesus has defeated Satan and disarmed him from having power and authority in light of God’s kingdom.  However, Satan and his minion demons continue to wage a sort of guerrilla warfare against humanity.  Often through deception, subtlety and intimidation, they try to oppress and disable people from flourishing in life through Jesus.  Here are some ways we can find ourselves disabled or bound by Satan.  We must not become defensive against the reality of our weaknesses, vulnerabilities, sinfulness and failures.  We must not shy away from reality due to our desire to avoid blame or hurt feelings.  The fault of sin is in all of us.  In all ways, we are offenders and victims.  By God’s grace, power and wisdom, let’s grow up in the faith and deal with it.

  1.  Habits of Sin: We have forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ in whom there is no condemnation.  The wages of sin is death–a statement of fact and truth.  No sin is inconsequential.  I believe each sin also has the potential to lead to bondage through habitual sin in our lives.  Imagine that behind each temptation to sin is an evil spirit tempting and enticing us to give in to the sinful nature.  For example, if we are considering stealing a product from store.  If we give in and take it and walk out the store, we have just made a new friend with the spirit of stealing who will be our companion and potentially bind us to the ongoing sin of theft.  This bondage to theft will disable us in our life and prevent us from living abundantly through Christ.  I believe any sinful habit can develop a binding relationship with an evil spirit who becomes our companion in that activity until we confess, repent and receive deliverance and spiritual healing.  Because we have all sinned, none of us are innocent bystanders and are all vulnerable to evil spirits due to our sinfulness.
  2. Rejection or Neglect of the Ministry of the Church: Throughout the book of Acts, we see the church gathering together to worship, ministry, disciple and fellowship.  God has given gifts to his body for mutual edification.  The kingdom of God exists through Jesus Christ who is present in the world through his Spirit and his body–the church.  Scripture tells us that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)  It is trendy for Christian spokespeople to banter about hating the church and listing all of the things wrong with the church.  However, the church is God’s people, and it is through these people that God works.  I believe that the Lord leads his sheep to his flock where they can be nourished with his prophetic word and anointed ministry for them.  Where God’s people gather is where his angels also are gathered and where his glory rests.  To be outside of the spiritual authority, anointing and power of the people of God is to be in a place where you are vulnerable to the evil one.  The Spirit of the Lord is the Spirit of love, power and a sound mind.  We must continually seek his fullness among the worship, ministry and sacraments of God’s people who have been gifted for our sake.
  3. Opening Doors to Demons: The door of our spiritual lives can be opened purposefully or left open and unlocked neglectfully.  The result may be the same: an evil spirit comes in and takes up residence with us.  Is it so easy for an evil spirit to come in and attach itself to you as looking at pornography on the computer, coveting someone’s house, car or life, a little gossip, a little pride or getting a little high or a little drunk.  I suggest that these all have the potential to welcome the work of the evil one.  It may seem simple to us, but evil spirits have been working for centuries to get that door open, and they will take advantage of it.  Before you open the door, think about what is on the other side.  To the evil one, leaving the door open and unguarded is as good as an invitation. They will grab some friends and come on in to rob, steal, cripple, bind and destroy.  They must be evicted and banished by Jesus and his heavenly host.
  4. Victimization and Abuse: Through traumatic experiences and especially abuse and violence, demons can attach themselves to us in oppressive and tormenting bondage.  Is this fair? No, it is not.  When it comes to spiritual warfare and the behavior of demons, throw fairness and justice out the window.  Heck no it is not fair for the child of abuse to then have to deal with demons of accusation, fear and bondage!  Nevertheless, it must be done.  Even as a parent can bring a child forth for infant baptism, a parent can bring forth evil spirits upon his or her child through torment, abuse, exposure to sin and by opening doors to demons.  The devil doesn’t care if you don’t think that is right or fair.  The reality is that trauma and abuse often have accompanying demons that further victimize and abuse and must be dealt with by deliverance and healing in the Name of Jesus.
  5. Purposeful Engagement with Demons: Initiating any contact with the spiritual realm outside the kingdom of God–whether done seriously or in jest, opens the door wide open and invites demons inside to sit at the head of the table.  Involvement in false religions is in fact engagement with demons.  Seeking some kind of power, knowledge, position, control or effective curses through accessing the spiritual realm is Satanism by any other name.  No matter for what reason you let this tiger out of its cage, it is out and is a killer.  The only hope is to access a greater power in Jesus Christ.
  6. Being a Child of God Through Jesus Christ: If you are in Christ and participating in the kingdom of God, the devils know your name and scheme to oppose you.  The devil and his demons do, in fact, prowl around like hungry, vicious lions seeking whom they may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)  Mature Christians are not unaware of the evil spirits’ schemes.  Complacent and immature Christians ignore spiritual warfare and become subject to the fiery darts and the deceptive whispers and deathly shadows of the evil one.  The evil spirits try to disable active Christians in any way they can do it.  Inactive Christians have made themselves disabled spiritually, so the enemy just keeps a finger on them lest they rise up through Christ.  Our Christian devotional lives must include prayers of deliverance and healing for ourselves and others.  We must continually invite the angels to minister to us and protect us through our prayers to the Father and our words of blessing and life.

As Christians, we must continually live into our baptismal declarations that we made or were made on our behalf at baptism.  Here are the declarations from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer:

  • Question: Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God? Answer: I renounce them.
  • Question: Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God? Answer:  I renounce them.
  • Question: Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God? Answer: I renounce them.
  • Question: Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Savior? Answer: I do.
  • Question:Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love? Answer: I do.
  • Question: Do you promise to follow and obey him as your Lord? Answer: I do.

I encourage you to recommit to these declarations.   Where you have failed, confess and repent.  Ask the Lord to deliver you and heal you.  Seek the prayers and ministry of those gifted and mature in the ministry of healing and deliverance.

Here is one particular resource that I have found to be excellent.  At the Above & Beyond Christian Counseling website you will find myriad resources including reading material and podcasts.  Devour it!

 

 

 

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