Over the span of more than fourteen years in deliverance ministry, I have witnessed a broad spectrum of results in my sessions with clients and seminar attendees. There have been many wonderful testimonies, partial victories and (sadly) sometimes there is little good fruit that results.
The list below comprises five major factors that I have determined are limits on the effectiveness of deliverance ministry for the recipient:
- People do not stir up their faith. We see clearly from scriptures in the gospels that the faith level of people mattered when they came to Jesus to get their needs met. Jesus did not heal all the lame, blind and demonized people he passed but he did minister to all who came to him. They had enough faith to approach Jesus and that is still required today. I tell my clients that it is not a question of how much faith someone has but rather that they exercise it, step out and choose to expect a work of the Holy Spirit.
- People are not properly prepared. While some have a different approach, we believe it is important that people be prepared for deliverance ministry by doing some homework. Those who do not prepare, and therefore put the entire burden on us (the ministers) for results, are often disappointed.
- There is little compelling reason for a change. We like to see a level of desperation in our clients and seminar attendees. Unless there is a strong motivation to shake the status quo in their lives, it can be too comfortable to stay where they are spiritually, mentally and emotionally. This is particularly evident if a third-party (a spouse or parent typically) is taking the lead in initiating the contact and setting up appointments.
- Some are not prepared to “walk out” deliverance and develop new habits. Deliverance ministry involves a power encounter with the demonic realm. When the spirits are gone, there is still spiritual warfare, including battles in the mind that need to be fought. New habits need to be formed and this takes time (typically up to six weeks) and effort and some are unwilling to make the commitment. People can be delivered from spirits however they may be unable to maintain the victory.
- Questionable training, experience and anointing of the deliverance minister. This is clearly an important issue and due diligence is important when people are choosing to receive deliverance ministry. We are quick to research potential doctors, lawyers and restaurants so we should not be quick to receive ministry from unknown or unproven sources, especially at the altar of a church.
While controversial and imperfect, I believe that the biblical ministry of deliverance is valid and necessary today in the Body of Christ. Counselors and pastors are not miracle workers and the motivation of the client is highly important for securing positive outcomes. We cannot take ownership of the results but it is comforting to know that we do have the faithfulness and power of the Lord himself working in us and through us to help others!
Would you like to learn more about deliverance ministry? I am an NCCA-licensed Christian counselor in Tampa, FL and have a worldwide practice in Christian counseling, deliverance ministry and deliverance ministry training.
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