3 Foundational Parts of Deliverance Ministry
Deliverance ministry encompasses three distinct aspects of spiritual warfare: casting out demons, dismantling strongholds, and breaking curses. Generational curses, demons, and strongholds are three very different things, and we have to approach them as three distinct facets of the enemy’s arsenal against us. In short, demons are expelled through deliverance, strongholds are brought down through discipline, and curses are broken by decree. When we learn how to take down each of these facets, we can experience personal and community-wide revival.
In all three facets of deliverance ministry, that authority is given by Jesus through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. While a person afflicted by demons or evil spirits requires deliverance—casting them out in Jesus’ name—those dealing with strongholds must apply greater discipline to dismantle them.
There are two basic types of curses, those cast on people through a spoken word or some form of witchcraft and those passed on to people through their bloodline, which we call generational curses. We see generational curses defined in the book of Exodus where they’re identified as “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (v. 34:7). To release a person from generational curses you decree them to be broken.
A decree is simply a spoken order or command made with full legal authority, which all believers have in the name of Jesus. When someone decrees that a person’s generational curse has been broken, and that person agrees with the decree, the matter is resolved at that time. There is no need for them to keep decreeing that the same curse be broken numerous times. By coming into agreement with the decree, they have severed the legal covenant of the curse with the enemy, and the issue is settled once and for all.
Sometimes in deliverance ministry, we revisit a previously broken curse in an attempt to break it again. By doing so, we’re unintentionally imposing a belief that these curses still persist, inadvertently placing a new curse upon the very person we’re trying to help! The curse will end because you have decreed it to end. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to break new curses that may come against you (through some form of witchcraft) or gain the discipline to tear down the strongholds a generational curse may have patterned into your life.
A person with strongholds doesn’t need more deliverance from demons, they need more discipline. Their ability to resist the sinful behaviors that have fortified that stronghold is paramount, and engaging in Bible reading, fasting, and prayer—including the daily putting on of the whole armor of God—will benefit them greatly. In the same way, by saying no to the temptations of the flesh through the authority of Jesus’ name, they can effectively confront and weaken the strongholds in their life.
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out: and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. —Matthew 12:43–44
Notice the words my house. This is where we get to the nitty gritty of strongholds, so please pay close attention. Demons fortify themselves in a person’s life by building a house. The Bible calls that fortified place or city a stronghold. It’s a house. It’s a home. It’s a habitation, a dwelling.
Here’s where many folks miss a crucial aspect of deliverance. We wonder why people keep returning for the same issue when we have already cast that demon out numerous times, and when the people ask for more deliverance, we tend to go into full-blown deliverance ministry mode all over again.
But the truth is that you only need to expel that demon once. You cast it out in Jesus’ name, you tell it not to come back, and from that very moment it is unequivocally banned from reentering that person’s life. That’s deliverance as Jesus did it, encapsulated into a single sentence, and it really is that simple.
Though a demon has no choice but to eventually leave, that doesn’t mean the person won’t struggle afterwards. They very well might. When a demon departs from the person, it leaves behind remnants of its house, which is the comfortable place it built for itself. This is what we call a stronghold. While you can successfully cast the demon out, it is equally crucial to guide the person in the process of dismantling the stronghold—the nest—constructed by the enemy.
Deliverance isn’t always instantaneous, and can be a process, especially if you are dealing with a stronghold instead of a demon. I give praise to God for the vital ministry of deliverance, but I also recognize the significance of ongoing Christian discipleship. Without a doubt, I firmly believe in the reality of demons, and the fact that they need to be effectively addressed in the name of Jesus. However, I equally believe in the importance of spiritual discipline and the continual renewing of your mind and heart with the Word of God.
To learn more about Greg Locke's newest book, Cast It Out, visit MyCharismaShop.com