Jesus assured us that signs would follow us if we believe. So why do so many believers come up short when they try to cast out devils? Why do they lay hands on the sick and the sick stay sick? Why do they long for miracle-working power but continue to struggle day in and day out with powerlessness?
It could be because they don’t have the faith for it, but it could also be that they haven’t paid the personal price to walk in God’s power. Yes, we have authority over devils and sickness. Yes, we carry the kingdom of God with us wherever we go. Yes, miracles, signs and wonders happen according to God’s will—not our own.
But I submit to you that there could be many things standing between you and the manifestation of His miracle-working power. That was the case in Voice of Healing evangelist A.A. Allen’s life. Before Allen’s miracle ministry took off, he was struggling with these questions: “Lord, why can’t I heal the sick? Why can’t I work miracles in Your name? Why do the signs not follow my ministry as they did that of Peter, John and Paul?” Good questions. They are questions every Christian should be asking.
Doing Away With Besetting Sins
“I have found in my travels as an evangelist, as well as in experiences gained in pastorates, that most people have a pet sin (that) they have pampered and petted, and developed, for years. Paul terms it, ‘The sin which doth so easily beset us.’ (Heb. 12:1.) … your “besetting sin.” He also says it must be laid aside if we are to gain the prize at the end of the race: ‘Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.'”
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Some of you may stop reading right here. It always gets quiet when I teach or preach about sin. But here’s the thing: We like to look at someone else’s sin and say that’s the reason they don’t get healed. Yet Jesus healed sinners over and again. We need to be less focused on the sins of those who need a miracle and more focused on our own pet sins that prevent us from walking in God’s power to set the captives free.
“He (needs to have) shown you what in your life needs cleansing before you can experience the power of God. Your pet sin is the sin that you do not want the preacher to preach about,” Allen says. “It is the sin for which you are always ready to make an excuse. It is the sin which, although you would not admit that it is sin, you prefer to do it when you think no one is going to find out.
“It is the sin which leads you captive most easily. It is the sin which you are always ready to defend. It is the sin which causes the clouds of doubt and remorse to cross your spiritual sky, whenever you really feel the need to contact God,” Allen continued. “It is the sin (that) you are most unwilling to give up. It is the sin (that) you think is so small that God should scarcely be able to see it, yet so large that you are sure you could never live without it.”
Practical Examples of Besetting Sins
Besetting sins sometimes look rather innocent. Some people like to say they are discerning, for example, but they are just critical. Some like to say they are gathering intercessors, but really they are just gossiping. Some like to say they have the gift of exhortation, but really they are flattering people with manipulation to get their way. Some like to say they exaggerate a bit, but really they are flat-out liars. The list goes on and on. Some pet sins are more serious than others, but they are all serious to God. And sometimes it’s not sin; there’s just no grace for you to do it.
Allen sounds like when he said, “Thousands of those who profess to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ today would have more power in their lives if the time they spend in listening to the ball games and ‘soap operas,’ and ‘perpetual emotion dramas’ were spent listening to the voice of God, alone in the closet of prayer. These are some of the ‘little foxes that spoil the vines,’ destroying the tender grapes and robbing God’s people of fruitfulness.”
Here is the list that God gave Allen:
1. He must realize he couldn’t do greater quality miracles than Jesus.
2. He could walk as Jesus walked.
3. He must be blameless like God Himself.
4. He must measure himself to Jesus alone.
5. He must deny his fleshly desires with fasting.
6. After self-denial, he must follow Jesus seven days a week.
7. Without God, he could do nothing.
8. He must do away with sin in his body.
9. He must not continue in shallow, pointless discussions.
10. He must give his body wholly to God forever.
11. He must believe all God’s promises.
Numbers 12 and 13 were pet sins that he did not share with anyone, even his wife.
“Christ is sufficiently interested in pointing out the way, that if you desire to find the way of perfectness, He will place his finger on your pet sins, and show you what is keeping you from the goal,” Allen says. “When you come inquiring how you can be perfect, He will not send you away without an answer.”
The question is: Will you dare to ask? Are you willing to pay the price? Are you willing to deal with your pet sins? How bad do you want to see miracles?
Jennifer LeClaire is senior editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder of awakeningtv.com, on the leadership team of the New Breed Revival Network and author of several books, including The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening; Mornings With the Holy Spirit, Listening Daily to the Still, Small Voice of God; The Making of a Prophet and Satan’s Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Religion and Witchcraft. You can visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Jennifer’s Periscope handle is @propheticbooks.