When you cast out devils by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you (Luke 11:20). But what comes next isn’t always as much fun. There is often natural and spiritual retaliation for setting the captives free.
Although no weapon formed against a deliverance minister can prosper, the enemy nonetheless forms a weapon and takes his best shot. After all, when you cast out devils—when you set the captives free—you just did marked damage to the kingdom of darkness. Whether you are an experienced deliverance minister or just beginning to study the gospel art of casting out devils, entering the battle without expecting the backlash is not wise.
Retaliation From Flesh and Blood
Deliverance was an earmark of Jesus’ ministry. His keen ability to cast out demons was one of the things that made his ministry so popular among the people. But Jesus faced His fair share of retaliation for casting out devils—and so will you if you engage in deliverance ministry.
After Jesus cast the devil out of two demon-possessed men in the region of the Gadarenes, sending them into the swine, the entire town came out to meet Him. But instead of glorifying God as one might expect, they begged him to get out of town (Matt. 8:22-33). If that wasn’t insulting enough, when Jesus cast a devil out of a blind and mute man the Pharisees suggested He was using the power of Satan (Matt. 12:24). And religious spirits were especially indignant that Jesus cast out a devil on the Sabbath day (Luke 13:14). Ultimately, one of the reasons the religious spirits wanted to kill Jesus was because he was setting people free from demonic oppression and, in doing so, threatening their dead religious rule.
Those who don’t understand the spiritual dynamic of demonic oppression often criticize, mock or otherwise ridicule deliverance ministers. If you cast out devils, even some Christians may think you are a heretic or have a demon yourself. Such retaliation is from flesh and blood, but it is motivated by the whispers of the enemy who wants to persecute you sorely until you cast off your casting out ministry.
In his video teaching on Demonology & Deliverance, Lester Sumrall said he was greatly criticized for his teaching on casting out devils: “You’ve got to be able to accept that. If you are not able to accept that, the devil will defeat you quite easily. You’ve got to be willing to be mocked, to be laughed at, to be misunderstood in order to do what God has wants you to do.” Amen.
Retaliation From Evil Spirits
On the other side of the retaliation coin, deliverance ministers can expect retaliation through manifested spiritual warfare. I’ve cast devils out of people only to turn around and face a heavy dose of witchcraft or imaginations that tried to convince me the devil never left. I’ve had nightmares after exercising deliverance ministry. I’ve felt tired and sick. Thankfully, I understood that it was the enemy hitting back and took authority over the assignment in the name of Jesus.
When you set out to engage in deliverance ministry, don’t go there without preparing your heart—and don’t go there alone. Jesus sent the 72 disciples out two by two to cast out devils (Matt. 10:8). And they understood their authority in the name of Jesus before they ventured into ministry. Deliverance ministry is not a game of patty cake.
To be sure, you can’t just read Pigs in the Parlor and dub yourself a deliverance minister. If you don’t truly understand your authority in Christ—if you don’t have an intimate relationship with Him—the retaliation could be dramatic and painful. Remember the itinerant Jewish exorcists who took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits?
They said, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” The seven sons of Sceva joined into the deliverance party “And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpoweredthem, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:15-16).
Although you aren’t likely to experience anything quite like what happened to the sons of Sceva, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare yourself for retaliation before you ever step foot into the deliverance session. Beyond fasting, seeking God for wisdom, and putting together a team of deliverance ministers, remember to bind up the retaliation and plead the blood of Jesus over yourself before and after the session. And everything you do, do it with faith in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including Did the Spirit of God Say That? You can email Jennifer at [email protected] or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.