I am asked this question more than any other question from both guys and girls. I struggled with this myself, so I pray that God will use this to help you find freedom and hope.
A year before immigrating to the United States, when I was around twelve years of age, I was first exposed to pornography. I never thought about it again until one day while I was housesitting for the neighbors after having arrived in America, I was exposed to it again, but this time I became attracted to it and then enslaved by it. This bondage continued for a few years through my adolescence. We are exhorted to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us” (Hebrews 12:1). Pornography is one of those sins that so easily ensnares. Jesus said, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34).
Sometimes deliverance becomes a process in a person’s life that takes more than one quick prayer to rid the mind, body, and soul of all the toxicity that years of demonic influence and oppression may have caused.
Many times, there are particular traumatic events that may have catapulted a demonic power into a person’s life such as sexual abuse, rape, or molestation in the early years. These awful things may cause demons to enter right away, depending on the intentions of the person performing these malicious immoral acts, or in other cases, they can cause demons to enter gradually due to unforgiveness and bitterness in the victim’s heart.
"Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots?" asked megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll. "Totally. Yoga is demonic. If you just sign up for a little yoga class, you're signing up for a little demon class."
The former Vatican chief exorcist agrees as well that yoga is demonic. "Practicing yoga is Satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter," Father Gabriele Amorth said in 2011. His objection: Yoga derives from Hinduism, a heathen religion which teaches that there is reincarnation. Pope John Paul II in 1989 also warned against the dangers of yoga as a seduction of spiritual seekers that "can degenerate into a cult of the body." (1)
There are several different ways of receiving deliverance. Some people receive it instantly at one event and everything is cast out. Others go through a long process of deliverance as some people have more intricate demonic issues. You can liken it to a hospital visit. Someone who has appendicitis goes through a pretty straightforward surgical procedure while someone with a brain tumor would need a more intricate surgery and possibly more surgeries over a period of time to completely remove the cancerous mass. This is because the mass is intertwined with the person's body. In the same way, demons can also be intertwined with a person's mind, emotions, physical body, behavior, and attitudes.
Deliverance like healing can be experienced without someone praying for you individually. A person can even receive the most precious gift of salvation without a preacher. Though it’s very helpful to have someone minister to you, you can experience deliverance through someone praying for you over a video, telephone, or through a book. Deliverance from demonic powers happens through the Name of Jesus, the Blood of Jesus, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit. These mighty weapons are available to all believers.
There are a few things we must keep in mind. In the Bible, we are commanded to cast out demons and that requires speaking to them. To be clear, we are not encouraged to have conversations with demons. But, during deliverance, at times we ask questions like, “Who are you?” “What have you done to this person?” “How did you enter this person?” These are not conversational questions, these are interrogation questions of inquiry.
Some have claimed that while doing public deliverance, interrogating a demon glorifies the devil and embarrasses the person. On the contrary, we have found that deliverance embarrasses the devil, builds people’s faith, and instills God’s fear in this new generation. Jesus did not exclude deliverances from any of the Gospels nor did He perform them privately. He did not do them for a show, but to glorify God and bring help to those who were struggling.
We must understand that we are fighting three enemies simultaneously: the devil (invisible enemy), the flesh (inward enemy), and the world (visible enemy). The spiritual enemy, the devil, is overcome by repentance, renouncing, resistance, and/or deliverance. The inward enemy, our flesh, is overcome by crucifixion, self-denial, or in other words personal discipline. The world is the ungodly organized system controlled by the devil which operates through people who are opposed to God. This enemy is overcome by fleeing. We are told not to love the world (1 John 2:15-17), or as the psalmist says, “...Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful” (Psalms 1:1).
The answer is yes and no. Many people who have demons usually have bad dreams and after deliverance, the attacks in the dreams disappear. The enemy loves to attack us while we sleep using nightmares, horror dreams, or snakes, and spiders appearing in dreams. It’s the work of Satan---his goal is to rob our peace and power. “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way” (Matthew 13:25).
This is a very difficult topic. There is a theological debate about this subject, but the topic becomes different when someone in your family, who struggles with demonic torment, takes his own life or dies by overdose. There are cases of suicides in the Bible: Saul intentionally fell on his sword, Samson pulled the temple down on himself, Ahithophel strangled himself and Judas hung himself. All these people are seen in a very negative light in the Bible.
Prophet Elijah prayed "It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:4). And the apostle Paul told the Corinthians that his trials were so difficult that he "despaired even of life" (2 Corinthians 1:8).
I believe a born again believer can have a demon but a demon can’t have him. Christians can be oppressed but not possessed by the devil. For example, my wife and I have had other people live with us in our home for as long as I can remember. These renters were not owners of my property. They had a room that they lived in and a common space we occupied. They also had a key which I gave them. And that’s how demonic oppression in a believer works. Certain demons that influenced either previous sins before we were saved, or else recent ones, acquired the key to certain parts of our life. Jesus is the owner. He occupies the master suite but they can still have access to some guest rooms. Unless you evict them and change the locks, they will continue to come and cause torment.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 60 million Americans experience a mental health condition every year – that’s one in four adults and one in ten children. I want to hilight three mental cases in the Bible.
Mental Illness can be demonic.
Then they came to Jesus and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. (Mark 5:15)
When demons were cast out, a man came back to his right mind. I don't believe that everyone who has mental illness has a demon the same way I don't beleive that everyone who is sick has a demon.
Mental illness can be as a result of sin.
That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. (Daniel 4:33)
Due to sin of pride, Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind. Similiar story happened to King Saul who had manic episodes after the Holy Spirit departed him. (Reference 1 Samuel 16:14). Though God used mental illness as a chastisement for Nebuchadnezzar, we must not generalize his example for everybody.
Mental illness can be a physical illness.
So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (Luke 10:34)
Demons can cause those disorders, but sometimes it’s just a physical problem that needs healing and medical treatment. I have seen the deliverance of a man named John who had four mental disorders, and after deliverance, God healed him totally from all of them. We as a church shouldn’t abandon people with a mental illness by equating mental illness only with the work of demons, or suggesting that the mental disorder was the result of personal sin. Taking medicine shouldn't be viewed as a weakness of faith. God uses elements from the earth such as leaves and figs to assist in the healing process from physical problems (Ezekiel 47:12; 1 Timothy 5:23; Isaiah 38:21).
First of all, just because the church doesn’t do deliverance on the stage or post a video on YouTube, it doesn’t mean that deliverances don’t happen there.
I believe that every church has to be a 4x4 church. By 4x4, I refer to four main values that the church should have:
Passionate prayer: the church is a house of prayer. Prayer prepares the atmosphere for the anointing in which demons can’t stay. Churches that don’t see deliverances are usually churches not praying and fasting.
A heart for evangelism: this is huge because when lost people get saved, usually deliverance follows. Churches that don’t see deliverances might be those where no lost people are getting saved.
The expectation of the miraculous: we create services where miracles are expected, instead of creating sermons to explain a lack of miracles. We need to add to our services: praying for the sick, sharing testimonies, and coming with a mindset that the impossible will happen today.
A confrontation of the demonic causes deliverance to happen. Some are scared of doing spiritual warfare in the church service. I think prayers at church need to have a part where demons are confronted beforehand, and those who are designated to that specific prayer need to be trained and equipped.
Today we live in a world run by social media. Social media can be used as a tool when used correctly. We have seen people come to know Christ, be baptized, and join our team, only through interacting with our social media platforms. If our mission is to win the world for Jesus, we must start with where the world is. Soul-winning follows the principle of fishing. The first principle of fishing is "go where the fish are." People are on social media; that's where we should be. Here are few of my personal observations on the topic of using social media for the kingdom.
You are male by birth, but man by choice. The worse dilemma in our generation is that boys became husbands. And even worse, many boys became fathers. Just because a guy can get a woman pregnant, doesn’t mean he is a man, it only proves he is male. Women want men, not boys! Nations need men, not boys!
There are five stages of development of every man:
1. We are born MALE (it’s a gender issue)
2. We become BOYS (boys like toys)
3. We grow to become a MAN
4. We get married and become a HUSBAND
5. We graduate to becoming a FATHER
When I was a teenager, I was bombarded with thoughts to say something wrong about the Holy Spirit. These thoughts were intrusive and intense. By this time, I had already become a youth leader. The enemy used my fear and ignorance about this topic to fill my mind with no-good ideas so that, in return, I can commit an unforgivable sin. I did not know much about spiritual warfare at the time, nor did I have a greater understanding of the Holy Spirit as I have now, but I loved the Holy Spirit and knew that these thoughts were not mine.
There was this fear in me that if I were to say something against the Holy Spirit, I would be condemned for all eternity. I have committed the unpardonable sin. I was scared and lived in fear, making sure I would not say anything against the Holy Spirit. After some time, these thoughts subsided and then disappeared. As I read the Bible, I see that the devil plants some of these fears, but also ignorance can play a huge role in empowering the temptation.
Let’s dig deeper into this.
The Holy Spirit wants to have fellowship with you (2 Corinthians 13:14). God gives us love, Jesus gives us grace, and the Spirit gives us communion. Most of us think that the Spirit's gift is tongues or maybe power. But His primary gift is a relationship. He wants to have an ongoing relationship with you. You are fully qualified for that relationship, in the same way, you are qualified for the love of God and grace of Jesus. He desires intimacy with all of us, not just with certain special people.