ARE there times when demons refuse to leave and deliverance seems to fail? Yes, when certain conditions are not met by the seeker or minister.
The biblical account of Mathew and Mark in the New Testament when Jesus disciples are unable to cast out a violent spirit that had possessed a boy from his birth is a spectacular picture of a failed deliverance.
The violent spirit would the boy “to fall into the fire and into the water.” His father is clearly frustrated when he meets Jesus. “ I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him,” he says according to Mathew 17: 16-20.
Jesus then takes over the deliverance with authority and overcomes the evil spirit.
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied: Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Mark 9:29 states, “And he said to them: This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
From the above scripture we can learn why deliverance sometimes fails. First, let us focus on a subtle and awesomely potent weapon the enemy uses to try to make an impression of a failed deliverance.
The disciples in the scriptures above were obviously frustrated and discouraged at the fact that they were unable to demonstrate the power of deliverance by commanding the “dumb and mute ” spirit to leave the boy, however much they tried.
In his book Why Deliverance Sometimes Fails , Frank Hammond, notes that the varying strength of demons can be a reason why a spirit may incessantly refuse to leave. “Some demons are stronger and more determined than others,” he writes.
He also notes that since demons have personalities they can as well be -stubborn, fearful, proud, tricky and so on.
Thus you could be dealing with a very powerful demonic force (a high-ranking princess or prince of darkness) or an ancient evil covenant that has existed for years! Or maybe your are dealing with different reinforcements from the kingdom of darkness. Whichever it is beware of the enemy trying to wear you out and discourage you even as you ponder why the evil spirit is taking long to go.
Satan will use his demons to try to discourage you, to wear you out so you may give up and let him continue with his evil reign.
Deliverance does not fail
Deliverance is unlikely to fail as long as our faith is in the fact that the evil spirit will go in the name of Jesus Christ, no matter how long it takes.
Philippians 2:9, says, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
Skepticism or lack of faith can cause failure in deliverance. How many times do we pray and cancel our own prayers with doubt, unbelief, a faltering lack of faith?
“And without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.
Jesus’ disciples were astonished and they asked the Lord why they are unable to command the spirit into submission. He tells them it has to do with their “little faith.”
In Mathew 17 verse 20 Jesus says, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you. If You have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible with you.”
Again, in James 1:6 we are told, “But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind.”
We must believe and rely on the unchallengeable power of the Holy Spirit for success in deliverance.
The other lesson we learn from Jesus’ disciples encounter with the demon possessed boy has to do with our own spiritual disciple. Jesus says, “This kind can only come out by prayer and fasting.”
It means there is a kind that can only be defeated by a combination of prayer and fasting.
The kind of battle we are going to face will determine the kind of fast we will observe. Fasting and prayer are powerful weapons against the kingdom of darkness. Fasting should accompany prayer. Fasting without prayer is a hunger strike and is of no value. Prayer is connecting with God in an intimate way. Fasting disciplines the flesh and awakens the spirit so you are alert and sensitive to the instruction of the Holy Spirit.
During the fast one learns to wait on God and hear Him. It is possible to fast over different lengths of time, for example Esther and Jews fasted for three days, Daniel fasted and prayed for 21 days. Imagine what could have happened if he got discouraged and left the place of prayer?
Another potential cause of a failed deliverance is unconfessed sin which will give the devil a legal ground to refuse to leave.
Satan uses sin to accuse us before God. He tempts us to sin then uses our sins defile us and make us unworthy of God’s blessings including our deliverance.
Isaiah 59:1-2 “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save nor His ear to dull to hear but your iniquities has separated you from your God, your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear.”
The devil will go to whatever extent it takes to keep us sinning and prevent us from enjoying our victory in Christ.
Remember the sons of Sceva? Acts 19:13-16 “Some Jews who went around driving evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon possessed.
They would say: In the name of Jesus who Paul preaches, I command you to come out. Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them : Jesus I know, and Paul I know about but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.”
To break Satan’s legal right or ground we must confess and turn away from our sins. Ask for forgiveness from God to deny the enemy an opportunity to block your deliverance.
A sin like uunforgiveness can cause a terrible fail in deliverance. The principle here is non-negotiable. “If I don’t forgive others their sins, my sins are not forgiven either!” Mathew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
If we habour unforgiveness, resentments, hatreds, vengeance or violence in our hearts, Satan is going to use it as a legal ground to keep us from staying free.
Enough is enough
Deliverance is also for the desperate- the person who says enough is enough and has really set his mind on being set free.
This is yet another crucial factor in determining the success or failure in deliverance- the level of desire to be free!
Do you genuinely want to be “free”? Have you made up your mind that enough-is-enough and want to let go, surrender and cut yourself off from the past?
Deliverance is for the desperate or else it will fail-there has to be a genuine desire to be delivered. This is the game -changer and always if there is genuine desire for freedom the battle is half won.
Pastor Nellie says in her spiritual warfare series book Breaking Invisible Barriers: The Power of the Cross, “Unfortunately, there are people who are quite comfortable with their situations…do not assume that everybody who has a demonic problem wants to be delivered.”
If demons are driven out from a person who is not committed to being set free, they will not be able to sustain their deliverance but instead become worse when the spirits re-enter.
Luke 11:24-26, “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.” When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. It goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”
If you are looking for freedom that will enable you to walk in your God given purpose and serve Him with your gifts, talents, knowledge and ability then deliverance(after Salvation), is for you.
And, it is going to depend much on your willingness to let go, cut off and break away from the same old defeating patterns.