I have found that ”Deliverance” is an overused and misunderstood concept. For most people, it’s the “magic pill” they never seem to find. They expect that “deliverance” should include a complete releasing of any tie or connection to the thing that had them bound, erase any and every mental, physical or spiritual desire for that thing, and that they will never have to struggle with or against that thing again, (and more, I’m sure).
Unfortunately most people are not taking the responsibility for themselves to have a changed life, which includes altering several things like:
- the way they think
- the places they go
- the friends they have
- and the things they allow or include in their life.
Often there is no real desire to change, mostly just guilt for being the way they are.
God can open the prison doors, but when he taps you on the side and says, “get up and get out”, you’ve got to go. Then, as Peter, realize that was just the first stage of deliverance… there are guards to that prison that you must go past who will put you back in if you let them, and an iron gate to the city that will test you further… and it won’t open until you encounter it.
Acts 12:8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. (NIV)
Deliverance will still require full repentance and a transformed, renewed mind. People can’t escape the fact they must own their responsibility of a continued change of life. When a person receives the Holy Ghost, they receive the power to change. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul is speaking to the church and telling them that the key area of transformation is the renewing of the mind. Many people receive the Holy Ghost but never have their mind renewed. While they have the power to change, they don’t because they are walking around with the same old mind.
Sometimes God’s deliverance comes in different ways, too.
- Sometimes God just gives us a different view of the problem. He teaches us what it problem is.
- Sometimes, He destroys the cause of the trouble Himself (Pharaoh’s army).
- Sometimes He uses us and He uses our own efforts to overcome and destroy the trouble (Noah built a boat).
- Sometimes He causes our enemies (or trouble) to destroy themselves (Gideon and the Midianites).
- Sometimes He helps us to endure the trouble, and sometimes prevents the effects (Joseph).
- Sometimes He puts someone or something in our life to help us through it (Elijah and the ravens, Daniel in the Lion’s den, Paul’s help while in prison).
- Sometimes He doesn’t remove the trouble at all, but prevents the consequences (Paul and the viper bite, the 3 Hebrew boys).
- Sometimes He allows the consequences to come upon us to show us He’s the only thing we truly desire. God will allow our sin to punish us for our wrong… He chastens those He loves.
Ultimately, God will COMPLETELY deliver us when this life is over and our final rest is with Him. Until then, we have this life to “endure to the end”.