I have an ant problem. Careful scrutiny on the part of my son finally determined where they were coming in to the kitchen; but being someone who doesn’t like to kill God’s creation, what was I to do about it? A quick internet search revealed that a 50/50 vinegar solution is a good deterrent; so I now have a squirt bottle on my counter. It does seem to work, but only for awhile.
This reminds me of our battle against our arch-enemy, the devil. We know there is a problem in our lives, we pray for deliverance, and we receive it. Why then does that same temptation overcome us yet again and again and again?
This is because that an expelled demon will return to its former home, and when it does, it often brings more evil spirits with it! “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it …finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there.” (Luke 11:24-26 NLT) Just like we have to clean the ants off our counters again and again, we are continually turning to God for deliverance — from the same demons!
Fortunately, God does promise deliverance from sin: “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:35 NLT); and “God is to us a God of deliverances; And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.” (Ps. 64:20 NASB 1995). And He is faithful to do it over and over again, for He knows we are weak (See Psalms 103:14). Despite this, His forgiveness covers all our sins (see 1 John 1:7), even the repeated ones!
Nonetheless, our sin does inhibit our relationship with Him, making it more difficult for Him to hear our prayers (see Isaiah 59:1-2). Besides, continually falling into the same traps can lead others to sin (see Matthew 8:6). Just like those ants can’t be left to take over my kitchen, The sin in our lives must go!
So what do we do?
In the case of the ants, I put a squirt bottle on the counter and instructed everyone to routinely spray the entrance area every time they find themselves in the kitchen so that the ants won’t come back in.
It is no different for the temptations that repeatedly come our way. We must be diligent in prevention, so that we won’t need deliverance!
In order to be able to fully conquer something, we must first understand how it works. Fortunately for us, James, the brother of Jesus, spells the process of sin out for us: “…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15 NLT)
In other words, it is our own evil desires and enticements that put us at risk of being “re-invaded”. When we allow these evil desires into our minds, they drag us away! And once they are given space in our thoughts, they give birth to sin!
Therefore, the only true prevention is to identify those evil desires immediately and give them over to God. We must be aware — and in control — of our thoughts: “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5 NLT)
Though it may seem hard to be in constant control of our thoughts, God will never ask us to do anything He isn’t prepared to help us do. When we ask Him, He will show us those thoughts even before they can ever lead us away!
I have always had an eating disorder. I was delivered from it more times than I care to admit, and it always returned. When God gave me this message two years ago, I began praying that He would help me to know the moment the temptation towards gluttony was entering my mind, and in that moment, that He would convict me of my desire to be free. Since then, this glutinous spirit has come over me many, many times. But God reveals it to me before I started contemplating it, and in that moment, my prayer is this: Oh God, You know how weak I am when it comes to the sin of stress eating and over eating. But You have given me a way out, and I choose it today! I renounce this desire to eat for my own pleasure! Help me to only desire to eat for Your honour and glory!
I don’t know what sin each of you struggles with. It may be anger, lust, pride, materialism, insecurity, etc. But whatever the demon’s name is, it must submit to the name of Jesus. Rise up! Admit your problem! Ask God to show you the moment evil desires begin to invade your mind! Then rise up in the power of the Blood of Jesus and renounce it!
Unfortunately, this will have to happen over and over again. We have to continually keep our hearts and minds fixed upon Jesus. We must never let our guard down. We must never take credit for what God has done. We must never allow ourselves to think that we are stronger now, that we can withstand temptation. For the moment we think we’ve “got this”, the moment we feel the problem is conquered for good, it returns, full-force! Instead, let’s follow the advice of Heb. 12:1b-2a: “…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith…” (NLT) and keep our eyes on Jesus!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Moderator and Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries