Demonization and the Power of Jesus

It happened this week in a remote town in a part of the former Soviet Union.

With the CRM staff and nationals who work in this setting, we visited a family to whom they have been patiently serving and ministering. It’s a home full pain and woundedness.

The father, Ivan (not his real name) is probably in his late 40s and in wretched shape …eyes bleary, barely able to walk from a plethora of physical maladies, and in a semi-drunken stupor. While his wife, and several in the household are believers, others have been the object or the perpetuators of abuse. One son is in prison. The setting oozed with self-inflicted sorrow.

While actually only an observer and a guest, I realized after an hour into the conversation that all our rational conversation about spiritual needs was falling on deaf ears. The oppression and sense of the demonic in the room seemed almost palatable. I had the strong impression that no one would ever get through to Ivan unless the spiritual strongholds and bondage that had enslaved this man over many years were broken. So with hesitation, I asked to pray for him, but in a way which would address directly the demonic powers that held him captive.

After inviting the Spirit of God to be present in power and to fill the room with the manifest presence of Christ, I sat directly across from Ivan and in the name of Jesus, told him to look me square in the eye. He locked on. His gaze never blinked nor waivered.

Through a translator, I then began to address the forces of the evil one who held him captive. While sensing God’s clear leading to do this, I felt like I was groping in the dark in a different culture and through the barrier of another language. At the same time, I realized that the Spirit of God was not limited by such and that the strongholds of the demonic could be broken in the powerful name and authority of Jesus in any tongue.

I had no idea what to expect. Several times in the session, a chill ran through my body. Others in the room noticed a ugly odor that periodically arose. But beyond that, there were no weird or strange demonic manifestations. There was no sensationalism.

But something happened. I don’t know exactly what or to what extent. But something happened. In front of us sat a different man. It was not the same person whom we met when we arrived. Coherent, engaging, and even gentle. His face was changed.

I’m not an expert at deliverance. This is not a common, everyday experience for me. Perhaps it should be if I could learn to live and move beyond my own rational, western limitations to which I default.

Whatever happened with Ivan, I’m convinced it is a process and not an isolated event. As I pray, now hundreds of miles away, I’m asking God to continue and complete whatever it is that He initiated in this encounter.

I’m praying nothing from the demonic will sweep in and repossess any of the ground that was taken. As our folks visit Ivan and his family again this week, I am anxious to know if this encounter broke open this man’s heart in a way where the grace and the healing love of Christ could pour in and begin a transforming, redeeming work.

God, make it so, for the sake of Ivan, his family, and all in the surrounding towns and villages for whom a transformed life such as his will have an enormous effect.

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