Deliverance in Action

One may wonder why counseling is linked to deliverance. Well, if you consider what counseling is all about, being it professional or pastoral or simply speaking to someone about their problems, the goal is the same – healing and deliverance. Any trauma, mental sickness, suffering, or hurt is a form of a stronghold that needs to be dealt with and broken down. It is an inner storm that needs to be stilled, inner demons that need to be faced, and bondages of the spirit and soul that needs to be broken.

You see, we all need deliverance from such strongholds because pain, rejection, fear, guilt, shame, trauma, or anger for example enslaves us. We all need deliverance from certain yokes and bondages, for even wrong mindsets and hurt can cripple us emotionally, and spiritually and can even lead to our bodies suffering sickness and ailments. Ultimately, no matter your pain, trauma, affliction, hurt, or oppression, it serves as a form of enslavement. God does not want us to be enslaved. He wants us to be free, liberated, restored, and healed. Remember, God ultimately wants us to be healed spiritually, then in the soul, and then in the body. True spiritual counseling thus adopts a holistic approach, dealing with the spirit, soul, and body.

3 John 1:2 says: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” So often we think of prosperity in terms of wealth. Prosperity is far more than such tangible and temporary delights, for it deals with the eternal well-being of our spirit and soul, which leads to a healthy body. Counseling is dealing with the roots of the ailment – be it spiritual or in the soul – so that from the healing may flow prosperity.

It says in “2 Corinthians 3:17: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” We only find true freedom, healing, deliverance and ultimately holistic prosperity in Christ. Counseling is thus nothing more than to guide someone under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to a place of rest, peace, and healing. It is the spiritual place as promised in Psalm 23: 1 The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want. 2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters. 3 He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

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It should also be noted that even though not all disciples are called to become professional counselors or even pastoral counselors, the reality is that we are called to listen, care, and provide advice as the Lord leads. We are all called in reality to offer some form of counsel, even if it just be to our friends or family. And always but always, as someone who listens, or provides advice or who offers counsel, it must always be done in love, and we can never pass judgment. Luke 6 says “37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” We are never ever to judge someone when it comes to deliverance or counseling. We can also never condemn them, and we must always show compassion, grace, and kindness. No matter what they have done or what has been done to them, we cannot pass judgment, and we must facilitate the process of forgiveness by staying true to forgiveness ourselves as the counselor or the one who just listens.

If a person has been raped or has raped someone, then just love them. Remain Christ-focused. If a person even has molested a child or killed someone, then loving them, for hurting people hurts others. Many people react negatively because they are still in darkness, or still sit with pain or dep grief, shame, or guilt. Yes, always love, always care, always listen, and never judge, or condemn. God’s intent is always healing and restoration of the spirit, soul, and body. This must also be the intent of all deliverance and counseling. We must always see a person out of the eyes of Jesus, assess with the wisdom of God, discern by the Holy Spirit, and walk in the truth of His Kingdom.

Ultimately, as we are guided by the Spirit, we should be able to provide some sort of wisdom, advice, and guidance that can lead to healing and deliverance. Sure, certain mental ailments will most definitely require professional treatment, but at the same time, we also need to recognize and acknowledge that we can all play a critical role in someone’s well-being because ultimately a healthy spirit leads to a healthy soul, and thus to a healthy body. This may sound like one is oversimplifying matters, but if you think about it carefully, all ailments of the soul – thus the mind and the heart – flow from an unhealthy spiritual condition. And as disciples, we are called to lead people to Christ, who is the good Shepherd.

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Granted, in most countries, any form of ‘professional’ counseling be it secular or spiritual is guided by strict regulations and legislation. Yet the truth remains as a disciple of God we must be willing to pay attention when there is a cry for help, because sometimes someone just wants to talk, or wants some form of encouragement. It says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing”. And yes, the initial reaction will be that one is not trained to do counseling, but then again, if one follows and abides in God then the Lord shall lead you in the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding by His Spirit to provide some form of counsel or advice. And as mentioned, sometimes we just need to share something that will edify, uplift, encourage, comfort, and console.

If we can lead someone down a path of spiritual restoration, one will so often find restoration in the soul and the body. The bedrock of deliverance in the form of counseling is “John 8:32: And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And what is such truth? Yes, Jesus is the Truth, but it is also the truth to the reason why we are suffering ailments, and from brokenness, and why we are fearful, depressed, anxious, and even violent. Again, the condition of the soul cannot be oversimplified, for the soul by nature is very complex, but again one needs to realize there is a distinct connection between the soul and the spirit. This of course makes Christian counseling in whatever form or shape unique, for it connects the spirit, the soul, and the body.

There are of course various forms of counseling, particularly of the secular kind. You get therapy, which is also called psychotherapy. In psychotherapy, psychologists help people of all ages live happier, healthier, and more productive lives. Psychologists apply research-based techniques to help people develop more effective habits. There are several approaches to psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and psychodynamic, among others, that help people work through their problems. Psychotherapy is thus a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. A psychologist provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who is objective, neutral, and nonjudgmental. Most therapy focuses on individuals, although psychotherapists also work with couples, families, and groups.

In contrast, the best Christian counseling depends solely on the guidance of God and on Scripture as God intended. Such counseling is able to address the many factors of life—from relational dynamics to self-perception to circumstantial difficulties. The nature of counseling is that people come in only when they are struggling with a problem. When your car breaks down, you take it to the shop to get it fixed; when a Christian is not doing well, she seeks out a pastor or a counselor for help. Such counseling can therefore take on formal sessions, or even informal ones, and within the informal environment, a disciple should be willing and able to step up and lend an ear and lend advice.

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We have to remember that counseling is not problem-focused, but Christ-focused. The focus should be on Jesus Christ and how the person’s heart should respond to Him amidst the sorrows they are facing. Counseling is not primarily about fixing problems. It’s first about restoring the person unto the Creator by means of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

If a single woman is fighting to free herself from patterns of promiscuity in her relationships, certainly lust is involved. But if you dig deeper, you’ll find that she may wrestle with a longing for safety and security, seeking it in the arms of men who take advantage of her. Or if a married couple is in constant conflict, on the surface it might seem like they are debating their finances. But if you plunge below the surface, you’ll often find that his fear of failure has a choke-hold on their home.

The good news is that even the worst situations have hope. Jesus Christ does not abandon anyone to the complexities of life. Jesus told us that this world would be trouble. But he also told his people to take heart, for he has overcome the world (John 16:33). The word Jesus speaks in the churning trouble of this world is peace. So even the worst situations have hope—though not because there is an easy way out. Jesus’s promise is that He is able to insert a foreign virtue into the suffering. The peace of knowing God changes the whole dynamic of a person’s life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has restored the most broken, mended the frail, delivered the greatest captives, and provided peace to the most tormented.

It says the following in “Isaiah 9:6: For to us a Child shall be born, to us, a Son shall be given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” You see, God is our counselor. He guides and leads us all day. A life submitted to God is a life led by God, thus led on a path of peace, hope, restoration, and love. This is why it is important for all counseling to remain purely Christ-focused and Christ-driven, for despite all the intricate and intellectual therapy techniques and approaches, the only solution to a broken world and a broken person is God. God has made us and God knows how to heal us. God knows every journey of our life, and He knows all our heartache, suffering, inner struggles, and sorrow. We have to consider that God made us all, and He knows all the truth, and He knows every detail of our being, our situations, our problems, our crisis, and what needs to be restored. He is our ultimate deliverer and He can deliver anyone from their enslavement.

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Many times, it may simply be we do not have the strength to overcome and we do not have to strength to forgive or to deal with the hurt or the trauma. In 2 Corinthians 12 we read of Paul: 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” For us all, God’s grace is sufficient for us and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We can therefore overcome in God’s strength. It will not always be easy, for it will at times challenge our will, our perceptions, and our attitude and it will even be met with resistance. But God’s will is sufficient for us and God of comfort will carry and strengthen us! In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus had a choice when facing His time of the crucifixion. It says in Luke 22 verse 43 that an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. Yes, even Jesus needed to be strengthened to make the right choices and take the right path to the glory of God.

It says in “Ephesians 3: 14, For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love.” Indeed, God does strengthen us with might, but then we need to trust in Him and lean upon His strength and glory. For it says in Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

In 2 Timothy 4 Paul writes the following: “17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” Yes, God is our Deliverer, our Comfort and He does strengthen the meek, the weak, the lost, and the hurting to come to a place of rest and peace. God is mighty and glorious, and in Him, there is always hope.

Just as God is a counselor unto His children – guiding, advising, edifying, uplifting, and encouraging – so we must be willing to be a counselor unto others, even if it is merely informal yet always led by the Spirit of God. We must also be willing to strengthen the weak, the hurting, the meek, the sorrowful, and the traumatized in the love and the strength of God. The Hebrew word for “wonderful counselor” is pele-yoez. The first term (pele) means “a miracle, a marvel, a wonder” which indicates “something extraordinary, incomprehensible, inexplicable.” The second term (yoez) means “to advise, counsel, devise, purpose.” Both definitions combined reveal that the child will be miraculously born to become an amazing adviser who marvelously works in all things for God’s purpose (Romans 8:28) because the Holy Spirit dwells in Him with all wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and honor to God (Isaiah 11:2). And just so by the Spirit of God dwelling in us, we in His wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and honor be able to advise and provide guidance.

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Thus, a true counselor in the quest for deliverance should only be following the guidance of God. Again, certain mental illnesses will require professional treatments, but generally, if we listen to God, we will be surprised by how God can provide deliverance for a person. Of the Spirit, we read in “John 16: 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” A disciple of God needs to be led by the Spirit of God in all things they do, including counseling in the form of deliverance. Again, the truth sets us free from our bondages and enslavements, and who shows us the truth? Yes, the Spirit of God!

Remember, we need to follow the leading of God when it comes to providing counseling, even if we are professionally trained or equipped formally. After all, Jesus Christ was both God and man. Throughout history, no individual has ever had both human and divine natures. Jesus is exceptional: His uniqueness is first found in His incarnation, a miraculous act of God who came from heaven to earth and became a man. This supernatural work of God made Jesus fully human and wholly divine.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus was known as a wise teacher and miracle worker (Acts 10:38). His teaching was astonishing because He taught with authority (Mark 1:22). Jesus can heal physical, emotional, and spiritual sicknesses as He has authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6); this points to His work of redemption. Jesus is also able to raise the dead and when He spoke, He created life (John 11:43-44); and this points to His work of creation. Both examples authenticate the attributes only God can have. Ultimately, the good news of Jesus Christ is found in the miracle of His resurrection. Interestingly, Jesus Himself revealed to Martha that He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). Still today, God can resurrect any situation and bring any person back o spiritual life or life in the soul, no matter the inner darkness. God is the light of the world (John 8:12), and in Him, there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). Biblical counseling thus places the focus on God so that God’s light can shine in the darkness, revealing and bringing to light what is broken, what is in ruins and what needs to be restored.

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God wants to resurrect what is broken, what is in ruins, and what is viewed as “dead” in the realm of the spirit or the soul. This is the heart of the prophetic action to be found in Ezekiel 37: 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. 9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.”

By the resurrection power of God, for He is the resurrection and the life, any situation can come alive! Yes, the dry bones of our dreams, of our childhood, of our joy, or our future, of our hopes and aspiration by the power of God can come alive again! God does restore, He does deliver and He still heals. With God nothing is impossible.

Of Jesus we read in Isaiah 61: To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following: To give them a turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning], the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit. So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. 4 Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up and restore the former desolations; and they will renew the ruined cities, the desolations (deserted settlements) of many generations.

Yes, Jesus is the only One who is truly capable as the Son of God, who was also a man for a short while, to comfort those who mourn, to provide the oil of gladness, to uplift the disheartened spirit and to restore what is ruined and desolate. He is the ultimate healer and delivers. He is the ultimate counselor. Thus a disciple can life-giving counseling if one operates in the Spirit of the living God in order to provide comfort for those who mourn and to see people restored in God’s love.

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We also need to remember Jesus Christ Is the source of all wisdom. As prophesied by Isaiah, Jesus, the Son of David, is filled with the spirit of wisdom and understanding (Isaiah 11:2). Luke testified that Jesus continued to grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). Moreover, Paul also attested that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in Christ, the mystery of God (Colossians 2:2-3). This means that the secret things of God have been revealed in Christ and through Him, we may know God and have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus is the perfect revelation of God (John 1:18) and He knows everything about everyone (John 2:24-25).

On another occasion, Paul even called Jesus the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24-30). We are made righteous and holy before God and saved by Christ’s work on the cross. This wisdom should lead us to repentance and humility (James 3:13). Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding come from the Lord (Proverbs 2:6) and God is always ready to pour out His wisdom for those who humbly ask Him (James 1:5). And such wisdom we need when we counsel, be it informally or formally, for ultimately we need to abide in God’s wisdom to provide wisdom and share advice based on knowledge and understanding. Granted, many study therapy or counseling to gain such wisdom and knowledge, which is wonderful and great, but the greatest source of wisdom remains God.

In the Old Testament, David declared that God is his helper (Psalm 54:4, 118:7). It was an answered prayer for deliverance from his enemies. Through Isaiah, God also promised comfort and help for Israel from the idolatrous adversaries (Isaiah 41:10). While we live in this world, our enemy is not of flesh and blood, but of an evil spirit (Ephesians 6:12). Most of the problems we have are actually spiritual, not just physical or emotional issues. A victorious life is only possible when the Spirit of God is with us. That’s why we must constantly seek help from God, not just place our hope in humans. Trusting the Lord is key to God’s favor in our lives (Jeremiah 17:7). Jesus Himself clearly stated that we can do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5). A true life of deliverance and healing rests in God, who is our helper. And a disciple who counsel needs to abide in Jesus as the helper, who can provide wisdom and help for any ailment be it spiritual or emotional or in the psyche.

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Since Christ has experienced crucifixion, the most terrible suffering ever, He can understand our struggles and pains. He will never despise anyone who comes to Him. Knowing this truth, we may approach God with confidence in the name of Jesus to find help by His mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:15-16). He is our Wonderful Counselor who even keeps praying for us (Romans 8:34); there is simply no counselor in this world like Him.

Jesus is called the Wonderful Counselor because He alone can give us guidance, help, and deliverance through His wisdom and miracles. He causes everything to work together for a twofold purpose: The greatest good of mankind and the highest glory to God. And on this quest of deliverance and counseling, the following is so true: Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Riaan Engelbrecht

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