The Greatest Spiritual Gift
How do we walk in the power of the gospel that sets captives free?
Most oppression and bondage, at its root, is fear that has settled on a broken heart. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4). Deliverance and healing can and does happen, through the simple power of love, alone.
Paul declares, in scripture, that one can have all manner of gifts or powers, but without love, we are nothing (1 Cor. 13:2).
No one needs a theologian when they're in pain. They need love. They need the healer. Mercy and compassion heals. "Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)
To be passionate about deliverance is to be passionate about discipleship. Love is deliverance ministry. The gospel is what sets us free, and the gospel is relational.
Love requires attention. Listening. Presence. In my own life and others, I've witnessed as much deliverance from the patient, present flooding of love as with the prayerful rebuking of spirits.
In order to carry out the ministry of Jesus Christ, we cannot be emotionally stunted in this area. Neglect can leave people with further injury. We must never be so flippant as to say to a sufferer, "I'm praying for you", when we don't have the love to sacrifice time or energy to hold their hearts with our presence. It's empty. Condescending. A passing-off – and I believe, a dangerous one. Prayer is meant to be reverent and in the spirit of love, which is sacrifice.
Instead, we can offer love, "Can I pray for you right now?" Or, "I'm here."
Presence communicates the love of God – which casts out fear. At the root of broken hearts in bondage is the sense of being alone. Ignorance or doubt about the fetching love of God has a cure. Many have not experienced it, because people are too busy to draw close to the broken-hearted (Ps. 34:18). To stay. To carry. To ask. To hear. To seek. To understand. To bear. To hold. To give what's most costly. To inhabit the God of the beatitudes (Matthew 5).
Discomfort and avoidance regarding the pain that someone is going through reveals our lack of maturity. If we want to slap on a platitude about God's faithfulness or get away from it altogether, then we are like the Levite who walked over the man who was ravaged and beaten, in the road. When the thief who has come to steal, kill and destroy from someone, God calls us to be good Samaritans (Luke 10).
(See Pastor Mark DeJesus on YouTube about finding and avoiding relationally safe or unsafe people.)
"As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” James 1:27
In the last days of 2 Timothy 3, where the majority of people are narcissistic, let the body of Christ play a different note. His heart. Let us ransack the heart of God for his love that can heal and win hearts to salvation in Christ. Let us ransack the heart of God for the food and water that brings deliverance to those in bondage. It is his loving kindness that brings us to repentance. Let it start by bringing us to repentance for our lack of it, so that we may bring the sea change, by his grace.