deal with some pretty raw stuff in this article. We hope you won't be
offended. It could be a matter of life of death with some who are trying
to serve the Lord but who still battle with inner darkness that always
threatens their defeat.
is hope for people like this, especially in a Word the Lord Jesus spoke
after His resurrection. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto
you: as My Father hath sent Me (literally, "just exactly as
My Father hath sent Me), even so send I you. And when he had said
this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive
ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto
them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained (John
20:21-23). This is a word of commission to those who would receive
the Holy Spirit. Further, its a word about ministering to people who struggle
with sin. Believers are arising now who are open to this word and who
walk in its light. A man who received it into his life ministered to me
and I was set free from a darkness that had taken hold of me and was about
to destroy my inner man. I'll tell about it later in this article.
first, let's look at Jesus's words. He commanded His disciples to receive
the Holy Spirit. Then, He told them what would follow. They wouldremit and retain sins.
Remit is from the New Testament Greek word aphíemi. It might find use in a court of law. When a judge discharges an accused
person, he is set free from the penalty of his offense. The judge would
say, "I find you not guilty." He could say, "I remit your wrong doing."
That of which Jesus spoke, however, went further than what a judge can
do in court might do. What Jesus said dealt with the guilt, then reached
inside to set a person free from guilt's inner bondage.
other word Jesus used was retain from the Greek kratéo.
This relates to the power of a government. It means to take control, to
prevail, to become the master of a situation. It would find use in speaking
of one nation conquering another and setting up a new government. When
Jesus used it in John 20:23, He spoke of taking control over the
power of sin in another person, and releasing in them a new government.
By ministry like this, the power of sin can be broken.
the man I mentioned ministered this to me, it was after I had been serving
the Lord for nearly twenty years. All that time I had been struggling,
never knowing I could be free from the darkness in my inner man. He came
to me just in time.
found FOUR BASIC GROUNDS in which inner evil tends to grow and
to which this word from Jesus reaches. Each of theses grounds will attract
troublesome spirits. Because they are not recognized and dealt with, they
remain common in many believers. There are others, but these were in my
own life, therefore I can speak with understanding regarding them. They
are DISTRACTION, ACCUSATION, RESENTMENT and BITTERNESS. They are
the cause of much sin and failure, and often lead to backsliding.
old friend once told me, "Every demon is armed to the teeth with thirteen
weapons, and the first one is distraction." This stuck with me. He left
me to find the twelve other weapons. You will probably discover them in
DISTRACTION means being taken aside from the right path. It's a fascination with something
wrong, or a seduction. It's a diversion from what is right. An unguarded
mind is an invitation for it to begin work.
distractions are simple. They can creep up while we are unaware. Sometimes
they come through someone who does something not related to us but that
annoys us, like tapping a pencil or a foot, digging in one's ear or nose,
or noisily leafing through a book while a Gospel meeting is going on.
Distraction over these things, simple as they are, can provoke annoyance,
criticism, resentment, accusation, or suspicion-any one of
which can open the way for a troublesome spirit's further work.
may come from persons whose dress draws too much attention to their body.
It might come from loud persons who do not care if they disturb others.
It can come from seeing injustice or cruelty done to others. Through such
as these, unclean and lustful thoughts can arise, along with quarreling,
anger, bitterness, wishing evil upon others, jealousy, hatred, or
a feeling of personal hopelessness. The enemy delights to
find things like these and only take them as platforms to build a greater
work for his dark kingdom.
for them in your own soul.
Distraction can also come from a person who does something wrong to us, or who does
not keep his promise, or who speaks against us. Satan will try to take
any of these, from the smallest to the largest, and use them as occasions
to distract us. His desire is to plant in us seeds of fear, anxiety,
depression, nervous disorders, self-pity, self-condemnation, etc.
It will always seem right to hold on to any, or all, of the above-until
the Holy Spirit convicts us. Then we see that not one of them can enter
the Kingdom of Christ with us, no matter how much we have suffered, or
feel justified in holding on to them. They are all demonic weapons.
can manifest itself as greed for power and authority. It
may be a lust to receive recognition in front of others. This kind of
lust sometimes works in those in Christian service.
unclean lustful spirit will take advantage of anyone attracted to bars,
or night clubs, or to keeping company with others given over to uncleanness.
Reading pornographic books and magazines also causes many to fall.
ones find lustful distraction in different ways. Lust for money, material
possessions, and sex are some of the most common. These are areas of serious
difficulty in the lives of many in Christian service. Consider what some,
serving the Lord, have confessed as they've come seeking help: a young
preacher aroused sexually when counseling or praying with women; a preacher
who confessed to an unclean lust for older mother-type women; a preacher
distracted and enticed to lust by the sight of a woman's ankles; a preacher
attracted sexually to animals and another attracted to little girls; a
woman evangelist who visualized the men around her as unclothed; attractions
to incest, homosexuality, sexual pleasure from inflicting pain on others,
sexual pleasure from having pain inflicted on one's self, etc.
live with drives like these pushed down for years not knowing what to
do with them. They are afraid to give in to them, but also afraid to ask
for help. The ones wanting help often do not know to whom they can go.
They fear being rejected or severely judged. Others give in to their dark
drives, but keep their practice a secret-for a while.
to say, it's dangerous to allow to remain things like the ones mentioned
above. Even if they are pushed down into the secret parts of the soul,
demonic spirits know of them and patiently wait for weak moments, like
when one is tired, or lonely, or irritated with someone else. At times
like these, the suggestions coming to a mind are often stronger than the
determination to resist them.
sincere persons, knowing dark areas are in their souls, seek to cover
them up by becoming religious. But no amount of religious activity can
drive out these enemies of the soul. It takes the power of God.
John 1:9 has an admonition at this point. By looking at it in the
Original Greek, we see it saying, "When we tell Him all our sinful thoughts
and desires, hiding nothing, we find Him faithful and fair as He sets
us free and cleanses us from every unclean thing." We can be honest with
God and tell Him things difficult to tell any other person. He is always
understanding and ready to forgive and to set free. Even those who have
been followers of Christ for years can tell their failures to Him, receive
no condemnation, and find the freedom He offers.
a problem persists, we do not give up hope. There are times we all need
the ministry of others. In many, real freedom does not come until confession
of sin is made in the company of someone else. James 5:16a has
powerful insight here. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one
for another, that ye may be healed.
God to give you someone you can trust and with whom you can make your
confession and pray.
real freedom comes only when an unclean spirit is cast out by telling
it to go in the Name of Jesus. This was the case with me.
the process isn't stopped, and if distraction accomplishes its desired
end, the work of ACCUSATION will begin. It's then we try to find
someone to blame for our failure. We always try to point out someone else
as the reason for our distraction. As sure as night follows day, this
process will go on unless the distraction is revealed for what it is and
its work stopped.
man distracted to lust may blame his wife, his parents, the church, the
preacher, society, his job, his friends, the devil, the cinema, the other
person, his background, even God Himself for making him the way he is.
If one continues this, accusation will turn into something far worse-which
we'll consider in a moment.
word devil occurs in the Greek New Testament as diabolos.
It means "someone who hits at another person with an accusation." The
strategy of the devil always is to set up his nature in us, that of an
what happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden. Both were distracted and
drawn away from God and His high purpose for them. When God confronted
them, each one accused someone else. That old serpent had accomplished
12 And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she
gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done?
And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
both the Man and the Woman placed the blame for their failure on someone
else pleased the devil. They were demonstrating his nature and giving
him ground for his continued work. As we will see, accusation will not
remain for long the simple blaming of others. It will turn into something
causing far more trouble.
the strongholds of distraction and accusation remain, the ground of RESENTMENT will develop naturally. This ground attracts more unclean spirits than
we could ever name here.
resentment the enemy can build a project like revenge. This means
waiting for the moment when someone who did something wrong can be paid
back. This may come by a shrug of the shoulder, a tone of voice, or an
expression of the face. It may result in a whispering campaign about the
offender, or making unkind remarks. Resentment waits for every opportunity
to get back at the person who did the wrong. This is called retaliation.
not detected and broken down, resentment will make itself so much a part
of us that it stops being known for what it is and becomes part of our
hold resentments against things from their early years, like resentment
over being poor, over the success of someone else, over being rejected,
over the loss of a loved one, over what someone said or did, or over some
adults have living inside them a child who has resented something for
years: the girl who resents her parents for being in the Lord's service;
the boy who resents his father who left him and his mother; the girl who
resents her sister's beauty and success; the boy who resents the accident
that crippled him; the girl who resents not being born a boy; the girl
who resents the long sickness and death of her mother; the boy who resents
his nagging mother and faultfinding father, and so on.
matter what the cause for the resentment, the enemy will take advantage
no resentment can enter the Kingdom of Christ. No parents can experience
His overcoming Life while resenting their daughter who turned aside to
an immoral life. No wife and mother can come in resenting being abandoned
by her husband and father of her children. No girl can come in resenting
the deception of her lover who was only interested in sex. No minister
can come in resenting the congregation that turned him out. No man can
come in resenting the loss of his job. Resentment simply cannot enter
the Kingdom of Christ.
some come to think we are proclaiming salvation by works, let me add that
what we speak about here is the working into our lives of Christ's Kingdom.
It is impossible to experience the fullness of Kingdom living and hold
on to resentment-of any kind.
resentment is nourished, it soon settles into life as BITTERNESS.
And how sad the results when this remains in one's spirit! It becomes
the cause behind many broken relationships that once were beautiful and
full of meaning. It can even turn into fighting, murder, and war.
will cause lying, slander, even strong speaking against God, which is
blasphemy. Bitterness can bring so much darkness to our mind that it becomes
impossible to think straight. It can also bring illness to our nervous
system and spread as sickness to different parts of our body. It can throw
our soul into a continuous round of self-pity, self-condemnation, suspicion
of others, and anxiety over the future. Faith cannot dwell with bitterness.
hurts every human relationship. When mixed with love for another person,
it produces jealousy. This opens the door for more trouble. If allowed
to continue, it can drag one down to death, both spiritual and physical.
links bitterness with cursing (Romans 3:14). This helps explain why
the mouths of some persons flow with cursing and bad speech. So much bitterness
is in their spirits that they continually curse others and pray for evil
to be released on them. This is a vile form of witchcraft.
linked bitterness with wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice in Ephesians 4:31. Some persons belch out their
anger like fire from the mouth of a dragon. In others, the anger remains
calm and steady, until it finds its aim at someone and sends them a poisoned
dart. Any action with bitterness is harmful to all concerned. In Hebrews
12:15, the writer speaks of a root of bitterness which, if
allowed to continue, will spread its evil to others. One person cannot
contain his bitterness alone; the very nature of it demands that it spread
like a disease.
however, need not remain the master of anyone.
me relate something out of my own experience. I do not rejoice in it except
that God brought me through it to teach me, and that I might share with
few years ago something happened in my life that shattered me. I had been
in the ministry for years and was respected by many. My zeal for serving
the Lord, winning the lost and teaching the saved brought me to the place
where this took almost my total time. My family suffered. I was being
driven to serve the Lord, not admitting to myself or others that much
of my zeal was covering up areas of darkness in me.
day, while all of this was going on at its heaviest, something like an
explosion happened. It brought loss of family, ministry, faith, sound
mind and the will to serve the Lord any longer. Emotional and mental shock
took over. For hours at a time I lay on my face weeping bitter tears,
not knowing where to turn or whom to trust.
begged the Lord to release me from His calling. He would not. I could
find no freedom. Days at a time I fought suicide. I thought more than
once of turning to alcohol, whoredom, anything disrespectful. I wrestled
with fears, frustrations, lack of guidance, loneliness. In all this I
soon began to place the blame on someone-somewhere. I blamed my wife.
I blamed myself. I blamed the others with whom I worked. I blamed the
institution of which I was a part. I blamed the devil. Some days it seemed
the only way I could continue living was by finding someone I could accuse
for my sad condition.
day while not even seeking Him, the Lord spoke to me that I was still
to minister. This He immediately confirmed and opened a gracious door.
No circumstances changed, only the Lord began anointing me to minister
again. But every day I fought through bitterness. My first thoughts every
morning were thoughts of evil against people and circumstances. Every
day I wrestled through this maze to find my place in God. All I knew to
do was to resign myself to this sad condition.
let me tell something very personal. At the beginning of this new time
of ministry about two dozen unclean spirits were cast from me with the
help of one other person. These were demons that had flocked to take advantage
of the ground opened in me after the shattering blow.
those driven away were demons of hate, fear, greed, lust, suicide, murder,
sectarianism, anxiety, and so on. Immediately a great change came in my
outlook. Some joy and peace returned.
a time, however, some of the spirits returned. I fought with them every
morning. They were not inside me, but were waiting around to take again
the ground they had lost. That ground on which they had attached themselves
was still in me. Those morning battles were often very fierce-but I faced
them alone. I didn't think I could not let anyone know what was really
going on inside me.
day a Pastor from a nearby city drove to where I was ministering. Having
met him briefly one time, I greeted him and went on my way, thinking he
was there for business with others. Frankly, I didn't want to spend time
had my usual battles that day and had come through to my temporary victory,
so I hurried to an office where I was preparing material for printing.
I was to leave early in the afternoon for a preaching engagement. There
was little extra time that day. Late in the morning I went to the print
shop to do some last minute editing on some papers about prayer. As I
sat there, someone brought in the visiting brother-I thought to show him
around. I only looked up briefly for I was very busy.
man remained after his guide left. We were alone. I spoke to him briefly,
explaining my day was busy and I must finish my work before leaving for
a speaking engagement. I accompanied him to the door. I can still see
his hand on the knob as he closed it and refused to leave.
said, "I came here today to see you."
said, "The Lord spoke to me there is a spirit of enmity in you. I've come
here to set you free."
did anyone know of the strife and enmity that was inside me? That with
which I battled every day, and from which I'd been coming forth every
day with victory, even though short-lived-how did anyone know? The Lord
knew, and He spoke to one of His servants who had a tender and obedient
sat down and said, "Brother, pray for me."
laid hands on my head and said, "I release you in the Name of Jesus Christ
from the enmity and strife in you."
dealt with no demons, but with the ground on which the demons had worked,
and to which they sought to return.
you cannot stand before the anointed and obedient servant of the Lord
release came as he spoke the words of deliverance! It was as though a
band around my head was broken. I was free. After that, it became a joy
to awaken in the mornings. There were no more battles with spirits seeking
to regain the ground they had lost. That ground was destroyed when that
man ministered to me. That was over thirty years ago.
the Lord had to completely destroy the ground of accusation and replace
it with a new ground on which the Holy Spirit would work. I'll tell of
this. There still remained times when I accused others for my loss. One
day the Lord clearly spoke and said, "You cannot accuse anyone else, not
even yourself, or the devil. I am to blame for all that has happened."
Lord, You aren't the cause for all the trouble. Only good comes from Your
take it all as from My hand and it becomes good."
mean the failure? The separation? The loss of ministry? The loss of home?
From You, Lord? Never!"
in that way will what has happened to you become a holy thing."
He opened my eyes to see I could take all things from His Hand of love.
What sanctifying power!
all things are of God... Who only doeth wondrous thingw.
Cor 5:18a & Ps 72:18c)
this upset the devil's work and brought praise and joy to my own soul!
I began to thank the Lord for everything. For the failure. For the separation.
For the loss of ministry. For the loss of home. I began, for the first
time in my life, to thank Him for Ed Corley, who I always had felt was
my greatest enemy. I said, "Thank you, Lord, for Ed Corley. I'd rather
be he than any other person in the world-because that's who You made me
everythingand for everythinggive thanks- I Thes 5:18.
SECRET of ever keeping the ground of resentment plowed is always being
thankful for everything. This ground plowed and tilled by much thankful
praise, makes beautiful soil for the planting of the Lord.
Continue Now with the Next Maschil Special Edition:
You may contact Ed Corley at:
PO Box 38
Elk Park, NC 28622-0038
Visit Us at http://www.Maschil.com
Berean Gospel Fellowship. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Permission to reprint in
part or in whole is usually granted.