The Ancient Israelites worshipped YHWH in a tabernacle – a building comprising of many parts. Each courtyard drew closer and closer to the Holy of Holies – the most sacred place where only the High Priest was able to enter once a year. We know through Scripture that Jesus is our Great High Priest and that we are able to approach Him boldly without fear of reproach, and it is through Christ that we are permitted to move from the outer courtyard into the very presence of God Himself. Nevertheless, during certain seasons of our lives: habitual sins, irrational thoughts, uncontrollable emotions, and intense fears can prohibit us from fully experiencing the grace and peace Christ so desires to give us. Below, I would like to highlight the 3 stages of deliverance from these strongholds using the Tabernacle Model of inner healing.
Definitions: Inner Healing (Deliverance) refers to the process of being transformed into Christ’s likeness by making the conscious effort to abolish any deceitful thoughts that subject us to bondage. Inner Healing is especially helpful when trying to break unhealthy patterns of thinking or behaviour which we realize are damaging to ourselves or others. Inner Healing is a conversation between ourselves and the Holy Spirit. It requires a listening ear and a heart willing to make changes. The process can either be done in partnership with someone who is trained as a deliverance minister or in a personal and quiet reflection with Christ. It is important to note that inner healing can often be quite a long, complex (and occasionally exhausting) experience. It is important to trust God to reveal as much as He desires you to know at His pace rather than rushing through the steps. In quietness and surrender is where we find our peace and trust.
Take time, don’t rush. God convicts and whispers, the Devil pours on guilt and fear and screams now! We want the Lords timing, not ours. (Lydia Summerville)
Strongholds (Bondage): Strongholds are any areas of our lives where Satan’s reign is still more prevalent than God’s rule over us. These are often places where we have not fully repented or which we have not fully surrendered to Christ. Although Christ offers us complete and lasting freedom and unending forgiveness at the moment of conversion, the effects of past sins can remain with us if we do not completely hand them over to Christ. Additionally, strongholds do not always refer to our own sins, but can also include generational sins, unholy soul ties (including those shared within an ungodly sexual encounter) and false guilt or excessive shame due to traumatic acts others have committed against us.
STAGE 1: CONFESSION AND REPENTANCE
Historical sacrifices were no picnic. Sacrificing an animal was often difficult and dirty work. Blood splattered everywhere, the horrible stench of rotting hides, and the inevitability of spoiled clothes. Yet once the animal was offered to God, it became a sweet smelling aroma to Him and purged the Israelities of all their sins.
We begin this session by acknowledging Christ’s supreme rule over our lives. We claim His ultimate authority as Lord of our thoughts, will, intellect, emotions, and our whole self. We acknowledge His presence in our midst, graciously asking Him to silence any lies of the Evil One or any voices which come from within ourselves that are not of Him.
We then ask Him to reveal to us any areas in which we may have given Satan a foothold or doorway into our lives. We wait in anticipation and as the Holy Spirit brings to mind anything we have not yet fully repented of, we take each thought captive, confessing it out loud, and binding it to the Cross of Christ. We do this one by one, without fear or shame because we know that Christ is faithful and just to forgive us of all sins and to purify us from any unrighteousness. There is no sin too great or too embarrassing to release into His care.
We also acknowledge any evil words that have been spoken over us or that we have spoken about ourselves. We renounce any false guilt or false identity we have placed on ourselves due to careless words uttered in our presence believing that Christ has something better for us than what we currently feel or experience.
Lastly, we ensure that we have properly dealt with any past hurts offering forgiveness to those who harmed us and also forgiving ourselves. We know from Scripture that anger, bitterness, and resentment are often some of the greatest strongholds the Evil One uses to discourage us from growing closer to God. We renounce our inability to forgive, opening up the pathway to full restoration and healing before we continue any further.
STAGE 2: INTRODUCING JESUS
Once the Holy Spirit has brought to mind anything that is hindering our spiritual growth, we ask the Lord to replace each evil thought with something Godly. In Philippians 4:8 we read, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Once a room has been emptied of clutter, it needs to be replaced with nice furniture or else dust and moths will accumulate there. At this stage, we wait patiently on the Lord to bring to mind a Word from Scripture, a picture, or a phrase to replace what we have just released.
STAGE 3: BREAKING SPOKEN VOWS
The Bible speaks about the importance of not making rash vows, and yet we often find ourselves making off-handed comments about ourselves or those around us. What we speak out loud reflects the attitudes and beliefs we carry in our hearts. Anytime we suggest that we are stupid, will never amount to anything, or wish we could die, even if in jest or without meaning it, we invite a spirit of deception to permeate our path. This does not necessarily mean that the spirit has significant control over us, and in many instances, Christians will be fine, however, after a word that doesn’t glorify the Father is spoken, we have opened ourselves up to further attacks from the Enemy. We hereby must renounce any image we have placed on ourselves or that has been placed on us by others. We must surrender and confess our own stubbornness, pride, and rebellion particularly in the areas of attention seeking, controlling nature, being excessively driven, perfectionism, self-criticism, and low self-esteem. We must come to Christ as a little child patiently waiting for Him to reveal how He sees us through the lens of the Holy Spirit and through His divinely inspired Word. As we accept the deep truths of Scripture, we feel our false security stripped away and we receive a new love and a new path found only in Christ.
P.S. A Note About Footholds:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, but God has come so that we might have life and have it in its fullness. (John 10:10)
Worship literally means any act of giving God’s worth. It then follows that sin is any act of taking that worth away from God. Sin is the exact opposite of life. God’s peace breaths active life into us… Satan’s lies feed our souls with fear, discouragement, and disillusionment.
Anytime we state out loud or in our hearts false beliefs about ourselves rather than rooting our identity in Christ, we are giving Satan a foothold into our lives. Every time you say something like “I’m worthless” “I’m stupid” “I’ll never amount to anything” “I’m fat” “I’m ugly” or “I’ll never be as good as so-and-so” even if you are just making an off-handed comment or saying it in jest, this can provide the perfect opportunity for the Enemy to spring into action and take that very thought further than you would have wanted. Trust me, there is so much power in the spoken word and over the words that you allow other people to speak over you as well.
When you choose to engage in excessive perfectionism, constantly comparing yourself to others, forcing yourself to be someone you’re not, changing your beliefs and opinions in order to fit in even when that’s not you… you are essentially telling God “hey God, this being you created – me, is rubbish. It’s not perfect” which is a sin because God created and fashioned us in His likeness and He verbally proclaimed over the entire creation that we are “good.”
So my question is: would you tell Da Vinci that the Mona Lisa was worthless? Would you tell Sir Walter Scott that Waverly was rubbish to his face? Would you tell your best friend that you hate the birthday present they bought for you when they spent so much time carefully thinking about it and planning it out? Of course not! So why do we do that with God?
Don’t give into the lies of the Evil One. He wants you to live in fear, He wants you to believe that all the promises God spoke over you aren’t true. He wants you to believe that this is all there is… that there is nothing better waiting for you. But God’s Word says that perfect love casts out fear and that there is no room for fear in love. So you get to choose: Satan’s lies and living in bondage of uncertainty or God’s truth which illuminates our lives with His perfect peace and unity? The choice is yours. But I would advise, surrendering everything at the Foot of the Cross and asking Christ how He feels about you… then don’t continue to dwell on your own thoughts and feelings about yourself, but be surprised at how Christ wants to heal you and bring you to full restoration and wholeness.