Reasons Why A Demon Won’t Leave
“How should I navigate a deliverance case when the demon is stubborn or persistent?” If you’ve asked yourself this, I pray the following tips I am about to share with you bring you great blessing and breakthrough.
Demons Living Within a Person
To better answer this question, I want to dive into Mark 5 which tells the story of a demon-possessed man. You could also read this story in Matthew 8 which tells of two demon-possessed men. Now, it’s important to note that in Matthew, you’ll see the word “possession” used to describe this man, while in the book of Mark and in Luke you’ll see the word “unclean spirit” used.
This term in these accounts is used interchangeably and connotes the idea of control, not ownership. Remember that demons can live inside a person and control their behavior in the same way that alcohol can cause someone to act out of character. That doesn’t mean the alcohol is in possession of that person, but it does have a certain control over them.
I believe Christians can have demons living within them. They cannot be owned by demons, but they can be controlled by them. If demons are living within someone, they can control certain areas of that person.
Now, it’s a different story when a demon is trying to influence someone while being outside of the person. That is better known as a temptation.
The Man With Legions
In this story, this man or men had a legion of demons.
A legion of soldiers in the Roman army was a total of 6,826 soldiers. That’s a lot of demons within a human. For our finite minds, it’s hard to imagine how that many demons can fit within a human, but the spiritual world is full of unimaginable reality.
What I want to draw your attention to, however, is when the demons speak out in Luke 8:28-29. Notice here that the demons spoke out when Jesus commanded them out. But why didn’t they immediately leave?
When they don’t leave immediately, we see Jesus begins to interrogate them.
Why is this important?
This is an instance where we see some resistance from demons. They did not leave instantly. This is where I first see the idea of “stubborn demons.”
Reasons Why They Are Not Leaving
1. You’re Not Dealing With a Demon
The reality is that not everything is a demon. And sometimes you’ll encounter cases where you’re not dealing with a spiritual entity, but rather a past wound, a mental disorder, a stronghold, or even a fragmented personality. Now while it’s true some may have a demon behind a certain disorder or past hurt, it’s important that we learn to differentiate between those things mentioned above and demons.
Read: Demons vs Disorders
2. The Demons are Too Strong
Not all demons have the same power or ranking. We see this in Matthew 12:45. In this verse a demon leaves the house and comes back with “7 other spirits more wicked than himself.” Notice the number of demons increasing and the strength of the demons also incrementing. This gives the idea that not all demons have the same power within their kingdom. Whether it’s the increment in strength or just the increased numerical count, this can be one reason why you may experience resistance during a deliverance session.
3. Your Lack of Faith in Jesus’ Authority
The disciples experienced a failed deliverance, and they asked Jesus about it (Matthew 17:20). This is a good habit to build when you minister in any area–ask the Lord how you can continue to grow in this area. Now, when the disciples ask Jesus, He confronts them and states that it was their unbelief that caused it.
All of us feel as though we lack faith, but what does this mean for a deliverance minister? Don’t doubt the power of Jesus’ authority within you. Unbelief is when you doubt that Jesus has given the authority to you.
4. You’re Too Weak
I am not talking about physical strength here but spiritual strength. Jesus told His disciples that there was a certain kind of demon that only left through the act of prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). Now I don’t believe that it is our holiness that is the reason why we drive out demons, heal the sick, and preach the Gospel. We rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, but if you neglect your walk with God, it will surface in your effectiveness in ministry.
When people don’t live a consecrated life of prayer and fasting, if they pick a fight with demons they often end up defeated.
5. The Conditions for Deliverance Haven’t Been Met
By this, I mean that the person you’re praying for has not met the basic heart conditionings that often break the resistance of the enemy. This is often seen when a person is still holding onto unforgiveness or hasn’t broken certain soul ties.
Practical Tips to Navigate This Situation
- Confront the demon by asking them why they’re not leaving.
See if there is any legal right the enemy still has. Ask questions like, “Why are you not leaving?” “Do you have any legal right?” or “How did you enter this person?” and “Who else is there?”
Some will say that they stay away from speaking to demons because they always lie. While it is in their nature to do so, if you study the Gospels and the book of Acts you’ll see that anytime demons were confronted by the power of the Holy Spirit, they always told the truth.
- Bring the person back and see if there are any areas left undealt with.
Perhaps the demons are not leaving due to unrenounced sin, open doors, curses not broken, or soul ties that haven’t been addressed.
- A person has unforgiveness or bitterness that they’re holding onto.
A demon will not leave until a person forgives. I have seen this firsthand. Forgiveness is a powerful thing. But if a person holds on to unforgiveness, the demon will hold onto them.
- Ask them to examine the things within their home.
Often, I’ll tell people to go back home and get rid of demonic objects like dreamcatchers, crystals, charms, Ouija boards, etc. I ask them to clean their house and come back for prayer if and when the situation allows.
- Ask God’s angels to assist you.
The Bible says in Hebrews 1:14 that angels are the ministering spirits. We don’t command angels, but we can ask the Lord to send them to help us.
- Bind the demon.
If you’re dealing with a case where the demon is not leaving and you’ve tried the steps mentioned above, then this is the final step I would recommend. Bind the demon within the person you’re praying for and then encourage the person to head home. Tell them to build up their spiritual strength. Similar to those that we often ask to head home and clean their house of demonic objects, I’d ask this person to build spiritual disciplines.
According to Exodus 23:30 sometimes the increase comes little by little. I’d bind the demon and command it to not cause further damage to the person, and then I’d give instruction to that person to fast and seek God and within 30 days or so, to return and try some more. Keep in mind this only works on people who can return back to their day-to-day life and function relatively normally. Otherwise, staying until you cripple the enemy’s work on that person’s life is recommended.
I pray this helps you to practically navigate any difficult deliverance sessions, and may the Holy Spirit guide you as you do His work.
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