By Andy Comiskey
“Now is the time for the judgment of this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” John 12:31
Most of you reading this know that I have taught on getting free from the spirit of death for years. I have found that instead of diminishing over time, the relevance of the message only increases. In fact, the amount of times I have prayed with people about it, in this year alone, exceeds the cumulative total from many years past.
Why is this so? Are God’s people today that much more depressed, under the gun (so to speak), sick, and despairing? Well, the debilitating effects of moral and physical decay, social strife, cultural upheaval and familial breakdowns are increasing, invading souls, infecting thought, imagination, and deed. Without a doubt there is stepped-up activity coming from the enemy, a.k.a. the spirit of death.
“Greater is He that is in you…”
There is another personality also at work causing disruption. The Holy Spirit is stirring up a divine dissatisfaction in the body making us uncomfortable with just maintaining relationship with Him. He is creating a people desperate for more life, more Jesus. To accomplish this, He is heightening our awareness of the heart-sickness we’ve learned to live with: the deadening words and thoughts that we have inadvertently given safe haven inside us. He is intent on rooting-out erroneous impressions of Himself and countless other dysfunctional influences stored for too long.
Determined as the Lord is to expose the misinformation within, He is also allowing the enemy to encroach upon us from without. In doing so, He is provoking us to exercise the authority we have in Christ to eject and reject the deadly influences that have been rendering us, His bride, His army, ineffectual and debilitated. In short, worldly thinking and devilish lies have to go or we won’t survive!
In Embracing Life groups over the years, we have seen the effects of the spirit of death in obvious and stark ways with people struggling with life-defining illnesses. However, in my travels around the world I have observed the same signs of hopelessness, disappointment, and resignation manifested in a myriad of ways in Christians that would otherwise call themselves healthy! Because they had not understood or recognized the full ramifications (and subtlety) of that poisonous influence, they had accepted its presence and silently suffered.
Realistically, is it possible to get free and stay free? Absolutely! I have progressively gotten free from death’s immanent influence in my life, to the point that today I can say it is no longer an acquaintance of mine nor a familiar presence in my vicinity. Much of that freedom has occurred while helping equip others to get free – a reciprocal benefit of reaching out (Isaiah 58 6-12). I have had the privilege of seeing scores of men and women in Christ emerge from the shadows, throw off death shrouds and testify to God’s faithfulness and promises for abundant life. These ones are truly advancing the kingdom of light as they continue to exercise their God-given authority over the spirit of death and its influences.
The fruit of our labors
My friend Glenys Brookbanks is an example of the fruit of those labors. She now oversees Embracing Life in New Zealand where the program has rapidly grown. She recently taught at our Anaheim training in April and sent back her comments after she returned home. I think you’ll agree from her poignant assessment that she knows something of the resurrected life Jesus died to give us:
I realized again that this work flows out of the lives of the servants of the Lord. It is not in the style of a corporate enterprise, after a commercial pattern where efficiency rules decision-making. We are all engaged in the service of those who are living through the struggles and dilemmas of illness. [We] need the creative power of the Spirit to intervene in the circumstances of everyday life. The mix in leadership is of compassion and a burning love for Christ. It is invasive both for the seeker and for the minister. Christ, Himself, is our resource and the boundary around our lives.
I was strongly impressed by the power of the teaching on the spirit of death. It was a major benefit of being there [at the training] to grasp again the subtlety and the blatant effects of the outcome of the fall and the struggles of the fallen. I was also very much reminded of the victory available to the people of God if we stay in present humility to the life-giving renewal of Christ through the Cross. (Italics, mine)
The way to get free
This month Desert Stream Press is coming out with a booklet containing an expanded teaching of mine simply titled, “Embracing Life.” In it there is much stress placed on the need to repeatedly name, renounce and resist the spirit of death (in its many forms) whenever it appears. Because the last enemy to be destroyed is death, we can expect it to reappear, to try re-infecting us with its lies
and deceit. Thus, repeating prayers of renunciation must become part of the rhythm of our healing in order to stay clean and free from deadening influences.
This may often take the prodding and prayers of friends to awaken us to its presence, to help deliver us. We should welcome their prayers. Without them we can easily fall back into sedentary spirituality and lazy warfare. The Apostle Paul knew firsthand what the experience was like and what was required when he wrote to the church at Corinth:
Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us as you help us by your prayers ( 2 Cor. 1: 9-11).
We do not know for sure what was causing Paul to feel that sentence of death. Indeed he may not have known either, but he knew it was deadly and it had to go. He needed resurrection life and only Christ had the authority and ability to give it
I wish in this article I could do justice to the importance and pervasiveness of the problem of the spirit of death, to explore the ways it could be affecting your life. It just isn’t possible in so short a space. I can, however, recommend the aforementioned booklet. It goes into detail describing death’s many forms and includes testimonies, along with reflections and prayers throughout. I hope you’ll get it.
Meanwhile, we thought it beneficial to include, here, the prayer for renouncing the spirit of death found at the end of the booklet. Though substantial teaching normally precedes it, praying this prayer out loud alone or (preferably) with others will be extremely helpful. Of that I am absolutely certain.
Allow the Lord to reveal to you, through this prayer and in the days following, any hidden ways the enemy could be opposing the emergence of resurrection life in you. Offer them to Him and give thanks for the Resurrection Life you will receive in return.
Believe the Lord will honor your faith and your pledge to embrace life. He will make His presence known. He will meet you and fill you, again and again, with His rich wisdom, compassion and love.
“The One who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”