Traditionally, counselors have tried to transform lives by changing thoughts and behaviors. What keeps this from being fully effective is ignorance of the powerful laws we are up against. Galatians 6:7-8 says: “Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."

Dealing only with thoughts and behaviors is like weeding a garden by clipping off weeds at ground level. We need to pull up the roots! “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15, emphasis added).

A common example: a boy judges his father for his abusive anger. He is unaware that he is judging, because he denies his own anger in a vain effort to keep from becoming abusive, like his Dad. But his anger is still there, deep inside, and by natural law, this root of bitterness must eventually yield a negative harvest.

As an adult, he will reap in any of the following ways. When suppressed anger finally erupts, he may become abusive, like his father. Or he may turn his anger inward, abuse himself, and become depressed and self-defeating. Or he may expect others to abuse or scapegoat him, and send out subtle but powerful messages that tempt them to do so.

This reaping is not God punishing him; it is the effect of natural law, as impersonal as the law of gravity. Jesus wants to reap on this man's behalf! If he comes out of denial, repents for judging, and forgives his father, the law of sowing and reaping will be satisfied by the cross, and the compulsion to abuse others, abuse self, or expect others to abuse him will be much more easily overcome.

Dealing with angry thoughts and behaviors is important. But the cross is what makes this fully effective.


Demonization can happen in either of two ways. 

A person may be inhabited or in rare cases possessed when he sins in a way that is either serious or practiced over a period of time without repentance.

A far more common way is oppression from without. Satan is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). If, in his heart, the man with the anger problem believes a lie that anger will protect him, a demon of abuse may be energized by that lie. If his heart believes a lie that self-abuse is somehow more righteous than abusing others, a demon of self-hatred may join him. If the lie is that others will always take offense at him, this may empower a demon to tempt others to do so.

Inner healing and deliverance work so much better than inner healing alone. Through the power of the cross, repenting for lies and the roots of bitterness that feed those lies deprives demons of their power. Then, when you send them away, they can't return, for they have nothing left to return to.


Sin is not who we are; it is what we do. Therefore, bringing bitter roots to the cross clears away that which God did not create, and Christ's resurrection calls us back to our original design.

We are already “raised up with Christ and seated . . . with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6, NAS). But how many of us really feel like we're living in the heavenly realms? At Elijah Rain, we use inner healing and deliverance to set God's people free to live that out experientially.

“Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1, NAS).

© Mark Sandford 2018