Understanding Spiritual Chains
Many people experience situations in their lives for which they cannot find logical causes. They work hard, but have nothing to show for it; have it all together, but can’t find a marriage partner; fail at the verge of success, and the like. What these people may have ignored is the spiritual aspect of the human life. The spiritual governs the physical. When things fall apart in the spirit against an individual, the center cannot hold in the physical for this person. Spiritual chaining is a term used to describe a condition of life struggles that have their root causes in the spirit.
Spiritual chaining and imprisonment may be best understood by studying the physical imprisonment process. Just like physical imprisonment creates physical retardation, spiritual chaining leads to spiritual limitations which manifest in many physical forms, such as barrenness, stagnation, and backwardness. Bondage is the primary picture that comes to mind at the mention of the word “chain.” Bondage has the notion of slavery, imprisonment, subjection, and captivity. When a person is chained, his movement is significantly impaired. Depending on the nature of the offense, a person under arrest by the authority goes through a process beginning with chaining, and ending with imprisonment or execution, if found guilty. The prison, in which he is held, itself has different levels of restriction and security, and a prisoner is assigned a place on the basis of the severity of his offense, and how dangerous he is perceived to be. He may be chained within the prison to prevent escape and for the safety of other inmates and prison staff.
This same principle is used by the powers of darkness on their prisoners, whom though may be walking physically, are actually in chain spiritually. Because they have been spiritually bound, their physical lives are marked with struggles and catastrophes. Their spiritual state is revealed in the struggles of their physical lives such as illnesses, poverty, non-achievement, failures at verge of success, setbacks, barrenness, and many more life issues as earlier mentioned. The story of Apostle Peter’s physical imprisonment recorded in Acts 12 best illustrates the message of spiritual bondage. This story helps us understand three important aspects of bondage: the road to bondage, the nature of bondage, and the way out of bondage.
The Road to Bondage
Acts 12:3 opens with these words: “And because he (Herod) saw that it (the killing of James) pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also, and he put him in prison.” Peter was arrested for the preaching of the gospel. The point here is that Herod advanced a reason or ground to imprison Peter. In other words, without a reason, there would be no prison. Proverbs 26:2 says that a curse without cause shall not alight. Many people have been held prisoners in spiritual cages for various reasons, whether justified or not. These can range from jealousy or envy, to outright wrongdoings. In African culture, and some other places, many are victims of household wickedness, having been born in a hostile environment where there are strife among competing wives and children in polygamous families. Eating unhealthy food, drugs, sex, laziness, etc, are other open doors (you will find more examples of open doors in my article, “We are fighting the invisible war”). If you feel you are in bondage, the first area you should look at if you desire freedom is the road that led you into the bondage. Unless you address the problem from the root cause, it will be impossible for you to experience complete freedom, no matter how much you pray about it. You must take time to examine your life to find out where you missed the mark. It is easier to get a release where you have done no wrong.
The Nature of Bondage
When Peter was put in prison, he was bound with two chains, with two soldiers guarding him on either side. There were other guards mounted between him and the main gate of the prison. The main gate itself was an iron gate. He was under surveillance around the clock. Under this circumstance, Peter’s condition became hopeless hence he fell asleep instead of praying. This is exactly what Satan and his agents do to their prisoners. Once they capture their victim, they ensure that his imprisonment and chains are so secure that there will be no escape for him. Chaining inside the prison room speaks of multiple bondage so that, should you break free from one, you might still be held by the other. The iron-gate speaks of a maximum security – a no-way out. The soldiers and guards that were keeping watch are types of monitoring agents and spiritual reporters that are sent to monitor the prisoner’s activities with the goal to track and hinder any effort and attempt to get out of the chains. Have you often wondered why you start up a project but are not able to complete it? Why at the verge of success in a business deal, a marriage contract, getting pregnant, getting employed, having a green card, writing examination, or some other projects you most desire, that you fall backward? Regardless of how many times you have tried and efforts you put in, it comes out with the same result. You have done all you could but the situation remains the same. There are times that you feel relieved, thinking that the trouble has ended, only to discover that the situation comes back to hit you again; you conclude that you are in a cycle, and not able to move forward. Regardless of your intelligence, academic achievement, and the numerous opportunities that come your way, you still find yourself limited. For instance, you serve under those that are less qualified than you. You fail where others succeed, and people think that you are brain-dead. You have lost money and some other forms of investment as a result. This kind of situation can make you lose confidence in yourself so that you become hesitant to try again. Like Peter, you may have now fallen asleep. If this describes your condition, there is a good chance that you may have been chained and imprisoned spiritually. You’ll need to accept the reality of your condition and wake up to fight the battle legally for your liberation.
The Way Out of Bondage
Job 12:18 tells us that “He (God) loses the bond of Kings, and girds their loins with a girdle.” The first thing you must realize about deliverance from bondage is that demonic chains can only be broken by God’s power. This is the point of Isaiah’s prophesy: “It shall come to pass in that day that his (the enemy) burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil” (Isaiah 10:27). The anointing is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. This point is confirmed in Zechariah 4:6: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit (Holy Spirit), says the Lord of hosts.” Only the Spirit of God can destroy demonic chains. Your wisdom and might will fail you, and other powers will also fail you. When the angel of God appeared in Peter’s prison, the light of God came down with him into the prison; that light was the Holy Spirit. The instant the angel got to Peter, he changed the darkness in his prison room to light, broke off the chains that Peter’s enemies had used to bind him, and removed the yoke off his hands.
Before you begin to break chains you must first receive Jesus as Lord and personal Savior. As a believer you can draw God’s presence through extended worship. You do so by purposely offering praise to God, and hallowing His name, perhaps with singing, verbal declaration of who He is, speaking in tongues, or by any other means you are led to use by your spirit. The second thing you must know about deliverance is the importance of authoritative declaration. Deliverance can only be obtained by the authoritative declaration of God’s word while the presence of God is on you. Presenting the word of God is of paramount importance because it is the weapon that you employ to destroy the lies of Satan; it is the hammer that breaks rocks into pieces; it is the sword of God that cuts the enemy’s chains asunder – God promises to always back up His words if said by faith. When a child of God speaks God’s word authoritatively under the influence of the Holy Spirit, demonic chains will surely fall apart. Once you identify any chain in your life, you must authoritatively speak to break it. So, when the angel appeared and the anointing was present, he spoke to Peter with authority: “Arise quickly!” and his chains fell off his hands. When the angel told Peter to arise, he was in essence addressing the chains holding him to break off at once. The third thing that you will need to know is the importance of following direction given by the Holy Spirit. When the angel commanded Peter to rise up quickly, his obedience led to the falling off of his chains. Following that, the angel told Peter to follow him. Peter did not argue; he followed the angel even though he did not understand what was going on at the time. This later obedience led to his final escape from the prison. Though his chains fell off at first, Peter was still in prison. He still needed to overcome the prison guards and the iron-gate. To be free from demonic chains you must listen to the voice, and follow the direction, of the Holy Spirit. He alone knows how to break the chains and lead you out of demonic imprisonment. He may tell you to fast for a given period of time, pray in the night, make a certain declaration; He may remind you of a certain sin in your life that Satan is standing on, and needs to be confessed and repented of, or show you some demonic objects that you might still have in your possession that need to be discarded. You may be asked to forgive your offenders, including couples. He may tell you to dip yourself seven times in river Jordan, or to go and show yourself to the priest to make certain offerings. Whatever instruction He may give, you must follow, else there will be no release from chains and imprisonment. The door of freedom is ready to open for you, but you must be willing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. God does not offer a one-size-fits-all solution to all circumstances. The specific instructions He gives to you may be different from what He gave to another person with a similar problem. So, it is imperative to strictly follow the instructions He gives.
Those who have been bitten by a snake in the past will testify that the experience is awful. Snakebite is so poisonous that if it’s not quickly treated it could lead to death. God uses a snake as a symbol of Satan. The problems of mankind can be likened to snakebites, and they are the handiwork of Satan. His ultimate goal is to kill (John 10:10). But God has provided an unmatched solution to the bites of a snake. Whether it be a bite of sin or of sickness. Whether it be an emotional bite, a spiritual bite, or an economic bite, the solution remains the same. God first gave the picture of this solution in Numbers 21:4-9 where the children of Israel were bitten by snakes in the wilderness as a result of their sin against God. These bites led to the death of several Israelites until they cried out to Moses for help. Moses intercession led to this solution: “The Lord said to Moses, make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live. So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived” (Number 21:8, 9). Perhaps a snake has bitten you in certain areas of your life; and no solution has yet been found since you have been looking for one. Here is the unmatched solution for you. So, read on. The solution God gave to Moses was a two-sided one: (1) The offer from above, and (2) The look from beneath. These two parts must work together for the solution to be effective.
The Offer From Above
When Israel cried out to God for a solution, God did not disappoint them. He offered them a wonderful solution, which did not only end the death in the wilderness, but has now become the answer to all human problems. Yet, a lot of people miss this. God told Moses to make a bronze snake and hang the same on a pole. God offered this solution from above and requested a look from those bitten. The offer from above is fully under God’s control, and God gave it in form of a bronze snake to the Israelites as a type of Jesus, who became sin (or a snake) in order to swallow up the sins (or problems) of the world. To do this He was hung or crucified on a tree (the cross), which Moses pole represented. Jesus Himself says in John 3:14, 15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus was saying in essence that He is the offer from above. That whoever looks upon Him by faith will not die from sin and other problems, but live. He is therefore the offered solution to all human needs. With this, God has permanently made His offer to all who are troubled. His part is complete and guaranteed. There is nothing more for Him to do.
Since the time of Jesus Christ, innumerable souls have benefited from this solution. There has never been any kind of problem here on earth that has not been solved by Him. The lame met Him and he walked. The hungry met Him and were fed. The spiritually troubled met Him, and was set free. The dead have been raised, and the sick healed. Several have been delivered from one addiction or the other. Troubled marriages have been restored. Failing businesses have regained normalcy. Of all who have by faith and in sincerity looked unto Him, none has been put to shame. If this is true, why is it that this offer appears not to be working for some people who have “looked” upon Him? We can then turn to the second part for the answer: The look from beneath.
The Look From Beneath
When God made an offer from above as a solution to the snakebites, He placed the burden of looking at the offer upon mankind. While God is fully in control of the offer from above, man on the other hand is fully in control of the looking. The offer from above must meet with the look from beneath at a point for the solution to be effective. This is where the problem lies. A number of people carry their problems with them every day looking for a solution somewhere else other than the one God has offered. Some trust in the Psychic solution, some trust in witch doctors, others trust in their own wisdom or other forms of powers. Despite their efforts they never find an effective solution. There are still others who claim to be looking upon Jesus, but are still bound in their problems because they have not been looking right. In other words, man may choose not to look at the offer that God has made available to him, as we have seen down through the ages. Or he may look, but not in the right manner. If this happens, no solution will be received. There were probably those who still did not look at Moses’ bronze snake, and died from the bites as a result.
How To Look
To look is to first accept this offer as your solution, ask Him to give you a solution, trust, and obey His word. For the solution to be effective, (1) you must look in faith. This means you must first believe in the offer, and then look with expectations. If you are praying for a physical healing, you must believe that you have it, and should not expect to die. This is because what you expect is what you get. (2) You must look at His word. His word has been given for our healing and direction. The Bible is the manual for our lives.
Problems can come as a result of the violation of spiritual or natural laws. If you disobey the laws of God and violate the natural laws, you can run into problems. To solve the problems, you must then turn to the word of God to make the necessary changes. You must be prepared to correct the wrong in the light of God’s word. If you suffer from obesity control your appetite. If your marriage is rocking, humble yourself and obey the divine law governing marriage (Ephesians 5:21-33). If you are in the occult, involved in any form of idolatry, or living in sin, you will need to quit immediately and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Remember that whenever you look at the word of God, you look unto Jesus Christ, because He is the word of God (John 1:1). (3) You must look unto Him alone. If you depend on other powers you will be disappointed. Jeremiah 17:5 says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.” So, if you trust Him as your solution, you will be able to testify like King David who says in Psalm 37:25, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging bread.” I pray that Jesus should meet you today, at the point of your needs as you look unto Him for a solution.
To receive Jesus as your Lord and personal Savior, pray this prayer: “Lord, I am a sinner. I now repent of my sin, and come to you for mercy and forgiveness. I hereby accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Savior. Thank you for saving me, in Jesus name.
He went to the sea to fish and labored all night in vain and caught nothing. Little did he know that what he was laboring to get was right beside him: His eyes were blinded to reality. He had missed it because of his wrong focus aided by a rash decision. He had allowed outward attraction and the opinion of others around him, rather than divine leading, to be his guide. The six with him could not help him locate the place of his blessing: confirming that breakthroughs do not come by human wisdom, but by divine direction. Many people struggle through life and live in want because they have failed to locate their place in life. A lot of people that work hard often wonder why their efforts do not produce their expected result. But it is important for them to know that hard work alone cannot produce a significant success. The work you do must be carried out in the right place pre-ordained by God before it can produce success. This is a fact that you must never forget. When you are in the right place, you will not have to wear out yourself to achieve success, because the scripture says that, “the blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22) (NKJV). If you’ve been wondering why your efforts have not given you a significant success, you’ll need to find out if you are laboring in the right place for your life.
This truth is illustrated in a story told about Peter in John 21:1-6. Peter had gone to the Sea of Galilee to fish with six other people with him. He knew what he was born to do: to fish. What he did not know was where he was to do the fishing. He got close to the place of his breakthrough but the exact spot, he did not know. Where he thought was the right place disappointed him. Although he worked hard to catch, he wasted a whole night laboring in vain. He therefore became discouraged. Peter’s story might describe your situation at this moment. You are sure of what you are born to do, and you labor with all your strength and wisdom in this area, yet there is nothing to show for it. Worse still, you are not even sure whether your present vocation is the right calling for your life. You have now become discouraged, and wondering what might be wrong with you. You have blamed others for your failure, including the Devil. But there is only one person that you are leaving out in this blaming game, who is surely responsible for this situation; that person is you. You’ll see what I mean in a moment. But where did Peter miss it?
In verse 3 of John 21, we are told that after Peter had gathered his friends, he announced to them what he wanted to do: to go fishing at the Sea of Galilee. After this announcement, the Bible says: “They went forth, and entered into a ship IMMEDIATELY, and that night they caught nothing.” Peter was the leader of the team. He had led the team to the Sea without taking time to think. The word IMMEDIATELY suggests a rash decision. The moment he thought of what to do, he rushed to do it without waiting to get instructions concerning where he should fish. Peter had walked with the Lord and was supposedly conversant with God’s word in Proverbs 3:5-7a which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and LEAN NOT on your own understanding; in all your ways (i.e. in everything you do), acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes.” Peter leaned unto his own understanding, and did not give the Lord any room to direct his path before he made a move. His idea was a good one, but he should have waited enough to ask the Lord to show him where. Isn’t that the way we take our decisions many times? We get an idea of what we want to do, and we pursue it without giving it a thought, neither do we pray for further direction from God. We run because others are running. We enter into businesses and vocations because others are into it and succeeding. We migrate from one place to another supposing that there is where the gold mine is. People enter into a lifetime commitment like marriage to someone they barely know without taking time to ask God to reveal whether this is His choice for them. We rely on the deceptive outward appearance of our subject or idea, and the inside of it we do not know. We are led by the crowd and our senses rather than following God’s plan for our lives. It is evident that Peter thought that the spot he went fishing was where the fishes would be: but he was wrong. Many have made the wrong move to the wrong side of the sea of life, and are now stranded there.
Have You Any Meat?
This is a thought-provoking question. Jesus asked the disciples, “Children, have you any meat?”
The focus was not necessarily on the others, but on Peter. He is the One who had designed him to
be a fisherman. He gave him all the resources necessary to become a successful fisherman. Since
man is shortsighted, God expected Peter to come to Him for direction through the ways that he goes. Peter was so overtaken with his idea that he did not see the need to ask God again for His leading. He forgot that all that glitters is not gold. Jesus patiently watched them laboring, and He knew all along that their labor would be in vain because they were fishing on the wrong spot. He allowed them to exhaust all their wisdom and strength so that they might learn the lesson from God’s truth that it’s “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6). So, at the point of their discouragement Jesus showed up and asked them if they had any meat (fish). What was He doing? He wanted them to admit their failure. He wanted them to realize that skill, talent, or human wisdom that is not directed by God will end up in failure and shame. This is a great lesson that you too should learn.
Notice that when the Lord showed up to them, they did not immediately know that it was Jesus talking to them. The good part is that they obeyed the instruction he gave to them. It is obvious that in their discouragement, they hungered for help from anywhere. Thank God that the person they obeyed turned out to be Jesus. Now, you too should objectively examine your circumstances and face the reality. Don’t you think you need God’s intervention in your situation now? This article you are now reading might be the handwriting of God addressed to you to let you know where you have missed it. Remember that the disciples did not know at first that it was Jesus speaking to them. They only knew after they had obeyed His instruction and experienced the bumper harvest. The Lord is asking you the same question today: “have you got any meat to account for since you have been laboring?” Do you also have the meat of joy and peace? If you answer no like the disciples, then its time for you to cast your net on the right side of life. Right is right and left is wrong: breakthroughs are not found on the wrong side of life. You may say, “I don’t know the Lord, how can He direct me?” Why not? Go ahead at once and invite Him into your life as your Lord and savior. He is longing to receive you, forgive your sin, and show you the way to success in life.
When they admitted they had no meat to show for their labor, the Lord told the disciples to cast their net on the right side of their ship. When they did, the scripture says that they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. It is amazing that they could be so blinded to fish only on the left side of the ship. I wonder why they did not try the right side all along. Aren’t you tired of fishing on the left side of the ship of your life without result? Why don’t you make up your mind today to cast your net to the right side? By the way, do you know where your right side is? Only Jesus can help you locate your right place in life. Ask Him in prayer, and He will surely reveal to you where your success lies, because He holds the plan of your life in His hand. Pray this prayer with me: Lord Jesus, I am helpless without you. My wisdom and strength have failed me. Please, save me from my failure and struggle in life, and show me where my success lies, Amen.