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.