I have observed two kinds of deliverance from destructive patterns in the lives of my fellow believers. One is instantaneous, and the other is rather gradual. I believe there is an important place for both, as we all grow up in Him.
The instantaneous kind is rather easy to understand. How exciting, for example, are the testimonies of drug addicts that came into contact with the raw power of the Holy Spirit! Instantly, the shackles fall off. For the rest of their lives, many going through this kind of deliverance experience no further attraction to formerly addictive substances. Obviously, these are instances of God’s sovereign, sudden mercy on display in a stunning way.
In many other cases, I have watched as His kids walk through a process that takes years. Now, it’s important to note, these are kids of His that are earnestly seeking Him wholeheartedly. And yet, deliverance is not immediate, but rather quite slow in comparison to the instantaneous type. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair to have to go through a long process, when others get free in an instant. Holy Spirit was talking to my heart today about this, explaining it to me.
He showed me a picture of an extensive root system. Sometimes, when there is a major sin problem in our lives, this is what our heart looks like in spirit. The issue is like a tree with a substantial system of roots that fills up a whole lot of space in the soil of our souls.
Holy Spirit invites us onto a journey to deal with the problem. One by one, in cooperation with us, He takes His ax to each individual root. Since there are so many and they are so far reaching into the depths of our soul, this is a huge undertaking. Patiently, He works with us for the long haul to gradually pull out every last bit of the root system.
Why would He choose to do it this way instead of in one fell swoop? As something comparable, think about someone who has been in a near fatal car accident. It’s impossible to mend their body with just one surgery. They need many, many reconstructive surgeries to bring them to a place of full functioning once again. If the doctor attempted to repair it all in one go, the patient would not survive.
God knows how much of His raw power our system can stand at one time. In His infinite wisdom and measureless love, He applies just the right amount to our hearts. There are certain altar calls and ministry moments where He will remove a huge chunk of the root system all at once. However, there are other parts of it still there, still needing further addressing, all in His perfect timing.
Additionally, He invites us to partner with Him in this process. There are appetites and habits that He will ask us to die to. There are defense mechanisms that He will ask us to lay aside because they are no longer helpful. There are very real moments of crucifixion that we will need to submit to.
Putting to death the desires of the flesh is an essential component on the journey as we walk forward into more and more wholeness in Him. The way He shapes us as we submit to His gradual process of sanctification benefits us in ways that an instantaneous deliverance would never be able to accomplish.
As we get up on His surgical table for what may seem like the millionth time, we can be sure of this. The Master Surgeon knows exactly what He is doing. He has an immaculate, brilliant plan. And it’s all based on an immeasurable depth of love for us. His heart is pure goodness. There is no shadow of turning in Him.
So go ahead, dear one, climb up. The One who loves you more than His life is standing by in tender readiness. He is eager to take you to the next level of your freedom. Trust His masterful hands and His beautiful heart.
Have you, like me, sometimes wished God’s process went faster? Do you have a story to share about coming to see in retrospect why He chose to do it the way He did?