Years ago, while trying to explain to someone how the devil can get a grip on our lives, I came up with an analogy that seems to be helpful. I used this in the last few days to assist a young person to understand their situation, so I’m sharing it with you, in the hope it is helpful.
I have often seen trees with a sleeve of smooth metal wrapped around them, so possums and other climbing animals can’t get up the tree. The unwanted animals can’t get a grip or a toe hold, so they slip off the tree trunk.
Our lives are like that tall tree trunk. If there are many indents in the tree trunk it is easy for things to cling to our life. If the enemy finds toe holds in our life then the enemy can cling to us. Such things as fear, anger, hurts, shame, jealousy and the like, can stick to our life and seem to be unshakable.
One of the ways to deal with those things is to remove the toe hold.
So imagine there is a tree with smooth, shiny skin and no toe holds. It is safe from the climbing animals. But if a truck was to drive too close to the tree and scratch large gashes into to skin of the tree, then there are places for creatures to grip our life.
Similarly, when our life is scratched up by things that hurt us, or make us afraid, or stir up wrong responses inside us, like jealousy, hatred, lust or the like, then toe holds are scratched into our life and the enemy can jump on and hold on tight.
For the tree to be free from the climbing things it would need healing of its skin, making it shiny and slippery again. In our case we need Jesus to heal us from those scratches, hurts and damaging experiences, so we can be restored to a shiny surface that does not allow the enemy to keep grip in our lives.
There is a godly way to respond to nasty things that happen to us. We are to keep a humble heart and repent of anything we did to bring the problem into our life.
We are also to forgive all those who offend us, no matter how nasty they were to us.
We then need to make a spiritual break with the evil that scratched up our life, and any evil that seems to want to come out from inside us.
Let me explain that point more clearly. You may be offended and insulted by a stranger. Maybe that offender is angry and aggressive and speaking abusive language. They look at you and say some horrible things, with aggressive tone and vile language.
You are offended and hurt, scratched and wounded by what they did.
To completely clear up this experience, so the enemy can’t get hold of it, you need to be sure you didn’t do anything to bring that problem onto you. You may have been an innocent victim, but you might also have seen the offender and spoken something to rebuke him, causing him to target you with his abuse. Or you may have looked scornfully at him. If you have done anything to prompt the problem you need to be forgiven for that before you try to fix the problem.
You could pray, “Lord, I have been offended. If I have done anything to cause this attack on me please forgive me. I repent of all attitudes, thoughts and actions that I may have had that opened me up for this offence.”
You then need to forgive the one who offended you. “Lord, I forgive that person for what they said and did to me and all the hurt and pain they caused me.”
Next you need to break from the evil they dumped on you, and the evil that seemed to come up from inside you. They dumped on you their aggression, vile language, hurtful words, insults and anger. So, what came out from inside you in response?
Did you respond by cursing them, or being aggressive in return, or by threatening them?
Even if you didn’t respond outwardly was there an internal response? Did you decide to despise and distrust people who were like them (males, or from their nationality, or people in their social standing)? Did you respond with inferiority, shame, resentment, bitterness, hatred, vengeance or anything else that offends God?
As I said earlier, you need to break from the evil they put on you and the evil that comes from inside you. So you might pray something like, “Lord, I now break off the evil that came from that experience, including all the evil they put onto me, such as their anger, aggression and vile language. And I repent of and break off all the evil that came up inside me, of resentment, despisement, anger, retaliation, (name all the things that you responded with).”
The next thing to do is to give all the hurt and damage of the experience to God, which is putting our cares and concerns onto Him, instead of carrying them ourselves.
“Dump all your worries and cares on God, for he cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7
You might pray, “Lord I give you all these hurts and issues in my life. I dump them on You because You love me and only You can take them out of my life.”
The process I have outlined is like a legal process for getting rid of toe holds. Once you have carefully covered each of those points the next thing to do is to resist the devil, telling the problem that has attached itself to you to get out of your life. You might pray something like, “In the name of Jesus, the Christ, I speak to the problem in my life (name it, such as fear, shame, evil thoughts, etc) and I command it to go in Jesus’ name. Get out of my mind, my emotions, my body and my whole life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
I also encourage you to find Christians who have strong faith in God to join you in prayer, agreeing with you and praying for you to complete the process of setting you free.
What should result from that is the healing of the scratches and dents in your life, so the devil no longer has a Toe Hold in your life.
I have found for some people that repeating the process is needed, especially when the hurts and offences have been very deep or repeated over time. Allow God to prompt you to anything you left out of any part of the praying process.
God bless you as you put these suggestions into practice in your life.