Two Christians suffer the same terrifying trauma, one emerges a great leader, the other a handicapped victim. Most people who undergo heavy abuse are spiritually crippled. They stagger through life unable to find peace and fulfillment. Others refuse to stay in a victim’s prison. They find a way of escape and the very struggles they have endured, serve as an indispensable training for greatness. They have found the house of the overcomer. Regardless of past pains, betrayals or abuses, there are no victims in the house of the overcomers.
There are different types of prisons in the world and many people, including Christians, live in them. There are prisons of addiction, poverty, loneliness, victimization, demonic oppression, and generational curses, to name only a few. The Bible calls these prisons strongholds. People are trapped inside of them. Many are tormented and oppressed in those strongholds.
Depending on the severity of their condition and the level of the oppression, they are held in minimum, medium or maximum security—spiritual prisons. These people are not free to function or enjoy life as they should. Darkness has a strong hold on them.
Minimum security spiritual prisons allow people to come out on weekends. They still go to church on Sundays and participate in many activities. They seem to have normal lives, but they are not free. They always find themselves back in prison.
Medium, security prisons allow them to have some visitors and activities although much of life is very dysfunctional. These people are in a lot of pain, but they keep most of it hidden from the public.
Maximum, security prisons involve solitary confinement, dark oppressive dungeons, and horrible restrictions with no hope of parole. People in these prisons live in a horror movie. Their life is one of torment.
Some people have visited these prisons during their youth because they made wrong choices or they were severely abused. Some are addicted to vice. Many have ended up making these prisons their permanent homes. They fell into a victim mentality. Some are unable to forgive their oppressors and others have learned to enjoy the self-pity and the attention that their trauma has brought them. Now they are trapped in a prison. They live in terror, pain and unrelenting anxiety. They are victims, living in a victim’s prison.
These prisons have a strongman, (a prison warden) who with the help of the demon guards, keeps the inmates in captivity. They are evil spirits who have found a place of access into people’s lives. It is time that those in spiritual prisons receive help. It is time to break open the prison doors and set the prisoners free.
The Bible says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds [prisons.]” 2Cor.10:4
Jesus said, “When a strong man [a prison warden] fully armed, guards his own house [stronghold or prison] his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted. ..When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest.” Lk. 11:21-24
Christ is stronger than any prison warden and believers have authority in Christ. Scripture says, “These signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall cast out demons.” Mk.16:16
When a believer embraces God’s provision they become free. They refuse to live in a prison. Even in the Old Testament, godly men refused to become victims. My favorite example is King David.
As a boy, David was rejected by his father. When Samuel came to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king of Israel, David was not included. His own father left him out until Samuel insisted that David be included.
David’s brothers also rejected him. When he came to bring them provisions on the battle field, they mocked him and told him to go home. If your own family does not love you, who will love you?
After David killed Goliath he served King Saul, but the king was jealous and attempted to kill him. He hurled a spear at him.
Then the Israeli army was sent out to hunt him down and kill him.
It seems that everyone who had authority in David’s life abused him, yet his worst pain came from his own son Absalom. He turned on him and betrayed him.
David had a lot of pain and rejection in his life. He visited the prison of rejection and abuse and the strong man tried to keep him there in self-pity, ruin and despair, but David shook free of him. His was an overcomer and that is why he had such an amazing testimony. Despite his many battles, he wrote the 23rd Psalm.
Psalm 23 is David’s report of victory over victimization. There were 2 things that he was determined to do. Twice he said “I will,” and God in turn, gave him 12 rewards.
First, David said, “I will fear no evil.” Regardless of how he felt, he chose not to fear anything, but to put his trust completely in God.
Secondly, he said, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” He refused to dwell in a spiritual prison, instead, he lived in fellowship with God, drawing daily from his heavenly Father.
David did these 2 things and God did 12 things. No one needs to live like a victim. A person’s reaction to hurts will determine their future. Here are the 12 things that God did for David.
1. God gave him the provisions he needed. David said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
2. God gave him security. David said, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
3. God gave him peace. David said, “He leads me beside quiet waters.”
4. God healed him. David said,“He restores my soul.”
5. God led him. David said, “He leads me in paths of righteousness.”
6. God gave him amazing faith. David said, “Even in the valley of death, I will fear no evil.”
7. God fought for him. David said, “Thy rod comforts me.”
8. God provided for him in the worst situations. David said, “He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
9. God gave him the blessings of the Holy Spirit. David said, “He anoints my head with oil.”
10. God gave him abundant blessings. David said, “My cup overflows.”
11. God promised him continuous kindness. David said, “Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.”
12. God gave him the very best home. David said, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
David could have lived in failure, self-pity, and torment, but he refused those prisons. Instead, he held on to a supernatural testimony. You may do the same.