Proclaiming Liberty to the Captives
By Steve Backlund
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound”
It is fascinating to me to look at what Jesus addressed first in his ministry – preaching good tidings to the poor, healing the brokenhearted, proclaiming liberty to the captives, and opening prison doors (deliverance) are the first four things that Jesus chose to address. I usually find that I can glean keys for walking in the anointing of God if I follow His example. I love preaching good news to the poor, healing the brokenhearted, and deliverance, but I especially like proclaiming liberty to the captives. It is a great secret for breakthrough and kingdom advancement. What would happen if we radically started making proclamations of freedom to those who are in a captive experience?
Jesus did this in Luke 13:11-13:
“And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, ‘Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.’ And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.”
Note that Jesus proclaimed freedom over her before he released healing. He said, “You are loosed” when she was still in the experience of being captive to sickness.
One of the most powerful spiritual laws is this: if something is going to happen, something must be spoken. We won’t have something just by saying something, but saying something is necessary to having something.
Note these powerful verses about the power of words:
Proverbs 18:21 - “Death and life are in the power of the tongue." If we want to experience life in dead or captive areas of our life, we must proclaim life first.
Ephesians 4:29 - “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Our words impart grace, which is the empowerment to do God’s will. Our focus is not to speak to people’s understanding but to speak believing than an impartation of grace is being released into those who are listening to us.
I Corinthians 14:1 - “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” Prophecy is to be the greatest gift pursued. In my opinion, the highest level of prophecy is illustrated in Romans 4:17b where it says “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” As we proclaim freedom, we prophesy life.
There are many ways people and regions are in captivity:
...captive in emotions
...captive in poverty
...aptive to addictions
...captive to victim mindsets
...captive to relational dysfunction
...captive to spiritual blindness
Somebody has to speak and declare freedom to those who are experiencing captivity.
So how do we practically apply this message?
Start with ourselves - proclaiming freedom to ourselves in areas where we seem to be a captive. Tell ourselves we are free from addictive behavior, poor decision making, poverty, shame, etc. It is not the only thing we will do concerning these areas, but it is one of the most important.
Prophesy to others - Tell others who they really are. Use clear identity statements in these words. “You are an overcomer.” “You are a person of freedom.” “You are a great influencer.”
Speak life to “dry bones” circumstances (Ezekiel 37) - In every situation possible, declare life. As you drive by a school, say “You are a revival school.” As you hear bad news about your nation, say “Nation, you are free and prospering.”
Ask Holy Spirit for more wisdom on this - He will guide you into great things.
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About Steve Backlund
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.