Do you believe in ghosts? Those disembodied spirits who roam around haunting places and scaring people? I do!
In the first church I pastored there was a man named John who showed up about my fourth year in the ministry. John was a former pastor who suffered defeat in his several ministries. When he showed up at our church I thought he might be there to help, he was really there to hate. I suffered abuse from his hands, publicly and privately and finally resigned from the church and left. Many months later I found myself in a new church 300 miles away but you wouldn’t believe who was present at my first board meeting; John. He was sitting in the corner of the room distracting me, scaring me altering my leadership. He wasn’t really there in person, but his ghost was, the ghost of John followed me and tried to haunt me.
I believe that we all have ghosts that haunt us. Even the apostle Paul had some! In 2 Timothy 2:14 Paul talks about Alexander who opposed him. He also talked about Demas who left him. He also addressed the mega-church apostles who tried to undermine his work at Corinth. I’m sure that even though these men were not in Paul’s physical presence he had to deal with the spirits they left behind. We all have our John, we all have our place that is inhabited by ghosts.
So when we do about those ghosts? Three things;
1. Exorcism! Pray those demons out in Jesus’ name!
– Remove their presence from your heart and your head. Ghosts always rely on intimidation and fear so we must confront them in the name of Jesus. We must evict their presence from the place they want to inhabit in our life.
– Remove their damage. Those ghosts have done real damage, they haunted you, they scared you, they said things and it’s time to confront what they did and declare those places done.
– Remove their lasting relational impact. Those ghosts wanted me to change and not trust people anymore, fear what others might do and not be close to another person for fear of betrayal. I can’t give a ghost that much power in my life.
Part of any good exorcism movie is the confrontation of the demon. The demon relies on fear and lies to try to retain his place. If we want to be free of those old ghosts we need to confront them. We need to call them out and then cast them out.
2. Another thing we do about ghosts is just simply to refuse to believe in them.
In most ghost stories the spirit dwells in a certain place because there’s some memory attached to that place. It may be a haunted house where a murder took place or a spot in the woods where a child died but there always seems to be some memory keeping that ghost around.
We need to process those haunted places in our life and evict the spirit that keeps the memory alive. Maybe the memory is a failure or a sin that we can’t escape or a tragic event or even a deep hurt. The ghost of John haunted all of the places where I was to exert leadership and he tried to remind me that I would never make it. At some point I need to face up to those places, deal with the memory, and stop believing in those ghosts that occupy and haunt those places.
3. One last thing is just don’t be afraid of ghosts anymore.
After watching many ghost movies I’ve come to my own action plan if I ever meet a ghost; I am not going to be afraid of them! They can’t hurt me, they can only rely on fear and so far not scared anymore than what can they do? I’m going to meet some ghosts in my future and some of the ghosts of my past will revisit me and a few more will rattle their chains but I will no longer be afraid. There is only one ghost that I will honor; the Holy Ghost!