There is often a strong relationship between spiritual deliverance and physical healing. Often physical problems are also gone when the demons leave. That is because the demons were causing the physical problems. Examples of these in the Bible include: crippled limbs (Luke 13:11), Paul’s thorn in the flesh (eye disease? – II Corinthians 12:7), muteness (sometimes dumbness, too – Matthew 9:32-33; 12:22; Mark 9:17-18,24-25), blindness (Matthew 12:22), seizures (Mark 1:26; 9:17-18,20,22,25; Matthew 17:15,18; Luke 9:39), deafness (Mark 9:17-18,20,25), sores (skin cancer?) (Job 2:7), boils and other painful afflictions (Psalm 78:49 – the plagues in Egypt were demon-caused), and physical torments of all kinds (Revelation 9:5,10). The Bible states that Satan can cause illness (Job2:7-8), even death (Job 1:19).
Physical healing can be a result of deliverance. If any of the demons were causing physical problems those problems will be resolved when the demons are removed. Generational spirits can cause the same ailments from generation to generation. Physical problems are usually not God’s main concern, rather He is more concerned for the spiritual condition of the heart. We often pray for the symptom (physical problem) to be removed while God wants us to seek Him and what He is trying to teach us through it. Paul’s thorn in the flesh is a clear example. It wasn’t God’s will for that demon to be removed, but for Paul to be spiritually strengthened through the experience.
If a physical problem is present it can be good to find out when it first started and what else was going on at that time. Instead of focusing on removing the physical symptom, look for the root cause, be it demonic, spiritual or whatever else it may be.
It must be noted that not all illness is demonic in origin. Jesus healed physical ills that weren’t demonic (Matthew 4:23-24; 8:16-17 fulfilled Isaiah 53:4; Mark 1:34; Acts 10:34; etc.). The Bible clearly talks about illnesses that are not demonic: severe pain (Matthew 4:24), seizures (Matthew 4:24), paralysis (Matthew 4:24; Acts 8:7), leprosy (Matthew 10:8), blindness (Luke 7:21), crippled limbs (Acts 8:7) and many other various diseases (Matthew 4:24). The fact that some physical ailments are on both lists (like seizures) shows that many ailments may have demonic or natural causes. They could be from one source or the other.
Jesus often cast out demons and cured illness at the same time. Jesus said he would do this (Luke 13:32). He did this at the start of His ministry (Matthew 4:23-24; 8:16; Mark 1:34; Luke 4:41), around Tyre and Sidon (Mark 3:10-12; Luke 6:18-19), and in the middle of His ministry (Luke 7:21). Many female followers of Jesus were cured of both (Luke 8:2).
Even more precise are the accounts of when Jesus both cast out demons and healed illness in a person at the same time (Mark 6:13; Acts 5:16). Philip did this in Samaria (Acts 8:7) and Paul did it in Ephesus (Acts 19:12).
Thus it is obvious that some, but not all illness is demonic. There are no certain illness that are exclusively demonic, nor others that aren’t. Any physical ill can be demonic, but no one ill is always demonic. In our day and age we err by seeing too little illness as being demonic. Thus we often miss the cure. How can we tell if an illness or physical problem is demonic or not? Some clues to look for are: medical doctors aren’t able to bring relief or cure; there is a pattern of it running in the family; it seems strange or doesn’t follow the regular pattern of symptoms (comes and goes for no particular reason, etc.); or you feel in your spirit that it should be prayed about and looked into as possibly being demonic.
Again, our pattern for bringing about this removal of physical ills by deliverance should follow Jesus’ example. He rebuked a fever and it left immediately and strength instantly returned (Luke 4:39). On at least one occasion power came from within Jesus to heal (Luke 6:19). He often laid hands on a person to bring both deliverance and healing (Luke 4:40; 13:13; 4:29; Matthew 8:15; Luke 13:1-13).
As to us doing this today, again it must be done in God’s strength and power. If He chooses to bring healing through deliverance that is His will. We must never demand it or make it dependent on having enough faith. No one today has a gift to heal anyone and everyone. It is right for us to pray for healing when doing deliverance and leave the results to God. It is also necessary to deal with any demons who may be causing the illness (physical or mental, see page 7). Often demons affect our health in indirect ways, such as working in us so we eat or do things that are unhealthy for us in the long run and undermine our health. All of these, too, must be dealt with in Jesus’ name (Matthew 10:1). Sometimes God may lead you to anoint with oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit who does the healing (Mark 6:13). Do NOT put any faith in the oil or any ritual in using it, it is simply an audio-visual. For more on healing see pages 116-117
Therefore, be aware that often illness is demonic, especially when doctors are unable to bring a cure. Even diseases they can cure can still be demonic, especially if there are other signs of demonizing active in the person’s life. Keep this in mind when praying and seeking wisdom. Don’t accept any illness as “incurable.” Always make sure it isn’t demonic (by asking God for wisdom and commanding any demons involved in that ailment to be gone in Jesus’ name). Remember, when dealing with emotional and spiritual ills in your warfare praying, don’t let out physical ills! Never fear, demons can only cause ills with God’s approval (Job 1:6-12).
One word of warning: since demons can cause illness, they can also bring counterfeit ‘healings’ by stopping the physical ills they themselves cause (Matthew 12:24; 24:24; II Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 16:14). This explains miraculous healings that aren’t done in accordance with God’s will and Word.
Is there an ailment that doctors haven’t been able to remove? Perhaps it could be in you or in someone you know. Ask God to show you if there could be a demonic cause behind it and what God is trying to teach through this. Then ask Him to show you if you should pray for it to be removed, or if He wants to allow it to use it for His glory. This kind of praying takes time, patience, perseverance and an open heart. But it is the only correct way to pray about these things.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)