The bad choices we make concerning companionship bring us into bondage through the soul ties that form through agreement. Jesus came to set us free, but the bonds formed by ungodly associations take us captive. However, when we know how the devil works to enslave us, we can more effectively resist his wiles: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
The bad choices we make concerning companionship bring us into bondage through the soul ties that form through agreement. Jesus came to set us free, but the bonds formed by ungodly associations take us captive.
There are many ways that ungodly soul ties form, but common ways this happens include the following:
Association. We take on the characteristics of those with whom we choose to associate through the soul ties that form. If we spend time with angry, complaining people, we tend to mirror their behavior. If we hang around those engaging in sinful behavior, we become partakers of their sin.
Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces (Proverbs 13:20 MSG).
But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person (1 Corinthians 5:11).
We take on the characteristics of those with whom we choose to associate through the soul ties that form.
Harboring toxic emotions. Toxic emotions that linger are products of unforgiveness. We form bonds with those we hate. Our wounds and anger form ungodly soul ties that keep us in bondage until we forgive. When we forgive from the heart, we experience a supernatural transaction that sets us free and replaces negative emotions with the peace of God.
Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, “You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart (Matthew 18:32-35 NLT).
Celeste, a young girl in middle school, had learned how to forgive effectively at one of our training sessions, but she had a relationship with a clique of girls who hurt her feelings regularly. It couldn’t be called friendship because they enjoyed picking on her. For example, the girls would plan a party and deliberately not invite her. Celeste asked me (Dennis) about her feelings of rejection. I explained to her that she could escape from the cycle of victimhood by practicing forgiveness while they were being catty. You can’t throw dirt into a firehose when water is gushing from it. Celeste agreed to try it out.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water(John 7:38 KJV).
Not too long afterward, the girls came up to Celeste in the school cafeteria and made some unkind remarks; but Celeste allowed a river of love to flow from her heart to them at the same time. Needless to say, the words didn’t hurt. But what happened next was the real testimony. Celeste told me that while she was letting love flow out, she felt the Holy Spirit prompt her to turn her head and direct her gaze to a group of girls sitting at a table nearby.
Celeste walked over and introduced herself. They happened to be Christians and became her new best friends. In breaking the soul tie with her tormentors, she was able to follow the leading of the Lord and see the healthy relationships God had provided.
Sexual sin. Seducing spirits are always involved when sexual sin is committed. That is why we are warned to flee sexual immorality. What does Jesus say about the matter? He not only condemned sexual immorality, which includes all sexual activity outside of traditional marriage, but He raised the standard to include holiness of heart:
You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28 AMPC).
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man… (Matthew 15:19-20).
Prolonged grief. Whereas grief following the death of a loved one is natural, prolonged grief is unnatural. A soul tie can develop following the death of a loved one or friend. It is common when there is a death by suicide, it was sudden or unexpected, or there was an abortion. Normally, grief should last months to a couple of years at most.
Sometimes a soul-tie with the dead can develop into a sort of “communion” with the dead person, feeling the person’s presence, or seeing them repeatedly in dreams or visions. It is not uncommon for demons to manifest as deceased relatives. They may masquerade as the relative to deceive, as in a séance, or to promote belief in reincarnation. Or, they may manifest during deliverance when the spirit of the relative [a familiar spirit] or ancestor has been passed down. If the curse and accountability for the sins of the ancestor can be passed down for generations, it should not surprise us to find that demons can be passed down as well.
The father of Theresa, a teenaged girl we know, died and she was heartbroken because of the great loss. A couple of years later, when we went to visit her mother, we were alarmed to hear that Theresa’s “father” had started appearing to her as a ghostly being. We met with her privately and asked her to get in an attitude of prayer and think of the apparition. A seducing spirit manifested immediately and we had her receive forgiveness for giving it ground in her life. The evil spirit left and the visitations ceased.
Manipulation. Another way many soul ties form is through manipulation, which is a form of witchcraft. If a man becomes friends with someone because it’s possibly a stepping stone for a promotion at work, it’s ungodly. “He has an ‘in’ with the boss!” Using other people is always ungodly and gives legal ground to the enemy. Believers can also pray witchcraft prayers in an attempt to manipulate or control by praying for their will rather than God’s will.
Using other people is always ungodly and gives legal ground to the enemy.
Pride. A soul tie with self can form due to excessive pride. Pride was the sin that turned Lucifer, an anointed cherub of God, into satan, the father of lies. The sin of pride is a preoccupation with self. When we exalt ourselves, in effect, we are saying, “I am my own god.” Anything you love more than God is an idol.
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14).
Pride is not just an emotion, it’s a spirit. It is foremost in the list of the seven deadly sins. Early church fathers thought that pride severed the soul from grace, was the very essence of evil, and the basis of all other sins.
Many years ago, I (Dennis) was ministering to a man who insisted that he was “too complicated” for me to help. As he said those words, he tilted his chin up in the air. In a flash, I saw a demon of pride superimposed over his features in the form of a bald, egg-shaped head that was looking down on me. I answered him by saying, “Roots are simple. They are either rooted in God or the devil.” Pride renders us unteachable. Pride will ask for help then not listen. Common statements made by individuals with a spirit of pride include: “I’m too complicated.” “Even the best can’t help me.” “I already know that.” “That might work for others but not me.”
Evil attraction. Seducing spirits attract other evil spirits. Just as the Holy Spirit brings people together for divine purposes, evil spirits can also link individuals to one another. Many years ago, a pastor living in my area referred a married woman to me (Dennis) for a prayer session. She had been behaving seductively with men at church. When we met together, I was surprised to learn that she believed demonic seduction was necessary to keep her unsaved husband satisfied sexually. She didn’t want deliverance. Soon afterward, a pastor from another city insisted that a single man in his church make an appointment with me because he was making women parishioners uncomfortable with overly attentive behavior. They said he felt creepy. When he came in for an appointment, he refused to pray about it even though his unclean spirits were clearly discernible.
A few months later, I attended a banquet celebrating a Christian television ministry with four hundred in attendance. I was startled and appalled when I saw the two of them being magnetically drawn together from distant corners of the banquet hall only to strike up a friendly conversation. They lived in two different cities and had never met. Their seducing spirits drew them together.
Likewise, sexual molestation and abuse bind the victim to seducing spirits that attract other abusers to them. I (Jennifer) had a prayer appointment with an attractive college-age woman who was concerned because lesbians on campus made passes at her even though she was only interested in men. When we prayed about it, an incident from her childhood flashed in her mind. A female babysitter had sexually molested her. As soon as she pictured the incident, a seducing spirit manifested. She forgave the babysitter, broke the soul tie, surrendered her emotions back to God, and the evil spirit lifted. Women never made inappropriate advances toward her again.
Agendas. If there is something we want and we can’t let it go, we bind to ourselves a seducing spirit of lust that functions as an invisible umbilical cord seeking an attachment. Unfortunately, even if we get what we want, a bad outcome is practically guaranteed.
If there is something we want and we can’t let it go, we bind to ourselves a seducing spirit of lust that functions as an invisible umbilical cord seeking an attachment.
A lovely single mother insisted that she had to have a father for her young son. We encouraged her to trust and seek God rather than looking for a man. She just couldn’t let it go, however. It seems that she decided that the next single man who knocked at her door would be the one. A good-looking young man did come to her door and he moved in with her. Unfortunately, he was on medication for psychosis and believed he was Jesus. It didn’t end well and she eventually lost custody of her son.
Secrecy and gossip. A bond of secrecy creates a web of darkness. “I’ll tell you something but you can’t tell anyone else.” It binds you together with another individual and shuts others out. If the secret itself is gossip, you share in the sin of the one who gossips. Before someone shares gossip with you, they test your spirit to see if you are open. The tingle of anticipation you feel in your gut is a seducing spirit wooing you to open your heart to listen. If you listen, you’re hooked. To get free, receive forgiveness, repent, and bring the secret into the light in an appropriate manner: “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Idolatrous Soul Ties
Soul ties are always formed when we lust for any person, place, or thing. We usually think of lust in terms of sexual desire but lust is what makes an idol an idol. Anything we desire more than God is an idol. If we can’t say, “I choose Your will over the thing I want,” then we have an idol and the emotion attaching us to what we want is lust. If your vision or dream doesn’t begin with God and end in God, it’s an idol.
If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He puts His desires in our heart and that’s what He gives us. If your vision or dream for your life doesn’t begin with God and end in God, it’s an idol.
A young woman insisted on buying a house at the beach. She justified her decision according to her interpretation of Psalm 37:4, “God will give you the desires of your heart.”However, she ignored the first part of the verse: “Delight yourself also in the Lord.” If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He puts His desires in our heart and that’s what He gives us.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you(Matthew 6:33).
She got the house she wanted and found a job but couldn’t locate a church that she liked and didn’t make any close friends. Moreover, she could no longer feel the presence of God. If we insist on having our way rather than seeking God’s will, we become like the children of Israel in the wilderness: “They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:13-15).
We can make idols out of things that aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves. However, anything we want more than God is an idol. Several symptoms of idolatry include feeling despondent when we fail to get what we want, thinking we can’t be happy without something, and becoming angry when our desire is thwarted. Idol worship always causes discontentment because idols never satisfy.