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What is a Curse?

What is a Curse?

The first invisible barrier I want to describe is called a curse.

A curse in the Old Testament has three concepts attached to it. Each of these meanings is directly related to God and to His blessing.

This blog post is part 4 of the series Seven Invisible Barriers to Spiritual Growth.
To see all the posts in the series click here
.           To listen to the audio version click here.


Definition of a Curse

First, a curse is a warning of the consequences that will come about if God’s command is broken. This is what God did when He told Adam and Eve that If they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would die.

Second, the curse speaks about the consequences and punishment of sin. It speaks about the binding power of the curse that limits the life and productivity of the one who is cursed. The person is bound and unable to accomplish what he or she was once able to do.

Third, the curse is a withdrawal of the blessing of God, It is the blessing of God that brings freedom, peace, increase, and plenty. The curse speaks of reduction in every area of life. We can make a lot of money, but it is never enough. We can do things should bring success, but it is always elusive.

Signs of a Curse

Derek Prince says that the effects of being under a curse can be summarized in one word, frustration. We may have great outward success and but there is inward frustration, relationships that are in chaos, peace always seems to elude us.

Prince compiled the following list of seven indicators that a curse is at work in a person's life. Go ahead and review the list. If only two or three apply, that many not indicate a curse, unless they repeatedly take place on a regular basis.

  • Mental and/or emotional breakdown
  • Repeated chronic sicknesses (especially if hereditary)
  • Barrenness, a tendency to miscarry or related female problems
  • Breakdown of marriage and family alienation
  • Continuing financial insufficiency
  • Being “accident-prone”
  • A history of suicide and unnatural or untimely deaths

In a general sense, all of creation is under the curse because of the sin of Adam and Eve. Life on this earth is very different from what God intended. God’s desire is to bless, but sin always brings forth a restriction on life and ultimately death.

Here are some of the most prominent ways that a curse can affect the life of a believer. The invisible effects of the curse will touch your life in the following ways.

What Can Cause a Curse?

Willful Sin

When you knowingly ignore God’s commands and sin against Him, you can expect a withdrawal of the blessing of the Lord in your life. God cannot bless sin. Sin opens us up to the effects of sin.

The Apostle Paul puts it this way in Galatians 6:7-8. He says,

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.

If we sow to the flesh and walk in sin, we can expect to reap a harvest in our lives. The harvest might not be immediately forthcoming, like a crop that is sown it takes time to grow, but it is coming.

The word “corruption” speaks of a crop that is brought down to an inferior or worse condition. It speaks of decay and rotting. The crop is ruined. This is in contrast to the eternal life that God wants us to walk in.

Eternal life doesn’t always speak about the length of life, but it speaks about the quality of life. Jesus came that we might have life and life more abundantly. When we sow to the flesh, we reap a rotting and decaying crop. When we sow to the Spirit, we reap the kind of life that Jesus wants us to experience.

If part of your life stinks, it may be time to see if it is due to any unconfessed sin in your life.

Word Curses from Others

Another invisible source that can hinder you is word curses. The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21). There are words that bring life and there are words that bring death. Two words that describe these words are blessing and curse.

A blessing seeks to speak well of a person. It is the desire of the one speaking to have the person endued with power for success. The idea of blessing is for good things to come upon a person.

Curses are the exact opposite of a blessing. People say words that speak evil of a person. It is the desire of the one speaking the words to hurt and limit a person’s power for success. The idea of curses is that the person will not thrive and only bad will come upon them.

The following are some examples of word curses:

  • “I wish you were never born.”
  • “You’re so stupid. You’ll never amount to anything.”
  • “You’re so disappointing. Why can't you be like your brother/sister?”
  • You’re just like your father/mother” (in a bad way)
  • You’re such a failure. Can’t you do anything right?”
  • “Once a loser. Always a loser.”
  • “You’re so ugly. No one will want to marry you.”

They are just simple phrases, but if you listen to them long enough you begin to believe them. They become a part of who you are. They shape the image of who you think you are.

You either believe them wholeheartedly and never venture beyond the curse. Or, you try to prove them wrong. You constantly strive to arrive at place where you can feel the words are no longer true.

How many people do you know that are working themselves to death to prove to a father that they will amount to something? Are there areas in your life where you have been shaped by words that were constantly spoken over you?

Personal Word Curses, Judgements, and Vows

Other people are not your only enemies. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. Some people call it self-talk. It is the words that you say to yourself over and over that also shape your image of yourself.

For example, you do something wrong. Instead of saying “Boy, was that a stupid thing to do,” you say, “I’m so stupid.” There’s a huge difference between the two statements.

The first statement looks at the action and determines that the action was stupid. The second one looks at you as a person and you consider yourself to be somehow defective. You are flawed and unworthy and do not measure up.

This type of word curse is identical to the word curse discussed above. The only difference is that you are the one speaking curses on yourself.

I challenge you to monitor your self-talk this week. Write down the things that you say about yourself. Put a mark by a statement if you say it more than once. If you have not done this before, you are in for a big surprise.

How many bad statements do you say to yourself? What are the areas you are cursing in your life?

You can also make judgments and vows that will impact your life. A judgment is an opinion you form about people or things. A vow is a pledge or a promise to do something. I’ll give a couple of examples to see how they can work in your life. The examples can be either male or female.

A man get married and is faithful to his wife She cheats on him and runs away with another man. He is hurt deeply. He wrongly says, “All women are cheats and tramps” (judgment). “I will never trust a woman again” (vow).

A woman is in several abusive relationships with men. She says, “All men are jerks. All every man wants is to use and abuse you” (judgment). “I will never let another man touch me” (vow).

These statements are all encompassing. They are absolutes. All men. All women.

The man had one bad relationship and the woman a few, but their statements were absolute. In their pain they made judgments against all men and all women.

Can you see how this judgment could affect every aspect of a person’s life? Can you see how their vows would set invisible barriers in place that will hinder healthy relationships in the future?

This is another area for you to check you thinking. Have you made any judgments and vows that are blocking the life that God wants for you to experience? Ask the Lord. He will show you.

Cursed Items

There are many items that are accepted as part of normal culture that can carry a curse upon them. They may be sitting out in the open, or be stored away in your attic, but they have an unseen negative influence your life.

Some may laugh and call this superstition, but some items are cursed because of their intent. Chuck D. Pierce and Rebecca Wagner Systema show five main categories of objects that are cursed.

Foreign Gods

God forbids the making of images. These images are called idols. An idol is made to worship a foreign god. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:20 that when the Gentiles sacrifice to an idol, they are in fact, sacrificing to demons.

Paul’s warning shows you the seriousness of idols. It is not a simple statue or a work of art. It is something created to worship demons. Whether you worship the object is not the issue. If it is in your possession, it will bring a curse on your life.

Pierce and Systema say:

The objects include buddhas . . . ; Hindu images; fertility gods or goddesses (or any type of god or goddess); Egyptian images; Greek gods; gargoyles; Kachina dolls, totem poles or any other Native American figures that depict or glorify a spirit or demonic being; evil depictions of creatures such as lions, dogs, dragons, or cats (or any other creature made with demonic distortions); or any other image of person, idol, god or demonic figure that is considered an object of worship or spiritual power in any culture in the world.

It is so easy to pick up items like this when you are travelling in a foreign country and bring them home and set them on a shelf. Maybe we received it as a gift from a friend or relative. It could be an heirloom handed down from generation to generation.

False Religions

“Objects and materials related to false religions, such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Hinduism, Eastern religions, Christian Science, Native religions, Baha’i and so forth. This includes instruction books on Yoga, transcendental meditation, mantras, and so on. “

Occult Objects

Anything related to the occult must be completely destroyed. These objects include Ouija boards; good luck charms; amulets; astrology items (including horoscopes); dolls; pagan symbols; crystal balls; and any ritual item, such as a mask, a pyramid or an obelisk; any item obtained from the occult or voodoo shops; any items related to black magic, fortune-telling, palmistry, demon worship, spirit guides, witchcraft, Satanism or New Age.

No matter what the item or what significance it has in your life, you must cleanse you home from any of these things. They are an open door for a curse to come upon your home.

Secret-Society Objects

There are a variety of secret societies and the objects they use that can have an impact on your life. When I say a secret society, that does not mean that no one knows that the group exists. It means that they have secret rituals, initiations, and actions of which the general public is unaware.

These groups include:

Freemasonry, Shriners, Eastern Star, Job’s Daughters, Odd Fellows, Elks, Amaranth, DeMolay, Rainbow for girls or Daughters of the Nile, often require their members to take oaths and go through initiation rituals, including pledging allegiance to various deities, which are completely contrary to God’s word. Because this is the case, demons can easily attach themselves to items, such as books, rings, aprons, regalia and memorabilia, that represent these societies.

Other Objects

The enemy is constantly trying to gain access to our lives through games and other objects. We may think they are just kid games or just a good use of the imagination. Many go against God and the truth He speaks of in His word.

Some examples include:

. . . games such as Masters of the Universe and Dungeons and Dragons, in addition to myriad demonic or violent video games; books and magazines devoted to fantasy; comic books, posters, movies or music with demonic, violent or sexual themes; pornography; illegal drugs; sensual art, books, or “toys”; or a number of other things that are demonic, illegal, immoral or contrary to God’s Word.

As you can see there are many avenues that the invisible realm can have access to your life. It is important to be aware of the things that are allowing into your home. If you sense there may be something going on in your life, ask the Lord. He will show you if there is something you need to get rid of in your home.

​P.S. - If the Lord showed you something that was hindering your life, why not share it with others reading this post? It might just enoucrage and help someone else.

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About the Author

Terry Tuinder is the co-founder of Experiencing His Victory. His experience includes thirty-one years of pastoral ministry, an earned Doctor of Ministry degree from The King's University, and nineteen years involvement in deliverance ministry. He helps people grow in their relationship with God.