<<restoring to health>>
This is the process of restoring to wholeness what is unbalanced, diseased or damaged as a result of humanity’s fall into sin (Gen 3:16,17). Sickness can be the direct result of sin, but not exclusively so, such as when a tower fell and killed 18 people Jesus declared they were not more sinful than anyone else (Lev 26:14-16; Lk 13:4; Jn 5:14). However, if a person is sick they should examine their heart and deal with any sin (including disrespectfully taking communion) by confession, repenting and then praying for healing (1 Cor 11:28-32; Jas 5:14-16; 1 Jn 1:9).
God is the ‘Great Physician’, dealing with both body and soul
The psalmist notes, “He [God] sent His word and healed them” and David declared, “The Lord forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases” (Ps 103:3, 107:20). Restoring humanity to full health is far wider than merely physical improvement.
As Christians we are not exempt from the sickness that infects this world, yet before seeking medical advice, our first response when aware of a problem should be prayer, claiming the provision of healing that was gained by Jesus – ‘By His stripes’ you were healed (Isa 53:5; 1Pet 2:24). Primarily our faith should be in God, not the medical profession or the other various forms of reputable treatments (such as chiropractors and osteopaths whose work is based on verifiable, scientific research). However, those based on ‘mystical’ cures, eastern religions and some alternative practices such as using crystals and iridology must be avoided.
Much physical sickness can be prevented by properly caring for our bodies
good advertisement of God’s blessing if a person is a medical wreck. Yet God can also work wonderfully through those who are submissive to Him and have a wholesome spirit regardless of any physical impairment.
The medical profession focuses primarily on just treating the symptoms of disease, whereas a holistic approach considers the body, mind and spirit, including the emotions, to address the possible underlying root cause. Our whole lifestyle needs to come into alignment with His ways, so we don’t continue to aggravate the situation by unhealthy eating, toxic attitudes or failing to address any un-forgiveness, bondages, curses or demonic influences. Therefore, after initial prayer, if there is no lasting change in the spiritual, physical, mental or emotional condition, delve deeper to expose the reason. While prayer is effective and we are to pray about everything, there can often be practical things we must address, for even having a positive mental outlook is beneficial to promote good health (Prov 17:22; Phil 4:6). Faith, and expectancy of being healed, is a vital key, as is our confession, the acknowledgement of His working on our behalf (Num 14:28; Mk 5:26-28, 10:52; Lk 19:10; Act 14:8-10).
God will not do for us what we should be doing for ourselves. There is a time for prayer but also a time for confronting and working cooperating with God by implementing lifestyle changes (Josh 7:7-25). Is there anything in my lifestyle, attitudes, habits or diet that can and needs to be changed to bring about healing or maintain health?
Consider all these dimensions
* spiritual – through being born again, we come into fellowship with God. This is the most important healing and guaranteed to ‘‘whosoever” (Jn 3:16). Genuinely addressing this area results in salvation and is the only healing that must occur for our entrance to heaven.
* mental bondages, or thought patterns in the mind are addressed by renewing the thought processes, attitudes and desires along with controlling the entry points (Job 31:1; Ps 19:14; Prov 4:23; Rom 12:1,2; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 4:8). Depression is a prevalent, debilitating condition caused by distorted thinking.
* emotional hurts caused by a lack of self-esteem, or abuse received (especially during the formative childhood years) need to be countered by a true understanding of the Father heart of God and of personal worthwhile receiving strong encouragement. All parties involved (including the guilty) need to be released – through forgiveness – to bring about the (inner) healing of memories (Mt 6:14,15).
* relational and social problems are healed by dealing with bitterness and grudges so reconciliation can take place. Confrontation may be a necessary first step. Forgiveness is the basis for open, loving communicating with understanding and tolerance, especially within the family (Mt 5:24, 7:1-5; Lk 6:31; 1 Cor 4:12).
* improved physical conditions are the most identifiable felt need of many people and in spite of the effort and various methods sought to bring about healing not all achieve this. However, it is better to enter into heaven with a physical handicap, than enter hell in total health (Mt 5:29,30).
* demonic spirits along with generational curses must be addressed by deliverance, and followed up with self-discipline to avoid reinfection (Mt 12:43-45; 17:14-20; Lk 13:10-16).
* financial disorders can be sorted out by developing sound work habits, diligence, budgeting, self-control (not being compelled by consumerism but instead living inside one’s income), tithing and not being self-centered (Lk 6:38; 1 Thes 4:11,12; 1 Tim 5:8).
While on earth “Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil… because the Spirit of the Lord was on Him” (Lk 4:18,19; Act 10:38). These instantaneous miracles of deliverance and healing He performed were in fulfilment of the prophecy “He took our infirmities and carried our diseases” (Isa 53:4). Jesus also told His followers to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and expel demons, as He Himself did (Mt 10:8; Jn 14:12). In obedience, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, they did as instructed and He worked with them, confirming His Word by the signs that accompanied the preaching of the good news (Mk 16:20). Later, when being persecuted, they prayed for an increase of boldness and evidence of His healing power (Act 4:29,30).
Faith or divine healing, through prayer in the name of Jesus, is claimed without any medication or treatment as employed by the medical profession. Jesus took our sicknesses in His body that we might have His health and as His representatives all believers are given authority to be a channel of healing for those who are unwell, with some Christians having the specific gift of healing (Mt 4:23, 10:1; Mk 16:17,18; Lk 7:21,22; Act 4:10; 1 Cor 12:9,28,30). We must always remember any person involved is only an instrument through who the Lord heals, thus all credit and glory must go to Him. Often hands are placed on the sick person who may also be anointed with a small amount of oil (representative of the Holy Spirit) placed on the forehead in the figure of a cross (Mk 5:23; Act 28:8; Jas 5:14).
When Jesus ministered to the sick, He commanded variously, “Be healed…may your eyes be opened…come out” [to an evil spirit] with the physical condition being rectified and the spirit obedient (Mt 4:24, 8:16, 20:34; Mk 8:23,25; Lk 18:42). Jesus came to bring wholeness to every aspect of our lives where they have been injured, wounded, and broken. While this is not always evidenced on earth for the Christian it certainly will be in the next world where there will be no residue of sin or its effects (Rev 21:4).
Although God can transform long-term problems instantaneously by His sovereignty, often healing takes time to be outworked. Unbelievers can be healed by God’s grace and hopefully this will draw them to Him, while Christians are healed because of their relationship to Jesus our Saviour. We must thankfully acknowledge His healing and hand on our life. A communion service is a good place to do this as the bread and juice represent the mutilated body of Jesus and His blood, given so we might experience divine healing and the forgiveness of our sin (Isa 53:4,5; Mt 26:28; Eph 1:7; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Jn 1:7).
Our spiritual condition is more important than physical wholeness
we wish. Paul saw that such experiences resulted in a greater display of God’s power outworked in his life than if he had been healed (2 Cor 12:7-10). God should not be viewed as an escape route or a quick cure solution but He ‘helps in’ rather than ‘delivers from’ many of life’s situations. He knows the best pathway whereby His highest purposes for us can be accomplished as we submit to Him in cheerful acceptance. If we have the right attitude God will use affliction to test and purify our lives so we are more fit for service (Job 23:10; Ps 119:71; Isa 48:10; Heb 12:6-11; 2 Pet 3:9). Whatever our lot in this life, we must always worship, trust and love God who “does all things right…working out everything in conformity with the purposes of His will” regardless of what we see/the results in this life (Prov 16:4; Dan 4:37; Eph 1:11).
‘Our cross’ is not a sickness or situation we have to carry, as many believe. It is denying ourselves in order to follow Jesus daily (Mk 8:34).
See also: communion, curses (generational), deliverance, evil spirits, faith, forgiveness, God’s will, hands (laying on), health, inner healing, Jesus/name of, health, holistic, medicine, prayer (unanswered), promises, wholeness.