I have been sick my entire life. It’s not getting easier. Anything can worsen my symptoms; I get absolutely fed up. I put on a brave face and carry on, but the reality is that I am sick of being sick and tired and of people telling me it is God’s will. What does the Bible really teach about healing?
Having a lifelong malady can be distressing, as most of us come from an ethic of “just put your head down and carry on”. Whether it is a head cold or chronic pain or even a life-threatening illness, being ill is NOT God’s will for you and me. We may find it difficult to pray or feel like we’re praying the same words over and over again and it is not reaching anywhere.
But GOD does not want us sick.
First of all, know that God hears our cries and HE will answer. There is nothing like physical pain to drive us to our knees in prayer. Christ tells us to cling to him during times of illness and every other time imaginable. We can pray for the sick and rest knowing God can restore health! He has the power to heal us, and He has the power to comfort us and give us new hope. He gives us rest when we are weary and peace when we are uncertain.
God never intended emotional, mental or physical illness to be part of our world. If you believe sickness is from God, you may not even want to be healed – so get rid of that thought first. Sickness entered the world through sin (Genesis 3) Not all sickness is caused by personal sin; spiritual sickness is caused by it. Sometimes physical conditions may result from it. But sickness can also result from violating natural laws – through improper diet, overwork, lack of exercise, abuse of drugs and alcohol, or lack of proper sleep. Satanic attacks also cause sickness, as in the case of Job. Some sickness is caused by demons. See Matthew 12:22-23, Matthew 9:32-33, Mark 9:25 and Luke 13:11. God views sickness as captivity (Job 42:10) bondage (Luke 13:16) and oppression (Acts 10:38)
All true healing comes from God, even when the gifts of natural or medical means are used. The psalmist declared: “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases” (Psalms 103:1-3) Spiritual healing or salvation from sin – is the greatest healing. Spiritual “sickness” is anything that adversely affects your spirit; it deals with sinful behaviours that need to be corrected.
Emotional healing is the healing of damaged emotions. No wound is so deep that God cannot heal it. A wounded spirit is difficult to bear (Proverbs 18:13) This is why you need inner healing. Your spirit becomes wounded by sin (Psalm 38:4-6,8); by your enemies (Psalm143:3-4,7) and through anger, bitterness and an unforgiving attitude. These attitudes must be dealt with in order to receive emotional healing. Mental healing is a healing of your mind from hurts, actual brain damage, or wrong thinking.
Study what God’s Word says about healing to increase your faith to receive and minister healing. Eliminate any preconceived notions – doctrines such as “healing is not for today” must be eliminated; one must believe and confess that Jesus heals, in order to be healed.
Determine what kind of healing needed. Is it spiritual, emotional, mental, physical or a combination of these? In order to be whole, each of these areas must be healed. For example, a person may ask for healing for a sickness, but he/she may not know Jesus as Saviour, he may be living with a perennially unforgiving thought pattern, in gossip or with spite and the greater need is for spiritual healing. Seek first the greatest miracle of spiritual healing. Healing from sin is vital to healing in the mental, emotional, and physical realms. Determine if any conditions are caused by errant behaviour. For example, smoking, drugs, and alcohol addictions can affect a person physically, emotionally, and mentally. The behaviours contributing to conditions in any area must be bound and revoked lest “a worse thing come upon you” (John 5:14)
Pray for healing. If the condition is caused by demons, pray for deliverance. If you need an emotional healing, confess your feelings to God and ask Him to heal your inner wounds. Bind satanic influences over your mind if you need a mental deliverance. You may call for the priests, pastors or elders of the church to anoint and pray over you: “Is any of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:14-15).
God heals all sickness and diseases – even those classified as incurable or terminal by medicine, because nothing is impossible to God (Luke 1:37) God has redeemed us from the curse of sin and this includes the curse of sickness that resulted from sin (Galatians 3:13). This does not mean you will never be sick, but it does mean that healing is available for every sickness; it is a benefit of the death of Jesus on the cross. The prophet Isaiah declared: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5)
Some believe that divine healings no longer occur, but the Bible says Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) As Jesus healed in Bible times, so He heals today. There are millions of medically documented healings that have occurred after prayer to God in the name of Jesus.
We must also remember that every good gift – such as doctors, legitimate medicines and natural remedies – come from God (James 1:17) Doctors and medicines are not in opposition to the Bible. There is no conflict between divine healing and medical healing; even when doctors and medications are used to facilitate healing, the ultimate healing is from God.
All believers can minister healing. Jesus declared: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17-18) First Corinthians 12:9 also speaks of those who have a special gift of ministering healing.
There is a sickness unto death; John 11:4 speaks of a sickness that was not unto death. 2 Kings 13:14 speaks of a time when Elisha was sick of the illness of which he would die. As a believer, you should continue to pray for healing unless God reveals that it is a person’s time to die. Sometimes a person might feel, “I am ready as I believe it is my time to go and be with the Lord.” If they have that assurance, then you need to help them prepare by setting things in order and being with them in death.
Not everyone who hears the gospel gets saved. Not everyone to whom healing is ministered receives healing. Not everyone is healed immediately. Unforgiving attitude can block healing, as can personal sin. Some may not receive healing because they don’t believe in divine healing. Some people don’t really want healing because they are using their illness as an excuse not to work or to draw monetary benefits. Jesus delayed ministering to Lazarus because He had a greater miracle planned. There are many variables involved in healing and we cannot accurately judge why healing does not occur immediately. This is one of the secret things that belongs to the Lord (Deuteronomy 29:29). The end result of sickness for a believer is that it is either for the glory of God through divine healing (John 9:3) or it is a sickness unto death to usher you into Christ’s presence (2 Kings 13:14) As a believer, you will be either healed in time or eternity, but you will be healed.
Receive your healing by faith. Just as you received salvation by faith – with no immediate visible signs apparent – so you can receive healing by faith even if there are no immediate signs are apparent. Sometimes there are miraculous signs accompanying a healing. At other times, the healing occurs gradually. Act upon your healing. James 2:17 says that faith without action is dead. Do something you could not do before – in prayer. Maintain your healing. Stand in faith on the Word of God. Rather than believing your symptoms, believe God’s Word. Continue to stand on the promises of healing in God’s Word. Commit yourself to total trust in God for healing. Change your lifestyle, if your former way of life contributed to your sickness.
Do not become discouraged if healing is not received suddenly. Some healings in the Bible were instantaneous, others were delayed. Continue to pray for healing. Continue to build your faith in the Word of God. Where applicable, change your lifestyle and eliminate sinful and unhealthy practices. Resist the attempts by Satan to cause sickness to return.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and HE still heals. Healing is part of your birth right as a believer.
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