Layhands.com

fish  
Christian Evangelism, Healing, and Teaching Resources

  



 

Healing Training Course

4. The Battle Is in Your Mind


Part One    Part Two    Part Three    Part Four


Introduction

In Part Three we saw that the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) and the gifts of the Spirit are some of the blessings which are available to us because of the Atonement. We also saw that healing is one of the blessings which is available to us because of the Atonement.

I used to think that it wasn't worth debating whether or not healing is in the Atonement. After all, the Bible clearly says that healing is for the entire Church (as we saw in Part One), so instead of debating about the Atonement we simply need to be obedient by praying for the sick.

But notice that since healing is in the Atonement, this makes a huge difference in how we pray for healing!

In other words:

  • It's not accurate to say, "Father, please heal me." He's already done it!
  • It's not accurate to say, "I'm believing that God will heal me." He's already done it!
  • It's not accurate to say, "I'm patiently waiting for God to heal me." He's already done it!
  • It's not accurate to say, "I believe that God can heal me if He wants to." He's already done it!
  • It's not accurate to say, "Why isn't God healing me?" He's already done it!
  • It's not accurate to say, "Maybe it's not God's timing for me to be healed." He's already done it!
  • It's not accurate to say, "Maybe it's not God's will to heal me." He's already done it!
This is a big reason why so many people are not receiving healing. They're asking God to do something to heal them, and waiting for Him to do something to heal them, but He's not going to do something that He has already done! For example, imagine that I see you looking around for a pen to write with, and I set my pen on the table in front of you, saying that you're free to use it. Notice that no matter how many times you ask for my pen, and no matter how patiently you wait, I can't give you my pen because I have already done it!

Of course, you could ask to use my pen and then pick it up off of the table, which means that you received the pen by doing something even though your request for my pen wasn't really very accurate (because I've already said that you can use it). In a similar way, you can receive healing by doing something (as we'll see later in this series), even if you make some of the inaccurate statements above. It makes a big difference when you do something instead of waiting for God to do something. He's already done His part by providing healing for us!

Now let's consider some implications of the fact that healing has already been provided for us.


Analogies, Illustrations, and Implications

If we commit sins, is it possible that God might discipline us by preventing us from having love? No, He has already given love to us in our spirit because of the Atonement (i.e. the fruit of the Spirit). It's done! Since He has already given it to us, this means that He wants us to be loving! Therefore, it is always His will for us to be loving, even when we sometimes act unloving.

Is it possible that God might discipline us by preventing us from having joy? No, He has already given joy to us in our spirit because of the Atonement (i.e. the fruit of the Spirit). It's done! Since He has already given it to us, this means that He wants us to be joyful! Therefore, it is always His will for us to be joyful, even when we sometimes don't feel joyful.

Is it possible that God might discipline us by preventing us from having health or causing us to be sick? No, He has already given healing to us because of the Atonement (as we saw in Part Three). It's done! Since He has already given it to us, this means that He wants us to be healed and healthy! Therefore, it is always His will for us to be healed and healthy, even when we sometimes get sick or injured. Think about it for a moment.

When we go through periods of being unloving, joyless, impatient, unwise, etc., is it possible that God might use those situations to draw us closer to Him or to teach us something? Yes, but this doesn't mean that it was His will for us to be unloving, joyless, impatient, unwise, and so on.

When we are sick, injured, etc., is it possible that God might use those situations to draw us closer to Him or to teach us something? Yes, but this doesn't mean that it was His will for us to be sick, injured, and so on.

Is it ever God's fault if we are unloving? No, it's just that we're not using the love which He has already provided.

Is it ever God's fault if we don't display some of the fruit of the Spirit or gifts of the Spirit? No, it's just that we're not using the fruit and gifts which He has already provided.

Is it ever God's fault if we are sick or injured? No, it's just that we're not using the healing which He has already provided.

The point is that it's always God's will for people to receive healing! Healing is always available! No-one is ever denied.

As an analogy, think about your local water company. The water company is always providing water for its customers, so it is always the water company's will for its customers to receive water. See the analogy? Healing is in the Atonement (as we saw in Part Three) so it's always available through faith, just as salvation is always available through faith (because they were both paid for in the same Atonement). Since healing is always available, just as salvation is always available, this means that it is always God's will for people to receive healing, just as it is always God's will for people to receive salvation. Think about it for a moment.

Here's another illustration. Consider that a radio station constantly broadcasts a signal to everyone in its area. Since the signal is freely available to everyone, it is always the station's will for people to receive the signal. The signal is always available, and no-one is denied. The signal is sent by the transmitter (which is the station's part of the equation), and the signal is received through our radio receiver (which is our part of the equation). Even if our radio was a gift from someone else, it is our responsibility to tune it to the proper frequency in order to receive the station's signal. If we are not on the proper frequency then we're not hearing the station's signal, but is it reasonable to claim that the station's signal didn't work? No, because the station did its part and the signal always works. The problem is on our receiving end.

Now let's use that illustration in the context of salvation. Because of the Atonement, salvation is freely available to everyone, so it is always God's will for people to receive salvation (e.g. 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9). Salvation is always available, and no-one is denied. It's by grace (which is God's part of the equation) through faith (which is our part of the equation) (Ephesians 2:8). Faith is a gift from God (Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8), but it is our responsibility to use that faith in order to receive salvation. If people don't turn to Jesus in faith then they don't receive salvation, but is it reasonable to claim that salvation didn't work? No, because God did His part (in the Atonement) and salvation always works. The problem is on their receiving end.

Similarly, healing is freely available to everyone, because it was paid for in the same Atonement as salvation (which is freely available to everyone). Therefore, it is always God's will for people to receive healing. Healing is always available, and no-one is denied. It's by grace (which is God's part of the equation) through faith (which is our part of the equation). Faith is a gift from God (Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8), but it is our responsibility to use that faith in order to receive healing. If people don't receive healing, is it reasonable to claim that healing didn't work? No, because God did His part (in the Atonement, as we saw in Part Three) and healing always works, just like salvation always works. The problem is on their receiving end (more on this later in the series).

This is not easy to see because most Christians seem to be looking at healing from the wrong perspective.

For example, imagine that a friend of yours receives salvation today, and he genuinely was born again. But tomorrow he tells you that he was just as grumpy as usual in the morning, and he used some swear words as usual when he slipped and fell. If he assumes that salvation didn't work because nothing outwardly changed in his life, what would we say to him? We would say that he should believe what the Bible says about salvation, rather than basing his views on experience, right?

What if we act in an unloving way, or we get impatient? Should we say that the fruit of the Spirit didn't work because it wasn't outwardly visible? No, we should believe what the Bible says about the fruit of the Spirit, rather than basing our views on experience, right?

We would probably all agree that it's a bad idea to base our views and doctrines on experience. We don't always properly interpret our outward experiences, so it's crucial that we interpret our experiences in the light of Scripture.

But when it comes to healing, what do we do? We look at the world around us and we see that divine healing is rare or non-existent, so we assume that God rarely heals anymore or that healing "died out" long ago. In other words, our views about divine healing are based mostly on experience! Yet we say that it's wrong to base our Christian views on experience!

Consider that I can listen to my feelings to see if patience is being manifested outwardly, for example, in which case I am using experience for a valid purpose. But patience is a spiritual blessing, and therefore I need to look in the Bible to learn about it. The Bible tells me that I have patience as part of the fruit of the Spirit, even if I'm not manifesting it in my outward experience.

Similarly, I can look at my body to see if healing is being manifested outwardly, in which case I am using experience for a valid purpose. But healing is a spiritual blessing (as we saw in Part Three), and therefore I need to look in the Bible to learn about it. As we saw in Part Three, the Bible tells me that I have been healed, even if I'm not manifesting it in my outward experience.

Remember, God is a spirit. His words are spiritual words (1 Corinthians 2:13). His truths are spiritual truths (1 Corinthians 2:13). His power is spiritual power. His gifts and blessings come from the spiritual realm. They are spiritual gifts and blessings. Divine healing comes from God's spiritual realm. Divine healing comes through God's spiritual power. Divine healing is a spiritual blessing.

So our outward experience can tell us if we are manifesting any fruit of the Spirit, and we can learn from experience how to be more effective in manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, but experience can't give us any doctrinal information about the fruit of the Spirit. The only way to get doctrinal information about the fruit of the Spirit is to study what the Bible says about it, and then we must believe what the Bible says about it no matter how unusual it might sound at first!

Similarly, our outward experience can tell us if we are manifesting any healing, and we can learn from experience how to be more effective in manifesting healing (more on this later), but experience can't give us any doctrinal information about healing. The only way to get doctrinal information about healing is to study what the Bible says about it, and then we must believe what the Bible says about it no matter how unusual it might sound at first!

Therefore, if we want to understand how healing works then we should put any views which are based on experiences up on a shelf for now, and start with a clean slate. Then we will have a better chance to discern what God is really saying in the Bible about healing.

Now, if no-one in the world ever received salvation, would that teach us anything about salvation? No, because we need to look in the Bible to find out how salvation works.

But if no-one in the world ever received divine healing, wouldn't we assume that healing works differently today than it did in the New Testament? Most Christians seem to be making this assumption, but they're basing this assumption on experience!

The problem is that we're viewing healing from the wrong perspective. We're viewing healing from the perspective of people's experience. But if we change our perspective by looking only at what the Bible says about it then we're more likely to discern the truth and more likely to see healing miracles.

So when you hear people say that healing works differently today than it did in the New Testament, listen closely for the assumptions that they're making. They are sincere and they mean well, but here are some of the common yet erroneous things that they tend to say:

  • People sometimes say that God "occasionally" heals, because they know of someone who prayed and received healing. But notice that this conclusion is based on experience.

    Imagine that I pray for God to give me joy, and then I begin praising Him and experiencing joy. Does this prove that God granted my request by doing something to give me joy? No, joy was already in me because of the Atonement (i.e. because I received salvation, which is available because of the Atonement), so I was able to experience joy even though my prayer was not very accurate. Similarly, if someone prays for God to heal him, and then he receives healing, does this prove that God granted his request by doing something to heal him? No, healing was already available to him because of the Atonement, and he was able to receive healing even though his prayer was not very accurate.

    It's a false assumption to say that God "occasionally" does something to heal people, because God doesn't do something to heal people. He has already done what needs to be done (in the Atonement).
  • People sometimes say that we should listen for what God is trying to teach us in our sicknesses. But we should keep in mind that God might use an existing sickness to teach us something, but it was never His desire for us to be sick (as we saw earlier).
  • People sometimes say that we must defer to God's will, because it might not be His will for us to receive healing. But recall the illustration where I placed my pen on the table in front of you, and notice that it is my will for you to use my pen because I have already given it to you. If you had been taught that there's no such thing as a pen, or if you're not sure that it's my will for you to use my pen, etc., then the problem is on your "receiving" end, not on my "giving" end. The analogy is that it is always God's will for us to receive healing because He has already provided it for us in the Atonement. If you had been taught that healing is not for today, or if you're not sure that it's God's will for you to receive healing, etc., then the problem is on your "receiving" end, not on God's "giving" end.
  • People sometimes give examples of the sick who prayed for healing but never received it, and then they mention a few Scripture passages which support those people's experiences. The problem is that they tend to assume that it must have been God's will for those people to be sick. This is an unScriptural assumption because nowhere in the entire New Testament does God say that it might be His will for any Christians to be sick.
  • People sometimes point out various doctrinal problems being taught by certain preachers who pray for the sick. However, the New Testament never says that our doctrines must all be completely accurate in order for healing to work! Certain preachers who pray for the sick might sometimes teach a false doctrine, but they are seeing miraculous healings because they're helping people to use their faith properly.
  • People sometimes make a big issue of the sick people who did not receive healing in a "healing service." But again, we must not allow our doctrines to be influenced by experience. Keep in mind that people who pray for the sick can't force anyone to receive healing. Even God doesn't force anyone to receive healing. Instead, healing comes through faith, and later in this series we'll learn more about faith.
  • People sometimes say that Jesus' healings were always instantaneous (unlike today), or that Jesus' healings always worked the first time (unlike today), or that Jesus' healings were always permanent (unlike today). But these statements are erroneous, and they demonstrate a lack of understanding about how healing works.

    For example, in John 9:6-7 Jesus told a blind man to go wash in the Pool of Siloam, and the blind man was able to see after he went and washed. Jesus did not heal him instantly. In Luke 17:12-19, Jesus told 10 lepers to "Go, show yourselves to the priests," and they were healed as they were on their way. Jesus did not heal them instantly. In Mark 8:23-25, Jesus laid hands on a blind man, but the blind man still could not see very well, so Jesus laid hands on him a second time. He was not completely healed the first time. In John 5:13-15, Jesus healed a man and then later told him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." So Jesus said that "something worse" could still happen to this man, even though he had been healed by Jesus. In Matthew 12:43-45, Jesus described the fact that an evil spirit can be cast out, but then can return with seven more wicked spirits, "And the final condition of that man is worse than the first." As these examples demonstrate, it is inaccurate to claim that Jesus' healings were always instantaneous (unlike today), or that Jesus' healings always worked the first time (unlike today), or that Jesus' healings were always permanent (unlike today).
  • People sometimes say that healing was almost an "after-thought" in Jesus' ministry, implying that healing is not very important to God. But Jesus and the apostles specifically described physical healing as being a major part of Jesus' earthly ministry (as we saw in Part One). Notice that He healed everyone (Matthew 4:23-24), He healed everyone (Matthew 8:16), He healed everyone (Matthew 9:35), He healed everyone (Matthew 12:15), He healed everyone (Matthew 14:14), He healed everyone (Matthew 14:35-36), He healed everyone (Matthew 15:30), He healed everyone (Matthew 19:2), He healed everyone (Matthew 21:14), and so on. As we saw in Part Three, Jesus endured unimaginably brutal torture in order to purchase our physical healing, so physical healing is much more important to God than just an "after-thought"!
These are some of the common but erroneous statements that people tend to make when their doctrines are heavily influenced by experience. Certainly they are sincere and they believe what they are saying, and no disrespect is intended, but notice that our assumptions and our biases have a huge impact on what we "see" in the Bible!


"Problem" Passages

Have you ever noticed that no matter what we believe, there are usually some "problem" passages which (on the surface) don't fit very well with our views? For example, many people believe that water baptism is not a requirement for salvation (based on dozens of New Testament passages), but they have problems explaining a few passages such as Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38.

In Part Three we saw that God has already purchased salvation and healing for us in the Atonement. Therefore, He is not going to do something to save us or to heal us because He has already done His part. However, concerning healing there are several "problem" passages to deal with:

  1. We have probably all seen signs, t-shirts, etc., which say, "Jesus saves." We don't usually have a problem with this statement because we understand that it means that people can receive salvation through Jesus' sacrifice. Similarly, the expression, "Jesus heals," means that people can receive healing through Jesus' sacrifice.

    So when Peter said, "Aeneas, ... Jesus Christ heals you" (Acts 9:34), this doesn't prove that Jesus did something at that moment to heal Aeneas. As we saw in Part Three, God's healing power works through people. In the case of Aeneas, God's power was working through Peter as he was operating in Jesus' ministry. Remember, all healing in Jesus' Name is based on what Jesus did for us in the Atonement. Notice that Aeneas had been paralyzed for eight years (Acts 9:33), and in that entire time he was not "spontaneously" healed by God. Instead, he only received healing when Peter came to him and did something, because God intends for His healing power to work through people.
  2. The Bible tells us that God "draws" unsaved people towards Christ (John 6:44), and it gives us an example where the Lord "opened" the heart of a woman named Lydia to respond to Paul's message (Acts 16:14). These things don't cause people to be saved because people must do something to receive salvation. When it comes to healing, there is a gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12:8-10), and gifts of healings (1 Corinthians 12:8-10), and a gift of miracles (1 Corinthians 12:8-10), and words of knowledge (e.g. knowledge about what type of healing a person needs) (1 Corinthians 12:8-10), all of which can make it more likely that a healing will be received. These things don't cause people to receive healing because people must do something to receive healing.

    In Philippians 2:25-27 we see that a man named Epaphroditus almost died from an illness, and Paul said, "But God had mercy on him." This implies that God did something for Epaphroditus, but Paul doesn't tell us what God did. If we assume that God healed Epaphroditus, then we're contradicting the Scriptural evidence which shows that Jesus has already done His part in the Atonement. As we saw in Part Three, healing is always done through people who are operating in Jesus' ministry (in John 5:2-9 in the KJV, an angel used to stir the water for healing before Jesus began His ministry, but there is no record of any angels doing any healing after John 5:2-9). Notice that if God provided a gift of faith or a gift of healing (which is discussed in Part Two) or a gift of miracles or a word of knowledge for Epaphroditus' healing then this would be consistent with all of the other Scriptural evidence that we have seen.
  3. In James 5:14-15, it appears that if we pray for a sick person then "the Lord will raise him up." Here's what The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Walvoord and Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary) says about this verse:
    "Actually there is no reason to consider "sick" as referring exclusively to physical illness. The word asthenei literally means "to be weak." Though it is used in the Gospels for physical maladies, it is generally used in Acts and the Epistles to refer to a weak person or a weak conscience (cf. Acts 20:35; Rom.6:19; 14:1; 1 Cor. 8:9-12). That it should be considered "weak" in this verse is clear in that another Greek word (kammonta) in James 5:15, translated sick person, literally means "to be weary." The only other use in the New Testament (Heb. 12:3) of that word clearly emphasizes this same meaning.

    "James was not referring to the bedfast, the diseased, or the ill. Instead he wrote to those who had grown weary, who had become weak both morally and spiritually in the midst of suffering. These are the ones who should call for the help of the elders of the church. ...

    "...James is not suggesting a ceremonial or ritual anointing as a means of divine healing; instead, he is referring to the common practice of using oil as a means of bestowing honor, refreshment, and grooming ... Thus James' point is that the "weak" (asthenei) and "weary" (kammonta) would be refreshed, encouraged, and uplifted by the elders who rubbed oil on the despondents' heads and prayed for them.

    "For the fallen, discouraged, distressed weary believer, restoration is assured and the elders' prayer offered in faith will make the sick person (lit., "weary one") well (i.e., will restore him from discouragement and spiritual defeat), and the Lord will raise him up.

    "That the restoration is spiritual, not physical, is further clarified by the assurance, if he has sinned, he will be forgiven." (p.834-835, emphasis in the original)
    As this commentary describes, we can't say for certain that James 5:14-15 is referring to physical healing. Therefore, we can't say that the Lord "raises up" people who need physical healing.

    The above commentary quote is consistent with the weight of Scriptural evidence that we have seen, which shows that the Lord has already done His part by purchasing our physical healing in the Atonement. The Lord doesn't "raise up" people by doing something to heal them.
  4. Jesus told the disciples that they will place their own hands on the sick and the sick will be healed (as we saw in Part One). In Acts 3:1-8, Peter and John encountered a crippled man, and Peter reached out his own hand and healed the man.

    In Acts 4:29-30, the disciples prayed and said, "enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." Remember, the apostles had healed a number of people through their own hands, so in Acts 4:29-30 they were not asking God to reach down and heal people through His "hand." Instead, they asked for healings and signs and wonders to be done through the Name of Jesus. The disciples were not asking God to heal people Himself, they were asking for healings and signs and wonders to be done as they acted in Jesus' Name.

Something Is Interfering with Our Healing

We saw in Part Three that God places perfect fruit of the Spirit and perfect gifts of the Spirit and other perfect spiritual blessings into our spirit, and all of those things are meant to be outwardly visible in the physical world. But notice how difficult it is to walk in love. Notice how difficult it is to be patient. Notice how difficult it is to exercise self-control, and so on. Since the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit and other spiritual blessings are all perfect, why do we find it so difficult to manifest them in the physical world? God's fruit and gifts and blessings are perfect when they come into our spirit, but they are imperfect when they are expressed physically. Where's the breakdown? What's preventing the perfect fruit and gifts and blessings in our spirit from being manifested perfectly in the outside world?

Consider that Jesus had a physical body just as we do, and He had a spirit just as we do, and He had a soul (mind, will, emotions, personality, etc.) just as we do, yet He didn't have any problem displaying love, patience, self-control, and so on. There's something that we have which Jesus didn't have, and it's interfering with our ability to perfectly display the fruit of the Spirit and gifts of the Spirit and other spiritual blessings (such as healing).

The interference between our spirit and our body takes place in our un-renewed mind, will, and emotions (which the Bible calls our "sinful nature" or our "flesh"). This is where we have false assumptions, misinterpretations of Scripture, preconceived biases, wrong views, improper attitudes, unforgiveness, pride, sins, etc., and also where the devil attacks us with fears, doubts, unbelief, and so on. This is where the battle takes place. We tend to assume that our worst enemy is the devil, but our worst enemy is really our own mind!

Remember, our spirit was "regenerated" (made alive) the moment we were saved (e.g. John 3:3-8), and our body will be made immortal when Jesus returns for us (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53), but we must wage a daily battle against our "flesh nature," meaning our mind, our emotions, our desires, and so on. For example, sometimes we say, "I know I shouldn't say this, BUT...," or sometimes we say, "I know I shouldn't do this, BUT...," or sometimes we say, "I probably shouldn't eat this, BUT...." In other words, we often obey our "flesh" even when we know better! It's a daily battle against our "flesh," and our "flesh" is the reason why we don't perfectly display the fruit of the Spirit and gifts of the Spirit and other spiritual blessings (such as healing).

Take a look at what the Bible says about our "flesh" (our "human nature" or "carnal nature" or "earthly nature") in the Amplified Bible:
Luke 9:23 (AMP): "And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]."

1 Corinthians 3:20 (AMP): "And again, The Lord knows the thoughts and reasonings of the [humanly] wise and recognizes how futile they are."

Galatians 5:16 (AMP): "But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh [of human nature without God]."
Galatians 5:17 (AMP): "For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do."

Romans 8:7 (AMP): "[That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God's Law; indeed it cannot."
Romans 8:8 (AMP): "So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him."

Galatians 5:24 (AMP): "And those who belong to Christ Jesus, the Messiah, have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires."
In the above passages we are told to deny and disown and forget and lose sight of and refuse and give up ourselves and our own interests. We are told that our human thoughts and reasonings are futile. We are told that the desires of the flesh are opposed to the Holy Spirit, and that the desires of the Holy Spirit are opposed to the flesh. We are told that our flesh nature is antagonistic to and continually in conflict with the Holy Spirit. We are told that the mind of the flesh is hostile to God, and cannot submit itself to God. We are told that those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh, which is the godless human nature, and so on.

God has some pretty strong things to say about our "flesh," and none of it is good!

In Part Three we saw that God provides spiritual fruit and gifts and blessings to us in our spirit, and we must do something so that these blessings will be manifested in the physical world. As we saw a moment ago, in order for the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.) and the gifts of the Spirit (evangelism, etc.) to be outwardly visible, sometimes we must battle our "flesh." This is also true for healing, because our "flesh" is where we are attacked with fears, doubts, unbelief, etc., which hinder our healing.

We want God to supernaturally heal us with no effort on our part, but notice that spiritual fruit and gifts and blessings sometimes require an effort on our part. It takes an effort to walk in love towards annoying, irritating people! It takes an effort to operate in patience! Similarly, sometimes it takes an effort to receive healing. Recall that God had a wonderful blessing in store for the Israelites (i.e. the land of Canaan), but in the book of Joshua notice that the Israelites didn't just walk in and receive the blessing with no effort on their part. They had to battle the enemies in order to receive their blessing!

The enemies that we must battle include such things as fears, doubts, unbelief, unforgiveness, pride, sin, wrong assumptions, false teachings, demonic interference, and so on. The battle is won or lost in our mind, and this is the main reason why most people are not receiving healing.


The Keys to Operating in the Power of the Holy Spirit

Notice that some of the miracles in the New Testament were initiated from heaven (e.g. Matthew 3:17, Acts 9:10-16, 10:1-7, 9-17, 12:7-10, 16:9, 18:9-10, 26:13-19, etc.).

When miracles were initiated from earth, two key factors were involved:

  • The authority of Jesus
  • The faith of people
The authority of Jesus is always available to us, whether we use it or not (as we saw in Part Two).

Similarly, faith is always available to us, whether we use it or not.

What is faith? First let's look at what faith is not:

  • Faith is not an emotion. For example, if you are a Christian then you have faith in Jesus as your Savior, but you're not constantly full of emotion and shouting and jumping and so on. Faith can sometimes bring out emotion in us, but faith itself is not an emotion.
  • Faith is not knowledge. For example, when Hurricane Ike was heading to Houston, I asked the Lord if I should evacuate from Houston or do something to protect my house. I believe that He told me not to do either of those things, so I had faith that my house would be unharmed. After the hurricane passed by without damaging my house, at that point I had knowledge that my house was unharmed, and I no longer needed to have faith that my house would be unharmed. So faith is different from knowledge.
  • Faith is not hope:
    1 Corinthians 13:13: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
    As the above verse shows, faith is different from hope.
Now let's look at what faith is. In a moment we'll examine some New Testament miracles, and we'll see that faith has two essential components:

  • Confidence
  • Actions which don't always make sense to us
Hebrews 11:1 is the only passage in the entire New Testament which gives us a definition of faith:
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV): "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV): "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Here's how one Bible commentary explains Hebrews 11:1:
"There is scarcely any verse of the New Testament more important than this, for it states what is the nature of all true faith, and is the only definition of it which is attempted in the Scriptures. The word rendered "substance" - ??p?īstas?? hupostasis - occurs in the New Testament only in the following places. In 2Co_9:4; 2Co_11:17; Heb_3:14, where it is rendered "confident" and "confidence;" and in Heb_1:3, where it is rendered "person," and in the passage before us ... the word here has reference to something which imparts reality in the view of the mind to those things which are not seen, and which serves to distinguish them from those things which are unreal and illusive. It is what enables us to feel and act as if they were real, or which causes them to exert an influence over us as if we saw them. Faith does this on all other subjects as well as religion. A belief that there is such a place as London or Calcutta, leads us to act as if this were so, if we have occasion to go to either; a belief that money may be made in a certain undertaking, leads people to act as if this were so; a belief in the veracity of another leads us to act as if this were so. As long as the faith continues, whether it be well-founded or not, it gives all the force of reality to what is believed. We feel and act just as if it were so, or as if we saw the object before our eyes. This, I think, is the clear meaning here. ... The object of the apostle, in this chapter, is not to illustrate the nature of what is called "saving faith," but to show the power of "unwavering confidence in God" in sustaining the soul, especially in times of trial; and particularly in leading us to act in view of promises and of things not seen as if they were so. "Saving faith" is the same kind of confidence directed to the Messiah - the Lord Jesus - as the Saviour of the soul." (Barnes, from http://www.e-sword.net/commentaries.html Offsite Link, Hebrews 11:1, emphasis added)
So faith has two essential components: confidence and actions.

However, our actions of faith won't always make sense to us (or to others). There's a risk involved. Maybe a miracle will happen, maybe it won't. Maybe we'll feel foolish or look foolish. Maybe we'll be ridiculed.

Many people won't step out in faith and take a risk (I have chickened out more times than I care to remember!), and they will miss out on the miracles. Those who step out in faith will risk rejection and ridicule from other Christians, but they are more likely to see amazing miracles for the glory of the Lord.

For example, recall Jesus' first miracle. He was at a wedding where they had run out of wine, and He told the servants to take some water to the master of the banquet, as if that water was really wine. That doesn't make any sense, but they obeyed Jesus and took the risk, and the water turned into wine:
John 2:7: "Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim."
John 2:8: "Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so,"
John 2:9: "and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside"
John 2:10: "and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.""
Notice that the servants risked looking foolish and risked angering the master of the banquet, and a miracle happened.

Here's another example of taking a risk. One evening, the disciples were in a boat during a storm, when suddenly they saw Jesus walking towards them on the surface of the water. If you recall, Peter got out of the boat and walked on water! That doesn't make any sense, but he did it:
Matthew 14:28: ""Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water.""
Matthew 14:29: ""Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus."
Matthew 14:30: "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!""
Matthew 14:31: "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?""
Peter was a fisherman, so getting in and out of a boat was practically a daily occurrence for him before he met Jesus. In the above passage, notice that Peter did the normal act of getting out of a boat, and he did the normal act of walking, and he walked on top of the water. This doesn't make any sense to our natural mind! But the key thing is that Peter took the risk of looking foolish. Notice that there were eleven other apostles in that boat. None of them took the risk of looking foolish (or drowning), and none of them experienced a miracle. Another key point is that when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the wind and the waves, he became afraid and doubted. Then he lost the miracle. It's our mind which hinders our miracles. The battle is won or lost in our mind.

Here's another example of taking a risk. Peter had been fishing all night and caught nothing, but Jesus told him to go out fishing again. That didn't make any sense! Peter had caught nothing all night! But he obeyed Jesus, and he caught so many fish that his net was stretched to the breaking point:
Luke 5:4: "When he [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.""
Luke 5:5: "Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.""
Luke 5:6: "When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break."
Notice that Peter did the normal act of letting down the nets. But the key thing is that he risked looking foolish, and a miracle happened.

Now, notice the pattern in the above passages. In each case people obeyed Jesus and did things which make no sense to our logical mind. They took a risk of failure, a risk of looking foolish. In each case, they could have given in to pride, fear, doubt, unbelief, etc., and they could have refused to perform those actions. This might have protected their pride in the eyes of other people, but the implication is that the miracles would not have happened. Again, the battle takes place in our mind, because it's our un-renewed mind which can hinder the miracles and healings.

Another thing to notice is that everything in the above passages was completely ordinary! In other words, they didn't start fasting and praying, they didn't pump up their emotions, the angels didn't appear overhead singing hallelujahs, there were no supernatural thunderclaps, the sun didn't suddenly go dark, and so on. Look closely at the above passages and notice that it was all completely ordinary and un-sensational in every way, except that the end result was miraculous. When you pray for sick people and they are instantly and completely healed right in front of your eyes, you'll find that it all seems so "ordinary" and low-key and un-sensational that later you'll start to wonder if a miracle really happened. For example, take a close look at these New Testament healings:
Luke 5:24: "But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . ." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.""
Luke 5:25: "Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God."

Luke 17:11: "Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee."
Luke 17:12: "As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance"
Luke 17:13: "and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!""
Luke 17:14: "When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed."

Matthew 9:20: "Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak."
Matthew 9:21: "She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.""
Matthew 9:22: "Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment."

Matthew 12:9: "Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue,"
Matthew 12:10: "and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?""
Matthew 12:11: "He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?"
Matthew 12:12: "How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.""
Matthew 12:13: "Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other."

Acts 3:2: "Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts."
Acts 3:3: "When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money."
Acts 3:4: "Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!""
Acts 3:5: "So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them."
Acts 3:6: "Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.""
Acts 3:7: "Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong."
Acts 3:8: "He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. ..."
Acts 3:16: "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see."

Acts 9:33: "There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years."
Acts 9:34: ""Aeneas," Peter said to him, "Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat." Immediately Aeneas got up."

Acts 14:8: "In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked."
Acts 14:9: "He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed"
Acts 14:10: "and called out, "Stand up on your feet!" At that, the man jumped up and began to walk."
Again, notice the pattern in the above passages. In each case people did things which make no sense to our logical mind. They took a risk of failure, a risk of looking foolish. In each case, they could have given in to pride, fear, doubt, unbelief, etc., refusing to perform those actions. This might have protected their pride in the eyes of other people, but the implication is that the miracles would not have happened. Again, the battle takes place in our mind, because it's our un-renewed mind which can hinder the miracles and healings.

Another thing to notice is that everything in the above passages was completely ordinary! In other words, they didn't start fasting and praying, they didn't pump up their emotions, the angels didn't appear overhead singing hallelujahs, there were no supernatural thunderclaps, the sun didn't suddenly go dark, and so on. Look closely at the above passages and notice that it was all completely ordinary and un-sensational in every way, except that the end result was miraculous.

When something makes sense to us then it doesn't take much faith to act on it, right? But when we take a risk by doing something which doesn't make sense to our logical mind, that's where the miracles happen. It means going out beyond what's comfortable and "safe," and it means that we might sometimes feel foolish or be ridiculed and rejected. Remember, Jesus said that such things will happen, and He said that we are blessed when people persecute or reject us for obeying Him (Matthew 5:10-12, 10:34-38, Luke 6:22-23. See also Galatians 1:10). Jesus and the apostles were rejected and persecuted by the religious leaders of their day when they healed people, so we're in good company when we experience rejection and persecution by other Christians for healing people!


Conclusion

Throughout this series we have seen a number of reasons why people aren't receiving healing, such as various false assumptions, wrong teachings, misinterpretations of Scripture, basing our doctrines on experience, not praying the way they did in the New Testament, waiting for God to do something that He's already done, not understanding the authority that we have in Christ, not recognizing that our healing has already been paid for in the Atonement, fear, doubt, unbelief, unforgiveness, pride, sin, and so on.

Notice that all of these hindrances have one thing in common: Our mind. God's healing power is perfect (because God doesn't do anything imperfectly), but His healing power does not perfectly reach our physical body due to the interference from our mind. The battle takes place in our mind, and it's our responsibility to fight this battle (with the help of the Holy Spirit). Otherwise our mind will continue to hinder us from seeing and experiencing miracles and healings.

This has nothing to do with "mind power" or "trying to control God." Just the opposite! Our mind doesn't have power, but instead our mind is a mess. Have you ever had a stopped-up drain, and you reached into the drain and pulled out a nasty tangled mess of matted hair and filth which was clogging the drain? The water trying to flow through the drain is like God's spiritual power which is trying to flow through our spirit like streams of living water. The nasty tangled mess of matted hair is like all of the junk that's in our mind. As we remove the junk in our mind and make our thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, etc., line up with Scripture, then God's power will be able to flow more effectively through us.

To do this, here are some suggestions:

  1. Find out what the Bible really says
    Would you take a few jigsaw puzzle pieces and put them together and then claim that you can see the full picture with just those few pieces? In order to see the full picture, you need to properly fit together all of the puzzle pieces. In the same way, if we're studying a doctrine (such as healing) but we only look at a few passages of Scripture, then we're not seeing the full picture of that doctrine. This means that our views about that doctrine might be totally wrong!
  2. Believe what the Bible says
    Keep in mind that God is under no obligation to make sense to our tiny brain, so we must be willing to believe what He says no matter how unusual or strange it might sound!
  3. Do what the Bible says
    Stepping out in faith means taking a risk. You might end up feeling foolish. You might be ridiculed or rejected or persecuted by other Christians. But if the approval of God is truly more important to us than the approval of men (Galatians 1:10), then we should take the risks and step out in faith because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

In the remainder of this series we'll see how to step out in faith and heal the sick in Jesus' Name.


All for Your glory, Lord Jesus!


Part One    Part Two    Part Three    Part Four
 
 
 
  Modification History  
 
 

  • 03/12/2009 - Shortened the article a bit.
  • 12/20/2008 - New article.